Packers OL Andrew Datko: Training Camp Dark Horse or Off the Team?
We don’t know much about Packers offensive lineman Andrew Datko because he was stashed away on the practice squad all of last season.
What we did know about him after the Packers drafted him in the seventh round in 2012 we’ve probably already forgotten because, well, he was on the practice squad all of last season.
Because the Packers offensive line situation always seems to be in some sort of disrepair, it’s important that we keep any offensive lineman who can walk upright fresh on our mind before training camp battles begin.
Here’s a refresher on Datko so you don’t have to ask yourself “Who is that guy?” should Datko make some noise during camp.
- At Florida State, Datko started 12 of 13 games as a true freshman at left tackle. Even though he only weighed 260 pounds, he still had 21 knockdown blocks. Talk about starting your college career with a bang.
- He started all 13 games his sophomore season and only allowed two sacks. In 11 games as a junior, he only allowed one sack.
- Things went downhill from there. After starting the first four games of his senior season, Datko hurt his shoulder — the same shoulder he hurt in high school. The injury required surgery in November and Datko couldn’t lift at the NFL combine, causing him to freefall down draft boards and fall right off many of them.
- Physically, Datko is the type of offensive lineman the Packers like to draft: A successful college left tackle (when healthy) who is athletic, versatile and could theoretically play multiple positions.
- Datko’s ceiling in 2013 is winning the Packers sixth man job along the offensive line. If he does that, both Datko and the Packers have to be ecstatic. It would mean the 6-foot-6, 315 pounder is healthy and Ted Thompson can breathe a little bit easier if Derek Sherrod is a lost cause.
- Obviously, Datko’s worst-case scenario is the shoulder acting up again and getting cut.
- Realistically, look for Datko to be in the mix for the seventh or eighth offensive line slot, probably not the sixth. The sixth-man job likely goes to the loser of the battle to start at right tackle. Datko lined up at guard during OTAs, which also helps his chances of making the team, if healthy.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Packers offensive line situation. In for sure: Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse. Probably in: David Bakhtiari, Don Barclay, Sherrod (if healthy). Fighting for their lives: Datko, Greg Van Roten, Lane Taylor, whoever the hell they list as a backup center.
There are already eight offensive lineman with a head start on Datko. Another one (Van Roten) is also probably ahead of him.
The odds for Datko don’t look very good, but it’s hard to count out a guy who was so promising before getting hurt.
(Also, do we know where Datko was when J.C. Tretter broke his ankle? Tretter’s injury cleared another obstacle for Datko to make the team. That’s how I view it from atop my grassy knoll, anyway.)——————