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The Packers drafted some quality offensive linemen...see for yourself

Green Bay’s new pass-blockers shined in good-on-good matchups.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Wake Forest at Army

After the 2022 NFL draft had come to its conclusion, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst admitted that the team was lighter on the offensive line than they typically prefer to be. According to the headman on the Packers’ personnel staff, they want to be around 12 deep at the position. Due to the ACL injury to starter Elgton Jenkins, the team only had 8 healthy players going into the draft.

That all changed in the middle and late rounds, when Green Bay took UCLA’s Sean Rhyan, Wake Forest’s Zach Tom and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker in the third, fourth and seventh rounds, respectively. With the addition of four more undrafted free agents, the team now sits at 15 healthy linemen, nearly double the number that they were at just a week ago today.

When evaluating college football players, talking heads like to remind us to watch “good-on-good” matchups, meaning a player’s reps against a future NFL player. With that in mind, Acme Packing Company made coaches' film cutups of each of the Packers’ three offensive line picks. Each video, which last one or two minutes, shows a complete set of plays against first-round pass-rushers who were drafted in the 2022 class, the closest thing they got to NFL-caliber competition.

Sean Rhyan, UCLA

Sean Rhyan, a three-year starter, played almost exclusively at left tackle for UCLA over his college career. Due to an injury to USC’s Drake Jackson before the end-of-the-season matchup between the Trojans and Bruins, the only drafted pass-rusher that Rhyan faced all year was Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was selected fifth overall by the New York Giants.

Rhyan is an athletic lineman for his size and his weight (321 pounds) and strength (9’2” broad jump) show up in his one-on-one reps against Thibodeaux. While the two didn’t go head-to-head that much due to the fact that Thibodeaux was busy abusing UCLA’s right tackle all game, the film swings positively for Rhyan, who is clearly the best run blocker of the trio and has the best shot at starting as a guard.

Zach Tom, Wake Forest

One of the more impressive tapes by a Day 3 selection in the 2022 draft is Wake Forest’s Zach Tom holding down the fort in pass protection against Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson. Johnson, a late first-round selection, was nearly erased in the pass-rushing game by Tom, who was one of college football’s most effective pass protectors.

Tom has played left tackle and center primarily and is very athletic, but a little undersized for the tackle position. There are similarities, physically, to the likes of David Bakhtiari or even the Los Angeles Chargers’ Rashawn Slater. When the analysts talk about “typewriter feet” on the draft day broadcast, what they mean is what Tom showed in his snaps against Johnson.

The big question mark about Tom moving forward is 1) Is he going to get reps early on and 2) What position is he going to play? At the moment, the Packers need a guard a whole lot more than a tackle or a center and the nearly 20-pound difference between him and Rhyan looks significant on film, at least if they’re going to be asked to transition inside.

Rasheed Walker, Penn State

The Packers’ selection of Rasheed Walker was maybe their best-received pick of the draft, which is shocking considering they telegraphed the pick by bringing Walker in on a visit during the pre-draft process. Walker did not test during the offseason due to an injury, which could have been a reason for their visit and his fall on draft day, but has a long frame that shows up on film.

Against Michigan, when he faced two high draft pick edge rushers in Aidan Hutchinson (second overall pick) and David Ojabo (second-round pick), you can see the tools that made him worthy of a draft choice. It’s not always pretty, which is why he was still available on Day 3, but if the team can redshirt the 22-year-old former U.S. Army All-American behind Bakhtiari, Jenkins and Yosh Nijman this year, the team could have just secured themselves a tackle at a very cheap three-year price. Considering the fact that Nijman is playing on a one-year tender, it makes sense for the team to view Walker as a potential swing tackle as soon as the 2023 season.