Packers Don Barclay: Who is This Guy?

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Packers Offensive Lineman Don Barclay
Packers Offensive Lineman Don Barclay

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).

Barclay was a three-year starter at left tackle who tied the school record by playing in 52 games with 39 consecutive starters after serving as a backup guard and tackle as a redshirt freshman.

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:

NationalFootBallPost Scouting Report:

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.

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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.

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  • Oppy

    When your not-so-knowledgeable friend says, “Who’s that guy at right tackle?”… Well, you’ll know what to do.

    Reply to him, ‘Your mama’

    Thanks for the tidbits, Al!
    Now, the real question becomes, did don Barlcay look like he played as his NFP scouting report suggested, or has he improved?

    • Chad Toporski

      “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.”

      I actually think that does a nice job of summarizing his performance on Sunday in regard to run blocking.

  • Chad Toporski

    I think Barclay can be compared to Gabe Carimi in that he’s a bigger asset to the running game than pass protection. He is very physical with his blocks, but he has trouble with speed rushers, especially when they change directions on him. Otherwise, he does a decent job of staying between the rusher and the quarterback. Would still like to see some more from him against NFL starters, though, before setting any assessments in stone. Plus, I think he’s the type of player (from what I’ve heard) who will work hard and continue to improve.

  • ELo

    The reality is – he is the best we have right now. While we may improve the roster in the off-season, we are what we are this year. Barclay’s main job is to not let Aaron get killed. He did a decent job of that against the Vikings.

  • FireMMNow

    Good stuff Al. My reasoning for wanting Barclay or anyone other bi-pedal being playing RT was it would all Lang to move to LG and get EDS off of the field. Barclay looked fine. He will need help, and a lot of it, but he gets after it in the running game and that could be a major factor down the stretch.

    Something about Barclay just says Tauscher to me. Ugly body, big gut, not real pretty technique. But has some sneaky athleticism and understands how to get the job done. I am not saying Barclay is going to be the packers RT for the next decade, or even anything close to that, but he is a guy that scouts will hate and OL coaches will love. This week will be another big test for him.

    Hopefully Lang is ready to go back to LG.

  • David

    The article had some more pluses about him regarding his pass protection.

    Agreed, said Butschle, who quickly saw Barclay’s remarkable agility for a big kid.

    “His feet were so good as a high school player,” Butschle said. “He had basketball feet on an offensive tackle’s body. That’s his biggest asset and what’s probably made him so successful.

    “He’s an unbelievable pass protector. I think maybe in four, five years, I’ve only seen him get really beaten two or three times. I think that’s going to make him attractive for the NFL draft.”

  • Leo

    Looking to his pro day numbers this kid is quite fast for an OT, in the 40 yards dash he was almost as fast as matt kalil, and faster than bulaga in their combine.
    Technique wise it mean nothing but his pro day mesurables are quite good.

  • Big T

    He can ballroom dance too… his nickname is twinkle toes…

  • Oppy

    If Datko pans out in time, and Sherrod can get his leg right, we could have some depth in the future at tackle.

    Gotta wonder if Van Roten can play. He looks like another kid whose strong suit is run blocking as opposed to pass blocking, but his mobility suggests he could improve in pass pro as well. He’s probably not a tackle, but he moves like one in space.

    We need a center- if EDS isn’t the guy going forward, we gotta find that guy, like yesterday. Surprised Genus was cut loose.