Today is the first day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig’s offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay’s roster. Come back every day between now and mid-March for Paul’s in-depth film and statistical analysis and check out the upcoming schedule below:
Today: OT Don Barclay Tuesday, Jan. 29: RB Cedric Benson Wednesday, Jan. 30: ILB Desmond Bishop Thursday, Jan. 31: WR Jarrett Boykin Friday, Feb. 1: OT Bryan Bulaga Saturday, Feb. 2: S Morgan Burnett Sunday, Feb. 3: CB Jarrett Bush
Best game: Opening-round playoff win against the Vikings (0 QB hurries allowed, 0 penalties,1.7 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 17 loss against the Vikings (3 sacks allowed, 1 penalty, -3.1 PFF rating)
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: Minus-7.5 (No. 58 out of 74 among NFL offensive tackles this season; worst rating among all Packers offensive linemen)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Exceeded
Looking live: As an undrafted rookie, Barclay worked his way from being one of many unknown offensive linemen in training camp to locking up a spot on the Packers’ Week 1 active roster. This was a significant accomplishment for Barclay and was a benefit to a team that was in serious need of depth on its offensive line. In Week 14, Barclay was inserted into a very difficult situation as the Packers’ starting right tackle after Bulaga suffered a season-ending injury. He was serviceable and didn’t stick out in a negative way, which is more than what most inexperienced undrafted players would be able to do in pressure-filled games on a playoff-bound team.
Upon further review: For all the unexpected positives Barclay brought late in the season, he wasn’t ready to be a starter on a pass-first team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. To his credit, Barclay rarely looked uncomfortable playing at the NFL level. The film, however, revealed further evidence that he struggled quite often in pass protection in five of the seven games that he appeared in at right tackle. Barclay had a difficult time in Week 17 in Minnesota, but he did come back a week later in a rematch with the Vikings and correct most of his mistakes. Interestingly, Barclay’s worst and best game of the season came in those back-to-back meetings with Minnesota. As displayed by his widely differing performances against the Vikings, there wasn’t a particular type of pass rusher he struggled against. Barclay mostly seemed to be in a battle against himself, playing well when he was properly able to handle everything that goes with his position and not playing well when it all looked like a bit too much at once. As a run blocker, Barclay performed well. When DuJuan Harris became Green Bay’s featured running back late in the season, his outside rushes were more often in Barclay’s direction and the results were fairly positive.
Overall 2012 grade: C
Status for 2013: 90 percent chance of being on the active roster in Week 1. The most likely scenario is that Barclay will once again be Bryan Bulaga’s backup at right tackle. However, a healthy Derek Sherrod, the addition of a veteran offensive tackle or the addition of a high draft pick at offensive tackle could push Barclay out of the picture.