Over the past decade, the Green Bay Packers offensive line group has been one of the most dominant units in the league. For the 2020 season, the trend looks to continue with the elite talent they possess, great depth, and coaching.
The Packers lost on a friendly face to the Los Angeles Chargers and that was Bryan Bulaga. The Iowa Hawkeye signed a three-year deal worth $30 million. The Packers weren’t able to give the 31-year old that type of money due to their future free agent assets and current financial situation. The Packers were able to find a replacement and add some reliable rookies.
Let’s take a look at the offensive line heading into training camp.poce
One of the best offensive linemen in the NFL is heading into his eighth season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Bakhtiari is set to cash in on a big payday after 2020, especially with the four All-Pro appearances and the two Pro Bowl appearances. The 2013 fourth-round pick out of Colorado is coming off another good year as he only gave up two sacks, but committed 11 penalties.
The 28-year old said in a press conference a couple of months ago that he needs to stay more disciplined regarding his penalties. Bakhtiari is an elite left tackle for the Packers and has been a fan favorite for the past couple of years, the Packers should make him a top priority to bring him back to Green Bay.
It’s a real shame that offensive lineman aren’t considered for any major awards because Jenkins could have easily taken home Rookie of the Year honors. The 2019 second-round pick out Mississippi State had a fantastic season where he gave up zero sacks through 571 pass-blocking plays. After coming in for an injured Lane Taylor in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos, the rookie never looked back and started the rest of the season.
The Packers have had issues with finding key players in the second round of drafts, but they nailed the Jenkins selection as he has the ability to be one of the elite offensive linemen in the league in the next few years.
Another one of the Packers lineman heading into free agency after this season is Linsley. The 2014 fifth-round pick out of Ohio State has been one of the most consistent centers in the league. Linsley isn’t among the elites, but he has been one of the most valuable in terms of availability and production. Among centers, Linsley gave up the most sacks in the league (five) but was able to limit the penalties to two.
The 28-year old is currently the 14th highest-paid center in the league and could be looking for a good payday after the 2020 season. Linsley has some leverage for a deal worth $10 million or more due to his production and availability or could be a player that benefits from a franchise tag. The Packers might not be willing to do that, especially after drafting Jake Hanson in the 2020 Draft and needing the money for other top players on the roster.
Last year the Packers spent a ton of money in free agency and on the offensive side they brought in Turner on a four-year, $28 million contract. The North Dakota State product struggled a bit at right guard, and the issue was giving up six sacks, which was tied for second-most among guards in the NFL. Turner also played 1,076 snaps and committed two penalties.
After spending his time living in West Allie, Wisconsin, and playing college football at Wisconsin, Wagner is coming home. The 30-year old was signed back in 2017 by the Detroit Lions to a five-year deal, but was released this year in March after a down season and missing four games due to injury.
The Packers would lose Bryan Bulaga to the Los Angeles Chargers and replace him with Wagner on a two-year, $11 million contract. Coming out of the same draft class as Bakhtiari, Wagner is coming off a season where he only gave up three sacks and three penalties.
The first couple of rounds in the 2020 NFL Draft were questionable to some Packers fans, but towards the later rounds, the team got some great pieces for the offensive line. One of those pieces is sixth-round selection Jake Hanson out of Oregon. The Ducks center only missed three games through his collegiate career due to a targeting penalty in 2018 and a concussion in 2019.
In his first three seasons with the Ducks, Hanson didn’t give up a sack, but in his senior season he gave up two sacks and four QB hits. The second-team All-Pac-12 selection carved out a solid career with the Ducks and should be a reliable depth player in his rookie season.
The Packers added another North Dakota State player to their roster and it’s All-American Zack Johnson. The Packers were able to sign Johnson as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft concluded. Johnson was named as an All-American in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 and has excelled as a tackle and guard. The Blaine, Minnesota, native started 46 consecutive games over the final three seasons with the Bisons.
It’s been a tough road for Madison ever since he entered the NFL after the Packers selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In 2018, Madison took a break from football due to a personal issue and didn’t play in any games. Last year Madison was reinstated to the active roster and was ready to serve as a backup interior lineman. The 25-year old tore his ACL in November and would be placed on the IR. Madison is going to have to compete with the rookies for depth chart position or to make the 53-man roster.
After being an undrafted free agent in 2016, Lucas Patrick has been valuable for the Packers in their offensive depth chart. Patrick has appeared in 40 games through his NFL career and six of them were as a starter. Just recently Patrick replaced an injured Corey Linsley at center in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions. Patrick has played guard throughout his career but showed the versatility to play another position, he will be a lock for the 53-man roster.
Jon Runyan Jr.
Another one of the Packers’ late-round selections in the 2020 NFL Draft was an offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. from Michigan. Many were surprised to see Runyan fall so much in this draft as he was a two-time First-team All-Big Ten selection (2018, 2019). The Packers got good value with this pick as Runyan could have a shot to start at right guard later in the season or in the next couple of years if Billy Turner continues to struggle.
The third selection from the Packers in the sixth round was another offensive lineman. This could be argued another good valued selection due to Stepaniak tearing his ACL before the Gator Bowl, which forced him to miss the bowl game, college all-star games, and the NFL Combine. If it wasn’t for the injury, the Packers might have not been fortunate to draft the 2019 third-team All-Big Ten guard.
Since 2016, Taylor hasn’t been what the Packers have hoped for. After starting all 16 games in 2016, the 2013 undrafted free agent signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract extension. After the extension, Taylor has mostly been on the bench and coming in for injuries with a few starts here and there. Taylor missed the majority of last season due to a bicep injury that kept him on the injured reserve. The 30-year old is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season.
After being an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of Richmond, Alex Light is another lineman that has carved his way into some playing time. Last year the 24-year old appeared in 14 games for the Packers. Light isn’t guaranteed to make the 53-man roster and will have to compete with the rookies and other veterans trying to make the team.
Immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft, the Packers signed undrafted free agent Travis Bruffy out of Texas Tech. The All-Big 12 second-team selection started all 12 games for the Red Raiders and only allowed 18 sacks as a team, which was good enough to be ranked in the top-25 among teams with the fewest stats in the NCAA. The Red Raiders captain will look to be another undrafted free agent to make a Packers 53-man roster.
The 24-year old spent most of his 2019 season on the Packers practice squad. Conway entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans and was waived just before the 2019 season got underway. The Packers resigned Conway in January in which he hopes he can make his first 53-man roster.
The Packers were able to sign Leglue in December from the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Leglue came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos. The 24-year old has played games at tackle and guard through preseason games and in his collegiate career at Tulane.
Last year the Packers signed Nijman as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech. Nijman didn’t make the 53-man roster and was designated to the practice squad. The Packers promoted Nijman from the practice squad when Cole Madison tore his ACL in November but never got to see playing time. Nijman might be placed on the practice squad agan or could be a roster cut.