Could the Green Bay Packers Take Another OT in the First Round?

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2013

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Bryan Bulaga from the Iowa Hawkeyes poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they hold up a Green Bay Packers jersey after the Packers drafted Bulaga number 23 overall during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

In 2010 and 2011, the Packers selected offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod in the first round of the NFL draft. 

Consecutive first-round picks should be enough to settle any issues on the offensive line for at least the next five seasons. But just two years later, the Packers are potentially in the market for yet another first-round lineman. 

So what went wrong?

Bulaga, the 23rd overall selection in 2010 out of Iowa, stepped into a starting role almost immediately. In his three-year career, he's started 32 of his 37 games and appears to have a stranglehold on the right tackle job for the foreseeable future. 

But the issue for Bulaga has been staying on the field. Over the past two seasons, he's played in just 21 of a possible 32 regular-season games and closed out the 2012 season on injured reserve. 

Despite Bulaga's injury concerns, compared to Derek Sherrod, he's been the picture of health. 

In two NFL seasons, Sherrod stepped onto the field for a total of 115 offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and missed the entire 2012 season with a broken leg. 

Based on the injuries to both Sherrod and Bulaga, the Packers have realized they can't count on either to solve their issues at left tackle. 

Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stated that playing Bulaga at left tackle is a possibility, but "we're not doing anything like that right now. We've got to look at the draft and see what happens."

McCarthy continued: "I've got to make sure Bryan comes back from this injury. He's been there (the Packers' facility) every day. I'm not (worried), but you know how that goes." 

As for Sherrod, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported that the Packers aren't even sure if he will be healthy in time for training camp.

Given the severity of the injury and the length of the recovery process, it's reasonable to wonder if Sherrod will ever live up to his first-round status. 

So, could the Packers solve their left tackle issue with yet another first-round pick?

Given the limited number of options expected to be on the board late in the first round, it's far from a sure thing, but selecting another lineman is certainly within the realm of possibility. 

Florida State's Menelik Watson and Arkansas-Pine Bluffs' Terron Armstead are the two prospects most likely to be options for the Packers late in the first round. 

Of the two, Watson may be the better fit in Green Bay. 

Under general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers have tended to prefer offensive tackles who are slightly larger than the NFL average. Both Bulaga and Sherrod tip the scales in the 315- to 320-pound range. 

Watson weighed in at the combine at 310 pounds, but he has the frame to easily add another five to 10 pounds of muscle with the help of an NFL training staff. 

Armstead is a much better athlete than Watson, but slightly smaller as well. He looks more like a tight end than the typical Packers lineman. 

Ultimately, the Packers should have some options. Thompson shouldn't feel the need to reach for a lineman simply to fill the hole at left tackle. 

Should Thompson determine that either Watson or Armstead is the best available option, however, Aaron Rodgers would certainly be grateful for their presence in Green Bay.