When Elgton Jenkins entered the NFL in 2019, expecting him to be a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive lineman within two years was likely not in the cards. Yet the Green Bay Packers found a superb, five-position stud that can help solidify their OL for years to come, something that Zach Tom may also have the skill set to do.
Out of Wake Forest, Tom is a rookie entering the 2022-23 NFL season and has spent time across all areas of the offensive line in college, setting him up well to be this year’s version of Jenkins. Having logged over 1,400 snaps at left tackle and over 1,100 snaps at center (plus work at guard), Tom’s versatility may make him a steal as a fourth-round selection.
With both David Bakhtiari and Jenkins working their ways back from season-ending injuries, depth pieces like Tom will be counted on in important roles. With Tom working his way up from the second unit to the first unit during the early portions of training camp, he seems to have caught the eyes of the coaching staff early on.
A potential starting OL unit of Tom – Jon Runyan Jr – Josh Myers – Royce Newman – Yosh Nijman has gotten some work early in camp so far, which could become the starting unit that they roll out in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. If Tom is able to shed a ‘sleeper’ label and show Matt LaFleur and members of the offensive coaching staff that he has the skills to minimally be a fill-in as Aaron Rodgers’ blind-side protector with Bakhtiari out, then the depth of this unit may be the best it has been in a long time.
The Packers love to find those unexpected stud OL pieces, as many of their developed stars have come via the mid-to-late round draft selection. Tom fits that profile yet again for this team, and the Packers will likely try to get him on the field as much as possible, especially if he is able to showcase his ability to handle all sorts of different role responsibilities.
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23