Versatility Has Elgton Jenkins Seeing Dollar Signs

Jenkins is the second-best player Gutekunst has drafted. 

NFL front offices and scouts drool over buckets of analytical data. They look at everything from touchdowns to tackles. 

But the most overlooked stat has always been availabilty. 

And the player that was always available last year was Elgton Jenkins. He played 1,184 of the 1,186 offensive snaps. That's more than Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined. 

I still cannot believe how flexible Jenkins was, not just in Green Bay, but it has been going on during his entire career. At MIssissippi State, he started at center, left tackle, left guard and right tackle. Usually a player perfects a positional group and then moves within that, but Jenkins has played wherever he's been asked. 

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has had three drafts under his belt and Jenkins is the second-best of Gutekunst's 38 players selected, behind only Jaire Alexander. That may seem odd at first, giving that much praise to an offensive lineman. But, Jenkins was the glue that kept that entire unit together last year. Against the 49ers in Week 9, Jenkins started the game at left guard and after injuries forced a shuffle, Jenkins was moved to left tackle. 

"That is unheard of, I think, in this league," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur after the Packers beat the 49ers 34-17. 

And it's that versatility that will make it a little easier for the Packers to not bring back center Corey Linsley. LaFleur knows that he has a quality lineman that can play just about anywhere and Green Bay will use those skills every chance they get. Jenkins actually reminds me a little bit like JC Tretter, who was also a versatile dynamo in Green Bay. 

If Jenkins has another fantasitc year in 2021, the Packers would be wise to lock him up long term. The 25-year-old has only allowed one sack in two seasons, which is pretty remarkable. It would make sense to sign Jenkins before his rookie contract is up to save some potential money. 

When you have a first ballot Hall of Famer at quarterback, there's nothing more important than the offensive line. And Jenkins is proving how valuable versatility is. This year, he was ticketed with only five penalties, which is pretty remarkble, considering he started at left guard and center.

In the NFL, the best ability is availability and Jenkins has passed every single test. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (23)

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 27, 2021 at 07:57 am

Jenkins is the second-best player Gute has drafted? I'm going to have to disagree with you there. He is the best player Gute has drafted, period.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

February 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

As a first round pick, the expectations for Alexander was considerably higher, which to his credit (and Gutekunst), he has fulfilled. However Jenkins as a second round pick, has certainly equaled Alexander's brilliance - ergo - Gutekunst best draft pick to date.

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Gman1976's picture

February 27, 2021 at 03:08 pm

Jenkins may even be better than the Hall of Farmer Anthony Munoz. Why? He is so versatile. Has there ever been anyone who could play all 5 positions on the line so well?

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marpag1's picture

February 28, 2021 at 03:46 am

Oh my. That's .... optimistic. Kind of like saying he might be a little better than God.

Personally, I can't say that Jenkins is the even best guard in the league right now (that would be Nelson with the Colts). But Anthony Munoz is the best Offensive Lineman in the entire history of the game.

Yeah, Jenkins is damn good. Been saying it from the beginning. And versatility is great, but you can only play one position at a time.

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mnbadger's picture

February 27, 2021 at 09:24 am

I won't argue either way over first and second best. strong cases can be made for both. EJ's versatility and availability are very impressive, when combined with the extremely high level of performance wherever he was asked to play. Now, Gutey, go get three or four more. GPG

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 10:16 am

It's refreshing when Gute can hit on a draft pick as it doesn't happen often.
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Now....before the tears and the whining start.....read this....
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Ron Wolf stated getting 3 starters, is the mark of a successful draft.
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Ok Ladies...let the thumbs down begin.

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 02:04 pm

Way to go girls, keep the thumbs down coming.
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If you identify yourself i'll be having a random drawing...winner gets a new dress.
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GOOD LUCK!! :)

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flackcatcher's picture

February 27, 2021 at 03:19 pm

You're a strange one.

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Johnblood27's picture

February 27, 2021 at 05:03 pm

Plucky for sure.

Always throwing the first punch, even when there isn't a fight...

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marpag1's picture

February 28, 2021 at 03:12 am

LOL. Yeah, it's called being a dick. But I guess that's the way life is. Everybody has a skill, and we all need to do what we're good at.

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 07:12 pm

Strange?
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Any 2nd grader can give you a thumbs down if they don't agree with.
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It takes someone with the ability to think and a bit of intellect to reply with a counterpoint, like an adult would do.

