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.
Up next in this preview series is the interior offensive line, where the Packers have a lot of experience returning but also some potential question marks on the right side.
What we do know is that Elgton Jenkins will be at left guard. However, there could be competition at both center and right guard, with offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich saying that Zach Tom would see playing time at both positions this summer. On the back end of the roster, depth at the tackle position could squeeze out Sean Rhyan and Jake Hanson, two players who were on the initial 53-man roster a year ago.
I said this when discussing the offensive tackles, but I am going to repeat it because it’s important–any success for the Green Bay offense starts up front. If Jordan Love doesn’t have time to throw the ball, things likely aren’t going to end well. If the run game is inconsistent, and this young offense is often facing predictable passing situations, again, I’ll guess things aren’t going to end well.
The good news is that collectively, the Packers have a lot of experience returning to the offensive line, and if healthy, this should be one of the better units in football.
If you’ve missed any of the other articles in this series, here is the rest of the offensive side of the ball:
Elgton Jenkins has the ability to play all five positions on the offensive line, but it was clear last season that he is most comfortable and at his best at left guard. Through his first six games of the season at right tackle, Jenkins gave up two sacks and 12 pressures, including four games with at least three allowed. But once back at left guard, he gave up only one sack and five pressures over 10 games. In addition to his pass-blocking abilities, Jenkins ranked seventh among guards with at least 675 run-blocking snaps in PFF’s run-blocking grade.
After coming off an ACL injury in 2021 that sidelined him for much of the 2022 offseason, Jenkins has this entire offseason to prepare for the upcoming season. Along with David Bakhtiari, the two should form perhaps the best tackle-guard duo in football. The two will be tasked with protecting Jordan Love’s blindside, not to mention that we can expect to see the Packers running Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to that left side often, especially with some unknowns in how the right side of the offensive line is going to shake out.
After missing a large chunk of the 2021 season due to a knee injury, it’s almost as if last year was Myers’ rookie season. In pass protection, Myers held up well, allowing just three sacks, 13 pressures, along with ranking seventh out of all centers in pass-blocking efficiency–although there were some miscommunications on blitzes and stunts from the defensive front.
However, against the run is where he would have issues, which in part, may be why the Packers are willing to give Zach Tom some snaps at center this summer, where he spent a lot of time in college. According to PFF, when both Jones and Dillon ran between Myers and Jon Runyan, they averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt. For some context, Jones averaged 5.2 yards on the season, and Dillon over 4.0.
With that said, at least through the offseason programs, all signs as of now point to Myers being the Packers’ starting center come Week 1. In each team drill, he was working with the starting offense. The only time I saw Tom at center was during the last two-minute drill of the final minicamp practice, where he was working with the backup and third-string offenses.
To a degree, it feels like Myers and Runyan are in a similar boat. From a pass-protection standpoint, Runyan has been very good, even drawing a few compliments from Aaron Rodgers last season in regards to his consistency. Runyan made the move from left guard to right guard last season, which isn’t always a seamless transition, and gave up three sacks, 17 pressures, and ranked 10th out of 54 eligible guards in pass-blocking efficiency.
But, as highlighted above, Jones and Dillon were not as effective when rushing in his direction. While not the be-all-end-all, out of those same 54 guards, Runyan ranked 39th in run-blocking grade. Along with center and right tackle, offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said that we would see Tom at right guard, but up to this point, Runyan has been the Packers’ only starter at that position through offseason programs, with Tom taking all of his right guard snaps with the second-team offense.
I feel like Royce Newman catches a lot of flack from the fan base, but he’s a valuable player to have off the bench. As a rookie in 2021, Newman played nearly 1,100 snaps and then started the first six games of 2022. Although he is much better suited at guard, if the Packers found themselves in a pinch, he does have the ability to play tackle as well. Perhaps he isn’t quite in the roster lock category, but I bet he is close to it because of his experience and versatility.
Jake Hanson’s 2022 season was cut short after he was placed on IR with a biceps injury. Although present for OTAs and minicamp, Hanson did not practice during offseason programs as he was still sidelined. The coaching staff has often spoken highly of Hanson, but in his one start against Minnesota last season, he really struggled, allowing a sack and four pressures in 43 pass-blocking snaps.
At least on paper, it would seem like an uphill battle for Hanson to make the roster this year. Along the interior offensive line depth chart, he is behind Jenkins, Myers, Runyan, Newman, and probably Sean Rhyan as well. I imagine if it came down to Hanson vs. Rhyan for a roster spot, the Packers would choose Rhyan’s upside as he enters his second season as a 2022 third-round pick. Green Bay is also very deep at the tackle position as well, leaving really no room for Hanson.
Rhyan missed the final six games of his rookie season serving a PED suspension, but even before that, he was a healthy scratch on most Sundays–which, of course, is not ideal for a top 100 pick. In addition to playing guard. Instead of discussing whether or not Rhyan is going to make a Year 2 leap like many third-rounders, right now, we are left wondering if he is even going to make the final roster.
My guess right now is the 10th roster spot at offensive linemen goes to either Rhyan or tackle Luke Tenuta. In my roster prediction below, I go into greater detail on my selection. Rhyan has taken some snaps at center this summer, along with guard, which in terms of sticking around, the more positions he can play, the better. It’s a crucial summer for Rhyan and his future with the team. As we’ve seen with Jace Sternberger and Amari Rodgers, the Packers aren’t afraid to move on from former third-round picks.
DJ Scaife went undrafted and originally signed with Miami before being released and claimed off waivers by Green Bay. He spent his college career at Miami, including 2022, at the right tackle position, where he allowed two sacks, 15 pressures, and had a so-so run-blocking grade. Along with playing tackle, Scaife had 1,501 snaps at right guard and is listed on the Packers team site as a center. His likely ceiling as a rookie in Green Bay is as a practice squad player.
The Packers signed Chuck Filiaga following the 2023 draft as an undrafted rookie. He finished his college career at Minnesota, where over half of his career snaps came in 2022. Filiaga allowed one sack and eight pressures while ranking 27th out of 200 guards in run-blocking grade. He has experience at both guard positions.
Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan, and Royce Newman
As you can see, my current prediction is that the Packers go light along the interior offensive line, but that is because I have them going heavy at offensive tackle and keeping 10 offensive linemen in total. The first three players we know are roster locks, and Newman, with his experience and versatility, is a valuable backup. The one player I see pushing for a roster spot is Sean Rhyan, but ultimately, I chose tackle Luke Tenuta over him.
The main reasons for that decision are that there is possible uncertainty at offensive tackle in 2024. Even before Rhyan’s suspension last season, he was a regular healthy scratch on Sundays, along with tackle being the more important position to fill and the Packers’ track record with finding interior offensive linemen in the draft.