The Packers offensive line has been up to the task every week. They have been protecting Aaron Rodgers like crazy and opening holes for the running attack.
They even replaced left guard Lane Taylor with rookie Elgton Jenkins, and the offensive line hasn’t lost a beat. Jenkins has stepped in and not only held his own but been a key piece to this dominant unit. Last week against the Dallas Cowboys the offensive line was opening inside zone plays with ease. Where as earlier in the season against the Minnesota Vikings, they were executing the outside zone plays to perfection.
General Manager has had the task of rebuilding the teams roster and it was depleted the last couple years during the Ted Thompson area. One area that he needed to look at not only adding depth but also talent, was the offensive line. With their 2nd pick, and the 44th selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Gutekunst select offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins from from Mississippi State.
At Mississippi State Jenkins played primarily at center with little experience at the guard and tackle positions. He has started the past two games at left guard for the Packers and has earned praise from not only teammates and Packer coaches but from coaches and players around the league. ESPN has also their “under-the-radar rookie to watch”. That is some high praise for a Packer offensive lineman that wasn’t even starting week 1.
As soon as Rodgers snaps the ball, Jenkins explodes out of his stance like a rocket and opens up holes for Aaron Jones to run through. On pass plays, he has been staying balanced, has good pad level and keeping his hands in the chest of the opposing pass rushers. Receiving high praise so early in a players career is great, and the sky is definitely the limit for this young fella. He could turn out to be a mainstay on the offensive line for years come, which is just what the Packers need to protect their franchise player.
Gutekunst has been on fire with his first two drafts and free agency signings. In no time he should have a deeper roster than the team did during the Thompson years and have the team rebuilt for sustained long-term success. Football is still a game that can be won in the trenches and rebuilding the offensive line depth to win the battles is a good place to start. Not only for keeping Rodgers protected but for opening up holes in the run. Jenkins is a big part of the reason Rodgers has only been sacked 10 times this season, which puts him on pace for his lowest amount since 2014. Expect Jenkins to continue to get better as the season goes along.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag