Maybe Offensive Line in the First Round Isn't So Crazy

Conventional wisdom says the Packers need help on defense in the draft, but maybe taking an offensive lineman isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Matt Miller’s latest mock draft for Bleacher Report suggests just that outcome. While most draft prognosticators predict that the Packers will be looking for an edge rusher, cornerback, or (shudder) running back, Miller predicts the Packers will select Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk with the 29th pick in the first round.

Offensive line isn’t typically thought of as an immediate need for the Packers, but maybe that should change. T.J. Lang is anything but a sure thing to return to the Packers, and neither is J.C. Tretter. Don Barclay seems more likely to be back in Green Bay, but he’s not a long-term starter at any of the five offensive line positions.

Is Lane Taylor a long-term solution?

That brings us to Lane Taylor. While he did a good job in Josh Sitton’s stead in 2016, the knock on Taylor has always been his limited athletic ability. He’s what scouts call a “bad body” guy, and though he’s a willing (and often capable) blocker, his ceiling seems lower than most of the other linemen on the Packers’ roster.

Taylor, like many other mid- to low-level NFL players, finds himself in an unenviable position. Though he did everything he was asked to do last season, he’s still the weak link in an important position group.

Even if he does win his starting position back next season, it’s likely that the Packers will be cultivating someone behind him. The offensive line needs bodies, and it needs to most capable players if the Packers are going to keep Aaron Rodgers as healthy as possible.

Ramczyk projects as a tackle in the NFL, but the Packers have switched tackles to guards many times. If Taylor (or someone else) is thought to be weak up front, maybe it’s not quite so crazy to consider an offensive lineman early.