Green Bay Packers: 2 Realistic Options at LT to Replace Bakhtiari

Sep 26, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner (77) during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner (77) during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers lost David Bakhtiari for the season. Here are two realistic options to take his place at left tackle.

Just days away from their Week 17 matchup with the Chicago Bears and with the NFC’s No. 1 seed on the line, the Green Bay Packers received some devastating news. As reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, during practice on Thursday, David Bakhtiari tore his ACL and he will be out for the remainder of the season.

It goes without saying, but this comes as a major blow to a Super Bowl contender. All season long, the Packers have overcome injuries along the offensive line — including Bakhtiari missing three games earlier this year — and have still had the best overall unit in the NFL this season. Now, they’ll have to make a playoff run without the best left tackle in football.

Prior to this injury, Bakhtiari was putting together another All-Pro caliber season with only one sack and nine total pressures allowed in 446 pass-blocking attempts. And if grades are your thing, he was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded tackle through Week 16.

Unfortunately, nothing can be done at this point, and Green Bay will have to make their playoff push without one of their star players. So now the big question is, who takes over at left tackle moving forward? Well, there are two realistic options.

Billy Turner

Billy Turner has gone from being a potential cap casualty this offseason to putting together an impressive 2020 campaign. This year he has taken snaps at right tackle, right guard, and when Bakhtiari missed time earlier this season, left tackle as well. Turner has allowed just two sacks, 22 pressures, and he is the top-rated tackle by ESPN’s pass-block win rate metric.

Now, of course, Turner is no Bakhtiari, and there is no replacing him, but in a somewhat small sample size, Turner held up well in his place. From Weeks 7 through 9, Turner made three starts at left tackle and gave up one sack and four pressures over 120 pass-blocking snaps. As I said, not too bad.

If this is, in fact, the move, then Rick Wagner would continue playing right tackle if healthy — he was a limited participant at practice on Thursday — and Lucas Patrick would come off the bench to play right guard, with Elgton Jenkins and Corey Linsley staying in their traditional positions.

Elgton Jenkins

Mr. Do It All, himself, Elgton Jenkins, is another viable option for the Green Bay Packers at left tackle. After an impressive rookie year, Jenkins has followed that up with a very good sophomore season, allowing only one sack — the only sack of his career — and 13 total pressures.

Jenkins’ versatility is unmatched as he has seen action at every position along the offensive line, including 27 snaps at left tackle. During those 27 snaps, he didn’t allow a sack or a quarterback pressure. Although he doesn’t have the NFL experience at the tackle position that Turner does, Jenkins has excellent footwork for working in space, and he certainly has the strength to handle any bull rushes.

If Green Bay does go this route and Jenkins is the left tackle, then we would likely see Wagner as the right tackle, Turner at right guard where he has started in recent weeks, along with Patrick as the left guard.

Rick Wagner’s health is going to be key

I don’t see Wagner being a legitimate option at left tackle, but his health is a key component in all of this. As I’ve already said, there is no replacing Bakhtiari, but the two offensive line combinations mentioned above are more than capable of guiding this team through the playoffs. However, Wagner must be available.

If Wagner can’t play, then Turner and Jenkins will likely occupy both tackle positions, leaving Patrick and rookie Jon Runyan as the guards. I do believe that the Packers can win games with this configuration, but I also believe that it is a step down from the other options that I’ve discussed.

2 Ways to Clinch the No. 1 Seed. dark. Next

There’s no sugar-coating it; losing Bakhtiari for the season is brutal, and there’s no replacing him. With that said, this Green Bay Packers team is as well-equipped as they’ve been in years to handle his absence, and despite injuries along the offensive line all season long, Matt LaFleur has managed to dial up the right combination each time.