Packers Draft: Three offensive tackle prospects to watch

The Packers could look to the second or third day of the 2022 NFL Draft to shore up their offensive line.

The Packers currently have some questions to answer at the offensive tackle spot.

David Bakhtiari should return to shore up the left tackle position in 2022, but the right side of Green Bay’s line is still in flux.

Billy Turner was released, Elgton Jenkins could miss a chunk of the season with an ACL injury, and whether Yosh Nijman is a viable starting tackle is still up for debate.

It has been mooted that Green Bay could address the position early on in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, based on their draft history, this would be somewhat of a surprise.

The Packers have not selected an offensive lineman in the first round since Derek Sherrod in 2011, instead preferring to build their line in the later rounds.

With that in mind, here are three players to watch as Green Bay looks to bolster its depth at offensive tackle, all of whom could be available on day two or three of this month’s draft.

Abraham Lucas – Washington State

Lucas has conducted a visit with the Packers in the build up to the draft, and would appear to be a fit for what Green Bay usually looks for at the tackle position.

Standing at 6’6 and weighing 315 lbs., Lucas has good size for the position and tested extremely well in the pre-draft process in terms of athleticism.

He posted a 9.73 RAS (Relative Athletic Score) out of a possible 10, and also recorded the fastest 3-cone score of all 2022 draft-eligible offensive tackles.

3-cone score has in the past proven a solid indicator of success in the NFL for offensive tackles, and his mobility is evident on tape.

Like many prospects in this year’s draft, Lucas is older than you’d like, turning 24 in October.

However, his overall skillset could be very attractive to the Packers, and Lucas could be a target for Green Bay in the third round.

Kellen Diesch – Arizona State

Many of the positive things you could say about Abraham Lucas are also true of Kellen Diesch.

Like Lucas, he boasts good length for the position at 6’7, although he is light at just 301 lbs.

Diesch also posted an excellent RAS of 9.75 and was impressive in the 3-cone drill.

He is a great athlete for the position and could suit Green Bay’s zone running scheme.

Unfortunately, Diesch also has the same issue as Lucas… he’s old. He turns 25 in August.

This could limit Diesch’s upside, but if the Packers were to draft him in the fourth round, it would not be a substantial investment and Diesch could compete to be Green Bay’s starting right tackle in week one.

Nick Zakelj – Fordham

A sleeper pick for the Packers could be Fordham’s Nick Zakelj. Like the other two names on this list, he scored well athletically, posting a 9.45 RAS as a tackle, or 9.83 as a guard, where some have projected him to play in the NFL.

However, Zakelj’s tape suggests he could make it as a tackle at the next level, as he possesses all the physical tools evaluators look for as well as a nasty demeanour. His coaches should be able to teach him the rest.

There will be concerns over the level of competition Zakelj played against at Fordham, but he played his best game against their toughest opponent when facing Nebraska in 2021.

Zakelj is not the youngest prospect either, but he is younger than Lucas and Diesch, turning 23 in June. He could well be a target for the Packers on day three of the 2022 NFL Draft.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

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Comments (40)

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BirdDogUni's picture

April 17, 2022 at 12:13 pm

As long as we grab one or two who might develop, that's what counts. If a highly rated OL were to fall, I'd hope Gutey would think about it, especially if he could start at RT immediately.

I'm sure Gutey has an OT he'll target, but like every other pick, it depends on the board when we're on the clock.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:00 pm

One to start at RT and the other to push Newman for a job. No more projects. They need to get TWO by pick #92.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 06:51 pm

We need two starters, because that’s what they’ll be after the starter gets injured. Development is fine, but we need guys who can play like our QBs life depends on it.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 18, 2022 at 10:36 am

Yes, LH...and this is the draft to get 2 quality depth OL talents...depending on total picks Gutey ends up with, even 3 selections to replace Turner, Patrick and Kelly (although Kelly could be brought back).

