The Packers have spent two of their last three first-round picks at the offensive tackle position, but it could be a seventh-rounder who saves their bacon this season.
Today, Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reported that 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod did not pass his physical due to issues with the broken leg he suffered in December last season. According to Wilde, Sherrod suffered a setback in his recovery during the spring:
For those asking re: Derek Sherrod: He did not pass his physical in the wake of his Dec. 18 broken leg. McCarthy said had setback in spring.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) July 25, 2012
Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin reports that head coach Mike McCarthy was not very specific about when Sherrod would return. McCarthy said optimistic things like "coming on strong" and "making progress," but he also said "I can't tell you exactly how far he is away."
In the meantime, 2012 seventh-round pick Andrew Datko will be the swing tackle behind Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga. There's reason to think that Datko might not give that spot back once Sherrod is healthy.
Datko was rated as a first- or second-round-level talent on the field, but chronic shoulder issues scared teams away early in the draft.
Mike Spofford of the Packers' official website reported that Datko got some snaps with the starters at left tackle this spring and lined up at both positions. That's a clear sign that the Packers were either aware of Sherrod's setback at the time or were planning for the possibility that he wouldn't be ready to go in training camp.
Normally, it would be easy to say that a first-round pick is superior option to the seventh-round pick. If Datko's shoulder is sound and he gets a chance to show the Packers what he can do with the pads on while Sherrod is on the mend, though, that won't be an easy call for the Packers to make.