Over the next few weeks, we will break down each position on the Green Bay Packers' 2015 roster in detail, discussing each player and making our predictions for the final 53-man roster.
Since Aaron Rodgers took over as the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008, the team has struggled to put a stable group of offensive linemen in front of him. That finally changed in 2014, in large part to the emergence of a young blindside protector and the healthy return of a former first-round pick. General manager Ted Thompson made sure to keep the tandem together for 2015, as well as re-sign Green Bay's top reserve tackle.
Here is a detailed look at the returning offensive tackles from the 2014 roster.
H/w: 6'4", 310 pounds
NFL seasons: 2
2014 stats: 16 games, 16 starts
The list of viable left tackles drafted after the first round is a short one, yet the Packers managed to acquire their blindside protector in the fourth. David Bakhtiari's weight limited him as a rookie, but the added muscle from his first offseason as a professional helped him become a solid pass protector.
At the same time, Bakhtiari still has room to improve as a run blocker. Defenders can still overpower him at times, though that should become less and less of a problem as he continues to add weight. Another offseason to work on his body should help remedy the issue.
Still, even if Bakhtiari never improves significantly as a run blocker, his reliable pass protection makes him a tremendous asset for Green Bay's offense.
H/w: 6'5", 314 pounds
NFL seasons: 5
2014 stats: 15 games, 15 starts
Since his stellar 2011 campaign, the only thing that has held back Bryan Bulaga has been injuries. The former first-round pick missed about half of the 2012 season and all of 2013 with a fractured hip and torn ACL respectively. The prolonged absence raised questions about Bulaga's ability to stay on the field and his future with the Packers.
Bulaga put those concerns to rest with how he played last year. He missed only one start (a Week 2 matchup with the New York Jets) and shook off the rust to play as well as he had during his breakout 2011 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Bulaga yielded just four sacks, two quarterback hits and 23 hurries during the regular season and playoffs.
Bulaga's performance made him the most coveted offensive tackle in this year's free agent class, yet he accepted a team-friendly five-year, $33.75 million deal with $8 million guaranteed to return to Green Bay.
H/w: 6'4", 305 pounds
NFL seasons: 3
College: West Virginia
2014 stats: (none)
The Packers managed to stay fairly healthy in 2014, but one of their more notable losses was Don Barclay. The offensive tackle tore his ACL during training camp, forcing the team to enter the season without their top reserve lineman. Had he avoided injury, Barclay would have backed up the entire right side of the line and may have come in as part of a shift for an injury at center or left tackle as well.
After signing a one-year deal to return for 2015, Barclay gives Green Bay some insurance in case their injury luck regresses.
H/w: 6'5", 300 pounds
NFL seasons: 1 (practice squad)
College: Louisiana College
2014 stats: (none)
Little is known about Jeremy Vujnovich. The offensive tackle is easily the least-pedigreed member of the Packers, having played his collegiate football at Division-III Louisiana College. The team invested a year on the practice squad, which suggests they like his upside. However, Vujnovich likely needs a strong camp and preseason to warrant another year in Green Bay.