Without David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins through the first week of training camp, the Green Bay Packers are continuing to rotate between two specific offensive line combinations.
The first, from left to right: Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman.
The second: Zach Tom, Runyan Jr., Myers, Newman, Nijman.
Nijman, who started eight games last season and keeps improving, is being groomed as a swing tackle who can play on the left side or right side depending on who is available. He could be invaluable as the Packers wait for Bakhtiari and Jenkins to get healthy.
A surprise of camp might be Tom, a fourth-round pick who is getting first-team reps at left tackle, a position where he started 24 games at Wake Forest. He’s undersized by left tackle standards but the Packers think he has everything necessary for playing the position.
Runyan Jr. and Myers look entrenched as starters. It would take an injury for the Packers to have someone different starting at left guard or center come Week 1 in Minnesota.
The right side is interesting. Hanson, a 2020 sixth-round pick who primarily played center at Oregon, is getting a legitimate shot to play right guard. He’s increasingly looking like a Lucas Patrick-like player who can handle guard snaps while also providing backup insurance at center.
Newman, a 16-game starter at right guard as a rookie in 2021, has experience playing right tackle and could factor into the equation there if one of Bakhtiari or Jenkins (or both) can’t go to start the season. His cross-training at guard and tackle on the right side ups his value considerably.
One notable exception here is third-round pick Sean Rhyan. Will he eventually get into the mix at right guard? Cole Van Lanen, a 2021 sixth-round pick, could be another option at right tackle, and he was cross-trained a bit at guard last summer.
Tom is the one to watch the rest of camp. The Packers are giving him reps all over the offensive line. Tom becoming a five-position player this early would provide tremendous value, especially considering the team’s current depth at offensive tackle.
Adding Bakhtiari and Jenkins could turn this patched-up offensive line to start training camp into a real powerhouse. When everyone is healthy, four spots (left tackle, left guard, center and right tackle) should be occupied by potentially high-end starters, leaving five or six versatile young players to develop and compete for what’s left. There are question marks when it comes to the veteran returning from injuries, but the Packers appear to be in a strong position long-term along the offensive line.