To start off, here is a list of all Green Bay’s current offensive linemen heading into camp, ascending from number with specific position, and years of experience in parentheses.
#57 C Jacob Flores (Rookie)
#62 G Lucas Patrick (Rookie)
#63 C Corey Linsley (3)
#65 G Lane Taylor (4)
#67 G/T Don Barclay (5)
#68 T Kyle Murphy (Rookie)
#69 T David Bakhtiari (4)
#70 G TJ Lang (8)
#71 G Josh Sitton (9)
#72 T Josh James (Rookie)
#73 OL J.C. Tretter (4)
#74 G Matt Rotheram (1)
#75 T Bryan Bulaga (7)
#78 T Jason Spriggs (Rookie)
#79 G Josh Walker (2)
As you can see, it’s a relatively young group with a vastly different set of experience, and only three players (and starters) who have been around since Green Bay won Super Bowl 45. Those three guys––Lang, Sitton and Bulaga––are locks to make the team. So are four more lineman: C Corey Linsley and T David Bakhtiari, who will start barring injury, utility man J.C. Tretter, and rookie second round pick Jason Spriggs. In my opinion, that leaves three roster spots for eight players, if you looked at my final roster prediction, and especially with Lang and Linsley already on the PUP list.
The Packers’ offensive line is known for its balance throughout on skill level, with arguably the best guard combination in the NFL in Lang and Sitton, at right guard and left guard respectively, and a super strong and skilled center in between.
On the edges, you have the only first round pick of the group at right tackle in Bryan Bulaga. David Bakhtiari is at left tackle, and despite some negative criticism has held up quite well against the opposition. Then, utility offensive lineman J.C. Tretter can play center, guard or tackle if needed, but is primarily a center. Prior to an injury early in his career, he went into training camp as the projected starting center after the departure of Jeff Saturday, yet lost his job to Linsley. My last lock is tackle Jason Spriggs, and if you trade a fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder away to get an offensive lineman in the second round, he better make the team no matter how he performs in camp. He’s likely to start opposite Bulaga next year.
No offense to Jacob Flores, Josh James, or Lucas Patrick, but they likely aren’t going to make the team barring a catastrophic set of injuries. They’re camp fillers, meant to be on the practice squad for the first team defense, and that’s fine. Maybe one of them can make the practice squad.
But the real battle for the remaining three spots along the offensive linemen are going to five players: Kyle Murphy, Josh Walker, Matt Rotheram, Lane Taylor and Don Barclay.
Lane Taylor is probably the best of the group, and he got a few starts last season due to injury and the Packers’ coaching staff has not given negative words to the press about anything he has done (although he’s not really newsworthy might be part of it). I’m assuming he might be needed if the Packers lose a lot of linemen in free agency next offseason. Kyle Murphy is a rookie and a draft pick, and Ted Thompson rarely cuts them his first season, so that gives him a virtually automatic pass.
None of the rest of these guys might even make the team in reality, but the one I think has the best shot is Josh Walker. He made the roster over Rotheram last year, and there is no reason he shouldn’t again. And as for Barclay, he’s had his chance, and his recent struggles have gotten many Packers’ fans annoyed with his performances.
So, without further ado, here is a quick list of who I would pick if I were Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy: Bulaga, Linsley, Lang, Sitton, Bakhtiari, Tretter, Spriggs, Taylor, Murphy, Walker.
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