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 02:37 pm

Somebody had their coffee. You don't drop 50 M on a guy and play the suicide watch game with a patchwork O line. We will see how it shakes out in ten days, if he takes two and maybe a third.

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ajj924's picture

April 17, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Three VERY INTELLIGENT prospects to highlight. They all share the most important thing for the Packers at tackle-- they have the pass blocking traits that cannot be taught.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:22 pm

Look deeper.

I’m an ASU Alum. I took Diesch off my list because his arms are shorter than the Bears top pick last year, Teven Jenkins. Not sure what CHI was thinking with their most valuable R2 pick…??? I heard Jenkins’ we’re actually 33 1/8”. It looks like it. Lucas’s are just a bit longer, maybe 3/4”, but he struggles a bit in run blocking.

Look for top Pro level traits, arms 34” or greater, then work your way down to your most solid group of players as starters to protect your QB, and open holes in the run game.

Leverage is vital in both run and pass blocking up here, in the NFL, where ends keep getting bigger and faster. I love both players in college, and they were good OTs there. Odds don’t favor shorter armed OTs, EDGE players, LBs or Safeties in the NFL.

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wildbill's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:48 pm

You do realize that if you add 3/4 to 33 1/8 it’s 33 7/8. You really think 1/8 inch arm difference makes that much difference?

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:17 pm

Ask Ty Summers how much he’d like arms 3/4” longer…

Hell yes, it makes a difference. You’re try to leverage a speeding train away from your QB. It’s truly a game of inches…

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MainePackFan's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:37 pm

Brian Bulaga was 33.25" so there are exceptions. It is a measurable worth paying attention to, but It isn't a deal breaker if everything else is in line.

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wildbill's picture

April 17, 2022 at 06:52 pm

You were talking 1/8 inch difference, try to pay attention

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:50 pm

This is a very good point. These are the kind of details that generally get missed by those of us watching film. The opposition in the NFL is bigger, stronger and faster and, sometimes that exposes issues not seen in college. So many levels in determining who might make the jump, but fortunately, our scouts have proven fairly good at identifying talent on the OL and our coaches at developing it.

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BruceC1960's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:31 pm

Pac 12 linemen scare me a little. Kind of a finesse league?

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:24 pm

I don’t know, Bruce. I can’t really disagree there. I spent a bunch of time last night digging through the offerings in this draft, and especially looked towards those available R4-7. There are some gems to be had, better than both of these guys, in terms of all-around run/pass blocking, NFL projections for body type, etc.

Man, this stuff really take a good amount of time to sort through (measurements, reviews, metrics and tape). Being a total draft geek, having gotten a late start, I’m just now feeling confident in about 4 or 5 OTs throughout Day 3.

I still like Lucas, who is a great pass blocking OT. He’s near 34” and some outlets list his arm length longer (always tough to know with certainty). The run blocking technique is something for Packers staff to determine for coaching up.

I’m liking Braxton Jones, Thayer Munford, Max Mitchell, Lucas, Matt Waletzko and Obinna Eze. There are others on the fringe both early & late. Lotta questions where Dare Rosenthal fits, but he’s another I like Day 3.

I love Diesch, who really was a destroyer for ASU and one of the Top OTs in the country. Just thinking about projections, and success at a different level. The only OT I know of who had shorter arms and great success was Jason Peters. I guess, he proves there really can be limitations that can be overcome for success there. Long odds though.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:15 pm

We may be reaching Burn Out Time on this draft obsession? Here goes:

#22 to NOLA on a trade request for ( #49,#98, #120, & 2023 2nd rd) top four wides off the board and I'm not convinced Burks or London are my guys.

