Why Elgton Jenkins was the Packers best pick

Selecting a center in the NFL Draft is never a flashy pick. Often disregarded as a non-premium position in football circles, interior offensive lineman are rarely given the credit they deserve for an offense’s success.

Offensive lineman are seen as solid, safe picks in early rounds of drafts. (Derek Sherrod wasn’t) Mostly because those who are chosen early demonstrate sound technique and coachability, allowing teams to see them as a stalwart at their positions for the next decade. The unheralded big hogs of the offensive line are overlooked and underappreciated on the field. You’ve heard it a thousand times, “football games are won and lost in the trenches.” Elgton Jenkins helps the Packers win that war.

Time and time again the Packers guards were simply over matched last year. The interior offensive line, barring Corey Linsley, was an absolute disaster in pass protection in 2018. These concerns were exacerbated by Aaron Rodgers injury and inability to escape pressure in the pocket like his usual self. Instant interior pressure is a quarterback’s worst nightmare in the NFL, and it has come back to haunt the Packers the past two years.

In 2014, the Green Bay Packers had Pro Football Focus’ number three and four guards, number five centre and number four right tackle. David Bahktiari was their number fourteen left tackle. Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP, completing 65% of his passes for 4381 yards and 38 touchdowns. Most importantly, he was sacked on only 5.1% of drop backs, the lowest rate of his career. If not for some horrible play by rookie safety HaHa Clinton-Dix, and an all-time gaffe by Brandon Bostick, the 2014 Packers would’ve been a Superbowl team. The job of General Manager Brian Gutekunst is to get them back there.

Rebuilding the offensive line is a crucial task, as there has been a revolving door at the guard position the past few years. Lane Taylor was below average in 2018, and let’s not even bring up the pylon that was Byron Bell. Elgton Jenkins is a significant upgrade, who will be crucial to the Packers success in 2019.

As the video from @BR_NFL shows, Jenkins uses a fantastic base to anchor against power rushers, and has the strength to win on every down. He displaces nosetackles with ease and opens up holes right, left ,and center for his running backs. He will come into the league with advanced hand technique that should only improve at the next level. Jenkins displays the crucial ability to tilt and turn defenders, dictating where he wants the battle to take place. Number 74 is a smooth operator in space, a vital trait in Matt Lafleur’s offense. He often climbs to the second level, destroying linebackers and defensive backs while on the move.

Along with all of those impressive qualities, Jenkins football IQ may be his most impressive trait. The native of Clarksdale, Mississippi spent time at both tackle spots and guard for the Bulldogs, finally settling in at center. His awareness is off the charts, as he is alert on every down and always looking for someone to hit. He is brutally effective while pulling and showed the athleticism to get out in front of screen plays, creating extra yards on every down. The Packers haven’t had a player like Jenkins at guard since T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton left in free agency. As the outpouring of love from Green Bay suggests, since both retired this off-season, their presence is sorely missed.

Many fans of the Packers were in an uproar when Jenkins was announced as the pick at 44. With A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf still on the board, how could Green Bay look anywhere else? Luckily, the powers that be made the intelligent decision to beef up the offensive line. Realizing that Aaron Rodgers is the franchise, and protecting him is still the top priority. Elgton Jenkins will be an absolute joy to watch in green and gold, and his presence will be felt the most of any Packers rookie in 2019.

Nick is a lifelong Packers fan. 4th and 26 was on his 13th birthday, unlucky. Follow him @CANDRAFTGEEK647 on Twitter for all your Packers draft needs and questions.

12 thoughts on “Why Elgton Jenkins was the Packers best pick

  1. I was really happy with the pick. I think the “need” at WR is very exaggerated. We have 3 athletic, big bodied 2nd year receivers of which I think at least one, maybe 2, will have huge years. 2nd year a rodg will have much more confidence and they’ll make the leap. I’m excited to see their development this year.

    1. I was going to write something like this: now I don’t have to. I was much happier with the second day’s picks.

      1. Yup… I thought Gute did a great job but day 2 was especially excellent. I think Sternberger might be at least the 2nd best TE in this draft class.

        1. His college coach, who coached some great NFL tight ends, reckons he’s the best. We’ll see in two or three years’ time.

    2. I like em a lot too but I could still see Gutekunst looking at some of the veterans who get cut. This team is much closer than a lot of people are giving them credit for. Personally I think it’s EQ who makes the big “Jump” this year.

  2. Unless Linsey falters or gets injured, Jenkins will be a backup that rarely sees the field. I would like to have seen a backup G, OT or another player that would help them win.

    1. They’re going to move him to guard almost guaranteed. Transition from center to guard is not hard. Come on man!

    2. Packers didn’t draft this dude at 44 to sit on the bench.
      He can play center, guard, and tackle.
      Based on available information, it seems their intent is to move him to guard, and backup the tackle position if injury occurs. He’ll probably take Lane Taylor’s spot, as he isn’t athletic enough to execute the new run blocking scheme.

  3. I think this off-season and draft will vault us into the playoffs.

    Pettine now has multiple paths to the QB, a good cornerback group from last years, and a great safety combo.

    We have a good, and possibly great WR group, adequate TEs, and good RB trio.

    What is not to like going into 2019? Maybe Oren Burks will not learn to cover? That’s a small detail – and we have Josh Jones.

    On offense – just give Rodgers time to move and throw – whatever La Fleur adds is extra – maybe we get home field advantage.

    It’s not too early to read the future.

  4. I loved the pick. We KNEW the Packers were taking an O-Linemen and judging by the O-Linemen they had in for visits prior to the draft we knew they’d probably take one high. Rodgers is 35 years old and even though he still can move around pretty damn well, the Packers NEEDED a stud like Jenkins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him beat out Taylor before the end of the year OR, move Billy Turner to RT, Jenkins to RG, and cut BB to free up some space.

    I love Bryan Bulaga and the heart he’s always displayed to get and/or be on the field. Now he just may be great again this year another year removed from knee surgery. But it could also go the other way and Bulagas body just can’t meet the demands of the position anymore.

  5. Losing the two fourth round picks threw a monkey wrench into the works. We should have kept a fourth and given up a fourth and a sixth. Too late now no matter what the deal was Savage has a lot to prove to me with this draft class of safeties to choose from. A.J. Brown,Metcalf were available not to mention the two players from Ohio State. We could have had a great replacement for Cobb. There was plenty of talent still available at OL and receiver at 110 which would have been our pick.

Comments are closed.