Green Bay Packers

Packers: Royce Newman brings more versatility to OL

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The Green Bay Packers selected Royce Newman with the 142nd overall pick in the NFL Draft. Let’s take look at what the Ole Miss offensive lineman can bring to Green Bay’s offensive line.

A year ago the Green Bay Packers selected three offensive linemen on day three of the NFL Draft. Fast forward a year and the Packers added three more big men to the mix. 

After selecting Josh Myers in the second round, the Packers selected Royce Newman in the fourth round. The offensive lineman out of Ole Miss has the versatility to play guard, right tackle, and even center. 

“He’s a smart kid, he’s bright,” Jon-Eric Sullivan, the Packers Co-Director of Player Personnel said. “That allows him mentally to move up and down the line of scrimmage. He’s got really good initial quickness and lateral movement. That allows him to play guard and function out there at tackle…He’s a versatile piece and we’re really excited to get him. We got a good football player that can do some different things.”

Newman came to Ole Miss as a three-star recruit out of Illinois. He was a 22-game starter, with 12 starts coming at left guard and 10 starts coming at right tackle. The Packers loved Newman’s versatility. 

“It always helps when you see him do it live,” Sullivan said. “He played guard in previous years. He played tackle this year…Down there at the Senior Bowl, they moved him around. They kicked him inside to center.”

Versatility and durability are probably Newman’s greatest strengths. That versatility is a big reason why the Packers selected Newman in the fourth round. To go along with that versatility, Newman didn’t miss a game the past two seasons. 

“It was a combination of the talent and the guy,” Sullivan said. “He’s a blue-collar…When you watch the tape he’s a productive football player…We think he can play winning football at guard, tackle, probably kick inside to center if that was ever needed.”

Newman is quick out of his stance. He has good short-area quickness (1.78 10-yard split) to pull and climb to the second level. 

Newman looked like a better player at guard. He seemed comfortable playing in a phone booth in 2019. He has the length and foot quickness to hold up at right tackle. 

“I thought he played pretty good ball at both,” Sullivan said. “I think from a dimension standpoint if you’re pinning me do. You probably say he’s certainly long enough to play tackle. But from a dimension standpoint when you see him off the huff, he’s probably a better fit at guard. Then you watch him play right tackle. He’s got good feet. He’s got good lateral quickness. He stays in front of guys and mirrors and sustains.”

It was brought up during Sullivan’s press conference that a possible concern with Newman is his age (24). Sullivan quickly shot that down.

“We think he’ll be viable,” Sullivan said. “He’s been pretty durable there…I don’t think it factored in one way or the other…He’s certainly still a young man. We don’t think he’s heading off the cliff anytime soon…Attracted to the kid. Excited about what he brings to the table.”

The Packers have had a lot of success drafting offensive lineman in the fourth round. Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and David Bakhtiari were all fourth-round picks. Is Newman the next in line? The versatility that he possesses makes one believe that at worse he’s going to be a very valuable backup. 

“We’ll get him with the position coaches and get him going,” Sullivan said. “There is no need to pencil him into one or the other today. Regardless of where he ends up, we feel good about it.”

As a rookie, he’s probably a backup interior offensive lineman that can play right tackle. Once Billy Turner’s contract is up, or if he’s cut following the 2022 season, Newman could take over at right tackle.

The Packers have a lot of moving parts with the offensive line. Will Bakhtiari be back for the start of the season? If he’s not who starts at left tackle? 

With the selection of Myers, one would think that Elgton Jenkins is penciled in as the starter at left guard, with Myers starting at center.

Who starts at right guard? Billy Turner, Jon Runyan, Lucas Patrick, Newman, and Cole Van Lanen are all possible candidates. 

Who starts at right tackle? Turner, Newman, and Van Lanen are possible candidates.

With all those options the play of the offensive line will be something to closely monitor during training camp and the preseason.

“We like the options,” Sullivan said. “Big guys are hard to find…We felt like we needed to add some depth and some competition. We’re really excited about the guys we got…We think we got a good group and some solid depth. However it shakes it with the starting five and the guys that can come in and play behind them when needed. We feel good about our situation.”

 

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