This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers for 2023. Today we will analyze the offensive line. The grades will be for each unit as a whole, but we will give an analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and where they stand heading into the offseason. Here are the grades for the Packers offensive line in 2023. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.
You can see our final grade for the quarterbacks here and for the defensive line here. The running backs are here, the inside linebackers here, and tight ends here. You can find the edge rushers here.
Over the course of the season, the Packers offensive line allowed 30 sacks and did a strong job pass blocking. The run blocking was less consistent although it improved as the season progressed.
Final Grade for the Packers Starting Offensive Line
Rasheed Walker took over the starting left tackle spot in Week 2 after David Bakhtiari was shut down for the season. Walker struggled early with inside moves and stunts, but he learned on the job and was better in the second half. His run blocking also got better but still needs to improve.
The former seventh-round pick out of Penn State showed promise and will fight for a starting job in 2024 depending on who GM Brian Gutekunst drafts and whether Bakhtiari returns.
Starting left guard Elgton Jenkins fought through injuries to have a solid season. While he didn’t play at a Pro Bowl level, Jenkins was a strong pass blocker all season long. His run blocking was only average although he did enjoy a late-season surge in that department.
Center Josh Myers struggled mightily early in the season but got a bit more consistent in the second half of the 2023 campaign. Myers graded out as very average in all categories. He will likely return as the starter, but the Packers could look for an upgrade here.
Jon Runyan Jr. had an off year across the board. He lost playing time later in the year. Runyan needs to upgrade his run blocking. His pass blocking was better but was not up to his usual standards. The Michigan alum is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent and probably won’t return.
Zach Tom graded out as the team’s best offensive lineman this season. The starting right tackle earned the highest run blocking grade of any starter and was very strong in pass protection as well. Tom possesses versatility and like Jenkins, can play anywhere along the offensive line.
Final Grade for the Packers Primary Backups on the Offensive Line
Bakhtiari started the season opener at left tackle and played well. However, he was shut down after that game to have additional surgeries on the knee he injured late in the 2020 season in an attempt to have him return in 2024.
The former All Pro has only played a total of 13 games over the last three seasons. He will turn 33 in September and will have a very high cap number. Gutekunst wouldn’t commit to keeping Bakhtiari next year but didn’t say the team would definitely move on, either. If he can stay healthy, he can provide the Packers with strong offensive line play, but he may have to restructure his deal to stay in Green Bay. Financially, it makes sense to move on from Bakhtiari.
Royce Newman started two games early in the season but didn’t play well. He was passed on the depth chart by Sean Rhyan by midseason. Newman struggles at run blocking and is only slightly better in pass protection. He’ll have to improve next season to keep his roster spot.
Rhyan blocks better for the run than the pass and still needs to improve his overall technique. He will fight for a starting job in 2024 and will be the favorite if Runyan doesn’t return.
Yosh Nijman lost the battle at right tackle in training camp. After Bakhtiari was hurt, he alternated with Walker at left tackle but eventually Walker won the job outright. Nijman wasn’t bad but he wasn’t special in any area either. He is a free agent this offseason and is unlikely to return, especially if he wants a chance to start in 2024.
Depth on the Offensive Line
Massive Caleb Jones played in just one game and saw action on one snap on special teams. He is the biggest player in Packers history. The Packers like his potential and consider him a project and will bring him back in 2024 to see if he’s ready for a larger role.
Undrafted free agent Kadeem Telfort spent the season on the practice squad but was not elevated for any games this season. The 6’7”, 322-pound UAB alum signed a futures contract and will compete for a roster spot in camp next summer.
Luke Tenuta played three games for the Packers in 2022, but he spent the 2023 campaign on IR. He will also be back next season to fight for a job.
Final Grade for the Packers 2023 Offensive Line
Despite some early-season struggles, the offensive line came on strong in the second half and contributed to the success of Jordan Love and the rest of the offense. The addition of a healthy Aaron Jones late in the season also helped the run blocking look better.
Overall, the line did a good job of protecting the quarterback but needs to be better at creating holes for the run. Changes at right guard and possibly at left tackle could help in this area.
There is still room for growth here with the players on the roster and we can expect Gutekunst to add some draft picks along the line throughout the draft.
The line did a good job overall but can certainly be better.
FINAL GRADE: B-
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