5 things learned from Packers’ offseason program

2. The status of the offensive line for training camp remains uncertain.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who missed all but two quarters of football last season following a late 2020 ACL tear, did not practice during OTAs or minicamp. Neither did Elgton Jenkins, whose Nov. 2021 ACL injury likely will sideline him for the start of training camp.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur said the expectation is Bakhtiari will be ready come late July, but he didn’t guarantee it.

The two absences up front had the Packers trying several different combinations during the spring. Aside from Josh Myers at center and Jon Runyan at left guard, there was a lot of shuffling around on the first unit.

Yosh Nijman and Cole Van Lanen both flipped back and forth between left and right tackle. Royce Newman played both right guard and right tackle, while Jake Hanson took some first-team reps at right guard as well.

Then there are the three rookie draft picks, who were working with the reserve groups but will get their chance to challenge those ahead of them on the depth chart when the pads go on.

“I think we’ve got some pieces to work with,” LaFleur said of the unit as a whole. “It’s going to be how these guys attack the summer and the kind of shape they come into training camp and how we grow together.”

3. The top reserves in the defensive backfield right now aren’t the most familiar names to fans.

The Packers have as strong a starting nickel secondary as they’ve had in some time with Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes at cornerback, plus Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage at safety.

Based on the distribution of reps in the spring practices open to the media, it would appear the “next men up” at those spots are Keisean Nixon at corner and Shawn Davis at safety.

Nixon was signed as a free agent from the Raiders, where he worked with new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia the past few seasons. Nixon is expected to be a regular on special teams, but he could be in line for defensive snaps in one of Joe Barry’s dime packages, too.

Davis, a fifth-round pick by Indianapolis last year out of Florida, joined the Packers’ practice squad in September and was activated for one game in 2021. A third safety has been used by Barry in dime looks as well.

“They’ve approached it the right way and it’s going to be a lot on them in terms of where they are when we come back,” LaFleur said of Nixon and Davis. “They’ve got to stay in the book and up to speed on just all the nuances of those positions. But they’re going to have a lot of opportunity.”

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