When head coach Mike McCarthy reshuffled the offensive line before the 2013 season, it was anticipated that Green Bay Packers‘ Bryan Bulaga would be a viable blind side for franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 2010 first-round selection’s track record backed it up as well, as he allowed one sack in 2011 en route to a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro second team. His game has declined since then, but it hasn’t been due to a lack of effort. He missed the second half of the 2012 season after injuring his hip against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9, and tore his ACL this past August.
In his absence, rookie offensive lineman David Bakhtiari stepped into the role of protecting the Rodgers’ backside nicely with no NFL experience under his belt. He made his presence known for the entirety of the 2013-14 season, posting 2.5 sacks allowed, which earned himself Pro Football Focus All-Rookie team honors. In fact, the insert of Bakhtiari to left tackle was a historic move for the Packers, as he was the first rookie to start at the position since Mark Tauscher.
That’s one of the driving forces of why Bulaga’s move to right tackle is a good move for McCarthy and his personnel. For one, Bakhtiari’s immense potential forces Green Bay to keep him at a position he dominated last year. It isn’t a regular occurrence for a franchise in land upon a solid left tackle, let alone in the fourth round, but it’s the team’s best interest in terms of success to keep the 6-foot-4 tackle at the position.
Secondly, this isn’t to make it seem like Bulaga is getting demoted in the deal. When he is healthy, he is one of the team’s best offensive linemen, but the injuries are a concern. The lower body is essential for any good offensive lineman’s productivity, and it raises red flags when he has suffered two injuries of such in as many years.
When you look at the grand scheme of things for Green Bay’s longevity, the move works well for both parties. Above all else, the Packers’ offensive line has been horrendous in years past, but the play and continuity of faces from year to year save the center position, and lends to the fact this unit may be headed for greener pastures.