Looking at the Packers' Offensive Line Depth

The Packers have had some questionable offensive line play the last few seasons. Does the depth on the 2019 roster change that?

I’m writing this article on America’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to pay tribute to one of the founding fathers of the offensive line, David Bakhtiari. I can only hope that if someone were to toss me a beer right now (please don’t, I’m a little tipsy), that I would have enough poise and grace to chug that thing with the best of them.

I asked Twitter what you wanted to see an article about, and someone told me to write about the Packers’ offensive line depth, so here we go! 

First, let’s start by breaking down the team’s starting five offensive linemen. At left tackle, we have champion beer chugger and equally impressive All-Pro, David Bakhtiari. Will this finally be the year that Bakhtiari becomes a first-ballot Pro Bowler? It seems long overdue, right? Keep your fingers crossed (and let’s also keep our fingers crossed that Bakh can’t play because he’s got a Super Bowl appearance to make the next week). Left tackle is about as solidified as any position can be on the roster. Chalk that up there with the quarterback position. It’s untouchable. 

Moving on. Left guard is going to cause some controversy in camp this year, partially due to Lane Taylor and the Packers selecting guard Elgton Jenkins in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Taylor was injured before the 2018 season began, and he had a down year. It’s fully expected that giving him a full 2019 offseason will improve his performance. 

Elgton Jenkins projects as a natural center and guard in the NFL, and we all know nobody is moving Corey Linsley from his starting center spot, so that leaves either guard spot available to Jenkins. 

In my personal opinion, Jenkins won’t become an immediate starter at either guard position, but he provides incredible depth at any interior spot along the offensive line. (And he likely will be a starter in 2020.) Aside from Linsley, the Packers don’t have a second true center on the 90-man roster. With Jenkins in the mix, Linsley has depth at one of the most important positions in football. 

Since we naturally kind of covered the center position by talking about newly-drafted Jenkins, let’s move right along to the right guard position. In 2018, the position ended up looking like musical chairs. The spot was initially filled by Justin McCray before he was injured and replaced by Byron Bell. Bell wasn’t the last of the replacements, however, and the right guard spot was a giant question mark throughout the entire season. 

Enter, Billy Turner. The Packers spent mega bucks in the offseason ($28 million for four seasons, to be exact), to ensure that the right side of the line was solidified in Green Bay. Turner becomes the immediate starter at right guard, and also has enough experience at the tackle position to slide all the way to right tackle if Bryan Bulaga gets injured.

That brings us to Bulaga, who, when healthy, is one of the best tackles in the National Football League. Bulaga has only started all 16 games once in his NFL career, and that was in 2016. Since then, he’s played in five games in 2017 and 14 games in 2018. Bulaga becomes a free agent in 2020, and it wouldn’t be all-too-shocking to see the Packers take a gamble on a younger player if Bulaga doesn’t play a full season in 2019.

That means that, as of July 5, 2019, I predict the starting offensive line to be: David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Billy Turner, and Bryan Bulaga. With a solid starting five, what does the backup situation look like?

Well, I’ve always been really high on two players: Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick. Part of the reason for that is that they can play any position along the line. I consider them the Swiss Army knives of the offensive line. While they may not be ideal candidates for starting roles on offense, they fill in serviceably in a pinch. 

In 2017, the Packers started the season with nine linemen on the roster. In 2018, the Packers had nine again. We’re less than one month away from training camp, and I don’t see the Packers shying away from that number again in 2019. In fact, I see them exceeding it. 

First, I would think that swing tackle Jason Spriggs gets at least one more year to prove himself as the backup behind Bakhtiari and Bulaga. While he’s never completely lived up to his second-round draft stock, he’s continuously added muscle every offseason. With Bulaga entering a contract season, Spriggs could look to lock up their right tackle position long-term. 

Additionally, Cole Madison was a fifth round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and while he didn’t play the entire 2018 season, he’s returned to the team in great shape and looks completely capable of pushing for one of the backup guard spots. 

Adding onto Madison and Spriggs,  Alex Light is another name to keep an eye on heading into training camp. The 6-5, 309lb tackle was a surprising addition to the 53-man roster in 2018, and while he only played in three games, he’s a name to consider as someone pushing Jason Spriggs for the backup swing tackle spot. 

