The Green Bay Packers have a need to fill on the offensive line. The loss of T.J. Lang has left a glaring hole at left guard.
General manager Ted Thompson will likely look to the draft or his own roster to fill the need. But if he does address the position in the draft, I wouldn’t expect it to come too early.
Over the years, the Packers have done tremendously well with offensive lineman in the middle rounds. Josh Sitton and Lang, both Pro Bowl players were picked in the fourth round. So was David Bakhtiari. Corey Linsley was a fifth rounder.
Bryan Bulaga was picked in the first round and he has turned out to be one of the NFL’s best right tackles. But he was the only early-round pick that stood out. In fact, in all of Thompson’s drafts, he has only taken four offensive lineman in the first two rounds.
One of those was Jason Spriggs last season, who should get a chance to start at guard, even though many feel he’s better suited to tackle.
The point is that when it comes to finding offensive line talent, Thompson and the Packers have done a pretty good job of doing it, without having to surrender a lot of resources.
Generally, Green Bay drafts tackles and moves them inside. Linsley is the exception, he was a true center. So keep an eye on prospects like Dion Dawkins of Temple and Taylor Moton of Western Michigan, two college tackles expected to shift to guard.
Those are the kinds of players Green Bay likes to target. They don’t need to find a starter at left guard in the draft, at least not a guy that can start right away. They need a guy who can add competition, who can push the veterans at the spot. That way, at least one solid player should emerge.
Regardless, don’t expect the Packers to address offensive line early. They have shown in the past they can find gems in the middle rounds and I think they will try their luck again in the 2017 draft.