One of the significant injuries the Green Bay Packers have suffered so far during training camp was to versatile backup offensive lineman Don Barclay, who suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. It was a huge loss because Barclay was a 16-game starter at right tackle last season and had the ability to backup both tackle and guard spots.
Therefore, when the Packers took the field last Saturday against the Tennessee Titans in their preseason opener, one player the coaching staff was certainly keeping an eye on was offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, the 2011 first-round pick that steps into the swing tackle role that was vacated by Barclay’s injury.
Sherrod played just six snaps last season after missing the entire 2012 season due to a broken leg he suffered in Week 15 of the 2011 season. Yet, in his first extended game action in over two years, the 6-5, 312-pounder looked the part of a legitimate left tackle in the NFL and was impressive in his 45-snap performance.
Sherrod, who will be the top backup for left tackle David Bahktiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, played 28 snaps at left tackle to go along with 17 at right tackle. For a majority of his time on the field, he was matched up against former 2011 second-round pick Akeem Ayers, who registered six sacks in the 4-3 defense last season.
Against Sherrod, Ayers managed just one pressure and was neutralized in the run game. The former Mississippi State standout also did a solid job when he was moved to the right side as well.
Although it was just one game, the Packers have to feel much better about their backup tackle situation after Sherrod’s performance against the Titans Saturday. The 25-year old still has room to grow but his physical attributes are rare and he proved that if he’s needed in the regular season, he will be up to the task.