#28 and #140 to KC for the #29 and #94
#29 Watson WR
#40 Winfrey DT/Five tech. McBride was gone at #34. ( #49 and 2023 3rd to NE)
#53 Pierce WR
#54 Lucas OT
#70 SKYY WR/PR/KR ( #92 + 2023 GB 2nd to JAGS. keeping NOLA 2023 2nd)
#94 Joseph S All Big Ten
#98 Williams Edge ( from NOLA)
#120 Mathis CB 4.39 just missed on Taylor
#132 Krull TE
#171 Haskins RB
#191 Goedeke OG ( #249 and 2023 5th comp to Vikes)
#228 Anderson S 4.36 gunner
#258 Pacheco RB 4.37

So many teams have extra picks there will be a crazy day like a crypto IPO.

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stockholder's picture

April 17, 2022 at 07:40 pm

Seattle wants a 1 and 2 and 4 for Metcalf. They can keep him.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:56 pm

I like Lockett better. He may want to bail with Drew Lock as his QB. They probably want the same or more. No, I will trade down and bag as many WRs as I can before pick #75. I am now targeting Watson, Pierce and Skyy to transform this offense. Rodgers would be like Elway with the Three Amigos. Winfrey with a high two pick as the DE/Five tech. Load up on number two and three picks and keep the fourths.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:57 pm

TOTALLY get where you’re going here as you’ll see, but I’m going for broke with SPEED + QUICKS + AGILE + YAC + HANDS + TOUGH.

22 WR Velus Jones*
28 DT Perrion Winfrey*
53 LB Troy Andersen*
59 S Bryan Cook*
93 WR Erik Ezukanma*
132 EDGE Alex Wright*
140 TE Chig Okonkwo*
171 OT Thayer Munford*
228 S Markquese Bell*
249 OT Dare Rosenthal*
258 WR Deven Thompkins*

*BALLERS

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Leatherhead's picture

April 18, 2022 at 10:26 am

And if Velus Jones got hurt, or didn't set the league on fire, you'd have just fired yourself from a great job that pays several million dollars a year. ME? If I'm raking in a couple of million a year as the GM of the Packers, I'm going to try to play it down the middle of the fairway, so to speak. If you get a guy like Burks, for example, and he gets hurt or is nothing special, then that reflects on Burks, but if it's Jones it reflects on the GM who took him early.

I also like your attempt to balance out offense and defense, and 99 times out of a hundred, I'd agree, but this is that one time. I think we should load up the offense, not only because it makes no sense to bring Rodgers back without players around him, but also because it's a virtual certainty that these will be guys on their rookie deal yet when Rodgers successor takes over.

So I'll take a brat with the works. Gimme TEs and WRs and even RBs.

But take care of the offensive line first. I'm sorry, but I don't want to be lining up Dare Rosenthal opposite of Aaron Donald in a playoff game, and that's not a knock on Rosenthal. We have question marks about our STARTERs, amigo, not to mention what happens when the starters get hurt. We have an ancient QB that has to be protected. We have a pair of great RBs who need holes.

So I'm going for help on that line a lot earlier than you are. In my simulations, I've had better results when I trade down #28 with Minnesota for their 2nd and 3rd round picks and use both of those picks on offensive linemen, meaning we get two of the premier Olinemen in this draft.

#22 Burks. He checks off quite a few of the boxes for that position.
#28 Traded to Minnesota for #46 and #77.
#44 Sean Rhyan, OT, ready to start.
#53 George Pickens. I consider him a steal at #53.
#59 Isaiah Spiller. Outstanding RB. A replacement down the road for Jones, who isn't getting younger or cheaper.
#77 Abraham Lucas, OT.
#92. Another steal, IMO, but Jelani Woods, TE, is available.
#132 Charlie Kolar, TE.
#140 Tyquan Thornton, WR. If none of the other WRs gets injured before the season, he'd have to start the season on our practice squad, but he's just too good with the ball in his hands.

That leaves four, end of the draft, picks to bolster a real good defense that's returning everybody from last year. It really improves our offensive roster, IMO.

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greengold's picture

April 18, 2022 at 10:46 am

Jones has a mere 4 fewer receptions than Burks. Jones is far more dynamic, versatile, and tested vs. top Power 5 competition. Just because the draft industry is playing catch-up..? That’s your reasoning? Can’t be his numbers.

