Brendan Albert is doing fine at LT. Brian Waters is doing fine at LG. Niswanger has struggled at times at C. Adrian Jones has struggled intermittantly at RG, and has missed time with injury. Damian McIntosh has struggled quite a bit at RT (though less lately), and has missed time with injury. Herb Taylor played well in a handful of starts at LT. He’s played slightly less well (a few false starts) in filling in at RG and RT. Most people probably though Richardson would get a shot at RT or RG by now, and are perplexed by his failure to progress enough to challenge for a starting spot yet. We apparently were grooming de la Puente to be a backup C, but rumor has it we are considering giving him a start due to Niswanger’s injury, because Wade Smith is not likely to be the long-term answer there.
Here’s the deal:
1) the only place we really need a talented draft pick is RT, and that should perhaps be someone who can play well as a rookie, and be the power road-grader you usually have at RT. I say “perhaps”, because maybe the ArrowSpread could work just as well with a finesse-type tackle, I’m not sure.
2) However, despite only RT being a position of need, the only position we can’t really upgrade is LG. Yeah, if we were in a position to draft Oher, we could even upgrade LT. Look at Ryan Clady, who is playing at pretty much pro-bowl level as a rookie already. So if we get a great LT, we could move our Darn Good LT over to RT, and quite probably have book-end pro-bowlers.
3) The nice thing about O-line is that many can play multiple positions. Some say C Niswanger would be a better G. LG Waters broke in to the NFL as a C. Herb Taylor has playd LT, RT, and RG. If we draft a few 5th- and 6th-round tackles, they could probably do quite well at RG. Draft a LG or RG who played some center, and we could end up upgrading over Niswanger.
Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if any pick at any part of the draft goes for the O-line, despite glaring needs at DE and LB.