With their second-round pick Friday night, the 44th overall in the 2019 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Elgton Jenkins, interior offensive lineman, Mississippi State.
The Packers stood still at No. 44 and watched four highly regarded offensive tackles drafted before they had a chance: Florida’s Jawaan Taylor (35th overall to Jacksonville), Ole Miss’ Greg Little (37th overall to Carolina), Oklahoma’s Cody Ford (38th overall to Buffalo) and Kansas State’s Dalton Risner (41st overall to Denver).
It’s no surprise the Packers drafted an offensive lineman in the second round, even an interior blocker. General manager Brian Gutekunst was in business to upgrade that unit this spring, and after signing Billy Turner in free agency, that focus continued with Jenkins.
In keeping with Gutekunst’s emphasis on positional versatility, the Packers drafted Jenkins to play guard but believe he can play all five positions. He played all five positions at Mississippi State, but his most common was center, where he started his last 26 games. Jenkins also started five games at left tackle, two at left guard and one at right tackle in his career.
Bench reps: 29
26 starts at center in last two seasons.
· 2018 Kent Hull Trophy Winner (top OL in Mississippi).
· 2018 fourth-team All-American (Phil Steele).
· Did not allow sack through first nine games of season in 2018.
· Tied for SEC with fewest quarterback pressures allowed in 2018 (six).
· Committed just one penalty in 2018.
Jenkins is going to provide immediate depth and is expected to compete for a starting job early in his career. This may be one reason why Brian Gutekunst was hesitant to name free agent Billy Turner a guard after signing him this spring. With Turner’s ability to play guard or tackle, it provided Gutekunst the flexibility to select the best offensive lineman on his board. In his estimation, that offensive lineman was Jenkins. Given the Packers’ additions to the offensive line this spring, they have more options than in the past. That’s a good thing because it should help protect them against attrition, which is necessary at offensive line.
Elgton Jenkins met the media via conference call. Here are some highlights:
On his best position along the offensive line:
“I feel like I can play all positions, but right now I think they're looking at me as a guard. But I feel like I can play all the positions on the line.”
On his fit in Matt LaFleur’s outside-zone-blocking scheme:
“I ran it the past four years. I feel like I'm quick with my feet. I can move people off the ball so I feel like I'm a really good fit.”
On how difficult it’ll be to transition to playing mostly guard after starting at center past two seasons:
“I probably just have to refreshen up on it. Like I said, I feel like I can play all five positions. It's just going to camp and then crisping my technique and things like that.”
Jenkins played 773 snaps as a senior in 2018, including 369 in pass protection, according to the analytical site ProFootballFocus.com. He allowed one sack in 762 pass-blocking snaps in his junior and senior seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
"Efficient if unexciting prospect with the size, power and length at center to match with a variety of interior challengers across from him. Jenkins has the core strength to handle down and base blocking duties, but he could leave offensive line coaches wanting more if asked to handle challenging blocks in space. His tape against the best SEC's best teams over his last two seasons indicates an ability to become an effective, early NFL starter." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com