Packers Deep Dive - OL Elgton Jenkins

We breakdown the strengths of Elgton Jenkins' game and see what he brings to the Packers roster.

When the Green Bay Packers were on the clock with the No. 44 overall pick in the NFL Draft, they decided to go in a different direction than many expected. No, they did not draft one of the many talented wide receivers still on the board, or bring in an athletic off-ball linebacker. Nor did they target a tight end like Alabama's Irv Smith.

Instead, Brian Gutenkust and his staff went offfensive line with their third pick in the draft. It wouldn't have been surprising if Green Bay drafted a young offensive tackle early on to devleop as Bryan Bulaga's eventual replacement, but what was surprising, was they selected Elgton Jenkins, who played center in college and will begin his career in the Green and Gold as a guard.

This is hardly the right tackle of the future. However, Jenkins does bring versatility to the roster, which Gutenkust emphasized in his post-draft conference with the media. The former two-year starting center out of Mississippi State also spent some time at left guard and both tackle spots in his collegiate career.

His long 6-foot-4, 310-pound frame and 83-inch wingspan allow him to fill in at tackle as a possible gameday contingency plan, but it seems clear his future in the NFL is on the interior offensive line.

Not only does Jenkins give the Packers an immediate reserve center, but he also should compete with Billy Turner for the starting right guard spot. Turner's ability to also play tackle gives Green Bay some options on the line if Bulaga gets injured this season, where they could bump Turner over one spot and plug in Jenkins on the starting line.

There are also already some rumblings that Jenkins could push Lane Taylor for playing time if Taylor struggles again this year, but lets not get too ahead of ourselves. The rookie lineman out of Miss State still has a long road ahead of him before he takes anyone's job.

However, after reviewing his film there several aspects of his game that really stand out. And following the age old scouting adage -- "What can a player do?" -- lets focus on a few strengths of Jenkins' game and see what he will bring to the Packers offense.

Quick First Step

The first thing that really jumps out about Jenkins' game is how quick he explodes out of his stance and gets his hands into a defender to control him at the point of attack. This also really aids him in getting to the second level and sealing blocks for his runners.

This first clip from the Louisiana Tech game highlights this very thing. He moves smoothly out of his stance, quickly gets to the second level, and seals off the linebacker to create an open rushing lane for his halfback to explode through.

Jenkins does a great job getting his hands in the linebacker's chest and driving him out of his stance. Jenkins also takes a great angle and is able to turn the linebacker's shoulders away from the play, not giving him a chance to make a stop.

This next clip is also from the Louisiania Tech game. However, this time Jenkins is asked to pull on this quarterback power sweep. Watch how quickly he gets flat at the line of scrimmage after he snaps the ball and then does a good job not wasting steps as he moves laterally and keeps his eyes on the linebacker. 

Once the linebacker reveals himself, Jenkins closes in quickly and seals the block to open the rushing lane for Nick Fitzgerald to run through and get a nice gain on first down.

Jenkins flows naturally to the second level and does a nice job engaging with linebackers out in space. While he may not boast elite speed or athleticism for his position, his ability to quickly turn upfield enables him to get his hands on defenders several yards off the scrimmage.

Against Auburn, Jenkins makes a key block on third-and-short. Here he begins with a combo block with the right guard, but he quickly post-fits the defensive tackle and moves to seal off the linebacker.

This play also highlights how quickly Jenkins makes his reads and then engages with defenders. His first read was the defensive tackle, but once that man was secured, he moved on to the next threat. This ability to quickly get to the second level is what makes Jenkins an effective run defender.

Great Play Strength

At the NFL Combine, Jenkins recorded 29 reps on the bench press and this strength definitely shows up on film.

However, he also recorded a 109-inch broad jump, which put him in the 86th percentile for offensive linemen his size, and this impressive lower body explosiveness allows him to anchor well and play with a strong base.

On this next clip watch how once Jenkins gets his hands on the defender he uses this strength to drive the Iowa defender well out of the play.

Jenkins gets a four-yard push off the line of scrimmage. He wins with leverage and strength, but he also does a tremendous job driving his feet and using his strong lower body to keep the defender from gaining any sort of momentum.

Now, here's a clip from the Alabama game, and on this play Jenkins squares off against Quinnen Williams, the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Jenkins pass drops because the play is a quarterback draw, but he does a great job setting a strong base and coming to a stalemate with Williams.

Jenkins certainly wins this rep against Williams, and while Williams got the best of him a few snaps that game, this play at least shows what Jenkins is capable off. He can go toe-to-toe with the most talented defensive linemen coming into the league.

His base, knee bend, and arm extension are all so solid, which will help him take on defensive tackles in the NFL.

This strong base also helps him recover if a defender gets a good initial burst off the snap. Watch how Jenkins recovers on this next play and then drives his feet to regain momentum and push his man off the line of scrimmage.

You would like Jenkins to be a little nastier in his finish on this play, but he wins the rep nonetheless. He takes on the defender's initial punch, recovers quickly, and then ends the play by sending the Wildcat defender on his back.

Here's one last play that really highlights Jenkins' impressive play strength. This time a massive nose tackle is lined up directly over Jenkins as Jenkins snaps the ball. Watch how he establishes a strong base and uses his long arms and powerful legs to win momentum and drive the defender back on his butt.

Now, the running back doesn't show great vision on this play, but it's still an impressive rep for Jenkins.

Jenkins' tremendous functional strength really gives him a solid foundation to build on as he enters his pro career. His combination of length and power should allow him to hold his own as a guard at the next level, where he'll be asked to take on defenders more frequently in one-on-one matchups than combo blocking duties as a center.

