Packers Projected to Land 360-Pound Alabama Star With ‘Padlock’ Hands - Sport News

Packers Projected to Land 360-Pound Alabama Star With ‘Padlock’ Hands

Even with the disheartening loss to the Giants in Week 14 on Monday night, Green Bay still is in a good position to wind up with a playoff spot this year, sitting atop a mass of 6-7 teams in the NFC thanks to tiebreakers.

Packers rumors on the offensive line could culminate in the selection of JC Latham

They may need to win out, which won’t be easy, but with the recent performance by Jordan Love, at least we can put aside the Packers rumors about needing a quarterback in the 2024 draft.

What they do need, though, is a top-flight option at left tackle, knowing that it is all but certain that David Bakhtiari will not be back next season. And there are some excellent prospects on the board in this year’s draft.

ESPN’s Matt Miller has the Packers scooping one up in April: JC Latham of Alabama.

“Since the Packers have a solid young offensive nucleus at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end, they can focus on the line in the draft,” Miller wrote on Wednesday. “The Packers haven’t added a non-QB player on offense in Round 1 since 2011 (Derek Sherrod), but they could use some protection for Jordan Love.

“Latham is a massive blocker on the right side at 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds, and he moves exceptionally well up to the second level and in space. He’s powerful enough to handle NFL rushers, too, and has allowed just two sacks in his three years at Alabama.”

JC Latham: ‘Thunderous Finishes’

In fairness, the Packers’ offensive line has been solid this season, and has gotten better as the year has gone on. At Pro Football Focus, the line has gotten a pass-blocking grade of 72.6, which is fifth in the NFL. The run blocking has struggled, though—a 58.7 grade according to PFF, which is 21st. That’s partly the reason there’s no shortage of Packers rumors about drafting an offensive lineman these days.

Rasheed Walker, a seventh-round draft pick in 2022, has been getting the bulk of the snaps at left tackle lately. While he has been solid, he’s probably better suited as a backup.

That’s where JC Latham could come in. As Bleacher Report wrote of Latham in its scouting report: “Padlocks for hands to tie up defenders with the power to torque defenders off their feet for thunderous finishes in the run and pass game.”

Packers Rumors Around David Bakhtiari Persist

Of course, there is still a fantasy out there that perhaps David Bakhtiari could return to Green Bay, but Packers rumors about Bakhtiari’s imminent departure have been a staple all year.

There is a chance that his contract could be reworked in such a way that he can stick around in a Green Bay uniform, and his veteran presence would be welcome on a team that has clearly lacked a strong, experienced voice once his knee problems re-emerged after Week 1.

But the reality is, since he first tore his ACL in December 2020, Bakhtiari has been unable to stay on the field. He has been excellent when he plays—he is still among the top left tackles in the game—but he has played just 13 games in three seasons. And he’s 32, the oldest guy on a Packers team in the midst of a youth movement.

JC Latham is only 20. That’s a much better fit for this Packers offense.

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