I thought this was pretty good analysis of possible available draft talent, although I don't agree with his slotting in Cole Madison as a starter at this point, krk What Offensive Linemen Are Worth it at 12
By Brandon Carwile on Apr 14, 2019 with 10 CommentsOffensive Linemen at #12
The Packers offensive line already looks better than it did a season ago with the addition of Billy Turner and arrival of last year’s fifth-round pick Cole Madison. Both will be immediate upgrades over Byron Bell and Justin McCray.
Turner offers a versatile skill set with the ability to play both guard and tackle. Seemingly, he will be the front-runner to start at right guard come training camp considering Green Bay handed him a decent deal of four-years, $28 million.
Also, Madison’s arrival last Monday was a pleasant surprise. The former right tackle out of Washington State sat out last season coping with the death of a former teammate and close friend. Coaches and team personnel evaluators were high on Madison because of his athleticism and ability to play tackle and guard. When he left, Green Bay had to scramble and ended up signing Bell who went on to play 12 games in 2018, starting nine. As we now know, disaster ensued.
Keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy is a top priority and his risk of injury only heightens as he gets older. Last year was a good example of how not to do it as he was a victim of 49 sacks. The Packers had a revolving door along the right side of the line with injuries to Bryan Bulaga and unstable play at guard. The result was Rodgers playing the entire year on a sprained knee and broken leg.
This team can’t afford a repeat of the 2018 offense if they expect better results this year. Quite frankly, last year’s performance was as bad as it’s ever been under Rodgers. A culmination of poor offensive line play, inexperienced receivers, and a broken system led them to only six wins. Unfortunately for first-year coach Matt LaFleur, the idea of a rebuilding year doesn’t exist in Green Bay. As it shouldn’t with a quarterback like Rodgers.
If the Packers want to get back to the playoffs next season, it will start up front and Green Bay shouldn’t be done adding to their group of offensive linemen. In less than two weeks, general manager Brian Gutekunst will be on the clock with two first-round selections. Yes, taking an offensive lineman in the first goes against the Packers mantra. However, they face enough uncertainty along the line that nothing can be ruled out. For the moment, right guard is still a question mark and Bulaga has only played two full years in his eight NFL seasons. Couple that with the fact that the 30-year-old tackle is entering the final year of his contract.
Using the 12thoverall pick on an offensive lineman would send shockwaves through the fanbase but fans should prepare themselves now for the unexpected. After all, it’s a new era in Green Bay.
Here are three lineman prospects that might warrant a top-12 pick:
Jonah Williams, Alabama
A three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, Williams probably has the best technique and fundamentals in the class. He started all 44 games of his college career with 29 at left tackle and 15 at right. Williams might be the safest bet among offensive lineman prospect due to his size, lateral quickness, and functional play strength. His main knock is that some scouts project him to move to guard in the NFL because of his smaller frame and shorter arm length. Feel free to consider that a negative trait because in Williams a team will get a guy that can potentially start at three different positions and would be rock solid at all three. Him falling to 12 could be a blessing in disguise as the Packers might be able to grab a 10-year starter.
Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Taylor is generating so much buzz, it would come as a complete shock for him to fall out of the top 10. However, this is the one of the most unpredictable events in sports we’re talking about in the NFL draft. Taylor started 33 games at right tackle with a few sprinkled in on the left. He’s the true definition of a dancing bear standing at 6-5 310 pounds with feet as a nimble as a ballerina’s. Taylor helped Florida’s offensive line surrender only 18 sacks in 2018. His longs arms and powerful punch at the point of attack has scouts drooling over his upside. Expect Taylor to be starting in the league for a long time and probably the first lineman off the board come April 25th. If he is still around when the Packers are on the clock at 12, you would be hard pressed to argue against him as the best player available.
Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Even though he started all 14 games at right tackle last year, Ford is a guard through and through. This is where things start to get grey as his stock best projects somewhere in the late teens of the first. However, if he goes only a few picks after 12 then it’s hard to call it a reach. His biggest concern is inexperience with only one season as a full-time starter. On the other hand, scouts believe he has a high ceiling and a bright future as an NFL guard. Ford is a massive prospect that possesses an even-cut frame and nasty strength to finish as a blocker. His feet tend to get him into trouble which is why he will likely move to guard. This isn’t a knock on his abilities, though, as he still has the tools to develop into a productive interior lineman on the next level.