Jake Hanson Goes from Possible Roster Cut to Possible Valued Backup

Jake Hanson

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst selected nine players. Out of those nine players, four of them stand out. Of course, quarterback Jordan Love stands out because it was and continues to be a controversial selection. However, running back AJ Dillon, h-back/tight end Josiah Deguara, and starting left guard Jon Runyan Jr. have been contributors to the Green Bay Packers offense. Unfortunately, the other five selections are either not with the Packers or are still with the team but haven’t done much to this point. But it looks like Jake Hanson, one of the five, might turn out to be a contributor.

Jake Hanson Goes from Possible Roster Cut to Possible Valued Backup

Jake Hanson was a standout center at the university of Oregon. His play at Oregon helped him become one of the top-ranked centers heading into the draft. It appeared Gutekunst, by selecting him in the sixth round, had a steal by landing him so late in the draft.

However, Hanson’s first training camp in the NFL didn’t turn out the way Hanson and the Packers had hoped. Hanson, who played in a spread offense at Oregon, struggled to adjust to playing in a pro-style offense. His struggles were bad enough that he was waived before the start of the season. The Packers cutting the former sixth-round selection says a lot. Gutekunst and the Packers rarely cut one of their own draft selections so early.

The Packers brought Hanson back after waiving him, signing him to the practice squad. He stayed on the Packers practice squad until landing on the injured reserve in October.

In 2021, Hanson returned and made the 53-player roster out of camp. He stayed with the Packers throughout the season but only played in just five games. At the completion of 2021, Hanson’s Packers future looked murky, at best.

But this off-season, it appeared that once murky future started to clear. After a strong off-season, it appears that Jake Hanson has found a place on the Green Bay Packers offensive line.

Strong Off-Season Turns Hanson’s Chances Around

After what conspired in 2020, it appeared Hanson would join the somewhat long list of disappointing selections of Brian Gutekunst. But instead, it appears Gutekunst and head coach, Matt LaFleur’s patience might be paying off when it comes to Hanson.

In the Packers OTA’s this off-season, it was reported that Jake Hanson was starting to get reps with the second and even first-team offensive line. Hanson had been passed by at center after the Packers selected Josh Myers in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Myers is firmly entrenched as the Packers starting center and looks to be the future of the position. But even with that, Hanson appears to have shown that he could be a very valuable backup.

Hanson’s OTA success carried over into training camp. Besides seeing time as Myers backup, he also started seeing time at guard as well. With the departure of Lucas Patrick in free agency this off-season, a backup spot at center and guard had opened up, a spot that Hanson looks to fill.

It appears that Hanson has locked up the top backup spot at center and right guard. But with injuries to the starting tackles, there is a chance that he might find himself as the starting right guard in the Packers opening game against the Minnesota Vikings.

From Being Waived to Being a Possible Opening Game Starter

Even at the time of this article, the Packers still aren’t set on who will be starting on their offensive line. Starting left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Elgton Jenkins have been activated from the PUP list. However, it still hasn’t been announced if either of them will be ready to go for Sunday’s game.

If Jenkins isn’t ready to make his first start after his season-ending injury in 2021, offensive line coach Luke Butkus might have to shuffle the starting lineup. In this scenario, Butkus would move right guard Royce Newman to right tackle and insert Jake Hanson at Newman’s right guard spot. If that is the case, it would be Hanson’s first start as a professional.

Many will argue that the Packers would be better off starting rookie tackle Zach Tom in Jenkins place. But it appears that Hanson, and even Newman, have earned the confidence of Butkus and offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich to be the starters on the right side.

If Hanson does start, it will be quite a feat for the one-time sixth-round draft choice. For a player who was waived as a rookie and spent time on the Packers practice squad, it is a big jump to be a starter on the Green Bay Packers offensive line. It also shows how the Packers, led by Gutekunst, really are a draft and develop organization. Now it will be up to Jake Hanson to show that Gutekunst’s patience was correct.