A Closer Look at Green Bay Packers OL Zach Tom

Oct 31, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive lineman Zach Tom (50) warms up prior to a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive lineman Zach Tom (50) warms up prior to a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

We continue on with our deep dives into each member of the Green Bay Packers 2022 draft class along with each of their UDFA additions as well. Up next is fourth-round pick Zach Tom, from Wake Forest.

In this post-draft series, I have been taking a look at the need at each position that was addressed, that player’s potential role as a rookie, stats to know, and what a few pre-draft scouting reports have to say.

If you’ve missed any of the previous in-depth looks, you can find them all here:

Quay Walker

Devonte Wyatt

Christian Watson

Sean Rhyan

Romeo Doubs

Green Bay Packers need at offensive line prior to the draft

As I discussed in the article about Sean Rhyan, the need along the offensive line didn’t seem to be discussed all that frequently, but the need for the Green Bay Packers was massive.

As good as the Packers’ offensive line depth was last season as they dealt with numerous injuries and seven different offensive line configurations, Green Bay was lacking heavily in this area prior to the draft. Healthy options at tackle included David Bakhtiar, Yosh Nijman, and Cole Van Lanen–that’s it.

Meanwhile, along the interior, the only backups were Van Lanen and two centers, Jake Hanson and Michal Menet. Green Bay was one injury away from having a real problem on their hands–not to mention that there wasn’t going to be any competition during the training camp and the preseason.

Zach Tom’s potential role as a rookie

Tom’s potential role this upcoming season varies greatly. At Wake Forest, he played 1,474 snaps at left tackle along with being on the field for 1,156 at center, according to PFF ($$).

At the NFL level, many draft analysts believe that Tom will be better suited inside — at either guard or preferably center — but following the draft, Brian Gutekunst told reporters that he believes that Tom can play tackle as well.

As training camp and the preseason unfolds, we could see Tom taking reps at right tackle, possibly competing for that starting job, along with guard and potentially center–even if the Green Bay Packers already have Josh Myers. As Matt LaFleur often says, it’s about putting the best five on the field–and if that consists of Tom at center while moving Myers to guard, as we’ve seen before, LaFleur isn’t afraid to shake things up.

This is why I mentioned that Tom’s role this upcoming season could vary greatly. He has the ability to start at really any of the positions along the offensive line–or perhaps he isn’t ready yet and assumes a role as a backup, able to fill in wherever a need arises.

"“I want to be somebody who can play all five positions at a high level,” Tom said via Packers Wire. “That’s the goal. That’s my main goal for the offseason and through camp. I want to be somebody who can go out there at any position and rely on to perform at a high level.”"

My guess is that Rhyan and Nijman will be the two front runners for the starting right tackle opening until Jenkins returns, while Tom will compete with Royce Newman for the starting reps at right guard. However, as I’ve already said, you can expect to see Tom moving up and down the offensive line this summer.

Stats to Know

Tom is a very experienced player, with 37 starts over his career and 2,639 snaps, most of which came at either left tackle or center–two positions that differ quite a bit.

According to PFF, Tom allowed just four sacks over his entire career, which spanned 1,418 pass-blocking snaps, and he never allowed more than 12 pressures in a single season.

Tom’s pass-blocking grade in 2021 ranked fourth among all offensive tackles, and his overall PFF grade ranked 27th. For what it’s worth, Tom was a much more effective pass-blocker than run-blocker by PFF’s grading system.

Tom measured in at 6’4″ – 304 pounds, and whether you consider him a guard or a tackle, his athletic testing was elite. On the RAS scale, Tom posted a score of 9.59 as an offensive tackle and 9.92 at guard. For a tackle, his arms are a bit shorter, measuring 33.25″–but that certainly isn’t the be-all-end-all.

What the pre-draft reports say about Tom

Lance Zierlein – NFL.com

"“Center prospect who spent the last two seasons at left tackle,” wrote Zierlein. “Tom was extremely impressive in pass protection at tackle despite a lack of desired size or length, but he’s likely headed back to center in the pros. He plays with technique and plus body control, but his aggression level is a little lacking in the run game and his mass is below average. Tom could be a priority for teams with leaky interior protection. He has Day 3 value as an above-average backup with eventual starting potential.”"

Joe Marino – The Draft Network

"“Tom is an assignment-driven player that executes with great timing and consistent technique,” said Marino. “His body works in unison to stay square to blocks in both the run and pass game. For a league that craves versatility, Tom’s experience at both tackle and center is a major asset to his valuation. When it comes to concerns, Tom has modest length and functional strength. He is far from a road grader in the run game and more length and width are preferred for an offensive tackle.”"