June 12, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tackle Andrew Datko (77) gets ready for the team's mandatory minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
How acquired: Drafted in the 7th round (241 pick overall)
Chance of making the team: Moderate
Reasonable Expectations for 2012: Making the roster / staying off injured reserve. After the draft I didn't think that Datko was going to make the roster, or that he would have an uphill climb. Tackle is quickly becoming a roster spot with young talented players filling the ranks. The Packers not only have Bryan Bulaga (one of the better RT's in the league) they also have two promising young LT's in Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod. None of those three are going anywhere leaving only one roster spot for Datko to take. Despite this, Datko has had a solid start during faux football season, seems healthy, and definitely fits the mold of a starting tackle in the NFL. He currently should have the edge over such players as Herb Taylor and Shea Allard. At the very least staying healthy for a year would be a great sign for a player that has struggled with shoulder issues going back to his high school career.
How he can exceed expectations: Making the team and making it on the game day roster. Making the active 46 wouldn't be unheard of, especially if a player or two gets injured. If he is able to make that 46, or even got on the field and not be terrible, then I say that's a win for Datko at this point in his career.
Why Packer fans should keep an eye on him: The best way I can state this is that Datko is a lot like James Starks. Starks was looking a solid 2-4 round pick before his injury in college that caused his draft stock to sink. The Packers got him in the sixth round and so far he has worked out alright, but he still struggles to get on the field. Datko was projected to be a second round pick by many until his most recent shoulder injury. If he can stay healthy then the Packers have a great swing tackle at the very least and a possible prototypical left tackle for nothing at the best. All he has to do is keep developing and stay healthy.