When the Packers picked Elgton Jenkins with the 44th Pick of the 2019 NFL draft many Packer fans were disappointed. A college center didn’t seem like a smart move with a prime pick when the team had a near all-pro at the position. Yes, there was talk of moving him to guard and he had played a year of college tackle early in his career but few fans thought he would ever take competent reps at left tackle protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.
Jenkins was the 11th offensive lineman picked in the 2019 NFL draft. He wasn’t even the first college center picked. The Vikings took Garrett Bradbury with their first round pick at 18. Cincinnati took the first offensive lineman, guard Jonah Williams, with the 11th pick. The Packers picked two defensive players, Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage Jr. before sending in the card to Roger Goodell with Jenkin’s name on it. Although he was passed up in the draft by his own team twice and every other team with a pick in the league, he is building a case that he could be the best Packer draft pick since David Bakhtiari. If he stays healthy, he could even give Bakhtiari a run for his money.
In the last ten years the Packers have drafted some quality starting players. Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Bulaga, Aaron Jones, Linsley, Jaire Alexander, and Davante Adams all could be nominees for the best pick. According to PFF, Linsley, Adams, and Alexander along with Rodgers are the top players at their position. Jenkins may not be ranked number one at his position yet, but part of the reason could be he keeps playing different positions during games. Against the Colts, Jenkins took over for an injured Linsley and played well. He has performed admirably at all the line positions this year and is the Packers’ de facto backup left tackle. Perhaps his most amazing accomplishment is that he has done it all in 26 regular season starts.
If fans were to argue the best draft pick in ten years, it is no more than an educated guess whether Bakhtiari has the athleticism to excel at guard and center. While debating over the value of “skill position” players versus lineman can be entertaining, no one can argue that the consistency of the Packers current offensive line, through a multitude of key injuries has been nothing short of amazing. O-line coach Adam Stenavich and his assistants deserve a lot of credit, but no one can argue that Jenkins has been the glue that has kept the Packers running and passing efficiently.