Brian Gutekunst was named GM of the Packers on January 8, 2018. He’s made over 100 personnel moves since that time – some good and some bad. I’ve been listing his best moves over the course of the last few weeks. Here’s No. 2:
I admit I wasn’t thrilled when Gutekunst drafted Elgton Jenkins with the 44th pick in the 2019 draft. It had nothing to do with the former Mississippi State star; I just wanted the Packers to select A.J. Brown. And considering the wide receiver went on to catch 57 passes for 1,115 yards and 8 TDs with the Titans, you’d think I’d be even more upset with Gutekunst now. Well, I’m not. That’s how impressive Jenkins was last season.
After barely playing in the first two games, Jenkins took over for an injured Lane Taylor in week 3 and put together one of the finest rookie seasons in recent franchise history. The 24-year-old wasn’t charged with a sack in 694 pass-blocking snaps, and he allowed only 25 hurries. What makes this even more impressive is that Jenkins started just two games at guard in college. But his ability to anchor vs. power and shuffle, slide and mirror vs. speed would allow him to excel in protection at any position along the line. His only negatives were too many penalties (10) and a tendency to not always finish blocks in the run game.
While there’s no question that Jenkins will be a staple of the Packers’ offensive line for years to come, there is a question as to where he’ll play. His best position might be center, and that spot could open up in 2021 if Corey Linsley signs elsewhere as a free agent. But that’s a story for another day. Right now, the Packers are just happy to have Jenkins, and as unlikely as this may have seemed 14 1/2 months ago, so am I.
#12 – Sullivan Surpised In Secondary
#11 – Veldheer Saved The Days
#10 – Ervin Provided Positive Returns
#9 – Greene’s Injury Hurt Defense
#8 – Lewis Starred Off The Field
#7 – Amos Delivered As Expected
#6 – Lazard Leapt To Starting Job
#5 – Preston Smith Enjoyed Career Year
#4 – One Trade Filled Two Holes
#3 – Williams Wowed In 13th Season