Your first sentence is meaningless, really, as that would apply to any player we take R1.

And, if you want to put all of our hopes upon Sean Rhyan, with 32 5/8” arms, protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside, when he clearly projects at OG… vs. Munford, with 34 1/8” levers projecting as a true OT with all the gifts for the position, I guess there’s not much more to say.

Remember, R4 selection David Bakhtiari started as a rookie Game 1, coming in at 6-4 299, 34” arms and 9 1/2” hands, and a nasty demeanor. Sounds more like Munford than Rhyan.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

Jenkins projected as an OG/OC. That's where he was drafted to play. That's where he played. I would say that Rhyan projects more as the versatile, adaptive OL that Gutekunst seems to favor.

You're taking this arm length thing a little too seriously, iMO. As a young lady confided to me, size does matter but an extra half inch isn't anything meaningful.

And no, my first sentence doesn't apply to anybody we would take. Look at our history. Tony Mandarich was a bust, but that always reflects on him, never the guy who drafted him, because he was a consensus Top Guy, just like Ryan Leaf and Vince Young, etc.

But if you reach for a guy, or trade up to get him, and he lays an egg, then that's much more or an indictment on the GM. He put his own bacon in the pan.

This thing about Velus Jones....you think he's worth #22. I think it'll be closer to #122, and I'd bet a cold can of Pabst on it.

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greengold's picture

April 18, 2022 at 11:41 am

Done.

How long are Elgton Jenkins’ arms again??? I’ll just wait on that…

Look, this is not meant to cut, or to pull any neener neener BS with anybody. I’m worthless right now, waiting for my surgery in 11 days, and have had way more time than some over the last month to do nothing more than pour over the data available on all these players as best I can, and share what I’ve learned here.

Seriously, need to stay off my feet, isolated from possible Covid exposure, etc. If after all this study I’m pounding a table for a guy, with this much research in, it’s for good reason.

No disrespect intended on any of this stuff. We’re all on the same team here.

I just can’t say with conviction the I’d rather have any other WR at 22 or 28… and, I haven’t. You don’t have to agree. We’ll see. Cheers!

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Leatherhead's picture

April 18, 2022 at 12:36 pm

You are not worthless right now. I value your input. On Jones, you were the guy who put him on my radar, and I’d love to have him on the team, but not before #90 or so

Like I said, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes.

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greengold's picture

April 18, 2022 at 01:23 pm

Thanks, my friend. It really is going to be interesting how they reload.

You’re not wrong at all wanting OL early too. I do, but have just dug deep to see where some of those real value picks might be. There are other areas of this team calling out, and some insane talents available.

Up top, I like Tyler Smith quite a lot. Zion Johnson is a very capable multi position player
I believe strongly in as well, kind of like Elgton. Penning could drop to us. Beyond that, a guy you take at 140 could truly be as good or better than one available at 53, 59 or 93… from what I’ve seen. LH.

I was really trying with the mocks I’ve shared to fit intricate puzzle pieces together… thinking, at every draft pick, adding the players that appear attainable at the position, and fit our real needs.

I’ve got over 100 of these with different combinations:

22 WR Velus Jones
28 OT Tyler Smith
53 WR Alec Pierce
59 DT Phidarian Mathis
93 S Jalen Pitre
132 TE Charlie Kolar
140 EDGE Alex Wright
171 LB D’Marco Jackson
228 WR Bo Melton
249 EDGE Ali Fayad
258 WR Deven Thompkins

22 OT Trevor Penning
28 WR Velus Jones
53 EDGE Sam Williams
59 DT Phidarian Mathis
93 WR Alec Pierce
132 CB Zyon McCollum
140 LB Troy Andersen
171 EDGE Alex Wright
228 WR Bo Melton
249 OT Dare Rosenthal
258 WR Deven Thompkins

