Offensive Linemen Musical Chairs, 2014 Edition Round 2

Offensive lineman Derek Sherrod has missed over a year-and-a-half since being selected as the 32nd player in the 2011 draft.

A couple months ago I wrote an article listing talking about the game of musical chairs that the Packers play every year with the offensive line.  Just a recap, there probably isn’t another group of players less understood and paradoxically more diverse and similar than offensive linemen.  However with the ACL injury to Don Barclay likely costing him the entire year, I thought it would be interesting to go back and reassess the offensive line situation.

Locks: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Bryan Bulaga – No real changes here, every player listed on my first article is still a lock to make the team and I can’t imagine even injury changing this.

Option 1: JC Tretter, Corey Linsley, Derek Sherrod - Probably the most straight forward scenario; whoever ends up losing the race to be the starting center ends up as the swing interior linemen while Derek Sherrod, without any competition from Don Barclay is now entrenched as the swing tackle.  One final possibility is if either Tretter or Linsley fare so poorly that they don’t warrant a roster spot, swing interior linemen Garth Gerhart could sneak in as a backup; Gerhart offers positional versatility as well as experience after spending last season on the Packers practice squad.

Option 2: JC Tretter OR Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Derek Sherrod – Again the only real open spot is at center and Tretter or Linsley is going to win that job.  However in this situation, the Packers feel they’d rather have a true backup guard instead of a tweener and go with Lane Taylor, who managed to stick on the 53 man roster last season and is a mauler in the run game, something now that the Packers actually care about with Eddie Lacy in the fold.  Historically, the Packers have favored guards over centers; last season Evan Dietrich-Smith was the lone center on the roster and when EDS was injured the entire offensive line was shuffled with TJ Lang at pivot and subbing Lane Taylor in his spot.

Option 3: JC Tretter AND Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Derek Sherrod - Hey, the Packers kept 3 fullbacks one season, so stranger things have happened.  The only situation I can think of where this situation happens is that neither Tretter nor Linsley really separates themselves but both prove they can’t play guard.  In this case, Taylor is added as insurance at guard and JC Tretter doubles as a swing tackle, his old college position.

I think the main thing to take from all of this is just how golden of an opportunity this is for Derek Sherrod.  Before Barclay’s injury, Sherrod was probably a coin flip at best on making the 53 man roster to likely a near lock; simply put the rest of tackles on the Packers roster at the moment are unproven, unexperienced and likely unready to contribute to a NFL roster.  The same can be said about Sherrod, but Sherrod does have a prototypical tackle physique and perhaps most importantly has the investment of being a first round pick on his side; Ted Thompson is famous for his focus on the draft and Thompson has always been loath to waste draft picks, especially high one like Sherrod, and thus will give Sherrod every opportunity to prove his worth (see Justin Harrell).

Overall, since my last article, the options have slimmed down somewhat and some questions have been answered, however without any meaningful snaps being played a lot is still in the air.  I don’t think many would have predicted Lane Taylor making it on the roster before preseason last year and there might be a dark horse candidate just waiting to make a his presence known.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Ed Schoenfeld

    I can’t imagine Sherrod and Linsley not having made the roster even before Barclay went down, especially with the progress Sherrod reportedly showed in OTAs and camp so far.

    Seems like the real ‘new opportunity’ is for Lane Taylor and maybe Garth Gerhart, which basically gives the Packers ‘normal’ (instead of superior) depth across the OL compared to the rest of the league.

    A rookie I am interested in learning more about is OT John Fullington. He got one of the $10,000 bonuses for UFAs (like Adrian Hubbard and a couple of others), so the Packers were relatively high on him. Seems like Fullington would be a logical fit on the PS now that the team can keep only 3 tackles. Has anyone noticed how this kid is doing in camp?

  • morgan mundane

    Sherrod is a bum. He couldn’t make any other team in the NFL. He holds all the time, can’t learn blocking schemes and is not very strong. He will get Rogers hurt early and it will be an ugly season for the Packers. I have the Pack at 6-10. This is with everyone healthy.
    Ted did didly squat to shore up the O line. Beluga in one hit from missing another season, Sherrod is a loser, they have no one with experience at center and they have no back ups. All because Ted played cheap ball. Draft a bunch of receivers and avoid paying big bucks for top first round O linemen to protect the franchise. Total ignorance for Ted.

    • Archie

      It’s still speculative but the evidence is growing that Sherrod is ready to start his NFL career for real. It was a godsend to have both him and Barclay as swing tackles to back-up our OT starters. OL is in far better shape than our DL where we have retreads in Raji and Peppers and little else besides Mike Daniels.

      • SchenySchen

        Archie, until that last statement, I completely agreed with you. GoPack!

    • Big T

      You can see the fear in Sherrod’s eyes. Only thing he will do for the Packers is get someone hurt. He sustained a horrible injury and I don’t blame him I would play scared too. Problem is that doesn’t work in the NFL.

      • Stroh

        Sherrod didn’t seem scared when he was All Conference in the SEC!