If I had to give a prediction right now, here are my thoughts for offensive line depth before training camp begins: Justin McCray, Jason Spriggs, Alex Light, Elgton Jenkins, Cole Madison. 

While I absolutely adore Yosh Nijman, an undrafted free agent from Virginia Tech, I could see the Packers going with homegrown prospects. McCray, Spriggs, and even Light already have a familiarity within Green Bay’s system. Jenkins is a second-round prospect, so he isn’t going anywhere, and Madison likely makes the roster for his flexibility along the offensive line. 

This would require the Packers to keep 10 linemen instead of nine, but to me, it’s hard to cut corners when it comes to the depth each of the players listed above provides. McCray can play anywhere on the line, Spriggs and Light are tackle insurance, and Madison offers depth at either guard spot. Jenkins is the true security blanket given his ability to play along the interior in any capacity, whether that’s at a guard spot or at center behind Linsley. 

Of the 10 offensive linemen I’ve listed, I suppose the surprise cut would have to be McCray, but I think he offers the Packers too much insurance to consider parting ways with him now. 

While it’s way too early to consider what the offensive line will look like in 2020, it wouldn’t surprise me to see names like Elgton Jenkins and Cole Madison become offensive starters, in place of perhaps Taylor and Turner (with Turner kicking out into Bulaga’s tackle spot). 

Maybe these predictions will change after we get into training camp and the preseason, but for now, I think the offensive line is in much better shape than it was heading into the 2018 season. 

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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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3 points

Comments (54)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
albert999's picture

July 05, 2019 at 05:12 am

I like your choices
let’s roll and stay healthy

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Bearmeat's picture

July 05, 2019 at 06:21 am

Mark it down: This is going to be the best OL GB has had since 2014 at least, and quite possibly best since 03. There is talent on the starting 5, and quality depth (McCray, Jenkins, Madison, Spriggs), and it goes past 4 on the bench.

As the author states, there is (finally) a plan for (when) Bulaga gets hurt: Turner moves out to RT. I expect Turner to be the starting RT in 2020, while Jenkins takes over the RG spot.

As long as Bakhtiari doesn't get hurt, this is going to bee studly offensive line this year, which should handle the Bears and Vikings pass rush really well. I'm looking forward to the fireworks when our young WRs expose their overrated secondaries! :D

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Turophile's picture

July 05, 2019 at 08:51 am

The development of Alex Light and possible further development of Spriggs are fairly key to the depth on the line. It's already not bad, especially having drafted Elgton Jenkins and paid good money for Billy Turner. If either Spriggs or Light can be an anti-awful backup at LT, then the O line is in fine shape and one of the best in the NFL.

Madison is a bit of a wildcard who I don't expect that much from. McCray, Patrick and Pankey are ho-hum guys looking to be something more. Nevertheless, SOMEONE has to be a deeper backup.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:08 am

"an anti-awful backup"

You should trademark that...

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Since'61's picture

July 05, 2019 at 10:22 am

Agree Bearmeat. It’s long overdue for the Packers OL to dominate the LOS. “It is time.” Thanks, Since ‘61

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blue eyes's picture

July 06, 2019 at 01:32 am

"It is time" You stole that from the Lion King! ;)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2019 at 10:58 am

The OL is a little short on quality to be the best since 2014, but the quantity is there. For example, going into 2016, all five presumed starters were well above average. Bakh earned 2nd team all pro, Sitton and Lang were top 10 or top 15 OGs, Linsley was good and Bulaga, when healthy, was a top 5 RT. I don't view Taylor, Turner, or Jenkins as a rookie as players who can dominate.

The likely back-ups at most positions are more talented than 2016. Jenkins as a backup OC is far more talented than any backup center in recent memory and probably is more talented as a backup OG than in previous years. I've written less than flattering things about Turner as a RT, but he is better than previous backups, including pre-injury Barclay. I suppose Spriggs is the backup LT, but few teams and maybe no teams have serviceable starters at all five positions.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:12 am

Yeah. I don't think the line will be as good this year as it was in 14. At least not the starting 5. That line was unreal and it stayed completely healthy all year. Which is pretty rare.

