This isn't my work, it's from another site. All credit goes to AlexGreen#20 *who I did get permission to post these elsewhere from*
Anyway, they're pretty informative even for the less than casual fan. Brought up some good points all around.
David Bakhtiari is a smart guy. Significantly more physically gifted rookies than he, struggled this year in easier situations. He is a walking reminder that football is a simpler game than many desire to make it. So long as you play hard, play smart, and play with good technique, youíll win more reps than you will lose.
Bakhtiari doesnít lose off of the line. Heís consistently quick off the ball and into his kick step. He only had two false starts all year which is very solid for a rookie. The one physical trait that he possess that is above average for an NFL tackle is his hand usage. Heís got a strong punch, and he does a good job of controlling a defender if he can get locked up. He is completely reliant on those two traits because the rest of his game is pretty forgettable.
He isnít a good athlete to scale. Heís got decent feet which is necessary for a lighter tackle, but heís not very strong and he lacks length. That can be a killer in combination. If he canít get his hands on a guy because theyíre so much longer than he is, he can be physically manhandled. Ziggy Ansah and Aldon Smith both killed him on it. Smith is a legitimately great player, but Ansah was pure athlete and Bakhtiari just couldnít hang with him even with a significant skill lean. Against most guys Bakhtiari will hold his own, but that body type will likely be a pain for him his entire career.
The hope is that as he gets more time in the league, that his body will start to fill out and heíll develop more anchor strength. Reports coming out of OTAs say that Bakhtiari put on about ten pounds of muscle, and that will help him out some. If he reaches the point where he can sit down against the long power rushers, his career going forward looks significantly different. Iím just dubious as to whether or not he can reach that point, heís neither naturally strong nor naturally thick with a frame to bolt on more weight.
As a run blocker, heís not very good. Heís severely lacking drive strength, which isnít uncommon in left tackles. He was just too easy for defenders to lockout and disengage from last year. Again, hopefully the added mass helps, but Iím not too optimistic about it. He does work well with Josh Sitton on their combo blocks, when he isnít exclusively responsible for generating movement and can use his hands and feet to flank a defender heís very solid. Heís dependable on the second level as well.
Bakhtiari likely starts at left tackle in 2014. He wasnít a good left tackle in 2013 but for a rookie thrown to the wolves, he performed admirably. The strides he makes in year two will be interesting to observe. He allowed 6.5 sacks and 37 pressures in 2013. The sack number is adequate, but way too many pressures were allowed.
Bryan Bulaga is 25 years old. He wonít turn 26 until after the super bowl this year. Many forget that Bulaga is different from the Big 10 reputation and came out after only three seasons at Iowa. I think many people forget how young Bulaga really is when they talk about his future with the team. Iím not saying thereís a great well of untapped potential, but this is a good athlete with a good head on his shoulders. Itís frustrating that we havenít seen Bulaga play since November of 2012. In his last two full healthy seasons (with the exception of the Fail-Mary game) he was playing at a pro-bowl level. His presence in the place of Don Barclay, who did not play well in 2013, would have been a game changer.
Bulaga isnít an elite athlete. His lateral agility is good but not great and his balance is disappointingly average. But thereís no edge rusher in the league Bulaga canít hang with if he plays with good technique. Rarely will it be a fundamental lack of ability that will lead to Bulaga getting beat. If Sherrod and Bulaga somehow end up on the same line, it may be the most athletic tackle pairing in the entire league outside of Philadelphia. Now athleticism doesnít directly translate to production, but it certainly doesnít hurt.
Bulagaís biggest problem other than staying healthy is his tendency to lunge into blocks. Heís not a technician by any stretch of the imagination. Different players block in different ways, Bulaga is an attacker in pass protection, similar to how Jake Long plays the position. He doesnít want to allow a defender to build up speed, he wants to attack the edge rusher at the top of his arc and kill the rush at the spot. According to the textbooks, thatís incorrect, the appropriate play is to slide your feet and carry your man past the pocket, but Bulaga plays his game very well. His style just occasionally leaves him prone to being beat cleanly against a savvy rusher whose speed threatens him around the corner. I think some have forgotten that Bulaga allowed only 1 sack and 18 pressure through 12 games in 2011 when they talk about his future.
As a run blocker, Bulaga has never developed into the player many thought he would be coming out of school. Heís not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but many expected him to dominate and that hasnít happened yet. His drive skills are good but not great, and while heís quick on his feet, he isnít quite as good at finishing blocks on the move as you would expect from someone with his ability. Heís a physical player and heíll fight to bury his man but he hasnít been a guy you can count on to consistently win the point of attack and thatís disappointing. Thereís reason for optimism in 2014. Bulaga is a better drive blocker than he is playing as a zone guy, and the emergence of Lacy has led to a more power oriented run game which should help Bulaga out.
