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Packers Place Jenkins on IR, Promote Braden from Practice Squad

After a strong training camp at guard and right tackle, Ben Braden was a three-time gameday elevation this season.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers placed do-it-all offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins on injured reserve on Tuesday and promoted fellow lineman Ben Braden from the practice squad.

Jenkins suffered a torn ACL during the fourth quarter on Sunday against Minnesota.

Braden was released at the end of training camp, a mild surprise considering the quality of his preseason and ability to play guard and tackle. He spent the first 11 weeks of the season on the practice squad, earning three gameday elevations and playing 27 snaps on special teams vs. Cincinnati, Washington and Arizona.

Behind the projected starting five of left tackle Yosh Nijman, left guard Jon Runyan, center Lucas Patrick, right guard Royce Newman and right tackle Billy Turner, and with David Bakhtiari still out with a knee injury, the healthy backups are Braden, tackle Dennis Kelly and center/guard Jake Hanson.

Braden was quite a story during training camp. He was a three-year starter at Michigan who went undrafted in 2017 and the Packers signed to the practice squad in October 2020. At that point in his career, he had played in three NFL games with zero snaps on offense.

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For Green Bay last season, he was a gameday elevation three times before being added to the 53-man roster for Week 17. In those four games, he played four snaps on offense – all at the end of a blowout win at San Francisco – and 19 on special teams. Thus, entering training camp, Braden had played four snaps on offense in four years. Throw in the team's tremendous investment on the offensive line, Braden seemed to be a long shot to make the roster.

Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich during the offseason said Braden would be a potential starter. And he was. He competed for a starting spot at both guard spots and then showed his value by playing well at right tackle in the preseason finale at Buffalo.

“The first thing that comes to mind is gratitude,” Braden said during camp of the opportunity. “I went undrafted to New York and, being an offensive lineman, I think generally those guys are just really great people. And I’ve had a lot of good vets along the way, even now here in Green Bay, to really take my hand and show me the way and keep grinding. So, super-thankful. There’s a lot of great guys in this room and I’m so happy to be here and to be competing at a place like this. I’m very thankful.”

Braden played 154 snaps in the preseason. His power was evident in the run game, where he routinely moved defenders. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed one sack and five pressures in the passing game.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve performed, but there’s always things to get better at,” he said. “It’s never a perfect game, even though that’s what you strive for. I think for me, it’s getting used to the pace of being with starters and such a great D-line that we have, playing with them and learning, OK, there’s maybe some things when I was younger and I was practicing against maybe other younger guys that I could get away with as far as my technique wasn’t quite right. Now, I can’t get away with that and there’s some new, little things that you kind of feel. Now it’s just smoothing out those fine details.”