But the depth/cost and youth of the line this year is better. I think we're going to sport a top 5 OL.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 06, 2019 at 06:44 pm

Your right. I forgot that this unit was intact all thru the entire season. Outside of Lindsay's concussion which he was forced to miss a game. (NFL rules. Trotter replaced him. I forgot how deep that OL unit was back in the day.)

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Rak47's picture

July 06, 2019 at 06:41 am

One guy to keep an eye on that I have not seen mentioned is Gerhard DeBeer. His RAS was off the charts last year with a score of 9.44, it was very much on par with Sprigg's score of 9.78 and exactly the same as Lucas Patrick's 9.44 coming out of Duke in 16. Also the Packers had him in for a visit last years before he signed as an UDFA with Buffalo. He's 6'6 313 and pretty athletic for a big man which should suit him well in the new scheme. With a year of experience under his belt he may have an edge over Madison and Nijman.

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Guam's picture

July 05, 2019 at 07:19 am

I am not sold on either Patrick or McCray. They both had opportunities to solidify the RG spot last year and neither could. Both are veterans and likely are who they are. I don't see either developing much beyond their current level.

With Light, Jenkins and Spriggs as core backups, I would reserve the ninth spot for a young talent that has potential to grow (Cole or Nijman). I also believe this is Spriggs final year to prove he can play.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:14 am

I agree with most of this article until that point as well. Depth is about filling in, but at some point one has to ask how well does that player do when filling in?

There are two reasons for keeping a player, and they sometimes conflict. One is ability to play now in an emergency, and the other, potential to take over long term.

I do not pretend to be a O line guru. That said, a body is not depth: one of the reasons I am happy we brought in Jenkins is that he will be, when up to speed, a true back up at center.

We need to have depth at the tackle positions that can not get Rodgers killed now but also offer the potential to be the tackles for the future.

I think we currently have that at G and C. I do not think we had that last year at either position in terms of either potential or adequacy.

We really need to see the newcomers play in pads, but based upon what I’ve read, Madison and Jenkins will cover the three interior positions. Assuming the starting line you suggest and no injuries, that makes 7.

I think we need one player who can play inside and two who can play tackle.

Spriggs has to shine in camp I think. If the first replacement for tackle could be Turner, it would be ideal if we could have another G/T capable reserve. If Spriggs is that man, then Turner becomes his back up (I do not think Jenkins is an NFL tackle and even if wrong, I want him up to speed at center and guard, and center takes a while to learn).

I also think that there is a chance that Nijman is roster or gone if he shows at all in camp. He is just has too much raw potential at LT for a team not to snap him up. I’ve seen de Beer praised too. Do either have the potential to play inside if needed? Their physical attributes are stellar.

So if Madison and Jenkins are Six and Seven, I could see three more being kept. One thing I notice is that Light has been given time at guard. Like Turner he is listed as T/G. If he has more potential than others, he may be the McCray player.

I think that the critical question is Spriggs. If Spriggs looks rough in camp I think they will definitely keep Nijman or de Beer. If both show promise they could keep both and let Spriggs go.

So overall, Jenkins, Madison, Light plus two of Spriggs/Nijman/de Beer with Light as your swing reserve. I believe (on paper pre season) that this has greater long term potential as well as offering significantly better current strength in depth.

For that reason, barring injuries, I only see one returning from the back up class of last year even keeping 10 O linemen as opposed to the 9 of last year.

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greengold's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:40 am

This seems right to me. I'm just thinking Nijman was a gift to us as a UDFA, and Gutey won't let him just walk. Too much experience and athleticism to risk on the PS. He stoned many of the top edge rushers in the last draft while playing LT at Virginia Tech. Josh Allen, Clelin Ferrell, Brian Burns... 6-7 320 4.8 40? WOW. Yosh Nijman will offer great insurance at OT in case of injury, and he won't have to develop his body for 3 years to pull it off. He can go in now. He gave up just 1 sack and 12 pressures over 380 pass block snaps in 2018, and that is a tough conference.

I would think Jenkins, Nijman and Light will be the top 3 reserves, with OGs duking it out for what would be the final 2 spots on this roster. Given the importance of keeping Aaron healthy, I think they keep 10 OL this year.

I do not see Spriggs making this 53.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:39 am

Coldworld, nice comment, and I would note that Andy Herman did a great podcast looking at remaining years of control and the 2019 salaries of the depth type players, and added versatility into his equation.