High Football Intelligence

Jenkins is not only physically gifted, but he is also a smart, experience football player. He started 34 games at Mississippi State, and his comfort in the offense shows. He demonstrates a good understanding of all of his blocking responsibilities and makes good reads in his assignments.

In this next clip the Louisiana Tech defensive tackles try to stunt, but Jenkins passess off his man and picks up the crossing defensive tackle without hesitation.

It is this type of awareness that has to make coaches feel confident Jenkinds can pick up their blocking concepts quickly and play a key role on the line this season.

Jenkins' ability to pick up blitzes is also a strength to his game. In 762 pass drops at center, impressively he only allowed one sack, and ironically enough, this was against Quinnen Williams.

Jenkins didn't allow a single sack from a blitz, and in fact, allowed very few pressures from blitzing defenders. This next clip from the Louisiania Tech highlights just how reliable he is in blitz pickup.

He quickly reads the blitzing defender in the A-gap and appropriately blocks the down the defender, allowing the guard to pick up the defensive tackle while he stonewalls the inside backer.

This final clip from the Kentucky game also highlights Jenkins' ability to identify the blitz and make the correct block.

This time, however, the blitzing linebackers run a twist and the defensive tackles go wide to the B-gaps, but this does not phase Jenkins.

Jenkins easily picks up the stunt and stops the linebacker in his tracks, creating a great pocket for Fitzgerald to throw in. Jenkins' reliability in this area of the game has to be encouraging for the Packers offense.

Needs to Finish Better

While Jenkins has plenty of positive traits, one area he still needs to improve is finishing plays. He puts himself in position and has the strength to win a lot of snaps, but at times, he lets up before the whistle blows.

He needs to be more physical once he engages with defenders, and he could afford to play a litlte nastier, especially when it comes to engaging with defenders on the second level.

This play against Alabama is a prime example. It's a key run play on third-and-one, and Jenkins shows good initial burst to get to the linebacker. However, once he engages he eases up and allows his man to slip by and get in on the tackle.

Jenkins should finish this block. There's no reason he couldn't drive this linebacker well off the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, plays like this show up occasionally on his film.

However, there are still so many great aspects to Jenkins' game that this is really a minor concern and an area of his game he could certainly improve once he's under the right coaching.

Don't be surprised if Jenkins plays a key role on the Packers offensive line early in the season. He's a physically gifted lineman with a high football IQ and the versatility to play on multiple spots on the line.

He was a solid find for the Packers in the second round.

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Comments (8)

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zoellner25's picture

May 01, 2019 at 09:27 am

I'm excited about Jenkins, everything I read and saw said he's the best center/guard prospect in this draft, and has even played a little tackle. Great find by Gutey

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Johnblood27's picture

May 01, 2019 at 10:25 am

Comment on the last Kentucky clip.

Jenkins gets caught in the middle with the LB twist and if the RB didnt step up and stonewall the blitzer the QB would have had pressure up the middle.

Jenkins slides over a bit late, not really seeing the ILB twist well.

Another comment. Number 51 OT on MSU is really horrible on almost every rep shown here. I hope he goes to the Queens, Kitties or Bares!

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 01, 2019 at 10:44 am

The one thing I know, is that the competition at OG is going to be the best we have seen in years.

Taylor who had a down year last year, will have to come back strong to earn his job. Turner while they paid a lot of money too, there is no guarantee that he will start. He maybe our backup OG/OT. Madison is a bit of a question mark. We just don't know where he will be at physically after being off a year. But they were very high on him and he could end up being an starting OG.
Jenkins was drafted in the 2nd round and will absolutely be in the middle of the competition to start. At the very least we can figure Jenkins will be one of the top backups. He could backup all interior spots as well as maybe OT? That part will be to be determined.

I can't wait until this year. We have a new offense. A lot of new personnel. We have a lot of returning players that could take a huge leap especially in a new scheme. Its going to be fun to watch.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 01, 2019 at 01:53 pm

I think it gives us a solid 4th interior lineman. Jenkins, Taylor, Turner and Linsey are all under contract through two more seasons. I agree he’s not the RT of the future.

In general terms, if you’re a running team, you want interior linemen who can move people out of the way. I’m wondering if this is why they took Jenkins ahead of an OT?

Turner has a 4 year, $7 million a year deal. He’s not going to sit unless he’s hurt.

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Lare's picture

May 01, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Nice to have a backup C for Linsley.

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porupack's picture

May 01, 2019 at 01:48 pm

thanks Dan, for the clips and comments to show Jenkins to us who weren't familiar with him Would be interesting to see you compare example clips with other OL prospects that were mocked higher, but passed up by Gute. Does film on Jenkins show a stronger player than other 2nd round picks Scharping, or McCoy, or later picks McGovern or Cajuste?
And/or would it have been any value to trade up 6 spots for a Cody Ford or 3 for Risner, if tape showed Ford or Risner to be a stronger player?

Basically, I'm asking after your review on tape compared to these others, would you as GM have made the same pick?

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zeroluv's picture

May 02, 2019 at 06:16 am

Jenkins is a strong guy. At first I wasn’t too pleased about it but I didn’t do the research Gutey and his team did. This was a steal for the Packers! Love this pick more and more. This entire draft the Packers did seems like some guys that will actually make a impact and stick.

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DavidMichalski's picture

May 02, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Great work, Dan! Particularly impressed by Jenkins stonewalling Williams.

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