Green Bay Packers

Here's Green Bay's Best Move At Center

Photo credit: Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA TODAY NETWORK

Elgton Jenkins was one of the NFL’s premier offensive guards last year. Jenkins played 544 pass-blocking snaps in 15 games while allowing zero sacks and maintaining a 4.4% pressure rate allowed.

Since the Green Bay Packers drafted him in 2019, Jenkins has played all five positions on the offensive line. Notably, he played 94% of his career snaps at left tackle when he filled in for David Bakhtiari in 2021, who suffered a torn ACL on New Year’s Eve in 2020. Jenkins has logged over 3,000 snaps at guard, 372 at right tackle, and 297 at center.

Throughout his career, Jenkins has excelled as an elite pass-blocker, regardless of his position. He has four seasons with pass-blocking grades of 73.6 or higher. Over 2,500 pass-blocking snaps, Jenkins has allowed six sacks, 13 QB hits, and 88 pressures. But according to Pro Football Focus, his run-blocking performance in 2023 was his lowest-graded year (57.3). However, Green Bay’s struggles in run-blocking extended across the unit, ranking 22nd in that category.

Green Bay’s offensive line has only two guaranteed starters next year: Zach Tom and Jenkins. Tom is expected to start at right tackle, where he held former Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, Pro Bowler Aidan Hutchinson, and former All-Pro Cameron Jordan to only nine QB pressures over 125 pass-blocking matchups. Jenkins is likely to open the season at left guard. However, moving him to center could help Green Bay field their “best five” on the offensive line.

After five full seasons of familiarity with LaFleur’s playbook and pro-level speed, Jenkins is the ideal candidate to be Green Bay’s center, often referred to as the quarterback of the offensive line. Jenkins has seen nearly everything, equipping him with the knowledge to identify pressure looks at the line of scrimmage and to adjust protections based on what the front seven shows. His experience and understanding make him perfectly suited for this role.

Tom was arguably Green Bay’s best all-around offensive lineman last year. Meanwhile, Rasheed Walker stood out as the top non-Trent Williams tackle in pass-block win rate for 2023. Looking ahead, Jordan Morgan is expected to vie with Walker for the left tackle spot. However, Morgan’s struggles during OTAs and minicamp give Walker a slight edge in the competition.

Still, Green Bay spent a first-round pick on Morgan, and developing him doesn’t involve keeping him on the sidelines. He needs playing time, which will inevitably come with challenges, including his “welcome to the NFL, rookie” moment. If Morgan starts the season, it’s likely to be at guard.

If Morgan takes Jenkins’ spot at left guard, the Packers could seamlessly transition Jenkins to center. Jenkins played all 297 of his career snaps at center in 2020, earning a solid 76.6 pass-blocking grade and a 62.3 run-blocking grade – higher than any grade Josh Myers has received in his career.

Although Myers has played all his career snaps at center, Green Bay should try him out at guard. Myers could face competition from Sean Rhyan, Royce Newman, Donovan Jennings, Jacob Monk, and Andre Dillard. If Myers wins the job, it would prove he can be at least a serviceable guard. It would be easier for Green Bay to plan around an average guard than a below-average center.

The 2024 Green Bay Packers need a reliable center, and it’s unclear whether they see Myers as that player. At this point, Myers has shown who he is: not terrible, but not above average. He has had more bad moments than good ones. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what a bad center is until you have one.” The Packers have the fifth-best odds to win the NFC and the eighth-best to win the Super Bowl next year. They can’t settle for mediocrity at one of the most critical positions on the offensive line.

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