GM Ted Thompson's Top 10 draft picks. No. 8: RT Bryan Bulaga.
This one might be a little harder to see, and maybe you could move NT B.J. Raji ahead of Bulaga.
He probably wouldn't have made the Top 10 if it weren't for a strong performance during the playoffs. I can't recall a major mistake, and it was a major departure for him. He had his struggles during the regular season, including a disastrous Week 17 game against the Bears. But he started a combined 16 games in the regular season and playoffs, which is pretty impressive for a rookie.
And he would have started from Day 1 if the Packers hadn't played it safe and re-signed RT Mark Tauscher prior to the April 2010 draft. They spent all of training camp trying to find Bulaga a place on the line. He played at left tackle and left guard during the preseason, but they didn't have a reason to make room for him until Tauscher was injured and lost for the season. The coaches have been impressed with him from the start, so I'm projecting that he's going to be a fixture on the line for years to come.
He gets the slight nod over Raji because it took Raji longer to earn his spot in the rotation. He didn't work his way into the starting lineup as a rookie, like Bulaga did, and they even re-signed NT Ryan Pickett to a huge multi-year extension in March 2010. It wasn't until later that summer when they moved Raji ahead of Pickett, and moved Pickett to end, that he had secured a starting spot. That's not a big difference, and it might make no difference in a couple years, but that's what I was thinking about now.
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