GREEN BAY, Wis. -- From the outside, the Green Bay Packers' list of needs in the upcoming draft seems obvious.
Safety, tight end and linebacker surely would be at the top of general manager Ted Thompson's wish list.
But sometimes GMs think a little differently.
That's something new ESPN Insider Mark Dominik knows as well as anyone. Dominik has nearly 20 years of experience as an NFL personnel man, including most recently as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-13, before joining ESPN last month.
So it was interesting to see that Dominik, in an ESPN Insider piece, identified the Packers as a team that might have what he called a "hidden need." And he wrote that need is offensive tackle.
"The Packers drafted offensive tackles in the first round of the 2010 [Bryan Bulaga] and 2011 [Derek Sherrod] drafts, but they are still hunting for that dependable long-term option at left tackle," Dominik said. "Even though the team has other, more pressing needs, I believe general manager Ted Thompson could target a tackle earlier than expected in this draft. Remember, Chad Clifton was a second-round selection back in 2000, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Packers look to find a player like him -- in roughly that same range -- in this year's draft."
Perhaps Dominik isn't convinced second-year pro David Bakhtiari is the long-term answer at left tackle. Coach Mike McCarthy said recently he plans to leave Bakhtiari there, where he started every game last season as a rookie after Bulaga blew out his knee two weeks into training camp, leaving Bulaga to return to right tackle.
Or perhaps Dominik was taking the contract and injury history of Bulaga and Sherrod into account. Bulaga missed all of last season because of a knee injury and the second half of 2012 because of a hip injury. Sherrod returned late last season from the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011, an injury that sidelined him for all of 2012 and the first half of 2013.
Both likely will be free agents next offseason. Bulaga is entering the final year of his rookie contract, while the Packers have an option for 2015 on Sherrod's deal that they are unlikely to exercise.