Predicting the Packers Draft: Offensive Line

The Packers have lost three fifths of what was their starting offensive line at the beginning of last year’s training camp. Josh Sitton was cut and T.J. Lang and JC Tretter departed earlier this year via free agency.

Now, Green Bay finds itself in need of both starting caliber linemen and offensive line depth.

But given how the Packers operate on offense, finding someone to plug and play may not be quite so easy. The Packers have a specific set of needs from their linemen and will have to weigh them carefully as they make their draft picks.

What do the Packers look for in the draft on the offensive line?

We grouped all the offensive linemen together because generally the Packers don’t seem to care about what position a guy played in college.

They prefer tackles, generally speaking, but they haven’t hesitated to line up anyone at any position. Green Bay prefers linemen that are a little lighter, a little faster, and a little more explosive athletically.

What’s the best round to select an offensive lineman?

The offensive line is a complicated organism, but the draft strategy for getting linemen is pretty easy to understand: get tackles and guards early and don’t worry about center until late.

2016 Pro Football Focus grades by round selected - Tackle

2016 Pro Football Focus grades by round selected - Guard

2016 Pro Football Focus grades by round selected - Center

What rounds have the Packers drafted offensive linemen?

Highest pick: Bryan Bulaga, 2010
Bulaga was the 23rd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, despite being projected by some as a top ten pick.

Biggest disappointment: Derek Sherrod, 2011
A year after Green Bay took Bulaga in the first round, the Packers selected what they thought would be their second bookend tackle. It didn’t work out that way. Even before a career altering leg injury, Sherrod was hardly a dominant force.

Best value: Josh Sitton, 2008
David Bakhtiari may one day take this spot from him one day, but not yet. Sitton was a late fourth round pick and continues to be one of the NFL’s top guards nearly a decade later.

Who might the Packers draft on the offensive line?

One thing stands out when looking at the possible prospects who match the Packers’ preferences on the offensive line: they’re almost all tackles.

Green Bay loves to draft left tackles and stick them all along the line. In fact, at one point in the 2016 season, the Packers started four players who had lined up at left tackle at some point in their career.

In short, the Packers have plenty of opportunities here if they decide to add depth along the offensive line.

High-end offensive linemen

  • OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
  • OT Garett Bolles, Utah

Mid-round offensive linemen

  • OT Antonio Garcia, Troy
  • OT Conor McDermott, UCLA
  • C Ethan Pocic, LSU

Late-round or undrafted offensive linemen

  • OT Matt Diaz, Wagner
  • OT Nick Callender, Colorado State
  • OT Austin Albrecht, Utah State
  • OT Cole Gardner, Eastern Michigan
  • OT Robert Conyers, Ole Miss
  • OT Cole Croston, Iowa