22 OL Zion Johnson
28 WR Velus Jones
53 LB Troy Andersen
59 EDGE Sam Williams
93 TE Trey McBride
132 WR Bo Melton
140 S Markquese Bell
171 OT Obinna Eze
228 OT Dare Rosenthal
249 TE/H Chig Okonkwo
258 EDGE Ali Fayad

22 WR Velus Jones
28 S Lewis Cine
53 DT Perrion Winfrey
59 LB Troy Andersen
93 WR Erik Ezukanma
132 EDGE Alex Wright
140 NT Noah Elliss
171 TE Chig Okonkwo
228 OT Cordell Volson
249 OT Spencer Burford
258 WR Darren Thompkins

22 WR Chris Olave
28 WR Velus Jones
53 DT Perrion Winfrey
59 LB Troy Andersen
93 S Bryan Cook
132 OT Thayer Munford
140 EDGE Michael Clemons
171 EDGE Alex Wright
228 CB Cobie Durant
249 OT Matt Waletzko
258 WR Deven Thompkins

They’ve all been works in progress while I learn more about slotting etc. over time, but, you get the idea. All different combinations, all with players I feel strongly about. If I don’t load OT up top, it means I’m thinking they may be looking to add via FA, roster cuts or trade post draft for capable starters. It doesn’t mean I don’t want capable starters.

I just keep pouring the research in for no other reason than it’s fun, and it takes me back to those times when I was a kid pouring over the magazines, eagerly waiting to see the listings of our picks in the morning sports section of the newspaper.

Feel like I just turned into an instant dinosaur.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 02:53 pm

Don't overdose on the Mocks. I've moved to Dr. Suess books.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 02:50 pm

Burks and J Williams were the All-SEC first team, but Jones was also first team as the return specialist . He may not climb to the first round, but he is moving up the ladder close to the third. . Munford is an All-Big Ten Guard where he belongs.

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BirdDogUni's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:17 pm

Might be one of your few comments I totally agree with. ; )

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 18, 2022 at 11:24 am

Good draft JJ. It would make my teeth hurt if I did pulled this together!

13 prospects with 3 WRs, 2 solid OL (Goedeke would be a steal prospect at 191), Winfry, Williams, Joesph, Krull & depth for ST play.

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 17, 2022 at 07:09 pm

Waletzko handled Boye Mafe pretty damn well at Senior Bowl practices. I think he is going to do really well for someone. Couldn't find a 3 cone for him but he has 36" arms, so that is a plus.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:32 pm

I like your Day 3 guys, Greengold, but…….

I look at a line that has lost Linsley, Wagner, Taylor, and Patrick, and Kelly over the last two years, and we’ve replaced them with Myers and some Day 3 guys. IMO, this is inadequate. Whoever we draft is one pulled groin away from protecting Aaron Rodgers from Aaron Donald.

I’d like some premium beef in this draft, because I think we’ll be in every game where we protect our QB and open holes in the run game.

I get two OL in the top 100 in most of my simulations. Sean Rhyan pops up a lot. So do Kenyon Green and Raimann and Falaale.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:46 pm

Quality players come from every college conference.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 17, 2022 at 02:32 pm

Matt Waletzko in the 3rd/early 4th. Showed he belonged with the big boys at the Senior Bowl. 312 lbs, 36" arms, ran a 7.26 3-cone(!!) and 28 bench reps. 9.95 RAS was 7th out of over 1200 OTs since 1987.

https://twitter.com/jacobinfante24/status/1513245878894698501?t=-4BLaWfE...

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 17, 2022 at 02:39 pm

PS I know it says Bears but I like the clip!
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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:20 pm

Yeah, I like him. He’s all over in terms of where he slots, R4-7 from what I’ve seen.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:12 pm

Is he a starter?

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Turophile's picture

April 18, 2022 at 07:36 am

Yeah, Waletzko could be a fine pickup from round 4 onwards. Here are three more.

