The Packers saw starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith leave the team via free agency this offseason when he signed with the Bucs. The team also lost backup offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse to free agency, as he signed with the Bengals.
While the loss of Dietrich-Smith was somewhat surprising, the loss of Newhouse was not. The Packers have seen the play of Newhouse decline over the past few seasons, both at tackle and guard.
Even with those losses, the Packers should be in pretty good shape depth-wise on the offensive line—if everyone remains healthy.
The big improvement will be the return of starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga. When he is healthy, Bulaga is among the best offensive linemen on the Packers. The problem is that No. 75 has missed a season and a half of consecutive games now due to hip and knee injuries.
With the former Iowa Hawkeye star back, the Packers will have a starting offensive line of Bulaga at right tackle, T.J. Lang at right guard, JC Tretter at center, Josh Sitton at left guard and David Bakhtiari at left tackle.
The only question mark on that line would be Tretter, who missed almost all of his rookie season last year due to a broken ankle suffered at an early OTA. But the coaching staff loves his smarts and quickness and believes he will be very solid snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers.
Bakhtiari had a very nice rookie campaign at left tackle last season. Yes, he had some ups and downs, but overall his play was very solid.
Sitton is one of the best guards in the NFC, and Lang took his level of play up a notch last season as well.
The backups will be key in 2014. If healthy, former first-round pick Derek Sherrod would be a great swing tackle for the Packers to use in case of injury. Sherrod is finally looking like he is back to form after suffering a severe leg injury late in the 2011 season which broke two bones and needed two procedures to repair.
If Sherrod can hold down the backup tackle position, the Packers can then slide Don Barclay inside to become the swing guard behind Sitton and Lang. Barclay is an exceptional run-blocker, but he has trouble with edge-rushers. That's why the Packers like him better inside. Barclay also played some center last year in training camp before injuries forced him back to right tackle.
Speaking of center, the Packers drafted Corey Linsley in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, and he looks like he will give Tretter everything he can handle in competing for the starting center job.
No. 63 started 26 games for Ohio State at center and was first-team All-Big Ten in 2013. Linsley is also very strong at the point of attack. Linsley can bench press over 500 pounds—and he showed that strength at the NFL Scouting Combine with 36 reps in the bench press.