After stepping in for an injured TJ Lang at right tackle in last week’s game against the Vikings, Packers rookie Don Barclay is suddenly the subject of many questions.
Even before the Vikings game, there were calls by many to move Lang back to left guard and insert Barclay at right tackle (all without ever having seen Barclay play a single meaningful offensive snap in the NFL).
Either these folks knew something we didn’t, or blind luck shall be given the credit, as Barclay stepped in and did an adequate job. Adequate meaning he didn’t do anything fantastic, but he also didn’t do anything horrible. For his first game ever, a solid performance.
For some fans, this is enough to anoint Barclay the Packers starting right tackle for the rest of the season in place of TJ Lang, there in place of Bryan Bulaga. And so the questions start…
Packers fans have a seemingly endless unquenched thirst for information about every guy in a Green & Gold uniform -even undrafted rookie free agents no one has ever heard of before.
And that, in a sense, is why we’re here. To provide you, the insatiable Packers fan, with volumes of minutiae about your beloved Packers players.
So without further ado, we present to you Don Barclay:
Don Barclay, 6’4″, 310lbs, West Virginia University
Barclay is from Cranberry PA, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. He was deemed too big for Pop Warner football, and didn’t start playing until just before High School.
Despite living near Pittsburgh, he never considered going to the University of Pittsburgh because of an uncle of his who played for West Virginia and despises the Panthers (this because his WVU team could beat them once in his years at WVU).
At the WVU Pro day, Barclay turned in these results:
40yd dash: 5.03
20yd dash: 2.88
10yd dash: 1.73
Bench Reps: 23
Vertical jump: 29.5″
Broad Jump: 8’7″
20yd shuttle: 4.70
3-cone drill: 7.54
Most scouts were looking at Barclay as a guard, with some even thinking about him as a potential center, which is why Barclay practiced snapping the ball in front of scouts at his Pro day.
While Barclay didn’t get drafted, he received free agent offers from several very interested teams, including the Packers. He and his agent felt the Packers were the best fit (obviously, one look at the OL depth chart was all that was needed there) and eagerly accepted the Packers offer.
Barclay made the Packers 53-man roster, as they chose to cut veterans Herb Taylor and Reggie Wells instead. His ability to play both guard and tackle was a key factor, as well as his lower rookie salary, of course.
With regards to details about Barclay and his time with the Packers, no need to repeat what has already been covered quite thoroughly by JSOnline’s Bob McGinn, who wrote about Barclay just before the Vikings game:
And finally, one scouting report on Barclay:
A thicker, squatty offensive tackle prospect with a barrel chest, thick trunk and a top heavy look as an athlete. He doesn’t look real comfortable sitting into his stance in pass protection and he isn’t a natural bender who allows himself to sit upright and will play straight-legged into contact. He tries to drop his base off the ball and play a little lower. To his credit he displays some balance/coordination on his kick slide, looks natural initially with his footwork and keeps his feet under him when reaching speed off the edge. He’s a better athlete than given credit for with some range off the edge when trying to handle speed to the corner, but he lacks the shuffle and slide ability to mirror through space, as he looks tight hipped and gets upright when trying to slide his feet. He extends his arms well and can create a slight pop on contact. However, he isn’t real heavy handed and lacks the fluidity to slide his feet through contact consistently.
From a three-point stance, he has a tendency to get upright off the football in the run game and I can’t routinely see him moving linemen off the ball at the NFL level. He exhibits above average range when trying to get into the second level, and he can extend his arms well and create a snap in tight areas. However, he struggles to routinely break down in space and will end up on the ground whiffing at the air. He’s at his best taking a quick first step and angling defensive ends away from the play. He understands angles, is quick to get his feet around off the snap and has some anchor ability. He’ll drop his pad level well into contact, however, he’ll again get caught lunging into contact and can even whiff off the edge when trying to seal
Impression: A top-heavy lineman who isn’t the most natural of benders and struggles with balance, but can be effective in space at times and is worth a look.
So there you go – your head should now be chock full of Don Barclay facts. When your not-so-knowledgeable friend says, “Who’s that guy at right tackle?”… Well, you’ll know what to do.——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.