Now that TJ Lang has signed his contract extension, the Packers have 3 of their 5 linemen secured for the foreseeable future. He joins Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga as the 2 other pieces of the OL who are at least signed through 2014. If the team wants to capitalize on the gangbuster talent on the offensive side of the ball, the O line will be key. So 3 of the 5 pieces are set. The left tackle position remains in flux with Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod battling injuries and rookie Andrew Datko very green so far this camp.
The Pack brought in veteran free agent center Jeff Saturday this offseason. Saturday is signed for 2 years and can hopefully remain durable and effective. But it goes without saying, the team will need to find someone to step in when Saturday retires. It also goes without saying that the offensive center is invaluable in a pass-heavy offense. Let’s take a look at a few prospects the Pack may have their eye on this Fall and as they prepare for the 2013 draft.
While Barrett Jones (Alabama) will be at center for the Crimson Tide this year and is a Jacobs Blocking and Outland Trophy winner, he is not part of this discussion. He is projected as a Guard in the NFL so let’s focus on a few guys who very likely remain at Center when they get to the next level.
Khaled Holmes, USC (6’3”, 310 lbs) – The book on Holmes is that he’s a much better pass blocker than run blocker. In the Pack’s offense and as long as #12 is QB, that may be enough to warrant a long look. He’s not very athletic and has trouble bursting off the line but is a smart player. He displays very good footwork in pass protection and gets set quickly. Holmes is said to be very good on the outside running the screen. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Pack’s screen game got a boost. Early projections have him going late in round 1, right where the Pack hope to and should be come next year’s draft.