Now that Chad Clifton is out of the picture, the Packers will proceed into the NFL draft with Marshall Newhouse as the incumbent starter at left tackle. Suddenly, drafting a tackle in the middle rounds looks like a much more likely strategy for Ted Thompson to pursue than it did a few days ago. We know Matt Kalil of USC and Riley Reiff of Iowa will be gone by the time the Packers draft with the 28th overall pick, and it's very likely that Jonathan Martin of Stanford will be unavailable as well. That leaves the Packers sifting through the second and third tiers of tackles in the next few rounds. Keep these names in your back pocket so you can look smart if one of them is announced with a great big "G" next to his name.
I almost didn't write about Adams, but he's too fascinating not to discuss. Adams could sneak into the bottom of the first round based on pure talent, potential, and ideal size for a left tackle. He's huge and fairly agile, but don't be deceived by how he looks off the field. Adams, like other recent Buckeye offensive linemen, has come from a system that doesn't teach good blocking technique. Talking heads around Columbus have been noting that OSU has not produced many NFL-caliber linemen in the past decade, and they are speculating that it has to do with the coaching staffs under Jim Tressel. There are serious character and effort concerns around Adams as well - he was part of the tattoo scandal and was suspended for five games in 2011 and tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
Massie is suddenly jumping up draft boards after spending two-plus years as a starter in the brutal SEC West. He also has ideal size and had a decent showing at the combine. He's now looked at as a likely second round talent as well, but will likely need some coaching. His technique also needs work, especially in run blocking.
Osemele played tackle for the Cyclones, but is being regarded more as a guard prospect. He's got that magic combination: strength and long arms. A lack of quickness is probably the main reason that he's being bounced inside by some scouts, but I could see a team working with him at tackle if they don't need an immediate starter.
Sanders is a very good athlete for a tackle, but will need to work on bulking up before he can be relied on as a consistent NFL blocker. He might fare better against quicker edge rushers, but can be beaten by the bull rush. He'd probably work best now in a zone scheme that would let him use his athleticism. I'd love to see what he could do with a few years of work under Packers Strength and Conditioning coordinator Mark Lovat.
Nate Potter, Boise State, 6'6", 303 lbs
Potter shares some of the same qualities as Sanders - great athleticism, but needs to add bulk. Potter is pretty technically sound though, and has the potential to be a great mid-round find. His back has given him some issues in the past, which is another reason he could fall into the later rounds. I'd love to see Ted grab him with a 4th round compensatory pick.
Andrew Datko, Florida State, 6'5", 316 lbs
Datko is haunted by his injury problems. He missed 12 games in the last two seasons over the last two years due to shoulder and labrum issues. He would have been a four year starter otherwise, and earned awards for academics and leadership. He's not as athletic as his teammate Sanders, but has good technique and is a great student in the film room. Datko would be another good late round pick and could be a solid starter if his injuries do not hinder him moving forward.
Which of these players would you like to see Ted draft? Do you have any other tackles that you'd like to see Ted draft in the middle or later rounds? Or do you have any strong opinions of the players I've discussed here?