Exploring Offensive Line Combinations Post-Draft

There are two buzz words for the offensive line going into training camp: "versatility" and "depth."

Before the 2021 NFL Draft, much of the speculation surrounding the Packers was that, in some way, Green Bay would add to its offensive line. Losing an All-Pro center in Corey Linsley leaves a sizable hole (pun intended), but after the draft and undrafted free agency, the Packers have plenty of options along the offensive line. Let’s go through a few plausible scenarios for what Green Bay’s starting line could look like Week 1. The caveat of course is David Bakhtiari and what his status will be to start the season. If the All-Pro can play, naturally he’ll play, so here are a few scenarios with him in the lineup and a few without. 

David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner

This line keeps everything consistent from 2020, save for the center position. With Josh Myers getting drafted in the second round, expectations are that he can come in and compete for a starting job right away. While the Packers haven’t explicitly labeled him a center since he does have guard versatility, he should start training camp at center given that’s where he played at Ohio State. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was only sacked 20 times in 2020, the lowest of his career as a starter. While Myers of course doesn’t have the All-Pro status Corey Linsley has, he could be a plug-and-play addition to an already talented line. 

David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, Jon Runyan Jr., Billy Turner

Let’s say the Packers get through training camp and Myers just isn’t quite ready to take over as the team’s starting center. While he could have a Jenkins-like start to his career if an unfortunate injury occurs where he fills in and never gives back the position, the Packers have a few options at center in his place. Patrick has been with Green Bay since 2016, playing in 56 games and starting 21. While he made 15 starts at right guard in 2020, he also has plenty of experience at center. If the Packers like the development from another player, say Jon Runyan Jr. who saw snaps at guard in 2020, Green Bay could shift Patrick inside and give Runyan Jr. a starting role along the offensive line. 

David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan Jr., Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Billy Turner

While Patrick just got props for his versatility in the last lineup, he’s a free agent after the 2021 season. Green Bay could save roughly $2 million in cap space by cutting Patrick during training camp. If they don’t go that route, the Packers could still keep Patrick as insurance along the interior of the line, but may look to find a long-term starter at right guard instead. In this scenario, Myers doesn’t work out at center but instead slides into the right guard spot. This moves Jenkins to center where he started three games in place of Linsley in 2020, and elevates Runyan Jr. into the starting left guard spot (Runyan Jr. played primarily left guard during the 2020 season). 

Billy Turner, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Elgton Jenkins

This next lineup assumes Bakhtiari isn’t able to start right away in Week 1. While the Packers could also kick Jenkins to left tackle, that goes against what the team did to close out the 2020 season. In Turner’s 14 games last season, he started six at right tackle, four at right guard, and four at left tackle. Jenkins started all 16 games for Green Bay, making 12 starts at left guard, those three at center, and only one at right tackle. Given Turner’s experience at the position, it would make sense for Green Bay to give him the edge over Jenkins. Runyan Jr. fills in at left guard in Jenkins’ place. 

Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., Royce Newman

Finally, this lineup keeps the interior of the offensive line solid. I toyed with putting Patrick in at RG instead of Runyan Jr., but I truly think that will be one of the top position battles in camp. Instead, fourth round draft pick Royce Newman gets the start at right tackle for one or two games until Bakhtiari is healthy and Turner can move back to RT. Newman, like Myers, hasn’t been given an official position label by the Packers. It’s likely he’ll start training camp at tackle given the lack of depth on the outside, but he does have the versatility to play inside if he doesn’t fit naturally as a tackle. Newman played 12 games at left guard in 2019 then started 10 games at right tackle in 2020 for Mississippi. 

The bottom line? This is an incredibly versatile group. While only five lineups are listed here, you could easily make the case for at least ten different combinations of players. The competition along the line, especially the interior, will be intense during training camp. These lineups aren’t even including 2021 sixth-round draft pick Cole Van Lanen, or undrafted free agents Jon Dietzen, Jacob Capra, and Cory Cronk, or roster holdovers Jake Hanson, Ben Braden, Zack Johnson, Simon Stepaniak, and Yosh Nijman. All three undrafted free agents have experience at tackle, adding depth to a room that last year only really had Nijman as a swing backup. 

The Packers looked to veteran depth for much of the last few seasons with Jared Veldheer and Rick Wagner. Now it seems Green Bay has shifted gears and instead will have plenty of young competition during camp, not only for starting roles but also for depth spots.

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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9 points

Comments (39)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Bearmeat's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Once Bakh is healthy:
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner. J Runyan Jr as backup interior. Jenkins as swing OT.

If he's not to open the season:
Elgton Jenkins, Jon Runyan Jr, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner. Royce Newman as swing OT. Yet to be determined in camp backup interior.

