In part three of the ‘Perfect Packers’ series, the big guys come into focus. Let’s examine the offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft who fit the athletic mold Green Bay has recently favored.
This time, we will need two different sets of athletic measurements to determine which prospects the Packers may be interested in. One for tackles and one for centers.
Why not one for guards? Green Bay doesn’t draft guards, they draft college tackles who can play guard.
So, let’s kick off with the offensive tackle position. Brian Gutekunst has drafted seven of them as the Packers GM: Sean Rhyan, Zach Tom, Royce Newman, Cole Madison, Jon Runyan Jr., Cole Van Lanen, and Rasheed Walker.
These players achieved at least the following results in the traditional pre-draft athletic drills (except Rasheed Walker, who did not do any testing):
- Height: 6’4.2”
- Weight: 304lbs
- Arm length: 32.25”
- Hand size: 8.75”
- 40 time: 5.33s
- 10-yard split: 1.84s
- Vertical jump: 28”
- Broad jump: 8’1”
- Shuttle: 4.88
- 3-cone: 7.91
Perfect Green Bay tackles:
Annoyingly, most of the top prospects didn’t complete the athletic testing, so as far as tackles go, it’s only late round prospects who fully qualify as a Packer, such as:
Earl Bostick Jr. – Kansas (9.42 RAS)
Henry Byrd – Princeton (9.10 RAS)
John Ojukwu – Boise State (8.72 RAS)
Ryan Swoboda – UCF (9.33 RAS)
There is some debate here as to whether Swoboda actually is a fit for the Packers. He’s 6’9”, and Green Bay hasn’t drafted an offensive lineman taller than 6’5.5” (Josh Myers) under Gutekunst.
They do however have Caleb Jones and Luke Tenuta, former undrafted free agents, on the roster.
Probable Green Bay tackles:
Here are some of the consensus top prospects who did not complete all the athletic testing but would likely have qualified as potential Packers if they did:
Paris Johnson Jr. – Ohio State
Johnson is arguably the top tackle prospect in the 2023 class, but he did not complete any athletic testing besides the broad jump, in which he graded in the 87th percentile among previously drafted offensive tackles.
When you watch Johnson, athleticism is not a concern, so the lack of testing would be unlikely to deter the Packers from selecting him. He also has long arms of more than 36 inches, which bodes well.
Something which could work against Johnson is that he is slightly taller than Green Bay’s apparent preference at 6’6.3”, but it’s hard to believe Gutekunst would turn his nose up at a player of this quality over less than an inch.
Broderick Jones – Georgia
Another consensus first-round pick, Jones crushed every athletic test he partook in, but did not complete the agility drills.
Given his excellent athleticism in other areas – Jones has an incomplete Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.58 on a 0-10 scale compared to previously drafted offensive tackles – and the fact this athleticism shows up on tape, he is a good bet to be on Green Bay’s board.
Darnell Wright – Tennessee
Wright did not do the 3-cone drill, but qualifies as a Packer in every other area, posting an incomplete RAS of 9.68.
He has also visited Green Bay ahead of the draft and has been mooted as a potential Packers pick at 15 overall.
However, Wright is considerably heavier than the linemen Gutekunst has selected, tipping the scales at 333lbs. Walker is Green Bay’s heaviest drafted lineman on the current roster at 324lbs.
Anton Harrison – Oklahoma
Harrison also didn’t complete the 3-cone drill but hits all the other marks Green Bay’s linemen have previously set.
He has an incomplete 7.93 RAS and could be a day two option for the Packers.
Wanya Morris – Oklahoma
Like his Oklahoma teammate Harrison, Morris did not complete the 3-cone. He didn’t do the shuttle drill either, giving him no agility testing.
Morris shows good movement skills on tape, has an incomplete 8.35 RAS and may be in play for Green Bay as early as round three.
Matthew Bergeron – Syracuse
Bergeron did not run the 40 but performed well in the testing he did complete, earning an incomplete 8.72 RAS, and athleticism is believed to be a strength of his game.
The following tackles aced all the athletic testing but are just 1- or 2-pounds light compared to the linemen Gutekunst has drafted and are all taller as well:
Blake Freeland – BYU (9.83 RAS)
Alex Palczewski – Illinois (7.78 RAS)
Jake Witt – Northern Michigan (9.80 RAS)
Perfect Green Bay guards:
Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu – Oregon
As with all the players in this section, Aumavae-Laulu has experience at tackle, and he passes every test from an athletic standpoint to be on Green Bay’s board.
He achieved a 7.60 RAS and could be an early-day-three pick for the Packers.
Other day three guards who are perfect athletic fits for Green Bay are:
Sidy Sow – Eastern Michigan (9.03 RAS)
J.D. DiRenzo – Rutgers (8.07 RAS)
Chris Toth – Aurora (8.20 RAS)
Toth may be too tall for Green Bay, if that’s actually a thing, standing at 6’6.1”.
Probable Green Bay guards:
Cody Mauch from North Dakota State and Dylan Deatherage from Western Michigan passed every athletic test but are both 2lbs lighter than any offensive lineman Gutekunst has drafted. This likely won’t be an issue.
Nick Broeker of Ole Miss did not participate in the explosion drills (vert and broad) but is a proven ‘Packer’ in every other area.
Tyler Steen performed exceptionally well in the pre-draft drills but did not run the 40. He played tackle at Oklahoma but has shorter arms, so would likely be a guard in Green Bay. He Has an incomplete 9.47 RAS and could also fall in the “too tall” theory at 6’6”.
Peter Skoronski of Northwestern is an interesting case. He tested very well but did not complete the shuttle drill and is also 0.2 inches shorter than any tackle/guard Gutekunst has drafted.
It would be easy to think such a small difference in height wouldn’t factor in to whether the Packers would draft Skoronski.
But consider this: Three of Gutekunst’s seven draft picks at offensive tackle are exactly 6’4.2”, as are David Bakhtiari and Jean Delance, who are also on Green Bay’s roster. This could be a hard floor for the Packers and the offensive tackles they draft.
LSU’s Anthony Bradford and UCLA’s Jon Gaines II are also both 0.2 inches shorter than Gutekunst has seemingly preferred, but otherwise fit the athletic profile the Packers covet. Gaines also has experience at center.
The Packers hosted UCLA’s Atonio Mafi, who does not conform to the team’s normal size profile, on a pre-draft visit.
Mafi is just 6’2.6” and weighs 338lbs. He has never played offensive tackle, but instead moved over from the defensive side of the ball having played nose tackle before converting to guard.
Gutekunst has drafted four players who were listed as centers: Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, and Simon Stepaniak.
The Packers seem to be much less strict on athleticism for centers, at least since Gutekunst has been in the big chair.
Only one of the four players he has drafted at the position completed all the pre-draft testing (Jenkins: 9.33 RAS), while Myers and Stepaniak only participated in one drill, the vert and bench respectively.
What is noteworthy though, is that the Packers appear to prefer bigger centers. It is common for centers to be markedly shorter than other offensive linemen, but Green Bay hasn’t drafted one under Gutekunst who is shorter than 6’4.1”.
With that in mind, only one center in the 2023 class really stands out as an option for the Packers: Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann.
Tippmann stands at an even 6’6”, which if anything could potentially be too tall.
He didn’t test other than in the bench press, where he put up an impressive 30 reps, but he looks plenty athletic on tape and Green Bay doesn’t seem to care about centers testing.
Would Green Bay be in the market for a center having spent a 2nd pick on Myers just two years ago? Maybe not, but if they are, Tippmann could be a nice fit on day two of this year’s draft.
‘Perfect Packers’ series: