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Packers Undrafted Rookies: Big Opportunity at Offensive Tackle for Jones, Johnson

Pardon the headline pun in the case of Indiana's Caleb Jones, who could make Packers history if he were to play in a game.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Caleb Jones, an undrafted free agent offensive tackle signed by the Green Bay Packers, tipped the scales at 370 pounds at Indiana’s pro day.

Pro Football Reference has weight data going back to 1991. The heaviest to play in a game for the Packers is defensive tackle Anthony Rush, who at 361 pounds played in one game for the team in 2020. In fact, according to Stathead.com, only two players in the NFL have played in a game with a listed weight of more than 370 over the past three decades: Trent Brown (380) and Aaron Gibson (375).

At 6-foot-8 7/8, Jones is a mountain of a man. He was a mountain on top of a mountain in 2020, when he played at 395 pounds.

Blame it on his dad, who apparently makes some tasty ribs at His Place Eatery in Indianapolis.

“I sure haven’t been able to eat at my dad’s restaurant too much, haven’t been down there in a few months, it has probably been for the best even though I want that food bad,” Jones told The Daily Hoosier in August.

He was down to about 350 pounds at the time. He credited strength coach Aaron Wellman, who came to Indiana after working for the New York Giants. Wellman knew what it would take for Jones to get to the NFL, and it wasn’t lumbering around at nearly 400 pounds. So, Wellman’s message resonated where the words spoken by coach Joe Hiller and line coach Tom Allen fell on deaf ears.

“Maybe these kids don’t believe old Coach Hiller and Coach Allen cause we’re college coaches,” Hiller said. “Wellman came from the NFL and said the same things we were saying, but maybe that’s when the lightbulb came on.”

Jones, who gave up seven sacks during his senior season, according to Pro Football Focus, is not a great athlete, with a 5.59 in the 40, but his 36-inch arms and 86 5/8-inch wingspan are a challenge for pass rushers to navigate around. He started the final 30 games of his career, with 24 appearances at right tackle and six at left tackle.

At the other side of the size spectrum is Texas A&M’s Jahmir Johnson. At the Aggies’ pro day, he measured 6-foot-4 3/8 and merely 290 pounds. He pulled a hamstring at pro day so did not have a full slate of testing numbers.

Johnson had a nomadic career. He started his career at Rhode Island in 2016 and Arizona Western in 2017 before spending three years at Tennessee. With the Vols, he started 11 games at left guard in 2018 and five games at left tackle in 2020. A graduate transfer, Johnson finished his collegiate career at Texas A&M, where he allowed only one sack in 11 starts at left tackle. However, his 10 penalties were seventh-most among the offensive tackles in this year’s draft class.

Johnson’s football career was almost over before it started. As a sophomore at Imhotep High School in Philadelphia, he took a shot to the mouth during the first offseason practice. He wasn’t wearing a mouthguard.

“It was my first day, and I wasn't even thinking about it,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I was just happy that I got onboard and it was my first day out there. A teammate did a little rip-through move and punched me right in my tooth and my tooth got a little loose. I was like, 'I'm done!' It's still loose right now. We didn't even have pads on or nothing. It was just one-on-one. And when he got my tooth, I said, ‘Oh, no, I'm cool.’”

So, Johnson went back to basketball. He returned to football midway through his junior year.

The Packers entered the draft short on numbers at offensive tackle with only David Bakhtiari and Yosh Nijman as pure tackles on the roster. To bolster that group, they drafted UCLA’s Sean Rhyan (a tackle with guard potential), Wake Forest’s Zack Tom (a potential five-position prospect) and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker. Elgton Jenkins, a Pro Bowl guard in 2020, could wind up at right tackle once he’s fully recovered from a torn ACL.

The 2022 NFL Draft

Undrafted Running Backs: Tyler Goodson and B.J. Baylor

Undrafted Interior Offensive Line: Cole Schneider and George Moore

Packers didn’t have enough picks to address every need

Here’s the bottom line on the Davante Adams trade

Father knows best: The Christian Watson story

Packers sign 14 undrafted free agents

Six takeaways from the Packers’ draft class

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