What is it about Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and his success at drafting offensive linemen in the fourth round?
Itís possible that four of the Packersí five starting offensive linemen this season will be made up of Thompson fourth-round draft picks.
Starting guards Josh Sitton and T. J. Lang were both fourth-rounders, as were left tackle David Bakhtiari and potential starting center JC Tretter. The only likely starter this season that wasnít a fourth-round pick was Bryan Bulaga, a first-round selection.
Thompson has drafted 17 offensive linemen over the past nine years, more than any other position.
In the ninth part of a blog series ranking Thompsonís draft picks by position, I assess his crop of offensive linemen, from best to worst.
1-Josh Sitton, fourth round, 2008
He is the Packersí best offensive lineman and in 2012 became the teamís first guard to earn a Pro Bowl berth in nearly a decade.
2-Bryan Bulaga, first round, 2010
He replaced an injured Mark Tauscher as a rookie and started at right tackle on the Packersí Super Bowl championship team. He has missed the last 1Ĺ seasons with injuries, but when healthy has proven to be solid.
3-Daryn Colledge, second round, 2006
He became the Packersí starting left guard as a rookie and lasted for five years, including their Super Bowl title season. The Packers let him walk away in free agency because they couldnít pay everybody, but Colledge started for three seasons in Arizona. In eight seasons he has started 124 of a possible 128 games.
4-David Bakhtiari, fourth round, 2013
Rookie starting left tackles are rare, but when Bulaga blew out a knee last August, Bakhtiari stepped in and proved capable of protecting Aaron Rodgersí blind side. He will only get better.
5-T.J. Lang, fourth round, 2009
He is capable of playing multiple positions but has settled as the Packersí starting right guard. He became a full-time starter in his third year in the league. He has proven to be steady, if unspectacular.
6-Jason Spitz, third round, 2006
He started his first three seasons at right guard for the Packers before giving way to Sitton in 2009. He played two more years as a reserve in Green Bay before departing for Jacksonville, where he appeared in 10 games but never started.
7-Breno Giacomini, fifth round, 2008
Maybe he was too slow in developing, or maybe the Packers gave up on him too soon. Either way, whatever Thompson saw in Giacomini eventually sprouted. He appeared in just one game as a rookie, then spent time on the Packersí practice squad. He eventually landed in Seattle, where he started on their Super Bowl title team this past season. He signed an unrestricted free agent contract with the Jets this offseason.
8-Marshall Newhouse, fifth round, 2010
He started 31 games in four seasons with the Packers, including every game at left tackle in 2012. But he was plagued by inconsistency and was relegated to reserve status in 2013. He signed a free-agent contract with Cincinnati this offseason.
9-Tony Moll, fifth round, 2006
He started a total of 18 games during his three seasons with the Packers at guard and tackle before landing in Baltimore (two seasons, three starts) and San Diego (one season, one start).
10-JC Tretter, fourth round, 2013
He broke his ankle in his first OTA practice as a rookie and spent most of the season on the physically unable to perform list. He will compete for the starting center job this season. He has the potential to move up the list in a hurry.
11-Derek Sherrod, first round, 2011
His career has been a disappointment for a first-round pick, but it stems primarily from a broken leg he sustained as a rookie. It took him almost two years to recover and itís uncertain whether he can ever rise to starting status.
12-Allen Barbre, fourth round, 2007
He is a rare fourth-round offensive lineman that didnít work out for Thompson. Barbre made seven starts at right tackle during his third season in 2009 but bombed out. He spent two subsequent seasons in Seattle and last year with Philadelphia.
13-Junius Coston, fifth round, 2005
He was the first offensive lineman Thompson selected as Packers GM and spent three uneventful seasons in Green Bay, appearing in 16 games total and seven starts in 2007.
14-Jamon Meredith, fifth round, 2009
He never played a game for the Packers but has spent five NFL seasons with four different teams, making a total of 24 starts.
15-William Whitticker, seventh round, 2005
He started 14 games as a rookie on the Packersí 4-12 team, then didnít make the 53-man roster in his second season.
16-Caleb Schlauderaff, sixth round, 2011
He never played for the Packers but has appeared in 12 games with the Jets over the past three seasons.
17-Andrew Datko, seventh round, 2012
He never managed to advance beyond practice squad status with the Packers.