In many ways Derek Sherrod is unique among the tackles left on the Packers roster. Physically he stands apart from the group. Even Bryan Bulaga, who is a damn good athlete in his own right, doesnít compare to Sherrodís prodigious physical gifts. There simply arenít more than a handful of people in the entire world who possess Sherrodís combination of size, balance, strength, and agility. He is physically capable of being a player that neither David Bakhtiari nor Don Barclay can ever be. Whether he will turn into that player or not is a question that has existed long before his leg was broken in Kansas City.
He pissed off a lot of coaches at the senior bowl with his passive temperament, and thatís been a complaint about Sherrod since he showed up on teamís radar. You would expect a player with his build and strength to be a bull in the run game, but heís exactly the opposite. He comes off the ball soft, and rarely finishes a block. He doesnít move the line of scrimmage, tending to stalemate at the line. He overthinks, often hesitating to set his feet and lunge rather than simply bowling into a second level defender when the time calls for it. His ceiling as a pass blocker is unbelievably high, but barring a significant change in mindset, he just lacks the nasty to ever be a stand out run blocker. The hope would be that being in a locker room of professional tough guys would hammer home the message that physicality is a must, but some guys just donít have it in their nature to really go out and dominate in the ground game.
At this point, nobody is counting on Sherrod. A significant part of Sherrodís future will be determined by how much of the prodigious ability was lost due to his injuries. The original break of the tibia and fibula carried with it a chance for some nerve damage that could potentially reduce the strength in his leg. Complications from the original surgery caused him pain in his knee and ankle when he finally did get back onto the field.
Another surgery on his ankle was required, and this surgery seemed to fix him up. Anytime significant surgery is performed, however, there carries with it a likelihood of at least some loss of performance. Thatís just an unfortunate fact of professional athletics, even the most dedicated guy in physical therapy is likely to lose something. How much Sherrod lost will be telling and whether or not his issues make him more susceptible to another injury remains an uncomfortable question that needs to be asked.
Don Barclay is the worst athlete of the tackles likely to make the roster. He is not a natural bender. When you watch him, you will notice this on just about every play, heís a straight legged blocker. The guy is about as flexible as your average fire hydrant. Heís a strong player though, probably the strongest Packer in a phone booth with the possible exception of Letroy Guion.
A slow kickstep due to the below average athleticism kills him in pass protection. He tries hard, but he just doesnít have the feet to stay with the good speed rushers. Heís got a decent anchor and plays aggressively, but heís a lunger and not a very good one. When you watch him play, you can see why he went undrafted, the ceiling is just very low. Heís done a good job maxing out what he was given to work with, and thatís admirable, but heís not a guy you want starting.
As a run blocker, Barclay has made significant strides since he was signed. He was always a thicker guy with a well-developed upper body, but he only really put the tools together last offseason. Heís got some legit drive skills, and he plays with a mean streak that you can only wish Sherrod develops. Heís got a decent forward first step that he uses to get a good jump on his zone runs, and heís an effective guy on the second level despite whiffing occasionally. He and Lang werenít as seamless on their combo blocks as Sitton and Bakhtiari, but thereís significantly more power there, and that was very evident as the year went on.
With the skillset Barclay possess, heís a more natural guard than a tackle, though the versatility is what will keep him employed going into the future. In 2014 heís going to be the backup for both guard spots and likely right tackle. Barclay is a guy you cheer for and a very useful piece to have around long term. Every team needs that guy, and on top of that, the aggressiveness is needed in a positional group that isnít marked with the meanest set of players in the league.
The Packers tend to keep a tackle on the practice squad, John Fullington is my bet to fill that spot. Fullington is an undrafted rookie out of Washington State. The Packers are obsessed with two things in their longshot offensive lineman, experience and versatility. Fulllington checks off both boxes. Fullington started 43 consecutive games for the cougars, playing at every spot except Center (5 at right guard, 22 at left guard, 9 at right tackle, and 7 at left tackle).
He reminds me a lot of Don Barclay as a prospect. Heís not a knee bender at all, very straight legged blocker. He honestly doesnít really even display a polished kick step, more of a quick shuffle than a drive and plant. His feet are a bit lighter than Barclays were/are but his frame is significantly less developed. He could likely carry a bit more weight, because heís definitely the thinnest of the Packer lineman.
Heís not a particularly aggressive player, and he needs to be. He needs to get after people and he needs to throw his hands hard on every play. When he does that, heís very effective, but he doesnít do it routinely. His feet are decent on the zone runs, but he doesnít really show any real drive skills, though he was only rarely asked to in school. He badly needs to develop a better anchor, though that will possibly come with a year to develop his body.
Fullington is two years younger than Aaron Adams who was last yearís PS tackle. Fullington will also see some competition from Jeremy Vujnovich who is also a younger guy, but less developed as a player. Barring multiple starters going down, this spot should be inconsequential.