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optimisticfan's picture

May 14, 2021 at 09:57 am

Bearmeat,
Like your lineups.

I wonder though...

1) What are the odds of Patrick being supplanted by Jon Runyan Jr. or someone else (Stepaniak, Newman, etc)

2) If Rodgers returns without an extension (contract as is), and the Packers are looking for cap space is there a surprise OL trade? Turner or Patrick?
If Rodgers’ pressure to get traded to Denver comes to fruition does Turner get traded too in a blockbuster deal for Denver’s best WR, 2 DL and 2 future first round picks etc?

With how uncertain things are now, who makes the OL 53 is anyone’s guess. Hope no more injuries (knocked on some wood).

As it stands maybe 53 includes 10 OL:
Bahk
Jenkins
Myers
Runyan Jr
Turner
Patrick
Newman
Stepaniak
Van Lanen
Nijman

PS?:
Cronk
Capra
Braden

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dblbogey's picture

May 11, 2021 at 08:06 pm

I like Jenkins at left tackle until Bakh is back. He's the best we have. I also think, if 3 of the several young linemen come through, Jenkins would make an excellent, permanent right tackle.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:39 pm

The projected versatility of this line is amazing. Last year, there were many times that we had to wait until kickoff to find out who was starting and where they were playing. The coaching staff decided that during the weeks prep work. We just might see the same thing this year.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:58 pm

It seems another couple of "finds" for the Packer OL room has been Adam Stenavich and Luke Butkus...OL coach and Asst. OL coach.

I also note Stenavich is now the Run Game Coord. too.

Butkus just looks like the snarly attitude of the Packer OL.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:48 pm

It is good to see one of the top position groups in the NFL last year have quickly rebuilt with talented depth and again, versatility....a ML value.

Interesting Maggie, to see Runyon in 4 of the 5 starting combinations. I think Larry McCarren would agree with you. He had a breakdown of Runyon a few months back and he showed how Runyon is doing the right things on the field to be a good NFL OL player. Solid road grader in the run game but surprisingly strong in pass pro. He gets his hands on the DL, and it is over.

He could be another late round OL steal by the Packers.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:20 pm

Another player that I would toss in the O-line randomizer is Yosh Nijman - as a starting RT (until Bakh returns) / reserve OT.

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PeteK's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:51 pm

It's great that we have so many choices, which will make for a very interesting preseason. The O line will again be a strength protecting our enigmatic QB and opening holes for our dynamic duo.

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Lare's picture

May 11, 2021 at 12:52 pm

With the Packers drafting three more OL this year (plus adding 3 more UDFA's) it makes you wonder what the status of Jake Hanson, Ben Braden, Simon Stepaniak and Yosh Nijman are.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:11 pm

I think you have answered your own question. There are only so many spots!

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packer132's picture

May 11, 2021 at 06:18 pm

It will be a competitive group at training camp. I think Braden, Stepaniak, Dietzen will be gone and maybe Hanson. I see Newman making the team as well as Van Lanen. Great job by Packers to fortify the offensive line, as injuries happen every year. I was hoping for a Lane Taylor return, but trust management to know the players better than me.

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dblbogey's picture

May 11, 2021 at 08:08 pm

Runyan is the only one looking good so far.

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4thandinches's picture

May 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm

Have you seen any of the other youngins? I haven't. I'm hoping just because they didn't crack the starting lineup in their first year doesn't mean they're devoid of talent.

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BuckyBadger's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:01 pm

Just cause someone has played there doesn't mean they are all that good. Turner is an average at best Guard and a poor tackle. Outside Bahk and Jenkins the guys are largely unproven. Face a lot of good D-lines this year, hope they get it solidified before the season because even on paper this group has question marks despite what the Packer PR want to say.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 11, 2021 at 02:12 pm

I also prefer Turner at guard but he is not a poor tackle.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GreenBayPackers/comments/jp6qmy/billy_turner_ac...

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packer132's picture

May 11, 2021 at 06:23 pm

Turner is a decent tackle, and graded out at 69 on PFF with two sacks allowed in 14 games. This line again will be a top 5 group, and if Myers can start at center all the better. This is a strong group with Patrick and Runyan filling in for injuries. Not sure what tape you are looking at.

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HankScorpio's picture

May 11, 2021 at 08:29 pm

Individually, I tend to agree with your assessment, that there are plenty of highly replaceable pieces.

Collectively, it is difficult to overstate how well the OL performed in 2020. That's a testament to the coaches. Giving them more pieces will help ramp up the competition. We'll either see those pieces are replaced or that we were wrong to think they were replaceable. Either way, I expect the collective excellence to continue.

I have zero clues how it will shake out in week 1 or week 17. If this group performs like 2020, Rodgers or no, I would expect to see another game after week 17,

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BuckyBadger's picture

May 12, 2021 at 12:45 am

Turner is a good tackle when playing vs bad D-lines but Rodgers was just hit again from the Tampa game. I also live in Denver and got to see him play tackle there as well with about the same success.

