I give Ted Thompson a lot of credit for finding offensive linemen in the mid to late rounds of the draft. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t call out James Campen, the offensive line coach, for a job very well done over the years.
Does anyone remember when Campy was a mediocre center for the Packers in the early 90’s? I do and he’s far better as a coach than he ever was as a player.
Look at all he has done.
You know how Lang just got that monster contract? He wasn’t a stud like that before Campy got his hands on him – that took years – he wasn’t even a starter until his third season. Josh Sitton started quicker, but it was James Campen who helped transform these third-day tackle prospects to Pro Bowlers and the best guard tandem in the league.
When Sitton was cut, Lane Taylor, a former undrafted free agent, who had been molded under Campen’s tutelage, filled in seamlessly.
I give TT credit for finding these guys, but I give Campen almost as much for molding them and doing it every single year to put out a top line.
Each season he’s gotten someone new to develop. Lane Taylor, JC Tretter, Corey Linsley, David Bakhtiari. Ted hasn’t picked a guard or center higher than the 4th round since Daryn Colledge, who was the only guard he ever took higher than 4.
These complement great tackle play over the years. Bulaga was a first round pick and plays like it, but David Bakhtiari was a 4th round pick that studied under Campen to become the best pass blocker in the entire league!
Campen has taken a load of third day guys and continues to provide ARodg a top notch group of interior protectors. Now he has to conjure a starting guard out of practice squadder Lucas Patrick, second-year tackle Kyle Murphy, and 6th rounder Kofi Amichia.
Ted threw him a bone by signing Jahri Evans, but even if that old man manages to keep his play up for another season, he’s a one year stopgap at best, so let’s not get too excited. Campy still needs to create a starting right guard for 2018 (if not sooner), and he’s not getting prime meat to work with.
We don’t know who the long-term right guard will be for the Packers, but odds are good that Campy gets one of these guys whipped into shape by the time the wheels fall off Jahri Evans.