Surely GB will take into account Spriggs $1.5M cap #, $1.1M cap savings, and that GB has just one year of control left over him. If his play is at the extremes (he looks awful or looks very good) the issue resolves itself.

If Spriggs doesn't look any different this preseason as opposed to prior years, then the door opens to OTs who have strong camps, even if they might not be really ready in 2019, at least early in the year.

Patrick, McCray, Pankey (and Tyson at SS) all become RFAs in 2020. Guys like Light, De Beer, Nijman become ERFAs after this season, and Madison's deal tolled, so he is under control through the 2022 season.

If Madison, for example, shows anything, I give him an excellent chance to make the roster. He is cheap, still has 4 years of control, and has versatility if you think he can play RT in addition to OG.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 05, 2019 at 06:20 pm

Looks like a fair assessment. Nijman will be protected if he makes it through camp. Jenkins is your backup center and potential starter at LG.
Madison is getting the cross-training at RG and center; GMs like to keep their picks on board. Nine for the O-line should cover for risk. They will use more double TE sets and the lineman that can move best in space will be retained.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 07, 2019 at 04:23 am

Neither was ready to play last year. Both should have been on IR to start the season. Only reason Patrick and McCray was on the 53 is the Packers had no one else who was healthy enough to start or be a core backup. McCray played in the because Patrick got injured again and was done for the year, and after the Falcons never played more than one or two snaps in the first half, and was benched for the rest of the year. He could not lift his shoulder at all. Personally, I've always believe that the Rodgers signing so early really handcuff Gute in FA market. And the result was signing one lower mid level free agent OL. Not IAMGUTE fault, is was not his call. But the Packers, and yes Aaron Rodgers paid dearly for it.

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stockholder's picture

July 05, 2019 at 07:27 am

Turner is my choice at LG. While he can play RT. He's to light on his feet. He'll be the LG before the season is over with. Taylor should be the RG. Not LG. Move him back. My question mark is Bulaga. I don't believe he's fast enough to stop Mack. I wouldn't be surprised if Jenkins starts at RT before the year is out. Spriggs and Madison are on the bubble. Both have 1 last chance to show.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:25 am

Not many are. I think McCarthy’s refusal to be prepared to help/scheme for Mack was a mistake others did not make. Bulaga, did do pretty well after the initial half, however.

I don’t see any basis for believing Jenkins would be better though. One of the knocks on him was slow feet. That would not be a good issue for a player facing Mack.

Turner would be a more obvious candidate based on physical attributes, with Light possibly and Nijman or de Beer in terms of raw physical attributes behind him if Spriggs is not considered.

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stockholder's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:39 am

Campen not MM. Bulaga cannot handle speed rushers anymore. (Blamed on injuries ? ) Turner can pull, and is smoother coming across. Experience!! And would be better for Bahk. Jenkins can block inside. But his ability to pull will show up down the road.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 01:49 pm

In the game most think about, Bulaga had essentially not played and was coming off a major injury. In the second half and later in the season he looked increasingly like his old self until injured. I am not sure that Bulaga is any less capable than nearly every right tackle in the league against Mack when close to full health. Certainly I think more likely to win than anyone in the roster at present this year not named Bakhtiari.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 07, 2019 at 05:10 am

Tough choice that game. Slide protection over to the RG (Bell I think) or let Bulaga try to handle Macks outside rush by himself. As you say, Bulaga did get better as the Packers made line adjustment calls in the second half. Why the Bears continued to mount inside rushes taking away Mack's great burst and quickness puzzled me. Strange call back then, even with Rodgers leg injury.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 05, 2019 at 06:36 pm

His film looked good when he was playing LG for Denver. Bulaga has to rely on technique. You cannot expect him to hold for the five count. LeFleur will help the pace of this passing game.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:42 am

I'd put Madison and Spriggs as good bets.

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Handsback's picture

July 05, 2019 at 07:39 am

For the first time in ages the Packers have starting strength and very solid back-ups to man the oline. I disagree in that I doubt that they keep more than 9 oline players. I'm also glad that you mentioned Lane Taylor's issues last year. Every year he's the guy everyone points to as the most likely player to lose his spot and every year he's back starting. He won't be any easy replacement, but between Madison and Jenkins....they will be breathing down his neck for playing time.
I foresee some trades and expect oline guys being a part of it for maybe ILB or TE prospects.
It has taken time, but the oline is a very good position of strength for the Packers.