The Packer have played well vs D-lines who are average or below but any team that can punch them in the mouth has not only beat them but took their lunch money as well. Until that stops I can't talk about how deep or versatile this O-line is. Jenkins is a great guard, Bahk if 100% the best but everyone else is a '?'.

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Since'61's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:16 pm

Given the possible number of combinations available a Quija board and/or a dart board may work just as well. We already know that the Quila board is the primary tool used for the draft. Why not try it for the OL combination. Thanks, Since '61

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:34 pm

Bucky,
Agreed!

Love fact they have a lot of young talent forcing competition. Very little proven talent at high level though. Believe in time their OL will be a force. Maybe even later this season. I do not see their OL starting the season to be overly strong. I see it more as an average line and steady. If no key injuries and Bacht comes back and some of the young guys get their feet wet with experience than I will feel good about it. Hope we run heavily early in year for above reasons.

2 points
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egbertsouse's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:43 pm

The OL has to have Coy Cronk, just on name alone. I want to shout “Croooooonk!” when he makes a block. Better yet, MLF can convert him to fullback!

3 points
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greengold's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:56 pm

You're not kidding on Cronk. Sounds like he has a lot of promise. 6-4 318 34 1/4" arms. One scout said he is without a doubt the steal of UDFA. Hmmm... development kid, but his numbers were trending the right direction. 40 consecutive games at LT for Indiana before blowing out his Achilles 2019, and his 2020 wiped out due to COVID.

Bill Huber wrote a great piece on him at SI.

Coy. Cronk.

5 points
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greengold's picture

May 11, 2021 at 01:50 pm

I suspect this Packers 2021 OL, whoever starts, will be teeing off in a lot of run block mauling. Seems LaFleur has the patience and understanding to stick with a solid rushing attack, while mixing in some high percentage stuff that could break for big gains with our WRs. Really can't wait to see Amari & Deguara, and how they will add to the attack. I also can't wait to see Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon tearing it up.

Jordan Love should have everything opened up for him in the passing game. Everything. It all starts up front though.

Starting to wonder if Billy Turner doesn't get traded back to DEN along with AR..? DEN's RT Ja’Wuan James went down last week with an Achilles, out for the season. DEN is going to have to make a trade anyway... How big is this freaking trade going to be???

Hmmm. Maybe YOSH starts at RT. That would be kind of cool.

4 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 11, 2021 at 02:07 pm

I would really like to see Nijman at a starting OT position. I hope he takes the next step. The guy is huge. No rag dolling by anyone with that guy. I am really happy Gute has been filling draft spots with road grader types who should not collectively be man handled by opposing (good) defenses and should get a big push along the Ol on run plays. This will really help in short yardage and goal line situations in the near future especially with Dillon at RB. The better our OL is able to execute the better our offense will be overall, no matter who is at QB. As a side note with ML scheming WR's and TE's open and RB's out of the back field and the run game and our new Slot receiver any QB will play better with a lot of options to unload the ball to quickly.

5 points
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HarryHodag's picture

May 11, 2021 at 03:13 pm

One thing that might happen is a veteran tackle becomes available after June 1. Keep in mind money is very tight right now.

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Guam's picture

May 11, 2021 at 03:19 pm

I still have hopes for either Nijman or Stepaniak to push for playing time. Nijman is the longer shot since he has had two seasons with the Packers and has only played on special teams. Stepaniak essentially had a red shirt last year recovering from a torn ACL. If he is fully healed I believe he could push for significant playing time.

4 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 11, 2021 at 06:12 pm

I would place a $2 exacta on Nijman and Stepaniak making the team this year - while neither may be starters.

For Nijman, I believe that this will be either be his "coming out" or "going out" year - nothing in-between. As for Stepaniak - either a reserve guard or on the practice squad.

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blacke00's picture

May 12, 2021 at 07:55 am

Ditto

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greengold's picture

May 11, 2021 at 04:16 pm

I just find it odd that it's looking like the Packers are in a position they could trade an OT to someone...

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 11, 2021 at 05:02 pm

This is just too hard of an exercise until you know what is happening with Bakh.

I know everyone is salivating over Yosh's RAS, and I'll admit that it would be wonderful if the guy could play, but CAN he PLAY? Maybe. It's not like the Packers took a T in the second round. OTOH, they picked up one in the 6th and a couple more in FA. So let's see it, because so far I ain't seen nothing from him.

