As the offensive line has still been a concern recently due to injury and Rackley's initial struggles, causing the unit to be in a state of flux, I have a proposed starting lineup for the 2012 season. With the performance of Bradfield two weeks ago against the Steelers, I think he has the potential to become a starter and not be soley delegated as a depth player. So my proposed offensive line unit going into 2012 would look like this:
LT: Eugene Monroe
LG: Will Rackley
C: Uche Nwaneri
RG: Eben Britton
I think this unit could work for several reasons. The switch that stands out the most is moving Nwenari to center. I think this is a change that could work, as Nwenari is cross trained as a center and he would be the longest tenured lineman of the group, making him the best suited candidate to replace Meester. Even if a rookie center was drafted, I still believed Nwaneri would be the best option as he would be more familiar with what is expected of our offensive line than anyone who could be brought in via draft or free agency. The move would also free up the right guard position allowing Britton to be moved permanently from the tackle to the guard position. I think right guard is the ideal spot for Britton to play as he has been labeled as more of a road grader than a pass protector. Combine that with the struggles he has had playing tackle, it should be easier for him to be successful as a guard. If the coaches think he could play left guard then he could also play on the right. When Cameron Bradfield filled in for Monroe, it was said that he was equally good in pass protection as he was in run blocking, which I think is a talent that would be utilized at the tackle position. With Eugene being purely a left tackle in my opinion, the only place that leaves for Bradfield to play is right tackle. While it is expected that he would have to get used to playing on the right, I think he should be able to adjust as tackles are moved from left to right all of the time. If Guy Whimper can be used as a left tackle, then I don't see why Bradfield couldn't make the switch. Finally that would leave Rackley at the position that I think is most natural to him, left guard. Rackley showed significant impovement in the most recent game against the Ravens, so he has shown that he will be able to secure that spot for the forseeable future. That would leave Jason Spitz and current starter, Guy Whimper, as depth. With the youth of this group, I don't see why this unit couldn't become one of the better offensive lineups in the league.