In the span of four days, the Green Bay Packers saw two offensive linemen go down with injuries. First it was first-year pro Cole Madison, who tore his ACL in Thursday’s practice and went on injured reserve Saturday. Then on Sunday, starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga suffered a sprained MCL, which will keep him out for the immediate future.
The Packers’ plans at that right tackle spot are unclear, but there are two plausible options. The first is putting swing tackle Alex Light in the lineup at Bulaga’s spot, which would keep the other four starting spots on the line steady. Option number two would be to kick right guard Billy Turner out to tackle and inserting veteran guard Lucas Patrick in the starting lineup at guard.
But in either option, the Packers would have had only two healthy backups on the 53-man roster, a precarious position to be in. Therefore, the team has reportedly bolstered its line depth by promoting the only offensive lineman on the practice squad, rookie Yosh Nijman, to the active roster.
Nijman is a tremendous athlete at the tackle position, posting one of the best RAS numbers possible even with a slip in the three-cone drill at the Combine. After starting at left tackle for two seasons at Virginia Tech, Nijman moved to the right side for his senior season. In the preseason, however, he played left and right tackle, showing enough ability to warrant a practice squad spot.
With either Light or Patrick plus Adam Pankey serving as backups, the Packers have options on gameday to back up their starters. However, Nijman’s presence will provide added depth at a critical position should another unexpected injury strike.