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greengold's picture

May 11, 2021 at 05:47 pm

Some dorky shit - my notes on Yosh Nijman from 3 years ago. Still had them. The guy’s been protected & developed for 2 solid years and should be 100% ready to start:

Elite RAS and just shy of Elite SPARQ at 6-7 324 34" arms. While his fundamentals all needed work, feet, hands, through 3 years as a starting OT both L&R didn't allow 1 sack
(1)
from these ACC pass rushers: #4 overall pick Ferrell, #7 Allen, #13 Wilkins, #16 Burns, #17 Lawrence... the only sack he gave up was to Oshane Ximines, a 3rd Round pick from Old Dominion, and that was on a busted play.

Given 2 years of development, the Packers could win big.
(2)
Sometimes it takes a while to fully develop an OT. Yosh faced stiff competition at VT, on a bad team. Lacked fundamentals, but got the job done nonetheless. Clearly. If you can spend 2 solid years developing a UDFA into a starting LT/RT, one that could last a decade? Winning.
(3)
Obviously, I have high hopes for Yosh Nijman in Green Bay. Many don't realize he went undrafted because he had titanium rods inserted in his legs when his body outgrew their ability to support the weight. Has not affected his ability to pass and run block, but kept teams away
(4)
Having a guy that size, that athletic, who can play both LT and RT at a high level is invaluable in the NFL. UDFA is an unorthodox path, and two years of development can seem a lot, but ROI could prove big for the Packers. LT is #2 most important position on any team. Value.
(5)

Yosh ran a 4.83 at his Pro Day 4.50 short shuttle (2nd among all OL), 114” broad jump 8.07 3-cone, 27 reps
10” hands

RAS: Great size, Elite Speed, Elite Explosion, Good agility - OVERALL 9.8 - His 3 cone on his Pro Day would have put him as the highest rated offensive tackle ever in RAS.

LT starter 2 seasons, then RT starter senior year

In 2018 playing RT he earned a 75.7 pass blocking grade, allowing just 12 total pressures (10 hurries, one hit, one sack) in 639 pass blocking snaps at VT. Previous 3 years he had 22 consecutive starts at LT, 1844 pass blocking snaps with similar results.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 11, 2021 at 06:03 pm

Thank you - you've re-kindled my draft day Nijman crush. Your profile neatly explains why the Packers may have been so patient with his professional development. He is one of my "must see" players in training camp.

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Guam's picture

May 12, 2021 at 07:13 am

A UDFA OT is unusual, but not without precedent. Jason Peters started as a UDFA and wound up being an all-pro OT.

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stockholder's picture

May 11, 2021 at 05:13 pm

Not seeing Myers starting. I say: Bahk and Jenkins. You just don't move all -pros. Patrick should be the center. Ronyan the RG. Wagner didn't unseat Turner. And he will be the RT. You should see a rotation @ Center, much like JC Tretter and Linsley. Patrick being the starter. And Patrick should embrace it. If he starts there he should stay there. Don't move him back and forth.

-4 points
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oldpointer's picture

May 11, 2021 at 07:01 pm

LT Bob Skoronski
LG Gale Gillingham
C Ken Bowman
RG Jerry Kramer
RT Forrest Gregg

A Very Serviceable Offensive Line!

3 points
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dblbogey's picture

May 11, 2021 at 08:13 pm

They'd have to add 35 lbs of muscle, then they would still be great.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

May 11, 2021 at 09:27 pm

Gillingham and Bowman were the newbies.

Lombardi's original OL:

LT Bob Skorinski
LG Fuzzy Thurston
C Jim Ringo NFL HOF
RG Jerry Kramer NFL HOF
RT Forrest Gregg NFL HOF

Bowman Took over after Ringo was traded to the Eagles and Gillingham took over for Fuzzy Thurston full time in 1968.

Thurston and Kramer, "Poetry in Motion" on the Packer Power Sweep.

Lombardi's OL remains the best NFL OL that I have ever seen. Thanks, Since '61

5 points
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blacke00's picture

May 12, 2021 at 08:14 am

You really can not expect much from Bahk this year. Post ACL surgery takes time to recover he won't be back to "himself until 2022. I would love for him to make a liar out of me, but that's not typical recovery time.

Why keep Yosh (for 2 years and essentially give him 2 resort years) unless they think he can REALLY compete for roster spot?

Last year's draft class does need a "fair" evaluation which in my opinion , they didn't get.

I'm not a Turner fan. The guy has far exceeded his ceiling. He won't be anywhere as good as he was last year.

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Pro-LifeMatters's picture

May 12, 2021 at 09:42 pm

Did you not see the Championship game? Any potential lineup with Turner at LT should be a nonstarter. He sucked in 2019 at RG. I thought he'd get Rodgers mamed playing at RT last year, but he was surprisingly good. He even held up admirably at LT against mediocre teams in the regular season. But the playoffs and the Championship game in particular, should put an end to the great Billy Turner LT experiment once and for all, he was exposed.

-1 points
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