Could the Packers Start a Rookie on the Offensive Line?
If I put the over/under on the number of rookies the Packers will have starting on the offensive line for the regular season opener at 0.5, would you take the over or the under?
What if I changed the season opener to week 10, but kept the over/under at 0.5?
If you believe some of the scuttle out of the Packers rookie mini-camp, recent draftees David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter are in the mix to start at right tackle. There’s also an outside chance that Tretter or undrafted rookie free agent Patrick Lewis of Texas A&M could give presumed starter Evan Dietrich-Smith a challenge at center.
If I had $100 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d take the under for the season opener and the over for week 10.
I don’t think Mike McCarthy wants to start a rookie right away. Ideally, I think he’d like to see Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod or Don Barclay win the job. That’s not to say the rookies won’t get their fair shot. I’m confident they will.
But unless one of the rookies blows the veterans out of the water, McCarthy probably wants the young guys to develop a bit before getting tossed on the field to protect the league’s highest-paid player.
I’d take the over because of injuries if the bet was changed to week 10. If Dietrich-Smith gets hurt, I think a rookie will get a shot at center over Greg Van Roten. Unless Van Roten hit the weight room hard over the summer, he’s doesn’t seem strong enough to hold his own against NFL interior lineman or super freak linebackers at the second level.
A rookie will probably have to move ahead of Barclay at right tackle, but if there are multiple injuries up front, I see Barclay playing the role of sixth offensive lineman and filling in at any position (Dietrich-Smith’s former role), leaving the right tackle slot wide open for Sherrod or one of the rookies.
I know it’s only May, and I might change my mind about all of this 10 times before we get to real football, but it’s fun to speculate for now.
It’s always hard to determine if the “(insert name of Rookie) could start” stories that come out of rookie camp have any meat on them or not. It’s rookie camp. Coaches are going to say good things about the new guys and imply that they’re good enough to start.
Writers are going to look for those “(insert name of Rookie) could start” stories because it’s no fun to write about guys who will need a year or two on the bench.
Sifting through the coach-speak and generic story topics that pop up during every NFL spring can be tedious, but that’s what we get for covering the now year-round monster that is the NFL.
Hey, if one of the rookies steps up and starts the first game, we can always say “I told you so.”