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Countdown to Camp: Familiarity reigns on deep offensive line

David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins returned to health and form last season

T David Bakhtiari and G/T Elgton Jenkins
T David Bakhtiari and G/T Elgton Jenkins

"Countdown to Camp" is a daily look at the Packers' roster, position by position, leading up to the start of training camp. The series continues with the offensive line.

GREEN BAY – The Packers' offensive line will have a familiar feel this summer after returning a whopping 13 players from a year ago.

The organization felt strongly enough about the prospects of the unit that it opted against using even one of Green Bay's 13 picks on the position in this year's NFL Draft. It was only the second time since the turn of the century the Packers didn't add to the O-line through the draft.

The 2023 unit features a unique blend of Pro Bowl experience and youth, a byproduct of Green Bay selecting three offensive linemen in each of the three previous drafts prior to this past April.

As Jordan Love assumes control of the Packers' offense, the new starting quarterback will have five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and two-time Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins protecting his blindside.

The two veterans successfully returned to the field last year after missing a combined 33 regular-season games from 2021-22 due to ACL tears. There was some trial-and-error involved when it came to determining the best measures of preparation in practice, but Bakhtiari and Jenkins looked like their elite selves again during the season's final stretch.

Third-year center Josh Myers and fourth-year right guard Jon Runyan are the favorites at their respective positions after being the only Packers O-linemen to start every game last season and play more than 1,000 offensive snaps.

The Packers have floated the possibility of 2022 fourth-round pick Zach Tom competing with Myers for the center job, but the former Ohio State standout worked exclusively with the starting five in the spring. A second-round pick in 2021, Myers has started all 24 games (including playoffs) he's played in Green Bay.

The dependable Runyan has garnered the praise of Head Coach Matt LaFleur and former quarterback Aaron Rodgers for his consistency and durability up front. His 50 consecutive games played are tied with Yosh Nijman for the longest streak among Packers offensive players.

The position entirely up for grabs at the moment lies at right tackle, where Nijman and Tom rotated throughout the offseason program.

The following is the fourth installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the offensive line.

Nijman, playing on a second-round restricted tender, began last season in a platoon at left tackle with the returning Bakhtiari before shifting to right tackle. The former undrafted free agent finished the year with career highs in both offensive snaps played (756) and starts (13).

Tom played everywhere as a rookie while serving as the primary backup at virtually every position on the offensive line. Versatility was what first attracted the Packers to the 6-foot-4, 304-pounder, who played both center and left tackle during his three years as a starter at Wake Forest.

When Bakhtiari and Jenkins sat out of team periods in the spring, tackle Caleb Jones and former fourth-round pick Royce Newman were typically the next linemen up at their respective positions.

The massive Jones came to Green Bay as an undrafted free agent last summer. A three-year starter at Indiana, Jones was elevated to the Packers' 53-man roster during the first month of the season but didn't play in a game. Listed at 6-foot-9 and 370 pounds, Jones would be the largest player to appear in a regular-season game for the Packers if he sees the field this season.

Newman has started 21 games over his first two seasons. The Ole Miss alum opened last year at right guard before a reshuffling on the offensive line in Week 7 led to the Packers moving both Nijman and Runyan to the right side.

Other offensive linemen who return include former 2022 draft picks Sean Rhyan and Rasheed Walker, third-year center/guard Jake Hanson, and tackle Luke Tenuta, a former sixth-round pick by Buffalo whom the Packers claimed off waivers from Indianapolis last October.

With Jenkins still on the mend, Hanson received his first NFL start in last year's opener against Minnesota. The former sixth-round pick played in five games before suffering a season-ending biceps injury. Hanson missed the entire offseason program due to his rehab regimen.

Rhyan, a third-round pick out of UCLA, was the first of the three offensive linemen the Packers drafted last year. However, he appeared in just one regular-season game before receiving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. While listed as a tackle/guard, Rhyan also worked at center during the offseason program.

Filling out of the offensive line room are practice-squad holdover Jean Delance and undrafted rookies DJ Scaife, Chuck Filiaga, Kadeem Telfort.

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