Packers rookie Jordan Morgan playing musical chairs along OL during OTAs

By: Paul Bretl 6/2/24

Two of the Green Bay Packers’ OTA practices over the last two weeks have been open to the media, and we’ve already seen rookie Jordan Morgan lining up at three different positions along the offensive line.

During the first OTA practice that was open to the media, Morgan lined up at both the right and left tackle positions and didn’t begin with the starting offense. Then, during the second OTA practice that was open to the media, Morgan was playing left guard with Elgton Jenkins not present.

“I wouldn’t say he’s a tackle, I wouldn’t say he’s a guard,” said offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich, “I just wanna see where he fits best for us and with our best five out there. So that may be at tackle. It might not be, but I’m excited to work with him and you can see his athleticism when he’s out there. He’s a pretty talented guy.”

Every one of Morgan’s snaps on the offensive line in college came at left tackle–that’s nearly 2,400 in total. But as GM Brian Gutekunst mentioned during the draft, with Morgan’s quick feet and his strength, they believe he can play guard as well.

That, however, is just a projection at this time, given that Morgan doesn’t have any college game experience playing along the interior. So, not only is Morgan adjusting to a new playbook and the play-speed at the NFL level, but he’s also playing a new position and a different side of the line that he’s not accustomed to.

“It’s a little bit extra,” said Morgan on playing different positions. “A little more studying and extra film work and extra on-field stuff. It helps a lot. It’s easy to pick up, just like I said, flip it. It makes it easier.”

As we all know when it comes to the offensive line, the Packers’ goal is to put the “best five” on the field. But, in order to do that, there needs to be an understanding of how each player performs at various positions.

So it’s not only Morgan who is doing the learning but the Packers’ coaching staff is learning about Morgan to figure out where he fits best within the offensive line unit–a process that will continue through the final week of OTAs and into training camp before we potentially see Morgan finding one position to focus on.

“Very excited about it,” said Stenavich on the versatility of the offensive line unit. “I think it’s just a matter of putting the best group out there and there’s a lot of different combinations, like I said, that we’ll see. We’ll see how it all shakes out.

“That’s one thing we’re always pretty intentional about is working guys at multiple positions to just see where they fit best. I think that’s kind of what we’ll be doing in OTAs and the early part of camp.”

When it comes to putting the best collective offensive line unit on the field, that doesn’t necessarily mean that each player is lined up at the position they are best at. When it comes to offensive line play, the sum of the parts is greater than any individual player or two.

For example, an All-Pro right tackle coupled with a below-averaged left side of the line equates to a so-so offensive line unit. So, in determining where Morgan will end up, it may not be where he’s at his best but, instead, where the unit as a whole is at its best.

“We’re trying to give him as many reps as possible,” said Matt LaFleur. “We’re rotating a lot of guys through all the positions. That’s just kind of how we train these guys.”

As expected, it’s not only Morgan who is being moved around. Without Zach Tom available as he deals with a pec injury, we’ve also seen Andre Dillard and Caleb Jones take some starting snaps at right tackle. Sean Rhyan as primarily played right guard but took a few snaps at center this past week, while Royce Newman has played both guard spots as well.

With Jenkins at left guard, Tom probably the right tackle – unless he’s moved inside – and Morgan not being asked to play center, if Morgan is going to start come Week 1, it’ll be at left tackle or right guard. As of now, we haven’t seen him taking any starting reps ahead of Rhyan at right guard. Also, not to be forgotten about in all of this is Rasheed Walker, who is as confident as ever and has been the Packers’ starting left tackle in these two practices.

We are still a ways off before anything has to be finalized, and a lot can change once training camp begins and the intensity is cranked up a few notches. So, for the time being, we can expect to see Morgan filling a variety of roles as the Packers search for where he is the best fit amongst the group. And while this is asking a lot of a rookie in his first month with the team, the Packers wouldn’t do that if they didn’t think Morgan could handle it.

“Just how smooth he makes it look,” said offensive line coach Luke Butkus about Morgan. “Just the way he runs off the ball, his athleticism, just being able to mirror guys. Even this weekend, we weren’t hitting guys, we weren’t going through defenders, just the way he glides and moves on the field right now, just that athleticism that he shows, it’s pretty cool to see.”