Marshall Newhouse

Your new starter at left guard?

I can’t say I was overly impressed with the selection of TCU’s Marshall Newhouse, who the Green Bay Packers selected with their second fifth-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Newhouse played left tackle in college, but projects as a guard in the NFL. With Josh Sitton entrenched at right guard, Jason Spitz and Daryn Colledge set to battle for the left guard position and Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy saying he thinks T.J. Lang is also better suited to play guard, you had to wonder where Newhouse fit in, unless Ted Thompson is in the habit of throwing away draft picks. Oh, wait, this is the guy who drafted Justin Harrell in the first round, so I guess I just answered my own question.

Anyway, the move now seems to signal that the Packers are less than enamored with Spitz and Colledge. Spitz played poorly last season when moved to center and his back injury eventually allowed Scott Wells to take over the starting position for good. Colledge started every game for the Packers, but was easily the team’s worst starting offensive lineman not named Allen Barbre.

We thought throwing the two into an open competition at left guard would be a good thing, though. However, if McCarthy is thinking about playing Lang at left guard too, that isn’t exactly a vote of confidence for these other two jokers.

Now, Pro Football Weekly’s Dan Arkush says Newhouse may also be a legitimate candidate to start at left guard for the Packers. If that’s the case, you have to wonder if Colledge or Spitz can even make the team, although Spitz’s versatility makes it unlikely he’ll be released.

Anyway, back to Newhouse.

Although Packers first-round draft pick Bryan Bulaga has a much higher profile at the moment, we hear it would hardly be a shock if Marshall Newhouse — the other offensive lineman selected this year by the Packers four rounds after Bulaga — ends up making more of an initial impact in his rookie season. The reason for this is the wide-open competition that is expected at left guard, where veterans Jason Spitz and restricted free agent Daryn Colledge, who has yet to sign his tender, are not considered very strong front-runners at all. Enter Newhouse, who we hear has enough size (6-4, 319 pounds), athleticism and intelligence (a whopping 32 on the Wonderlic test) to possibly mount a challenge for the starting OLG job right away.

Newhouse will have to adjust to playing the pro game, after playing in a spread offense at TCU, and will have to keep his weight under control. If he can do those things, he will be an intriguing prospect.

Either way, the battle for left guard is shaping up to one of the best of training camp and may not only lead to a surprise starter, but perhaps the end of the line for a former starter.

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