On the first day of the NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers went heavy on defense. But they started day two by turning their attention toward the offensive side, specifically the offensive line.
With the 44th overall selection, the Packers landed center Elgton Jenkins, who played multiple positions on the line in his college career. For Mississippi State, Jenkins started all 26 games at center over his final two years in Starkville after making starts at left tackle (5), left guard (2), and right tackle (1) in his first two collegiate seasons. A low-end three-star recruit out of high school, Jenkins’ grit and perseverance paid big dividends in ultimately becoming a second-round draft pick.
At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, Jenkins offers good size for the interior line positions. He did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but he posted the seventh-best bench press number among all offensive linemen (29) and is lauded for his ability to anchor down. Jenkins’ hand placement and ability to gain leverage is efficient despite not having elite athleticism. Interestingly enough, new Packers quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy spent time in Starkville last season as offensive coordinator & wide receivers coach, and was given a first-hand look at Jenkins.
Curiously, Jenkins was announced at the draft podium as a guard despite catching the attention of NFL scouts for his play at center. Without a clear backup to Corey Linsley on the Packers’ roster, Jenkins will instantly provide a second-string option at the position and may be able to challenge newcomer Billy Turner for snaps at right guard. However, right guard is the one position on the line in which Jenkins has not made a start and it has been quite awhile since he saw consistent action at tackle to be counted on there. Still, Jenkins boasts plenty of SEC starting experience on his resume to be a quick contributor.
Although Green Bay was able to add last year’s fifth-round pick Cole Madison back to the roster this month, it did not deter the Packers from bolstering the interior line’s depth early in the draft. After watching the Minnesota Vikings select NC State’s Garrett Bradbury in the first round yesterday, Green Bay drafted the second center of the draft just four selections before Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy was chosen by the New Orleans Saints.
Barring a trade, the Packers will be back on the clock at pick 75 in the third round.