The Green Bay Packers need their first round draft pick (32nd overall) from 2011 to pan out in 2013. Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod has battled injuries and inconsistency in his short career. With that being said, the time has come for him to be a factor for the contending Packers.
Green Bay signal caller Aaron Rodgers was the most sacked quarterback in the NFL last season when the team’s offensive line let him get taken down 51 times. In fact, the Packers’ front five was arguably the worst in the league as they struggled to open up holes for a running game. Everyone knew that Green Bay needed to address the offensive line issues during the offseason.
The Packers selected offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and offensive lineman J.C. Tretter in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. These two players have the potential to make a difference down the round. However, it is hard to believe either player will compete for a starting job right out of the gate. That means Sherrod must kick his rehabilitation into high gear so that he is ready to work hard this summer.
The 24-year-old suffered a broken tibia and fibula in Green Bay’s lone loss in 2011, which came at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. Sherrod missed the entire 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list. He underwent two surgeries to repair the injured leg, including one at the end of last season. The Packers knew Sherrod was going to be a non-factor last year considering when the injury occurred in 2011. However, they expect him to show up and compete for the starting offensive tackle job opposite Bryan Bulaga.
“I’m really counting on Derek Sherrod to be a factor,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in his post-draft news conference. “He’s a different man since the second surgery after the season. So he’s making progress.
“I don’t have a timeline for you, but he’s definitely a lot better than he was during the season. So he’s someone we have to get healthy, get him in there and get him ready.”
Even though Green Bay does not have a timetable for when Sherrod will return, there is speculation that it will be sooner rather than later. In fact, it would be safe to say that he could be ready in time for offseason training activities that will occur in May.
It is critical that Sherrod win the starting job in camp, and be healthy enough to suit up for more than five games. He is most definitely a player the Packers cannot afford to miss on.