I've had my eye on OL Don Barclay for quite a while now.
I had the Green Bay Packers selecting Barclay in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft in my final mock draft and then later had him listed as a possible candidate to get signed by the Pack as an undrafted rookie.
The latter did indeed happen.
So far in training camp and the preseason, Barclay is showing a toughness and doggedness at the various offensive line positions he has played. Barclay started out slow in camp as he was shifted to the OG position, but he has certainly settled down.
Barclay is currently being used as the second team RT and his versatility to could be a huge asset for him, as he has the ability to play four offensive line positions.
Barclay was a LT at West Virginia, but the Packers thought he would be better playing inside when they signed him. That is why he first played G when camp first started. He didn't play badly there after a bit of a rough start, but with all the injuries and inconsistencies at the OT position, the coaching staff is giving Barclay a chance to succeed outside as well.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote an excellent piece on Barclay on Wednesday and there is no doubt that Barclay has a real shot to make the final 53-man roster.
In McGinn's piece, Barclay explained why he struggled at first when he shifted to OG early in camp.
"My feet were kind of out of place just from playing tackle the last two, three years," said Barclay. "Some other guys have been giving me pointers, especially Reggie (Wells). I feel like my sets have gotten a lot better."
The man that Barclay is currently backing up at RT, Bryan Bulaga, has certainly noticed how much Barclay has improved and how tough he is.
"I think he's tough as heck, I really do," Bulaga said. "Tough guy. Plays the game hard. You never see a snap where you don't think he's giving 110 percent effort. If he gets beat, he's going 110 percent doing it."
Barclay figures to get a lot of playing time tonight vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, and if he continues his progress and also keeps showing his tenacious nature with his blocking, there's a good chance that Barclay will make the final roster once the roster is set on Friday.
The coaching staff of the Packers loves offensive linemen who are versatile and have a nasty disposition. Barclay certainly possesses those traits.
In the late 1960s there was a television show called The Big Valley which chronicled the Barkley family. If things continue to progress for Don Barclay, there is a very good chance that he will find a home in the Fox Valley for the Green Bay Packers.