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LeotisHarris's picture

February 27, 2021 at 08:32 pm

This from a man uses "ladies" and "girls" as insults. Maybe you have some growing up to do, or you're just a sexist asshat. Whatever it is, man, you don't seem to be bright enough to consider the downvotes follow you simply because they irritate you.

Keep wrestling with yourself, bud. To me, you're as entertaining as you are irritating and I'm all for entertainment.

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PF4L's picture

February 28, 2021 at 06:59 am

Atta boy...let it all out.

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dobber's picture

February 27, 2021 at 02:20 pm

The word to go with the 3 starters is "quality". If you keep all your draft picks regardless of ability, the draft --> starters prophecy comes true, but with crappy players and your team circles the drain.

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 02:30 pm

That's very true dobber.
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Although it's depressing and it takes time, look back at the Packers draft and note how many draft picks they kept after 3 or 4 years, and if they are still even in the league.
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That isn't on Gute, i'm just saying. I remember looking back over a period of 4-5 drafts starting from 2012 and sure, there were a few good (great picks) by Ted, but overall, it was horrendous.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 27, 2021 at 03:31 pm

Packers have been in the hunt for the superbowl since 2009. With the exceptions of 2017-18 seasons this team has been one of the elite in the NFL. Now with two back to back NFC champ games under Gute, that is one heck of a fast turnaround. We all get your 'angle' here, and that you are a bit of a troll. What about trying to do it based in reality, every once and while. Ok.

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 07:38 pm

Well Sparky,,,i'll tell you what.

How about....if i write something you don't think is reality based, Then SAY SO and debate it on it's merits.

NOTE: A thumbs down takes no thought.

I don't write anything that isn't reality based, that's all i'm about.
You obviously think different....so if anything i write isn't realty based to you....point it out.
Yes...i'm saying show me what isn't.

Gute is 0-2 in NFCCG's with a really good head coach and HOF QB, and a 182 million dollars worth of free agents......Congratulations.
Maybe Gute should win NFL Executive of the Year.
I'm guessing Jordan Love thinks so.

What prize does the NFL give a team for going to back to back NFCCG's?
A cookie?

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PhantomII's picture

February 27, 2021 at 01:58 pm

Jenkins a very humble guy who just goes out and plays at the highest level regardless of what is asked of him . A guy who knows God has gifted him with tremendous talent, and he is appreciative of it. You really got to pull for someone not chirping how great they are all the time and says they are blessed. I know it would be great if we had more OT depth right now but it's Jenkins who can protect Rodgers blind side until Bak gets back and do a better job of it than anyone else left on the roster. Then rotate to RT, his new higher paying long term position. This doesn't mean we can't or should not draft/ upgrade the OL, but Jenkins gives us options of what are the draft needs and priorities. I trust Jenkins over any of Gute FA he has brought in or anything this draft will bring in as a rookie.

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PF4L's picture

February 27, 2021 at 02:22 pm

I have to go with Alexander as Gutes best pick,

Simply because it's much harder to find a shut corner than a lineman, and make no mistake, Alexander "Glue" is a shut down corner.

I initially had reservation about Alexander because of his size, But he proved me wrong.
there isn't a team in the NFL who wouldn't love to have this guy.
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Sure he'll get beat here or there because he's small, but man...that cat can ball!

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Gman1976's picture

February 27, 2021 at 03:13 pm

Alexander is also a fierce tackler who does not shy away from contact. He brings IT on every play. It is amazing that we have so many stars on this team, and he will shine for years if he can stay healthy.

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Johnblood27's picture

February 27, 2021 at 05:06 pm

Loved the "Billiards" tackle he made driving a WR blocker into the receiver and knocking him down.

That play alone should relegate both of those receivers to the waiver wire.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 28, 2021 at 01:45 am

Agreed, though it is reasonably close. If Jenkins settles down at one position and becomes well above average to elite, that might change my mind. As of now, Jenkins is a plus player at multiple offensive line positions, but not really, really good to elite at any of them.

Alexander can also play both slot and boundary, man to man and in zone, and his run defense is good. He can play close to the line of scrimmage as well.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

March 01, 2021 at 05:08 pm

As long as he doesn't demand top Left Tackle money, I believe he will be a Packer who gets a second contract. I was a little surprised by his pick and probably because I didn't see him play in a college game and I didn't know anything about him. Great job by the scouting department. Line blocking is the one area that I enjoy reviewing on tape after I watch the game. Our entire Packer line works so well together as a unit. Much better than essentially all the teams I watch last year.

So far Jenkins has been simply outstanding on the football field and an upright credit to the team when he is off the field. One of the fan favorites and one of mine as well.

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