        • Big T

          stroh that was before his injury

          • Stroh

            Well you haven’t seen him play since he recovered except for about 10 snaps last year, so I hope your not basing all your conclusions on such a limited snapshot!

            Oh nevermind we know you are… Go away!

    • Turophile

      morgan mundane….wrong on so many levels.

      From memory, I believe the recent investment was two first round picks (Bulaga, Sherrod), four fourth rounders (Sitton, Lang, Bakhtiari, Tretter) and a fifth rounder (Linsley). Hardly cheapskate.

      No doubt the source of your comment was them not keeping EDS, but he could have been had for a reasonable price which tells me they think they can do better than him (mostly, in the run game) with either Tretter or Linsley. It’s too soon to know if they were right.

      As for your Sherrod ‘loser’ comment, his awful injury means he is only now getting his chance to be a significant player. At least see how he does this preseason and the first few games, before condemning the guy. The way you dismiss him you’d think it was all his fault he got injured.

      The truth is YOU wanted an O lineman and are angry the Packers chose another direction, even one that was the acknowledged strength of the draft in WR.

      This was NOT the year to get O lineman high in the draft. This is the year to see what we have in Sherrod, how much Bakhtiari improves and what we have in Tretter. Linsley was about all we needed this year. If these players fail this year, then NEXT YEAR is the time for another sizeable investment there. you don’t invest valuable picks when they might prove a waste.

      As for the 6-10 year, have you been sucking up COW’s milk ?

      Finally, calling TT ‘totally ignorant’ is (what else) totally ignorant.

  • Stroh

    The Barclay injury will barely affect the OL unless another injury occurs.

    OT – Bulaga and Bahktiari are the likely starters w/ Sherrod now backing up both, instead of just LT. If Bulaga is injured its even possible they move Bahktiari to RT and play Sherrod at LT.

    OG – Sitton and Lang are the starters w/ Taylor backing up both, instead of Barclay.

    OC – Tretter is the presumptive starter, w/ Lindsley his backup.

    Its pretty straight forward and not an issue unless another injury occurs.

    • BRinMilwaukee

      Because another injury is soooo unlikely to occur. :-)

    • Mojo

      “The Barclay injury will barely affect the OL unless another injury occurs.”

      Well, duh!

      Since Barclay was a projected backup, the effect to o-line starters is nil until one of them gets hurt. In fact I’ll go further and say injuries to Sherrod, Linsley, Taylor or any other backup will not affect the starting o-line much either.

      (and BTW, another injury to the starters is going to occur)

      • Stroh

        Well duh… But I wasn’t just talking about the starters. I was talking about the OL in general. All it does is move Taylor up a spot and get Sherrod reps at RT as well as LT.

        No injury has occurred to a starting OL yet, so it wouldn’t be “another”! And I don’t consider it a foregone conclusion that a starting OL will get injured!

  • Stroh

    Sherrod was not a coin flip (50/50 chance) to make the roster! More like a virtual certainty (90-95%)… The Packers were never going to move on w/o a 1st round pick w/o even seeing what they have to offer.

  • John Zoul

    Stroh is 100% correct concerning Sherrod.

    This is his make or break year…If he sucks, he will not be on the 90-man roster in preseason 2015. I,for one, am hoping he excels and continues to develop…

    Bakhtiari was a below average LOT in 2013…Gave up ten sacks and many hits and pressures on the QB. I do not believe he is the LT answer.

    Concerning either Linsley or Tretter at Center…We will find out in the next four preseason games. Am hoping one of them is a stud…

  • SchenySchen

    Sherrod looks bigger, stronger and more comfortable according to reports. He is not Marshall Newhouse. He’s is going to be a quality backup this year and great insurance if either bulaga or Bak get hurt, in my opinion. GoPac!

  • Tim

    Once again they guys to step from out of nowhere and be a pro – this time offensive lineman. Linsley and Sherrod were always locks, hopefully they come through. They keep eight only if #8 is more than a practce squad body. It would be nice to have that kind of depth. I think Taylor or Gephardt are frontrunners to be that guy. I don’t have a lot of hope here.

  • John Galt III

    A great many free agents after roster cuts and the Packer’s scouts will have orders to find an OL or two. They will sign one if the coaching staff in not impressed with one position or another.

  • DraftHobbyist

    If Sherrod is in all of the options doesn’t that makeh im a lock? Option 3 is by far the most likely. 7 OL’s is on the low side. 8 is normal. We’ll probably see 8 on the roster and then 1 on the PS, and I think you got the 8 right in Option 3.

  • JimR_in_DC

    I think the Packers will go with either Option 3 or an as yet to be determined Option 4 (veteran interior lineman not yet on the roster).

  • Mikeh

    Yep as things stand, I think most people would go with Option C if they were predicting the final 53. Bit puzzling as to why the article seems to think its unlikely.

    Barring another injury – the only way C doesn’t happen is if a dark horse overtakes Taylor or if Tretter or Linsley have a nightmare in pre-season games.