Skip to main content

Pre-draft picture: Opportunity aplenty on Packers' offensive line

Green Bay has the draft capital to get back into the O-line game after sitting out last year

Packers Offensive Line
Packers Offensive Line

"Pre-draft picture" is a position-by-position look at the Packers' roster heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. The series continues with the offensive line.

GREEN BAY – The Packers' offensive line will have a different feel in 2024 but many familiar faces remain for a unit that reached peak form by the end of last season.

The departure of David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan and Yosh Nijman removes three long-tenured veterans from an already young Green Bay offense. However, the Packers return starting-caliber talent at all five spots on the offensive line, including two-time Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins and entrenched starters Zach Tom and Josh Myers.

As a new year beckons, the question Green Bay will look to answer is where all its pieces fit best. Also in consideration are Rasheed Walker and Sean Rhyan, who capitalized on their opportunities at left tackle and right guard, respectively, in 2023.

Perhaps no one made a bigger Year 2 jump than Walker, a former seventh-round pick who went from playing just four special-teams snaps as a rookie in 2022 to starting 17 games (including playoffs) at arguably the offensive line's most pivotal post.

The Packers went into 2023 with hope Bakhtiari had put his nagging knee issues behind him but were again forced to change course after the five-time All-Pro was lost for the season after the opener in Chicago.

Walker emerged as the starter following a brief rotation with Nijman en route to playing 851 regular-season snaps. He also started on an O-line that did not allow a sack of quarterback Jordan Love in either of Green Bay's two playoff games, the first time ever the Packers played multiple games in a postseason and did not allow a sack.

While Bakhtiari's injury expedited Walker's on-field growth, his absence thrust the veteran Jenkins into a larger leadership role off it. Now with Bakhtiari's release, the two-time Pro Bowler is both the offense's oldest player (28 years old) and most experienced with 70 regular-season games played.

Known for his versatility, Jenkins put his own knee injuries behind him and settled back into his preferred starting spot at left guard. Jenkins started 17 games (including playoffs) while helping Walker adjust to everyday life on an NFL O-line.

Cloaked in the same versatile cloth as Jenkins, Tom went from a plug-and-play starter in 2022 to winning the starting right tackle job in rather convincing fashion last summer. Having played all five spots in just two NFL seasons, the 6-foot-4, 304-pound offensive lineman remains one of the Packers' most valuable chess pieces.

Myers is back for Year 4 after what the coaching staff considered his best season to date. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound center extended his consecutive games played streak to 38 while leading Green Bay in playing time (1,089 offensive snaps).

Alongside Myers, Rhyan went from hardly playing as a rookie third-round pick in 2022 to a platoon at right guard with Runyan during the second half of the year. With Runyan signing with the New York Giants in free agency, Rhyan now has the opportunity to compete for the permanent starting job this offseason.

A tough-and-sturdy college left tackle who's transitioned to guard in Green Bay, Rhyan flashed his power and road-grading tenacity during his 183 regular-seasons snaps last season. Former fourth-round pick Royce Newman also could get a look inside after starting 24 of 51 regular-season games the past three seasons.

Despite the loss of Bakhtiari and Nijman, the Packers have three intriguing swing-tackle prospects in Caleb Jones (6-9, 370), Luke Tenuta (6-8, 314) and Kadeem Telfort (6-7, 322).

Jones has been on the active roster for most of the past two seasons but has seen action in only one game. Green Bay carried Tenuta on its initial 53-man roster after he injured his ankle in training camp but never designated him to return from injured reserve.

On Friday, the Packers made their first offseason addition to the offensive line when they signed sixth-year veteran Andre Dillard. A first-round pick (No. 22 overall) by Philadelphia in 2019, Dillard has played in 59 games with 19 starts - 10 of which came last season at right tackle for the Tennessee Titans.

With a league-high 11 picks, it seems inevitable the Packers will address the offensive line during this year's NFL Draft. After taking three offensive linemen each year from 2020-22, General Manager Brian Gutekunst left the position alone last spring. It was just the second time since 2000 the Packers did not draft an offensive lineman (2015).

Since the first NFL Draft in 1936, Green Bay has never gone back-to-back years without taking an offensive lineman.

Pre-Draft Roster Series:

Related Content