The biggest news the Packers made during the off season took place back in April.
When Mike McCarthy announced Bryan Bulaga was moved to Left Tackle and paired up with G Josh Sitton, it put the Packers two best linemen on the same side. Their job is simple-protect the blind side of their $110 million investment named Aaron Rodgers.
From a protection standpoint, the move makes complete sense. This lineup switch should help prevent Rodgers from taking any more hits, including an astonishing 236 sacks during his time as a starter.
Unfortunately, it also creates an opening on the other side of the line at right tackle, the position formerly held by Bulaga.
Marshall Newhouse will presumably get first crack at grabbing the starting spot. He needs to play at his very best right out of the gate during camp. The former starter at left tackle had questions raised about his future when Bulaga was moved to the left side. He might be playing for more than a starting spot once camp begins-he may be playing for a roster spot.
Second year player Don Barclay was thrust into action as a rookie and started the final four games of the regular season, as well as the two playoff games after Bulaga was injured. However, he was moved all over the line during OTAs, practicing at right tackle and right guard, as well as a look at center. His future may be as the swing offensive lineman, the player able to fill in at a number of positions along the line.
Rookie David Bakhtiari is an intriguing possibility. A fourth round selection in the NFL Draft, Bakhtiari displayed good athletic ability during OTAs in the Spring. A former left tackle in college, he may be a little small at 300 pounds, but has the height at 6’4″.
Former Rams and Chargers practice squad player Kevin Hughes is also in the mix. Signed as a free agent in February, Hughes spent part of the 2011 season on the Rams active roster, including appearing in three games. He also spent part of the 2012 season on the Chargers practice squad. His previous experience could benefit his ultimately earning a roster spot.
The X factor is Derek Sherrod. The former first round draft pick has seen his career derail after a broken leg in December 2011. After not playing a down for the Packers in 2012, Sherrod was hoping to jump start his career in 2013. Lingering concerns over his broken leg caused the Packers to hold Sherrod out of off season activities. With training camp right around the corner, the question at this point is not whether Sherrod will be able to compete for the open right tackle position. Instead, the question is whether he will ever have an NFL career.
JC Tretter was drafted as another possibility at right tackle. But his career has also been halted following a broken ankle in May. Looking at a six month recovery time table, Tretter may not be able to contribute as a rookie until at least mid season, if at all.
Entering Training Camp, 4/5 of the offensive line is set. With Bulaga and Sitton set on the left, Evan Dietrich-Smith in the middle, and TJ Lang at right guard, the Packers appear to be set for the forseeable future at these positions. The winner of the open right tackle position may well be the player who best helps the revamped run game, one McCarthy has vowed will be better in 2013.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.