There has been a lot of news worth following on the Packers offensive line this offseason. Another storyline up front that should develop further once training camp heats up is who will “win” the sixth-man slot on the offensive line.
I put “win” in parentheses because, technically, if you’re the sixth man on the line, it means you failed to land a starting spot. In other words, you lost the battle you were actually trying to win.
Nobody goes into camp hoping to “win” a spot on the bench, but when it comes to the offensive line, the sixth man typically ends up getting at least a few starts and playing some type of meaningful role during the season. If you don’t start on the line, being the sixth-man is the spot you want to secure.
The leading candidates to be the Packers sixth man appear to be Marshall Newhouse, Don Barclay, Derek Sherrod and rookie David Bakhtiari.
In an ideal world, I think the Packers would like to see Sherrod storm into camp fully recovered from his broken leg and show everyone why Ted Thompson spent a first-round draft pick on him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Sherrod is on track to do that.
Ideally, the sixth-man on the line needs to be able to play multiple positions. Sherrod was drafted as a left tackle, but did compete at guard during training camp of his rookie season. Strength and nastiness appeared to be Sherrod’s weaknesses before he was injured.
Can he hold up inside against the big and physical interior lineman if asked to play guard? Is Sherrod physical enough to provide the run-blocking needed at right tackle, or anywhere else on the line?
Take everything I wrote about Sherrod about nastiness and apply it to Newhouse.
Newhouse has showed signs of being a decent pass-blocker, but the Packers are looking for more of a complete package. They need more consistency in pass blocking and more results in run blocking.
One possible scenario with Newhouse if he doesn’t win the starting right tackle job is this: The Packers would have two “sixth men” up front, Newhouse at tackle and a more physical run blocker-type player at guard.