The good news for Joe Barksdale is that he got to play in all 16 games as a rookie. Bouncing between guard and tackle Barksdale collected his fare share of reps after the Raiders took the former LSU Tiger in the third round of the 2011 draft.
The bad news for Barksdale is that he might not see as much action during his sophomore campaign. At not at guard he won’t. Depending on how things shake out Barksdale is either going to be groomed as a full-time tackle where he could compete with Khalif Barnes for the starting gig opposite Jared Veldheer. Or Barksdale will be mired in the shuffle at the guard position.
With Stefen Wisniewski taking over at center it appeared as if an opportunity appeared for Barksdale. That was until the Raiders inked Mike Brisiel, re-signed Cooper Carlisle and then proceeded to draft Tony Bergstrom who is slated to make the conversion from college tackle to NFL guard.
So, where does that leave Barksdale?
Well, if this whole offensive lineman thing doesn’t work out he could always revert to his high school days as a defensive lineman. At 6’4”/325 Barksdale is built like a true nose tackle, a position Dennis Allen is trying to fill with Tommy Kelly. Beyond football Barksdale is also a solid writer as indicated by the musings on his blog. But it’s way too early to start talking about life after the game.
For now Barksdale figures to be right in the middle of some heated camp battles that will reveal how far he’s come in one year of pro ball. His play was mixed as a rookie, looking very confident and comfortable in some instances and then uncomfortable and over-matched in others. His natural position is tackle and that is likely his best bet to see the most field time in 2012…that is if he makes the 53-man. Can’t imagine the Raiders moving on from him this early in his career but as we know McKenzie is building his team and Barksdale wasn’t one of his picks.