Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage were the immediate headline names after the 2019 draft for the Green Bay Packers. But second round pick Elgton Jenkins might go down as General Manager Brian Gutekunst’s best pick ever.
After Corey Linsley’s second injury of the season against the Chicago Bears, Jenkins took over at center again, and he might remain there the rest of the year. The young offensive lineman left the Packers victory with an impressive stat:
And as Aaron Rodgers confirmed during the Pat McAfee show this week, linemen like Jenkins are rare to come by. It’s not normal for possibly the best center in the league like Linsley go down, and someone can just replace them and play at almost the same level instantly. Especially a second year player.
Jenkins has been impressive since the start, but the spotlight really hit him during the Sunday Night Bears game. He got lots of love from the announcers, fans and social media. Linsley might be back near the end of the season or the playoffs. But for now, it is Jenkins’ job. And Packers fans aren’t worried.
Not every team has that kind of depth. If you watched the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles play on Monday night, you can see what a lackluster offensive line can do to a quarterback’s season. The Eagles could have definitely spent some draft picks on the o-line.
Jenkins has played almost 750 snaps already for the green and gold: 572 at left guard, 104 at center, 32 at right tackle and 27 at left tackle. This is nothing new for Jenkins. He played center, left tackle, right tackle and left guard at Mississippi State over his 34 starts and 49 career games.
Jenkins is only the second Mississippi State offensive lineman since 2000 to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft. The other? Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod when Green Bay used a first round pick on him in 2011.
The Packers offensive line, along with Jenkins, deserve a lot of credit for the team’s success. When was Aaron Jones breakout season? Last year, Jenkins’ rookie season. The Packers have only given up a sack in one game this year. It’s a special group: Jenkins, Linsley, David Bakhtiari, Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner and rookie Jon Runyan.
He Was The Right Pick
A lot of Packers fans are angry that the team hasn’t drafted an elite receiver that last few seasons. They have a point, but drafting someone instead of Jenkins would have been a mistake. Green Bay would have less depth at offensive line, and would definitely have more sacks and pressures. Jenkins has allowed only one over almost two seasons.
Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger, and keeping him on two feet and healthy is vital for the Packers. Having Jenkins on the field allows that to happen. It’s obviously not only Jenkins getting the job done, but he has been a huge help.
By drafting Jenkins, the Packers missed out on superstars like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown. Impact players like Deebo Samuel, Miles Sanders and Mecole Hardman were also on the board. No one is denying that any of these players would have been great for Green Bay. But, wide receivers and backs can be a dime a dozen. Quality, long-lasting offensive lineman are not.
Metcalf is obviously in a league of his own, but the Packers current problem isn’t scoring points: They have scored 30-plus in eight out 11 games. Their struggles continue to be defense and special teams.
Besides Metcalf, was there really anyone else on the draft board that round that you would have honestly wanted instead? I wouldn’t. I would pick Jenkins over Metcalf too. Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t have been able to throw touchdowns to DK while getting sacked.
Elgton Jenkins for Pro Bowl
The next achievement for Jenkins? The Pro Bowl. Sure, the actual game doesn’t really mean much anymore, but it is still an accomplishment. He won’t be going because the Packers will be in the Super Bowl, but he still earned the votes to get in and hopefully it happens.
Jenkins should also be considered for the NFL All-Pro Team. The stats speak for themselves. But, this might be harder because there are a lot of really good offensive lineman in the NFL, especially in the NFC. Michael Onwenu on the New England Patriots and Ali Marpet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also been impressive at left guard this year — there is plenty of competition. Jenkins currently stands out because of his versatility, but he can only make the All-Pro team for one position.
So what can you do as a Packers fan to help Jenkins? Vote for him for the Pro Bowl! There are Twitter and other social media sites that already allow you to vote there, or you can also go directly to the NFL Pro Bowl site and vote. Every vote counts. Do it now.
Jenkins deserves it: He’s a great player, he’s a great teammate and he’s a great Packer.
And while there is plenty to scratch our heads at about Green Bay’s 2020 draft picks, let’s realize that 2019 was a pretty solid class for Gute. Gary, Savage, Jenkins and Sternberger were the first four picks and all are major contributors already. All four of those players could be long-term Packers and make the Pro Bowl.
But right now is Jenkins’ moment, and he has nowhere to go but up.