Packers training camp roster preview and prediction: Offensive tackles

Green Bay Packers' Caleb Jones (72) works with Yosh Nijman (73) during organized team activities (OTA) Tuesday, May 31, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.Packers01 47
Green Bay Packers' Caleb Jones (72) works with Yosh Nijman (73) during organized team activities (OTA) Tuesday, May 31, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.Packers01 47 /

Training camp is less than two weeks away for the Green Bay Packers. As part of my preview, I will be highlighting all 91 players on the Packers roster as I make my way through each position group, taking a look at what I’ve seen during the offseason programs, where things stand, expectations, and more. I’ll also be making a final roster prediction as well.

Next up in this series are the offensive tackles, a position group for the Packers with a lot of depth. At left tackle will be David Bakhtiari, and competing for playing time on the right side will be Zach Tom and Yosh Nijman. Behind those three are a trio of developmental players in Caleb Jones, Rasheed Walker, and Luke Tenuta.

It’s not a guarantee that all three of Jones, Walker, and Tenuta make the initial 53-man roster, and once again, the expectation isn’t that any of them will see the field in 2023, but with questions around Bakhtiari’s future beyond this season and Nijman an unrestricted free agent in 2024, the Packers could want as many options available to them next summer with potentially playing time up for grabs and depth needed.

Although Jordan Love and the Packers’ skill position players are garnering much of the attention this offseason – and understandably so – any potential success for the offense begins with the play of the offensive line. If Love doesn’t have time on passing plays, that, of course, is bad news. If the offense doesn’t have a strong run game to lean on, that will lead to predictable second and third, and long passing situations–which, again, is not ideal for a young offense. Even with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback last season, a key contributor to the Packers’ issues on offense, especially early on in the season, was because of inconsistent offensive line play due to injuries and a lack of continuity.

Not only at offensive tackle but the Packers’ offensive line unit as a group should be one of the better-performing groups in football this season–a must for this young offense.

If you missed any of the other articles in this series, you can find them below:


Running back

Tight end

Wide receiver

David Bakhtiari

It was never serious, but there was a fair amount of conjecture this offseason around the Packers trading or releasing David Bakhtiari. This is a move that never made sense. First off, from a salary cap perspective, there were very little savings to be had, just a few million dollars. Second, this offensive line is worse without Bakhtiari, and as already mentioned, any success that this offense as a whole is going to have begins with the play of this unit. As Matt LaFleur said last season following the Washington game, how the offense runs, specifically the playcalls, are different when Bakhtiari is on the field versus when he is not

Seemingly overlooked, when Bakhtiari was on the field last season, he was still playing at a very high level. He didn’t allow a single sack and gave up only 10 pressures. In PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric, Bakhtiair ranked seventh among all offensive tackles in true pass sets as well as 25th out of 86 tackles in run-blocking grade.

In regards to Bakhtiari’s knee, he and the Packers also seemed to find a good weekly schedule that kept him available from Week 10 and on. The games that he did miss during the second half of the season was because of an appendectomy–his knee was never really an issue. For the first time in a few years, Bakhtiari now has a full offseason where he’s able to prepare for the upcoming season.

Zach Tom

Matt LaFleur often talks about putting the best five offensive linemen on the field, and that should absolutely include Zach Tom. As the offensive line dealt with numerous injuries early on last season, Tom provided stability, regardless of where he was asked to play. He played 295 snaps at left tackle, 96 at left guard, 14 at right guard, and 84 at right tackle, allowing just one sack and seven pressures. Tom would rank 15th out of all tackles in pass-blocking efficiency.

This summer, Tom will be competing with Nijman for the right tackle role, along with taking some snaps at right guard and center. Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Tom and Nijman often alternated days as the starting right tackle. When Tom wasn’t playing there, he was at right guard with the second-team offense. It wasn’t until the final two-minute drill of minicamp that we saw Tom at center, and that was with the second and third-team offenses.

Keep in mind that it was a very small sample size and the pads weren’t even on, so nothing has been decided by any means, but in team drills, I thought Tom held up slightly better than Nijman at right tackle.

Yosh Nijman

I think it can be forgotten just how impressive Nijman’s career trajectory has been. He signed as an undrafted rookie in 2019 out of Virginia Tech, developed for a few seasons, and has now become a capable starter at one of the game’s most important positions.

