Of course, there were deep ties to the Green Bay Packers and what we might see from them in next month’s draft. One interesting comment that Dan made about drafting players to play certain positions in the NFL.
Shonka’s example couldn’t have been more perfect for the Packers’ current situation at offensive center. He said that if a team needs a center, they should draft a center. He has never been a big proponent of drafting a guard or a tackle to convert to another position due to the risk of that conversion not being a success.
Sure, there are occasions where a player can develop multiple skill sets. Guard T.J. Lang is an example there. Lang was a left tackle in college and was immediately tried at guard in Green Bay. Lang did also work at tackle and has even played tackle in live game action, but he’s now entrenched at guard and has proven to be very suitable there. Still, examples such as Lang seem to be more the exception and not the rule.
During head coach Mike McCarthy’s time in Green Bay, we have seen many examples of players who were offensive tackles in college and tried at guard and/or center with the Packers. A few that come to mind besides Lang: Derek Sherrod, David Bakhtiari, and Bryan Bulaga to name a few. Heading into this season, Bulaga and Bakhtiari are presumed to be the starting tackle tandem. Sherrod is once again back at tackle as a backup.
Beyond the versatility that it can offer, it begs the question as to why McCarthy continues to try and turn tackles into interior linemen.
We know McCarthy likes players that can do multiple things. He likes his linebackers and tight ends on special teams. He obviously likes his linemen to be able to step in at any spot on the line and in a pinch. But is that the best way to build that continuity that he also talks about having on the line?
With Evan Dietrich-Smith departing for Tampa Bay in free agency, the Packers will have a new center this season. Much of the speculation about who that will be has centered (pun intended) around second-year guy J.C. Tretter. Tretter was drafted in the fourth round last year and was hurt on the first day of training camp. He missed most of last year before being activated off of the physically unable to perform list late in the season.
Tretter is another former offensive tackle in college that was brought in seemingly to plug into the interior of the Packers offensive line. Before he was injured, there was talk about Tretter getting reps at center and possibly pushing for a starting job.
The Packers still have the draft in which they could draft a true center or another offensive lineman that they have in mind for the role. In that case or if they run with Tretter, they are handing the keys to the car to not only a young player who has not played a single down in the NFL, but who may not have any extensive time at the center position either.
As much as we have already talked about the center position and what the Packers will do, you can expect more as the draft approaches and team activities start up soon.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: