Would Packers draft a right tackle only prospect?

If the Green Bay Packers view an offensive tackle prospect as someone who can only line up on the right side, it’s possible they may not be a player that they spend an early-round selection on.

Although the Packers have Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker already on the roster, tackle remains a need that should be addressed in what is a loaded draft class. While Walker did improve as the season went on, Matt LaFleur did recently mention that it’s a “big offseason ahead” and there is “a lot of room for improvement.”

My guess is that, while Walker may be the favorite to start at left tackle Week 1, he won’t be handed the job. Also on the roster to potentially provide that needed competition are Luke Tenuta and Caleb Jones, but relying heavily on two developmental players with seven combined NFL snaps comes with obvious risks.

Tom, however, seems locked into that right tackle role, even though he has the ability to play inside, where the Packers are also in need of added competition.

Tom would allow only two sacks all of last season. He ranked 13th in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric, fifth in run-blocking grade, and did so against some of the game’s top pass rushers, facing seven of the top 10 edge defenders in total pressures generated.

“He played really well at right tackle this year,” said Brian Gutekunst about Tom’s play, “you know what I mean, and so to move him around I think, on the coaching staff, will be hard, but at the same time he’s probably a guy that can play all five spots and I think he could be really good at all five of ’em, so it’ll be just dependent on what we have and where we need him.”

The Packers are always going to keep their options open, especially when it comes to the offensive line. As LaFleur has said on repeat, it’s about putting the best five players on the field.

However, there is something to be said for letting Tom find a home and continue to grow at one position rather than continually bouncing him around. Tackle also is one of the premier positions in football and Tom played at a very high level while there.

Part of the Packers’ plan up front may be to build the interior offensive line depth through the draft so that they don’t have to move Tom inside, but he does give them that ‘break glass in case of emergency’ option if that is what’s needed.

Now, back to the original point of all of this. If, in fact, the ultimate goal is to keep Tom at right tackle – which I think it should be – then a tackle prospect whom the Packers only view as more of a right tackle option may not be on their board early on.

The only way that right side only prospect could see playing time is if the Packers plan to move Tom inside, but we just discussed why they should prefer to keep him at left tackle. A right tackle only draft pick also doesn’t help the Packers create competition on the left side of the line, where it is much more needed.

The Packers covet versatility, so I’m sure it’s their goal to find someone who can play both tackle spots, allowing that player to compete with Walker, along with being a swing tackle option if injuries strike.

Even a prospect who has spent all his collegiate snaps at left tackle, I would think, is in play for the Packers because of the need on that side of the line. With Tom at right tackle, there is also additional time to cross-train that incoming left tackle to play the right side. The Packers don’t exactly have that luxury in cross-training a right tackle because they need the competition at left tackle now.

Just because a tackle only played right tackle in college doesn’t mean that the Packers don’t veiw them as a left tackle candidate. It’s all about how they’ve evaluated that prospect’s skill set. However, for those that do fall into that right tackle only category, that specific skill set doesn’t exactly fit what the Packers need right now.

“I think we’re gonna try to get the five best guys we can out there at all times,” added Gutekunst, “and again, I think it’ll be our job to bring in some guys and have healthy competition in there.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire