Elgton Jenkins' Versatility & High Level of Play "Unheard Of"

Due to injuries along the offensive line, Elgton Jenkins has bounced around this season. Yet no matter where he lines up, he continues to play at a high level. 

Perhaps lost in what was an absolutely wild game was the fact that Corey Linsley left early on with a back injury, and Elgton Jenkins moved from left guard to center to fill in for him. Unfortunately, due to injuries along the offensive line, changing positions has been common for Jenkins this season. 
 
The Green Bay Packers drafted Jenkins with the 44th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. With receivers like AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin, and DK Metcalf still on the board, selecting Jenkins, who wasn't on the radar of many Packers fans at that time, may have been a bit underwhelming. I mean, it's not like he plays the sexiest position. 
 
However, Brian Gutekunst's decision to select Jenkins has turned into one of his best moves since taking over as the Green Bay Packers' General Manager. 
 
Jenkins went on to have a phenomenal rookie season, in which he didn't allow a single sack and gave up only one quarterback hit in 694 pass-blocking attempts. So how good was that? Well, out of all guards in 2019 that had at least 650 pass-blocking snaps, Jenkins was one of two who didn't allow a sack. The other was Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys; not bad company.
 
By Pro Football Focus' ($) pass-blocking efficiency matric, which measures pressures allowed on a per snap basis with a heavier weighting towards sacks, Jenkins ranked 12th out of all guards who played at least 350 snaps. And by ESPN's pass-block win rate metric, which measures how often an offensive lineman can hold his block for 2.5 seconds or longer, Jenkins finished eighth among all guards.
 
Needless to say, it was a very impressive rookie campaign. Yet after a dominant season, Jenkins' value has sky-rocketed in Year 2. Not only can he dominate at the guard position, but this season, he has shown us that he can be very good to dominant at every other position along the offensive line as well. 
 
As I mentioned above, injuries have forced the Green Bay Packers to play musical chairs along the line, and because of his versatility, Jenkins has done most of the movement. While he's still mostly played left guard, in Week 1 against Minnesota, he took 33 snaps at right tackle. In Week 9 against San Francisco, he took 27 snaps at left tackle as well as four snaps at center. And then against the Colts, Jenkins played a majority of the game at center after Linsley exited. 
 
Even with all of the shuffling, Jenkins has still continued to play at a high-level. In 363 pass-blocking snaps this season, he has allowed just one sack, two quarterback hits, and just eight total pressures. He ranks 10th among all guards in pass-blocking efficiency and 21st among all offensive linemen in that same category while having played every position on the offensive line except right guard. 
 
Oftentimes, offensive linemen can be forgotten about given the nature of their position. But what Jenkins is doing this season, moving from one position to the next so seamlessly, is incredible. When asked about it recently, Head Coach Matt LaFleur called it "unheard of." And after Jenkins' performance against Indianapolis at center, former Green Bay Packer OL Mark Tauscher said, "not sure there’s another o-lineman in the league who could do what Elgton Jenkins has done so far this year. His versatility is unmatched." 
 
Despite a brutal loss to the Colts, the Green Bay Packers are still 7-3 and in firm control of the NFC North. They've gotten to this point despite having to deal with several key injuries along the offensive line; there aren't many if any teams out there who could have absorbed all that missed time as well as Green Bay has. And a big reason why is because of the versatility and the elite play of Elgton Jenkins no matter where you put him.  

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (24)

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BAMABADGER's picture

November 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

We can trade or let Corey Linsley go at the end of season. Need to sign Jenkins to a long term contract.

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mamasboy's picture

November 23, 2020 at 01:41 pm

They might be able to sign both of them. We'll have Jenkins on the cheap for another 2 years, at least. I think the rest of our line is under contract for the next couple of years, too.

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Coldworld's picture

November 23, 2020 at 05:51 pm

Linsley will be let go. With his back playing up again this season and last, he is a high risk for high cost player that they have the depth to replace with Jenkins or Patrick plus Hansen, the draft pick this year. We have Runyon and the perhaps more highly rated pre draft Stepaniak to provide resources at guard.

It looks to me as if the Linsley decision was made before the draft. He is the only FA I think we used have a close to equivalent replacement for. No knock on Linsley, but back issues in Linemen are a real concern and he is going to get a big contract from someone if his health holds through this season.

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packer132's picture

November 23, 2020 at 02:12 pm

Jenkins is signed on a 4 year deal through 2022 so Packers don't need to do anything now with his contract.

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dblbogey's picture

November 23, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Nobody is going to trade for Linsley. He'll be a free agent. Somebody will give him more than the Packers are willing, or should, pay.

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PhantomII's picture

November 23, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Jenkins is a stud. A true professional that does it the right way with the right attitude. I'm glad we have him. Excellent pick Gute.

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stockholder's picture

November 23, 2020 at 01:43 pm

Can't argue with success. He' just what the packers needed.

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Razer's picture

November 23, 2020 at 02:04 pm

Gutekunst's best pick to date. Need to add another home run at right tackle next year to complete the O-line.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

I might say Alexander was his best pick...might say because I cannot argue against Jenks being his best. Both have been consistently very productive and have helped the team win early and often. Success stacking players.

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cow7's picture

November 23, 2020 at 03:19 pm

Too bad he plays the 2nd least important position on the field...

1. Punter
2. Guard
3. Long snapper

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Coldworld's picture

November 23, 2020 at 05:53 pm

You know just as little as you did in your last incarnation and apparently read just as much before commenting. Just here to troll again?

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cow7's picture

November 23, 2020 at 08:15 pm

Ok, genius... where would you rank OG in the pecking order of football positions?

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 24, 2020 at 08:00 am

Quite obviously ILB is the least important position.

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Lphill's picture

November 23, 2020 at 03:23 pm

Forget Linsley use the money for Jones.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

November 24, 2020 at 09:04 am

If you don't trust your RB to get a yd on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 he isn't worth the money. Draft another RB in the 4th round to replace him. Cheap and same results.

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PeteK's picture

November 23, 2020 at 05:08 pm

It is fantastic that he has played well all along the line. However, He did get blown up a few times which is understandable when you're moved to a different position against a good d line.. I believe that he is our center of the future especially since Runyon played well at guard. We can save Linsley's 8.5 mill.

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Swisch's picture

November 23, 2020 at 08:33 pm

It may be time to assess the last three or four drafts as possibly better than the conventional thinking.
People can debate respectfully, while realizing there's a lot of this season left to go for our young guys to contribute more and more.
There's Jenkins and Runyan as blockers.
On defense, there's Savage and Martin, along with Alexander and King.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have excelled in the backfield, while Tonyan and Sternberger are getting more catches.
Though we didn't draft a wide receiver last time, I would say that MVS is on the verge of a breakout season (in his third year) if he continues on his current arc. Besides his breakaway speed, he has shown some promise on shorter routes; plus, he seems a good and determined blocker.
If MVS was a rookie, he'd be way more appreciated, even celebrated, as a star in the making. Considering he was a project out of college, as I understand it, he seems to be coming along at an excellent pace.
Another discussion is whether the drafting of a young QB in the first round has given Rodgers a little boost of focus and enthusiasm and energy, as well as cooperation with coaches.
Rodgers has been excellent. If he is willing to take the short pass more often, and spread the ball around to various receivers other than Adams just a little more, he could be MVP -- and possibly even lead us to another victory in the Super Bowl.
After all, we're arguably in at least as good of a position right now as in 2010. A long ways to go, but showing potential.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 24, 2020 at 10:53 am

Thumbs up post. Hopefully by year's end Gary will be on Gutey's hit parade. He needs to get more snaps than P. Smith now.

However, i am not sure drafting Love improved Rodger's play as much as operating in ML's offense in year two with more time working together.

But your post was a glass half full review of Gutey's selections to date.

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Swisch's picture

November 24, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Thanks, LambeauPlain, I forgot about Gary in my original post (and may have missed others, too). I'm quite hopeful about Gary.
I'm not as knowledgeable about our players in general as a lot of the fans here at CheeseheadTV -- and so I'm not claiming to be the best evaluator of our young guys -- but it's fun to talk about them and give our best opinions.
Also, I try to like posts when I don't agree with them completely, or am not sure about them, as long as they are giving me something to think about and adding to the discussion.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Blood-McNally's picture

November 23, 2020 at 11:42 pm

Nice commentary on an outstanding player. I planned to add a new and unique statement about Jenkins, but you listed all my thunder. He certainly ranks right up there in performance with many of the Blue Chip 2nd round receivers the Packers have drafted over the years.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 24, 2020 at 05:32 am

Elgton Jenkins:

Yes, very nice draft pick.
Yes, Jenkins can play all five OL positions reasonably well.

No, he is not dominant at LG. People are getting carried away. We don't know how good he could be at RT or OC given reps there, and conversely, opponents the chance to look at tape and try to exploit any potential issues. He was a downgrade from Linsley at OC against the Colts while still playing pretty well. He had a very nice rookie year starting at LG most of the year. I had hoped for a breakout year in 2020, but he really is playing about as well as last year though this year he is displaying massive amounts of versatility. He might yet become an elite player, but he isn't even to the level of a good Sitton or Lang year yet.

Folks are also getting carried away with Runyan. He had a real nice game during his emergency insertion at LG for 23 snaps. He didn't play nearly as well against the Colts. Runyan is a rookie who likely gets better with time.

Ditto for Summers and Barnes. Both played pretty well in their first games with significant snaps. They put tape out there and got exploited when they played some more. Summers can't buy a snap if Kirksey is healthy. Barnes we will see about when he comes off the Covid List. Summers has been around so while it isn't impossible he likely is what he is. Barnes is young, though not the greatest natural athlete in the world, he works hard and had a reputation for quickly diagnosing plays. In the NFL unlike in college, he had trouble in coverage. Quicker recognition could help him there. Barnes has a chance.

Kamal Martin was pretty good in his first trial by fire. He was pretty good in his 2nd, 3rd and 4th as well. He did not regress as the NFL got a chance to take stock of him. Very promising rookie.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 24, 2020 at 11:09 am

Athlon has him ranked as the 12th best guard in the NFL now...not bad for a sophomore. He's in pretty good company and is playing as well or better than Sitton or Lang did in year two. Is he Q. Nelson? No and probably never will be.

But one reason why he is not showing even more upside at LG so far in year two is the fact he has moved around the line so much and has not been able to hone his G play to be even sharper.

Playing T and C is different than G. I am amazed how quickly and how well he has played the other spots.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 24, 2020 at 01:20 pm

Went back and watch the all-22 yesterday. I think your assessment of Jenkins this year is fair. Looks like he backslid a bit in weakside pass pro. Mostly a footwork issue that gets done in camp. Which we all know they didn't have this year. (Just another reason to crush the commies....) Runyan.... was not good. Tough to tell about the number of blown assignments, and barely reach his man in pass pro against a good Colts front 7. Packers have changed their blocking scheme within their outside zone, for most of the season it has been effective. I like Runyan, he is a smart player who will only get better with more snaps next season. An overlook point from Sunday's game is the D line played really well. Clarke was a monster and made a pro bowel center and an elite guard look small and slow. Forced the Line judge to make those holding calls in the third and fourth quarters when the game was on the line. An amazing performance from a NT.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 24, 2020 at 10:39 am

When the Gutey drafted Jenks, I did what I usually do...watch the player's college video. Jenks was an absolute rock of granite in pass pro and would routinely open holes in the run game, many times making a another block at the second level. And scouts said he has a very big brain.

I loved the pick and after the raves about him in training camp was surprised he wasn't a starter. Didn't take long though.

As long as Rodgers is your QB, Gutey should draft an OLineman in one of the first 3 rounds every year. I know TT found a lot of value in the 4th and 5th rounds..but really good O lineman in college tend to fall in the early rounds as the high profile positions go off the board first.

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