Packers rookie Zach Tom getting first-team reps at left tackle

Packers rookie Zach Tom getting first-team reps at left tackle

The Green Bay Packers took rookie offensive lineman Zach Tom into a first-team huddle on a left tackle for two days, a premium position along the offensive line and defender of Aaron Rodgers’ blindside.

On Thursday, after playing left tackle with the other team’s group to open camp on Wednesday, Tom lined up the left tackle with the No. 1 offense.

Part of it is a necessity: the Packers are without David Bakhtiari and Elgaton Jenkins, who are both on the PUP list to begin training camp. And the team lost Billy Turner and Dennis Kelly this off-season, so offensive tackles are a position that lacks the depth to start the year.

“We’re down on tackle, we’ve got some guys out,” Matt LaFleur said on Thursday. “You see people who can potentially fill that role when needed. He has that experience.”

The Packers’ fourth-round pick Tom started 23 games in a left tackle for Wake Forest and was excellent on the sidelines, especially during a standout senior season that included a shutdown performance against first-round pick Jermaine Johnson.

Tom said his goal at this point in training camp is to earn the trust of coaches and teammates.

Their size (6–4, 304) was seen as a reducing factor during the pre-draft process, but Tom almost exactly the same height and weight David is coming out of Colorado in the form of Bakhtiari, and the Packers are ready to give the rookie an opportunity to compete in any position along the offensive line.

“We’re not going to limit Zach to any one spot,” LaFleur said.

In 2013, Bakhtiari – a fourth-round pick – moved to the starting left tackle job due to an injury to Brian Bulaga and was never given a place back.

It might be a stretch to compare a rookie to a five-time All-Pro, but their paths are starting to look more and more alike.

Tom plays some guard opening training camp, and he’ll be in the mix as a backup center behind Josh Myers.

“The more you push young players, the harder it is for them to get their footing in a specific spot,” LaFleur said. “But he’s a smart guy, he has a great mindset and mindset. It’s not going to be perfect, we realize it, but it’s part of the process.

Tom said that his goal is to become a five-place player at the NFL level. LaFleur acknowledges the difficulty of the idea, but believes a player like Tom – with a combination of his intelligence and athleticism – can accomplish it.

“It’s a big challenge,” LaFleur said. “We have a saying, if it’s what he expects, his work ethic is better than what he expected. A lot of it is going to be up to him to go out there and do it. He certainly has the guts to do it.” Wisdom and stamina.”

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The story originally appeared on Packers Wire

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