1 Question Facing Each Green Bay Packers Player: IOL

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers guard Ben Braden (64) against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers guard Ben Braden (64) against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Wrapping up the offensive side of the ball with the interior offensive line, here is the one big question facing each guard and center on this Green Bay Packers 90-man roster. Below you can find the other position groups already covered.

Wide Receivers

Offensive Tackles

Running Backs


Tight Ends

Jake Hanson: Can he show enough to stick around on the practice squad?

Jake Hanson was a solid and accomplished center coming out of Oregon, but he comes with his limitations as a player, specifically his athleticism. 2020 was really like a red-shirt year for the former sixth-round pick as he spent it on the practice squad and then eventually IR.

This is a very deep and versatile Green Bay Packers’ offensive line unit, and when it comes to options at center, the team has Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, and Elgton Jenkins to lean on before having to trust Hanson—which isn’t ideal for him. He also is just a center and doesn’t have the flexibility to shift to guard—once again, another factor that’s not in Hanson’s favor.

Josh Myers: Can he earn and hang on to the starting center position?

By all accounts, at least based on what we’ve heard, Josh Myers is expected to be the team’s starting center come Week 1. Although we need to take OTAs and mini-camp with a grain of salt, according to Larry McCarren of Packers.com, Myers certainly looks the part so far:

"“Based on what we’ve seen so far, as in no pads, Josh Myers looks and acts the part of a starting center. If he can take the job and run with it long-term, it solidifies the entire offensive line.”"

With that said, training camp and the preseason are the true litmus tests, and Myers will have to earn the starting reps there. Then when the regular season rolls around, that’s an entirely different animal, and once again, he’ll have to show that he can hold his own.

Ben Braden: Can he really compete for starting reps?

I can’t imagine that Ben Braden was on the radar of many this summer, but he certainly should be now. When meeting with reporters during OTAs, offensive line coach Adam Stenavich mentioned that Braden would be competing for starting snaps at both guard and tackle.

The now 27-year-old Braden has primarily been a practice squad player since entering the NFL, and it’s rare to see a player at this stage of their career go from practice squad status to a potential starter. Not that I don’t believe Stenavich, but I’m quite interested in seeing if Braden can truly compete for those reps.

Elgton Jenkins: Is his future at right tackle?

During these last two drafts, I thought for sure that the Green Bay Packers were going to take an offensive lineman early on in the draft. However, they didn’t—and I know they drafted Royce Newman in Round 4, but he’s someone who may be better suited at guard.

So what that tells me is that the plan may be to have Elgton Jenkins take over as the right tackle of the future, and possibly as soon as 2022, when Green Bay could move on from Billy Turner. Jenkins has just 33 career snaps at right tackle — and another 29 at left — but we know he has the tools and skill-set to be successful.

Zack Johnson: Can he find a way to stand out?

Johnson was an accomplished offensive lineman, playing both guard and tackle at NDSU, before signing with Green Bay in 2020 as an undrafted rookie. But he runs into a similar issue as Hanson; with this being such a deep offensive line unit full of proven players and past draft picks—it’s going to be difficult for Johnson to find a way to stand out.

Lucas Patrick: The Green Bay Packers wouldn’t cut Patrick, would they?

My hope and guess is that the Packers wouldn’t cut Patrick, especially after last season when we saw how important depth and versatility was to this offensive line that dealt with so many injuries over the course of the season. Not to mention that Patrick was also pretty darn good.

With that said, I don’t believe that he’s completely safe either. If some of the younger players like Braden, Newman, Jon Runyan, Simon Stepaniak, or Cole Van Lanen can show that they are ready for starting roles or, at a minimum, being reliable backups, then perhaps the Green Bay Packers would choose the $1.975 million in cap savings by moving on from Patrick.

Jon Runyan: Can he earn a starting spot?

If David Bakhtiari is available Week 1, then there is likely one guard spot up for grabs if we assume that Bak and Turner are the tackles, Myers is the center, and Jenkins is the other guard. If Bakhtiari is still unavailable, then there could be two guard spots up for grabs with Jenkins moving to tackle. Regardless of what Bak’s status is, Jon Runyan will be competing for either of those openings.

As a sixth-round rookie last season, we saw flashes from Runyan during his limited time on the field that certainly made you believe that he could be an NFL starter. Per PFF ($$), he allowed no sacks and four pressures over his 81 pass-blocking snaps.

Simon Stepaniak: Is Stepaniak flying under the radar?

The Green Bay Packers selected Simon Stepaniak in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and he very likely would have gone sooner had it not been for an ACL injury that he suffered late in the 2019 college football season. As a result, he essentially “red-shirted” as a rookie and spent most of the year on IR. But now fully healthy, he’s someone that I wouldn’t forget about.

Stepaniak was an experienced player coming out of Indiana with over 2,200 career snaps over four years, including 23 starts, and he allowed just six sacks and 44 pressures during that span. Although he missed his entire rookie season, I wouldn’t discount that year as it gave him the opportunity to get stronger in the weight room and to really absorb LaFleur’s offensive system.

"“I think he fits well,” said Indiana’s OL Coach Darren Hiller via Sports Illustrated. “He understands angles and he’s smart. He’s just got to continue to get better on the outside zone. Just watching the Packers, I know they run quite a bit of outside zone. Simon fits in. To me, because of his athletic ability and his strength, I think he can thrive in any type of scheme. I’ve coached guys who were maybe a little bit bigger and stiffer. The zone scheme, you have to have some athletic ability. It’s not just get on a track and block whatever’s on that track. There’s some concepts and combinations that you have to be able to get onto linebackers and run some combo blocks. He has that fluidity.”"

Jacob Capra: Will we see his versatility on display this summer?

Jacob Capra began his college career at Oregon before transferring to San Diego State, and he is joining this Green Bay Packers team this summer as an undrafted rookie. If there were one word to describe Capra, it would be ‘versatile,’ which we know is the calling card of this offensive line unit.

Over his four-year career with the Ducks and the Aztecs, Capra would take 204 snaps at left tackle, 552 at left guard, another 330 at right guard, and 339 at right tackle. In his most recent 2020 season, he spent a majority of it as the left guard. Capra would also allow just four sacks and 17 pressures during his college career.

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Given the depth of this Green Bay Packers’ offensive line unit, it won’t be easy for a UDFA to crack the initial roster, but with Capra’s versatility it gives him a shot if he can perform, and he certainly could stick around on the practice squad. This skill-set is exactly the type of player that Brian Gutekunst and LaFleur covet on the offensive line.