The Draft, Part 1: Well, that went nicely
How do we feel about the Packers drafting tackle Brian Bulaga of Iowa with their first-round pick? Pretty darn good, I’d say.
Maybe the right word is “relieved.” Finally, the question that’s been looming so large for so long over this organization has been answered. Kind of. The snap consensus out there seems to be that Bulaga is a cinch to start at right tackle after a year or two of seasoning but might never be left tackle material.The reason for that consensus is the same one that caused Bulaga to fall all the way to No. 23 after long being viewed as a potential top-15 pick: His unusually short arms. (Unusually short for an NFL tackle, that is; on, say, a 5-foot-8 part-time sports blogger, they would be freakishly long.)
I don’t place a ton of stock in that. Chad Clifton also has shortish arms, and he’s managed pretty well. Details like that get magnified enormously in the atmosphere of the draft, where scouts and general managers are desperate for any respite from the uncertainty that hems them in on all sides. You can’t know if a guy is going to report overweight or put his off-field issues behind him, but you can be positive Brian Bulaga is still going to have 32-inch arms come September.
The bottom line is the Packers were in the market for a tackle in the high rounds, and one of the four widely considered to represent the elite of the draft class fell into our lap. Ted Thompson would’ve been a fool not to take him. Our need at tackle may not be quite as immediate as our need at outside linebacker or cornerback, but don’t kid yourself: If Clifton and Mark Tauscher are healthy enough to start all 16 games this season, I will gay-marry James Campen.
Speaking of which: Mr. Campen, you are officially on the hot seat. The excuse that your job performance as offensive line coach has been limited by the talent Thompson has given you just went out the window. If you can’t have Bulaga ready to start at right tackle by opening day 2011, and ready to fill in at guard by October, you might want to think about looking for work as a bouncer.