As fans, it's easy for us to follow the mocks and the talking heads, and assume that OL is a position of absolute need with Jake Long gone. However, I think we've dismissed Philbin's experience at Green Bay with offensive lines. While Philbin was offensive coordinator, Green Bay only had 1 pick from the 1st round in the starting lineup on any opening weekend. That was Bryan Bulaga in 2010, #23 overall.
If you look deeper into Green Bay's history, they almost never picked offensive line in the 1st round. When they did, the results weren't pretty.
- 2010, Bryan Bulaga, #23 overall - solid pro, 0 Pro Bowls
- 1997, Ross Verba, #30 overall - 4 years with Packers; 0 Pro Bowls
- 1994, Aaron Taylor, #16 overall - 3 years with Packers; 0 Pro Bowls
- 1989, Tony Mandarich, #2 overall - 3 years with Packers; 0 Pro Bowls; widely considered one of the biggest busts in NFL draft history
The brain trust in Green Bay (previously Ron Wolf and now Ted Thompson) learned that in their offense, linemen had lesser value because they were looking for a particular skill set that didn't translate to other schemes. On their draft boards, OL wasn't that important. I think Philbin is going to have the same influence on Ireland. Yes, Ireland previously chose linemen with 1st round picks, but I think he's learned his lesson on how to prioritize the draft board to his coaches liking.