Prior to moving to right tackle in Week 7 of last season, Nijman had only played on the left side, and up until that point, the practice time on the right was somewhat limited as well. Although he was still playing offensive tackle, the transition from one side to the other is not always a seamless one. As former Packer Josh Sitton said, switching sides of the offensive line is like going to the bathroom with the opposite hand.

Along with making that switch to right tackle, Nijman also dealt with a shoulder injury towards the end of the year, impacting his play. During the Packers’ season-ending loss to Detroit in Week 18, Nijman was eventually replaced by Tom. Now fully healthy, Nijman has a full offseason of reps at right tackle to prepare for the upcoming season. He will either be a starter or a very good backup swing tackle option for the Packers.

Caleb Jones

A 2022 undrafted rookie, the Packers essentially red-shirted Jones last season, keeping him on the 53-man roster because I presume they were concerned with another team signing him away off the practice squad. This year will be similar, given that Bakhtiari, Tom, and Nijman are ahead of him, but the coaching staff really seems to like him.

During offseason programs, Jones was occasionally lined up with the starters at left tackle when Bakhtiari wasn’t taking reps and was cemented in the lineup with the second-team offense. I’m not going to say that Jones is going to be a future starter for the Packers just yet, but it seems like he could have the opportunity next summer, depending on what happens with Bakhtiari, Nijman, and in the draft.

Rasheed Walker

Like Jones, Walker spent 2022 on the 53-man roster developing. If you recall, he was injured for much of training camp and the preseason last year, putting in jeopardy his eventual roster spot, but a very good performance in the preseason finale swung momentum back in the other direction.

Walker isn’t going to be expected to see the field this year, however, with uncertainty at offensive tackle in 2024, Brian Gutekunst is trying to give himself as many options as possible for whatever scenario might play out. Walker got a lot of work with the second-team offense this Spring, specifically at left tackle.

Luke Tenuta

I feel like a broken record going through these three players, but they find themselves in similar situations. Tenuta, a 2022 sixth-round draft pick by Buffalo, was claimed by the Packers off waivers once the season began. He stayed on the 53-man roster as a developmental player with Green Bay and could fill a similar role in 2023–that is if he makes the roster.

Jones and Walker were often working with the second-team offense during offseason programs, while Tenuta was the clear third option within this group. Obviously, Tenuta’s performance this summer will be key, and the play of the other fringe roster players will be an important factor as well when determining who makes the team, but if the Packers want to give themselves another tackle option to compete next summer, Tenuta has a path to this year’s roster.

The 2024 season will be the third for Jones, Walker, and Tenuta, putting them on similar career paths as Nijman. The 2021 season, Nijman’s third, was the first where he saw significant playing time after being a developmental UDFA for the two previous years.

Jean Delance

The Packers signed Jean Delance to the practice squad in December of last season. Delance is a 2022 undrafted rookie from Florida who comes to the NFL with a lot of experience, having played almost 2,200 career snaps at right tackle. His final college season was his best as a pass-blocker, allowing just three sacks and 18 pressures. In a crowded tackle room, the practice squad is likely Delance’s ceiling with the Packers this season.

Kadeem Telfort

Kadeem Telfort stands 6’7,” weighs 322 pounds, and posted a Relative Athletic Score of just 1.59 out of 10, however, that isn’t all that different from Caleb Jones, who recorded a RAS of 1.88. A 2023 UDFA, most of Telfort’s snaps during his final two years at UAB came at left tackle. In total, he allowed three sacks and 18 pressure during that span. In 2022, he ranked 40th out of 200 tackles in PFF’s run-blocking grade.

Roster prediction

David Bakhtiari, Zach Tom, Yosh Nijman, Caleb Jones, Rasheed Walker, and Luke Tenuta

We know that Bakhtiari, Tom, and Nijman will be on the 53-man roster. Ultimately, I think the Packers end up keeping 10 offensive linemen in total, with Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Ruyna, and Royce Newman occupying four spots. That leaves three spots up for grabs. Based on what I saw during OTAs and minicamp, Jones and Walker are ahead of Tenuta on the depth chart, so they will earn the eighth and ninth spots.

That leaves one spot available, and I believe the decision will come down to either Tenuta or Sean Rhyan. As you can see, I went with Tenuta with the reason being that he plays the more valuable position. There are more question marks around tackle than the interior offensive line next offseason, and the Packers have a very good track record of finding Day 3 offensive tackles that they move inside to guard or center. In short, Rhyan is more easily replaceable–we’ve also seen in recent years that the Packers aren’t afraid to move on from third-round draft picks early, with Jace Sternberger and Amari Rodgers being examples.