The Green Bay Packers‘ offensive line was dominant throughout the 2020 season, with the exception of both games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They now have to deal with replacing their All-Pro center Corey Linsley, while potentially also starting the new season without left tackle David Bakhtiari.
What moves have the Packers made this offseason, and have they strengthened along the offensive line?
Currently on the roster
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, Josh Myers, Billy Turner, Jon Runyan, Yosh Nijman, Royce Newman, Cole Van Lanen, Jacob Capra, Coy Cronk, Jon Dietzen, Simon Stepaniak, Zack Johnson, Ben Braden, Jake Hanson
The Packers didn’t re-sign center Corey Linsley, only a couple of months after he was named a first-team All-Pro. To create some cap room, they also released tackle Rick Wagner.
They turned to the draft to fix their needs along the line, selecting center Josh Myers in the second round, tackle/guard Royce Newman in the fourth round, and tackle/guard Cole Van Lanen in the sixth round.
Improved from 2020?
The starting five is unlikely to be as strong as a year ago with Linsley gone, especially if Bakhtiari misses any time due to injury. That said, you could argue the depth has improved with the Packers drafting two versatile linemen in Newman and Van Lanen. They can both play at multiple positions.
Bakhtiari is the Packers’ best offensive lineman, but I’m going for Jenkins here. It’s unclear whether he will remain at guard or shift to center or tackle this season. The Pro Bowler is so valuable to this offensive line because he can play well at any spot.
With Bakhtiari potentially out for the start of the season, Jenkins could be asked to cover at tackle. But if Myers isn’t ready early on, he could play at center. It all depends on where Jenkins is needed the most, and that’s what makes him so important to this offensive line.
The Packers have consistently had one of the best offensive lines in football, and that remained true even after losing Bryan Bulaga last season. Can they maintain their excellent level of play now after losing Linsley?
Green Bay will need Myers to step in early on. Finding the best position for Jenkins is important, although he can be asked to line up anywhere and the Packers know he will play well.
Bakhtiari’s injury could be a factor early on if he has to miss any time, but the Packers have ensured they have good depth across the offensive line with many players who play more than one position.
Find the best starting five won’t be easy for Matt LaFleur over the summer, but competition and good depth is never a bad thing.