It's a slow weekend for news on the Green Bay Packers, as you can tell. There's one thing that never stops, though: speculation about training camp and who will win the starting jobs at the various positions that are up for grabs this off-season. The first one that we will take a look at is the battle for the starting right tackle spot now that the line has been flipped over the center.
The starter at left tackle over the past few years, Newhouse will look to adjust to the right side and earn his starting job once again. He was not a great tackle last season by any stretch of the imagination, but he did make great strides from the 2011 season. One illustration of this is his improvement from a Pro Football Focus grade of -32.0 in 2011 to -4.3 in 2012. That upgrade was almost entirely due to an improved pass blocking grade however; his run blocking grade stayed relatively consistent at -14.6 and -12.3.
One of the biggest issues with Newhouse in 2012 was his inconsistency; he would show signs of improved play for a few games only to erase the progress he had made with a few bad games. He was at his worst, however, when battling teams with multiple effective pass-rushers. St. Louis, the New York Giants, and Detroit each gave Newhouse fits. He will need to prove that he can be a consistent pass-blocker and significantly improve his run blocking if he wants to earn the starting job.
Barclay is very much the opposite of Newhouse in that he struggled mightily in pass blocking last season but was reasonably effective in the running game. The undrafted rookie from West Virginia took over for an injured Bryan Bulaga and an ineffective T.J. Lang last season and at least brought some stability to that side of the line. One question with Barclay is whether he has the skill set to stick at tackle; he also worked at guard last season and could be looked at as a better candidate at that position.
The biggest question mark on the entire team is Sherrod, who played a few games in 2011 at both tackle spots before breaking his leg and missing the entire 2012 season. The natural talent is there, but the big question is whether he will ever be able to recover completely and trust his rebuilt leg enough to be effective.
The highest-drafted rookie lineman for the Packers this year is Colorado's Bakhtiari, who played left tackle in college. Though a little smaller than the ideal NFL tackle, he plays with good leverage and is solid as a run blocker. You can see our film review of him here, but he will be taking his best shot at the starting job and should be a key backup if he does not claim it.
This is a name that I still can't shake in the back of my head. Datko was a seventh-round pick last season and spent the year on the practice squad, but he appears to have fully recovered from any residual issues from his shoulder injuries in college and will be ready to compete for jobs across the Packers' line. In OTAs, he worked primarily at guard, but he played right tackle in college and should at least see a few snaps at the position in training camp. If he impresses early on, he should earn additional opportunities to play and get a legitimate chance to take the job.
Now the question goes to you: who do you think will win the right tackle job and start there in week one against the San Francisco 49ers? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments.