It’s possible that one of the Green Bay Packers’ later draft picks could end up playing one of the biggest roles this coming season. That would be fifth-round pick Cole Madison.
Madison played right tackle at Washington State, but has been projected as a guard in the pros. Where do the Packers see him? After the draft — based on what the braintrust had to say — it looked like guard. However, Madison played both guard and tackle during the rookie orientation camp.
On one had, swell. The Packers and coach Mike McCarthy always preach about versatility and its value when speaking of their offensive linemen. And that usually translates into a backup player who maybe can play tackle, possibly can play guard and, hell, we could just give the guy some snaps at center. See: Don Barclay.
This is an interesting transition year for the Packers’ offensive line, however. There’s currently a hole at right guard. That position was filled by Jahri Evans in 2017, but he hasn’t been re-signed and probably won’t be. There’s going to be a hole at right tackle. The Packers asked the overpaid P.O.S. Bryan Bulaga to take a pay cut and he refused. If that blown ACL-waiting-to-happen isn’t released this year, he will be next year when the final year of his contract rolls around.
In short, the right side of the Packers’ offensive line needs to be remade. In fill-in duty at both guard and tackle, Justin McCray played well enough in 2017 that the Packers are likely looking at him as a possible starter at right guard. Madison should be in the mix over there as well.
It isn’t unprecedented for the Packers to start a rookie at right tackle. Mark Tauscher was pretty successful and he was a seventh-round pick.
The feeling is, the Packers will have an open competition at right guard. We suspect McCray will be the frontrunner and eventual winner there. If someone can prove capable at right tackle early, then Bulaga will be gone. It’s pretty simple there. If you’re asked to take a pay cut, don’t and the team doesn’t release your fat ass, then there’s no incentive for anyone else to accept a pay cut in the future.
Or maybe these are all just rookie mistakes by general manager Brian Gutekunst. He seems smarter than that, though.