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Spock's picture

July 05, 2019 at 08:26 am

Handsback, I agree on the possibility of actually trading a backup OL (when have we had enough depth to say THAT in recent years?) and could see Gute pulling some kind of trade before or even during the season (if another team gets desperate for a lineman and is willing to pay with a
higher draft pick spot). Definitely excited to see the new offense in action!

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NickPerry's picture

July 05, 2019 at 08:03 am

It's pretty impressive what Gutekunst has done in just 2 offseasons to both the front 7 and O-Line. Holding true to his word when hired he's used "every avenue" to improve the roster, which IMO he's done in spades.

I'm not sold on Lane Taylor holding Jenkins off from starting, but if it does happen it means Taylor is playing at least as well as he did in 2017 and not 2018.

My hope is Spriggs finally gives the Packers a reason to keep him other than it's because he was a 2nd round draft pick. If there was ever a system you think Spriggs could really thrive in it would be MLF's, especially in the running game.

I'm not all the thrilled with McCray sticking on this roster but if he's better then we'll see. I'm really pulling for Cole Madison to make his mark. Obviously, it's tough after sitting out a season but everything I've read for the most part suggests he looks good. Like Maggie I like Yosh Nijman. Hopefully, we can keep him on the PS and not lose him.

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Lare's picture

July 05, 2019 at 01:00 pm

The OL gave up 53 sacks last season, third most in the NFL. They were also 22nd in rushing yards per game.

I just don't see keeping guys like Spriggs, Patrick or McCray any more. They couldn't do the job last year even in a reserve role so I don't think they do any better this season. I also wouldn't use Lane Taylor as a starter after he played so poorly last year.

Time to make the OL a priority for improvement & strength this season. You don't get better by staying the same

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:05 am

I think we all agree that the OL play needs to be better, but on a per-rep basis, those stats are softened somewhat. Remember that the Packers were dead last in rush attempts per game (and just barely second in passing attempts per game), but were second in the league in yd/rush (that is bolstered by #12's ability to scramble for 1st downs) and 20th in sack allowed per dropback. As you look back over #12s time as a starter, he's had a tendency to take sacks.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:16 am

It is too easy to forget that. Great point dobber.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:50 am

Only two teams averaged 5 yards per rush or more. GB was 2nd at 5.0 as Dobber pointed out. The median was 4.4 in the NFL. There certainly could be reasons other than that the OL was a dominant run blocking unit.

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2019 at 10:01 am

True, and I certainly wouldn't expect that if the Packers moved closer to the median in rush attempts (adding about 80 attempts over a season) they would stay at 5 yards per att. The question is (will be) how shifting 5 plays to rush would re-shape the offense?

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:46 am

Lare,
Great assessment and agreed!

With the new coach regime everything and everybody (outside of our three cornerstone starting OL) are on the hot seat and everyone is coming into camp starting from scratch on an equal basis. Nothing will be given to anyone. Subsequently, anyone who makes team, and/or who starts will earn their spot including Sprigg's, McCray, or Pankey. Let the competition begin!

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Freezn's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:48 am

I believe Matt Will have our offense playing at a pretty good level to start the season and the offense should grow through out the season. Our Defense will give Aron the ball back a lot more often this year. Which will give our offense more reps.

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Freezn's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:54 am

Davis has great speed I believe he is learning to put it all together and could be a valuable piece to our offense. I Really want to watch the first game against the bears as they don't have a clue what Aron is running for an offense and our defense will be a real handful in keeping our defense out of their backfield. it is going to be a great year and our defense will create train wrecks for apposing offenses

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greengold's picture

July 05, 2019 at 09:54 am

Yosh Nijman has the athleticism very near that of Rashan Gary. Both are "elite" classifications in RAS, Gary is also "elite" in SPARQ, Nijman fell just slightly below into the "very good" category, as did Darnell Savage.

Kind of gives an idea of the size/speed, and complete athleticism of the man who is 6-7 320... His body is already NFL ready.

