Oakland Raiders rookie offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom (70) at organized team activities
When the Raiders drafted Tony Bergstrom as their top pick in the 2012 draft, he was pegged to play left guard. He played tackle in college but translated to the interior line as a pro. And with the team signing free agent, Mike Brisiel, it appeared Bergstrom's best shot was on the left side. But as of now, he is moving around.
The starter at left guard is Cooper Carlisle as of now. He was the Raiders starting right guard the past few seasons but he too was forced out of his position with the signing of Brisiel. Some feel like Bergstrom could unseat Carlisle before the start of the season but there is no indication of that just yet.
For now Bergstrom has been switching back and forth backing up both left and right guard.
"We've moved [Bergstrom] around a little bit." Said Dennis Allen. "Giving him a chance to play both sides. I think, when you look at the National Football League, you gotta be multiple and guys are gonna have to play multiple positions so when you go into a game on Sunday, generally you're gonna bring seven offensive linemen into the game so you're going to bring an inside swing guy that's got the ability to play guard and center or maybe play right and left guard."
Allen made it clear that though they want Bergstrom to be versatile, he won't be playing at tackle anytime in the near future.
"I think we're gonna keep him inside for right now and see where he's at. I don't want to overload any of our rookie players. It's hard enough trying to learn one position but when you start throwing them into two or three it's more difficult."
The Raiders may need Bergstrom to be versatile enough to play either guard position. If indeed the starters remain Carlisle and Brisiel heading into the season, it could very well be Brisiel is the one who needs replacing.
The big zone guard has played at a near Pro Bowl level in the NFL-when he plays. Injuries have been his biggest concern and in his five NFL seasons, he has only completed one full season. He has missed 18 games in the past three seasons alone.
This makes a backup at both guard spots extremely important. And if a team can have one guy who can play both, that is extremely valuable.