I'd be interested in Dare Rosenthal (6'7", 327) in the 4th/5th (but you couldn't start him straight away). He has athleticism in spades, but needs plenty of technique work. His freakish physical skills could reward a team who takes a chance on him, handsomely. His RAS score (7.67) was surprisingly poor considering how athletic he has shown to be, which may cause him to fall to where he is a very nice value choice.

On a somewhat different note, I'd be happy with seeing Trevor Penning falling to the Packers at pick 22. Big, smart, very powerful and explosive player - would be a great fit at RT though he played LT at N.Iowa. He's a bit stiff sometimes, but he is a real mauler who likes to bury opponents. Has a 9.95 RAS.

Spencer Burford 6'4", 295 has all you want to see athletically . All he really needs is more weight on him. Add 15lbs and he could be a very nice pickup, but he's too light as he is now. He was a 4 year starter at UTSA, two at guard, two at tackle, so he has plenty of experience. For a patient team, he could be a gem in the late rounds. His lower RAS score (6.7) is understandable as he will be heavily penalised for his height and weight.

Of the three guys I mentioned, only Penning is likely to be an early starter, but draft picks are not all about this year, not even in an all-in year. The three guys I mentioned all have what it takes athletically to thrive in the trenches at tackle.

One alternative OT I haven't mentioned is Tyler Smith (6'4 5/8", 324). Some see him as a guard but he can play tackle as he did at Tulsa. I originally failed to mention him as his likely draft spot (about pick 40) is a bit between picks for the Packers. If, however, they move back from pick 28 into the upper regions of round 2, he is firmly in the wheelhouse. I think he is a little gem (well, big gem really) at that point.

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greengold's picture

April 18, 2022 at 07:59 am

I agree on all of this, Turophile. Every single one of those players would help this football team, some earlier, some later, but with what we’d consider a normal timeframe for development.

Should be interesting to see if they have Penning starring at them with pick #22 if they select him, or if they throw slotting of roughly 10 spaces out the window and pop for Tyler Smith with the #28 if they can’t get the trade down deal they like.

Burford & Rosenthal are exceptional development prospects.

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GTPack's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:49 pm

Losing OT Dennis Kelly as a swing tackle and Lucas Oatrick also hurts the depth especially with Jenkins out for the first quarter to half of the season. Bahktiari’s knee issues lasting all season is also a concern. It wasn’t a “clean” ACL tear involving cartilage loss and fluid buildup after workouts. It’s very possible he may never regain his elite lateral mobility for pass protection or drive off that knee on running plays. Drafting an OT with a high pick wouldn’t shock me.

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dobber's picture

April 18, 2022 at 08:05 am

The bottom line on Bakhtiari is that the contract he signed was only really about a 2-year deal that could be redone based on team needs. The Packers have gone to the Bakhtiari bank a couple times now (thanks covid cap shrinkage) which make interpreting his deal a little bit harder...that and the new co-GM flexing his muscles could significantly change the ability of the team to manage a few aging pieces. With two LT candidates on the roster (Jenkins and Nijman), unless there are catastrophic injuries on the OL, I don't see Bakhtiari back in 2023--which makes finding that next OT a priority.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 18, 2022 at 10:44 am

For all the reasons mentioned, I don't see Bakhtiari back next year UNLESS he stays healthy all season and plays well. I see Jenkins as our future LT, because we'll have to pay him a bunch. Myers is our center. Runyan is our LG. So the left side of the line would ideally look like this in 2023 : Jenkins, Runyan, Myers.

So far, so good. At RT, the leading candidate is Nijman, who is also our backup LT. That's placing a lot of straw on one camel's back. If he were to get injured, we'd have no starter at RT and no backup at LT. I submit it makes more sense to get a rookie starter at RT and use Nijman at LT to help rest Bakhtiari, at least until Jenkins is available.

So our starters this season would look like Bakhtiari-Runyan-Myers-Newman-Rookie. The reserves would be Nijman and Hanson and another rookie. The starters next year, ideally, would be Jenkins-Runyan-Myers-Patrick-and the two rookies you took this year. Nijman and Newman would be our top reserves.

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