He played on a bad VT team, and all of his blocking came out of a 2-pt. stance. He's stoked to be able to go from a 3 pt. stance in GB and power UP into his opponents. I honestly believe he will turn out to be the #1 UDFA steal from 2019 in the NFL.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 01:37 pm

Nijman not being drafted was a major shock. That said, he got away with technical flaws on the basis of exceptional strength and agility. If that translates to the NFL, he could be a serious backup now, if it doesn’t then he could be a mess.

For some reason my gut thinks he can step up.
I know less about de Beer, but I believe he actually has similar physical gifts. There is a chance that one or the other firmly establishes themselves in camp, perhaps even both. There is also the chance that neither is remotely ready and, at tackle for Rodgers, would be an unacceptable risk.

I will be watching closely.

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Since'61's picture

July 05, 2019 at 10:24 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing a starting 5 of Bakh, Jenkins, Linsley, Turner and Bulaga. Keep McCray, Taylor, Madison, Nijman and Light for depth. Chuck the rest unless Spriggs has a really strong camp.

Build a wall of big nasties around Rodgers and in front of our RBs for the ground game. It’s long overdue for the Packers OL to take over the LOS and dominate a game. Thanks, Since ‘61

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:38 am

Since61,
Agree with everything you say!

I will say this though. I had such high expectations of Spriggs like everyone else and have been very dissapointed so far. While it wasnt his fault TT drafted him too high giving up too much for him I do think he is a late bloomer type and has potential. I also agree ML's offense will be a better system for him. I also truly believe Sprigg's if cut will be one of those surprising 10-year veteran players in this league. Never a top player but will become a serviceable (therefore reasonable salary type) starter and backup OL.

Having said all of that (I agree with Lare) I have no qualms to cutting him if another player shows better upside and potential.

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CheesyTex's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:20 am

Makes a lot of sense. Still worry about Taylor -- does he have the speed and athleticism for a zone blocking scheme? Maybe it will be Spriggs rather than Taylor because of his athleticism.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 01:39 pm

Spriggs at guard? I’d sooner move on or play him at tackle.

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Guam's picture

July 06, 2019 at 08:12 am

Not sure Spriggs has the strength to play on the interior. I suspect Jenkins or Madison are more likely interior replacements.

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2019 at 10:28 am

He has played there...started 2 games at RG in 2016. I agree: he's not a prototypical G and doesn't belong there, but has supposedly gotten stronger over the last two offseasons. He makes the 53 because he's the closest thing to a true LT they have behind Bakhtiari. If they can find someone better, that's another story. Still, the possibility remains that if he IS stronger, he might be more effective in a phone booth than on the edge.

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Slim11's picture

July 05, 2019 at 10:31 am

If the Packers keep 10 on the o-line, then Spriggs makes the team. If it’s nine, then I believe, and hope, Spriggs is gone. He’s progressed too slowly to justify keeping him in the hopes he’ll become a serviceable backup.

Jenkins might beat out Taylor at LG but only if Taylor isn’t fully recovered to 2017 form. I do like McCray, Jenkins (if not a starter), Light and Nijman as reserves.

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2019 at 10:38 am

I understand the rationale on Spriggs, but there's nobody on that list who has a reasonable chance of playing LT for a couple games if Bakhtiari misses time. Spriggs has at least a chance. Until they find someone better, his roster spot is pretty secure.

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Monsmoy's picture

July 05, 2019 at 10:58 am

Your starting 5 look likely, but I think this is a very positive take of the wider OLine group
Let's pencil in Spriggs (we are all desperate for him to succeed, even though thus far is not a good replacement for either OT), Jenkins, Turner and Madison.
The others, whether you classify them as utility, Swiss Army knives or swing, have either shown no genuine sign of NFL starter level or have started and been shown up. Bell and McCray both failed at RG and thus, one has to assume, why Turner has $28m. De Beer, Light, Nijman are development projects. Patrick could be a surprise, and gut feel is he will be picked before Spriggs.
Personally, I think we need to draft a RT in 2020 draft, who is as much as a dead cert as can be and ready to take over from Bulaga. Then have a cull of our many utility OLine, who can play multiple positions but not that well. That may sound harsh, but a porous OLine will lead to a bad season (again).

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Point-Packer's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:20 am

"With Bulaga entering a contract season, Spriggs could look to lock up their right tackle position long-term."

