Offensive line (10)
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick, Royce Newman, Ben Braden, Yosh Nijman, Simon Stepaniak
The big question with this group is what they are going to do until Bakhtiari is back. The thought right now is Jenkins moves to left tackle, leaving a spot open at one of the guard positions. I’m guessing Jon Runyan Jr. and Lucas Patrick will have the first shot at those spots, but rookie Royce Newman has been making some noise this offseason.
This is something Matt LaFleur has preached since he got to Green Bay. They are going to put the best five offensive linemen out on the field.
After Corey Linsley left in free agency, a big hole opened up at center. The Packers replaced him with another Ohio St. product in Josh Myers. So far, it sounds like he will be the likely Week 1 starter for the Packers, barring an injury.
For depth, the Packers have some versatile linemen. Ben Braden is a name that keeps popping up to keep an eye on. He is a guard that can play tackle, something the Packers are going to need until Bak can make it back to the lineup. Cole Van Lanen could also do something similar. He played tackle for Wisconsin but is thought to be more of a guard in the NFL.
Stepaniak missed last season with an injury he suffered in college. I think he and Van Lanen could be fighting it out for a roster spot. Whichever one misses out could find themselves on the practice squad. For now, I’m rolling with Van Lanen, but that could easily change.
Practice squad candidates: Simon Stepaniak, Jon Dietzen
Offense: 25 players
Defensive line (5)
Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, TJ Slaton, Tyler Lancaster
The Packers finally addressed the defensive line position through the draft. They drafted TJ Slaton to try to fill the middle of the line and plug up some gaps to stop the opponent’s running game. Putting Slaton in the middle will allow the Packers to either give Clark a breather, but also let him play the defensive end position and rush the quarterback too.
This is a big year for Kingsley Keke. He’s shown a lot of promise the past couple of years, but I think this is the year the Packers expect him to become a big-time player for them. Dean Lowry has underperformed since signing his three-year, $20.3 million contract a few years ago, but they will depend on him and Keke to be the ends for the team this year.
Lancaster will provide some depth, but hasn’t provided much production the past few years either.
Practice squad candidates: Jack Helfin, Willington Previlon