This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers. Today we will analyze the offensive line. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here, click here for running backs, here for the defensive line, here for inside linebackers, here for tight ends and here for edge rushers.
The grades will be for each unit as a whole but we will provide analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and a quick analysis of where they stand heading into the offseason.
The Packers offensive line started the season with its two best players still trying to return from injuries that cost them to miss training camp and preseason. That instability led to some changes in the lineup early and some inconsistency on the field.
The team averaged 4.6-yards per rush this season which placed them 12th in the league and gave up 32 sacks in 17 games.
Here are the grades for the Packers offensive line in 2022. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.
David Bakhtiari finally returned to the field at left tackle in Week 3 although he split time in a few early season games as he returned from the knee injury that cost him nearly all the 2021 campaign. Later in season, he missed four games due to an emergency appendectomy.
When he was in the lineup, Bakhtiari continued to play well. He did not allow a sack all year according to Pro Football Focus and graded out as a very good pass blocker and good run blocker.
Bakhtiari will turn 32 in September. If he can stay healthy, he can provide the Packers with one of the league’s best players at left tackle but staying healthy has been a challenge for the former Colorado star. The Packers may look to restructure his contract this offseason to save some cap space but would be better off keeping Bakhtiari in 2023.
Elgton Jenkins missed the season opener as he recovered from his season-ending knee injury from last season but then took every meaningful snap for the rest of the season except missing one game in Week 8.
Jenkins was initially put at right tackle but struggled at that position before being moved back to left guard where he earned Pro Bowl honors in 2020.
Once he moved back to guard and got further away from his knee injury, Jenkins played better and by the end of the season, he was once again the team’s second best lineman.
The Packers signed Jenkins to an extension late last season so he will be back in Green Bay in 2023 and beyond.
Center Josh Myers played all 17 games in 2022 after being limited to just six in his rookie campaign. Like many Packers offensive linemen, Myers graded out much higher as a pass protector than a run blocker. His run blocking was average and his inability to consistently get push up the middle made short-yardage situations more challenging for the offense.
Jon Runyan, Jr. started the season at left guard but moved to right guard after Jenkins returned to his previous position. Runyan was consistently good in pass protection but very average blocking for the run. The former Michigan star played all 17 games this season and recovered one fumble. He is tough and consistent but needs to improve his push on run blocks to become elite.
Yosh Nijman started 13 games and played in all 17. He had some nagging injuries late in the season but overall played well and proved himself a solid starter. Nijman also pass blocks better than he run blocks but sometimes struggles with speedier pass rushers coming of the edge. Nijman is a restricted free agent and hopefully will be back to compete for a starting job at tackle. The former Virginia Tech star has come a long way since he joined the Packers as a very raw but physically gifted undrafted free agent.
Rookie Zach Tom showed his versatility in the nine games he played in while starting five. He played every position along the offensive line except center which is also a position he is also capable of playing. In limited action, Tom graded out as the team’s second best pass blocking lineman behind Bakhtiari. The Packers are high on Tom’s potential. His development may make Nijman expendable. At the very least, Tom’s versatility would make him a valuable backup at every position along the line if he doesn’t win a starting job in training camp.
Sean Rhyan had a rough rookie season and continued the Packers struggles with their third round picks. The former UCLA star struggled to adjust to life in the NFL and did not play a snap all season. He was suspended by the league for the final six games of the regular season for violating the league’s PED policy. Rhyan hopes to start fresh next season and needs to prove he can play in this league.
Royce Newman started the first six games of the season at both tackle and guard before being benched. He proved to be average at best at both pass and run blocking and continued to struggle picking up stunts and blitzes. He did a respectable job filling in when injuries struck late in the season against the Dolphins and provides the team with depth at both guard and tackle.
Jake Hanson started opening day at right guard but was benched after a poor performance and only played eight more offensive snaps in the next five games before being placed on season-ending IR. Hanson graded out a slightly above average run blocker but had one of the lowest pass blocking grades in the game. He will be a longshot to make the team next season unless he improves his game this offseason.
Rookie seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker was active for one game and saw four snaps on special teams. He was regarded as a physically gifted lineman who needed to improve his technique and work ethic to solidify a roster spot. He’ll be back to compete in training camp.
Massive undrafted free agent Caleb Jones is listed at 6’9” and 370 pounds. He spent most of the season on the practice squad and didn’t see the field all year. He is hoping to follow in Nijman’s footsteps and take his size and strength and develop into a competent NFL lineman.
The Packers signed former Bills pick Luke Tenuta during the season and he played in the team’s final three games. He took seven snaps in mop up duty against the Vikings and 18 snaps on special teams. The Virginia Tech product graded out well in limited action and hopes to fight for a roster spot next season.
Jean Delance was added to the practice squad in mid-December and signed a futures contract to return to training camp next season.
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