Respectfully, there is no way in hell that's going to happen. Jason Spriggs is a sieve. He was an awful draft choice and has been nothing but a bust in the NFL. Teddy T took a major gamble and it imploded in his face. Kinda like when you draft a safety to play corner and then he proves to be an awful corner, but an above average safety. I digress. Spriggs is not the long-term answer at RT and if he is, better get used to seeing #12 with a leg cast.

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ricky's picture

July 05, 2019 at 12:34 pm

So far, Spriggs has definitely underperformed. But the problem I foresee is that Bulaga has an injury free year, gets a big contract, and then gets hurt again. Somewhat similar to Perry, but of course Bulaga has been a lot more reliable. But still injury prone. We always use the qualifier "when healthy" with Bulaga. The Packers better have his long term replacement on the roster.

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Coldworld's picture

July 05, 2019 at 02:18 pm

Realistically, if Bulaga plays in all games at or around his standard of play when healthy to date, I doubt we could keep him given the Smiths’ contract structure and the need to resign Clark and quite possibly Martinez not to mention Allison Daniels or Fackrell.

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dobber's picture

July 05, 2019 at 06:48 pm

Absolutely. It's a win-win for the Packers if Bulaga plays every game in 2019 at his usual level of proficiency. They get the benefit of his play AND when he walks and gets a sizable deal they get the comp pick. I just don't see him back in GB unless he tests the FA waters and comes back with a Packers-friendly deal.

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greengold's picture

July 05, 2019 at 11:48 am

Yeah, and to be fair to Lane Taylor, he had multiple injuries last season that he played through, just ineffectively due to them.

I've heard good things about Lane, and he was a ROCK for us in the 2017 season alongside Bak. I think he will return to form this year, being healthy again.

I wanted the Packers to draft another RT to take over for Bulaga, but, they went D, and I cannot argue that. Having Yosh Nijman fall into their laps was a godsend as a UDFA signing.

Some people, scouts included, can't wrap their brains around a player who had metal rods inserted in both lower legs when his body grew too fast for his bone structure to support the weight. It certainly didn't effect his Combine numbers, as he was considered by many to be the outright winner there.

His agility is superb. His feet are good. 34" arms. Really just needs development in his footwork and hand placement at the Pro level. That is what kept him from being drafted, and I think he will prove many people and teams wrong. Went up against top talent in the ACC, and I believe Gutekunst stole this kid. Having wanted the Packers to draft a top OT, I was thrilled by this signing.

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2019 at 10:56 am

I think people are expecting far too much from Nijman. If the scouting consensus on him is true, he's a mess techique-wise who needs a lot of work. I wanted a viable OT in the draft this year, too, but I think Nijman lands on the PS and I really don't see a path to the 53 for him.

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wildbill's picture

July 05, 2019 at 01:50 pm

I like Taylor but he has always been a better road grader than pass blocker. MM ran some ZBS but seems like it was an inside zone and we are changing to an outside zone where being more athletic is more important. I know he battled injuries and fought through them last year but I have the feeling that our O/L will be stronger if he is beat out as starter. He would be an excellent reserve but not sure at his salary. It’s a good problem to have with some actual choices to be made on the O/L

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Rossonero's picture

July 05, 2019 at 03:07 pm

I agree with everything in the article except for the part about Elgton Jenkins.

Jenkins will able to start in 2019. He showed that consistently against SEC competition, facing other NFL prospects on a weekly basis. He also was a pretty high 2nd rd pick. He's a lot more pro-ready than previous draft picks .

Another nitpick I have is that Jenkins can also play tackle. The guy has 34" arms and also has experience playing both tackle spots as well.

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WinUSA's picture

July 09, 2019 at 12:46 pm

The Pack has a new zone blocking scheme that possibly will cause difficulty for certain players. Denver ran it to perfection against us in Super Bowl xxxii. I don’t know how our linemen will adjust, it isn’t for ALL linemen and there might be some surprising cuts based on that premise.

I’m am still amazed that Spriggs has been allowed to cross the Wisconsin border much less be considered for our 53man roster... not if we ever want to keep Rodgers alive.

A good article and I am excited about this years roster.. both on offense AND defense. Guts has done a magnificent job at his “balls to the walls” aggressiveness approach to this years draft and FA signings. This team is going to shock a lot of naysayers this year. GO PACK!!!

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