Intuitively, the selection of back-to-back first round tackles over the past two drafts makes one think that Ted Thompson will lay off the position in 2012. However, Ted has never been one to shy away from elite talent that’s available in bargain territory. At the same time, the late first round selections of Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod were unique in that they satisfied both BPA and need criteria.
Now that need is not as much of a concern, it would seem less likely that the Packers GM would pounce on a tackle in the first round unless it was an clear cut steal. To add to that, this year’s tackle class isn’t as front-loaded as the previous two drafts. With USC’s Matt Kahlil and Iowa’s Riley Reiff looking like top-15 locks, the only other hands-down first round tackle would be Stanford’s Jonathan Martin.
Martin presents the same textbook left tackle build as the Packers’ 2011 first round pick, Derek Sherrod, and would be quite the steal at 28th overall. In the unlikely event that Martin fell to the Packers’ pick, Thompson would be forced to choose between being completely loaded at the tackle position or addressing the team’s direct needs. One thing to keep in mind: you can never have too many tackles (see Aaron Rodgers’ sack total in 2009).
Green Bay’s second round alternatives may be limited with the draft’s next best tackle being Ohio State’s Mike Adams. Adams, 6’7″ and 320 pounds, is an absolute monster but is known to have character issues. With two second round busts to his name (Lee, Brohm) and potentially a third (Neal), Thompson may wish to invest in a safer prospect in this year’s second round.
Fans’ expectations are that Thompson has many other directions to look before pursuing another offensive tackle. Unfortunately (or, fortunately), this is not Ted’s draft style. No one knows what Ted’s big board looks like, but I believe there to be a strong chance that Martin is atop that list if he is somehow still available by the Packers’ pick in the first round.