GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 36: G Lane Taylor (6-3, 324, eighth season, Oklahoma State)
When the Packers and Taylor agreed to a restructured contract, it perhaps provided a hint of the team’s plans on the offensive line.
Taylor opened last season as the starting left guard but suffered a torn biceps before Week 3. That injury cleared the way for second-round rookie Elgton Jenkins to move into the starting lineup. Jenkins earned all-rookie honors and will be a fixture on the line for years to come.
However, right guard Billy Turner had an up-and-down first season with the team after signing a four-year, $28 million contract in free agency. Presumably, Taylor could battle Turner for the starting job. If nothing else, Taylor could be the team’s sixth man, with Turner bumping out to tackle in case of emergency.
Taylor knows how to handle uncertainty. He went undrafted in 2013 but fought his way onto the roster. He played in 16 games in 2014 and made his first two starts in 2015. In 2016, the Packers surprisingly released Josh Sitton just before the start of the season. Taylor entered the fray and the offense hardly skipped a beat. In 31 starts in 2016 and 2017, he allowed four sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and was flagged twice for holding. Dogged by injuries in 2018, Taylor wasn’t himself. According to PFF, he allowed eight sacks – second-most among guards – and was flagged twice for holding in 14 starts.
With the arrivals of Turner and Jenkins and a schematic change, Taylor’s roster spot seemed in jeopardy entering training camp last summer. In fact, deep into camp, coach Matt LaFleur announced Turner and Jenkins were in a battle for the starting job.
“Obviously, it’s not the most exciting thing to ever hear in the world but, on the other hand, you’ve got to earn your spot,” Taylor said at the time. “To tell you the truth, when it really comes down to it, you take all the emotions out of it and all of that stuff, you’ve got to earn your spot.”
Taylor, in fact, earned the spot and started the first two weeks. A slimmed-down physique helped him make the transition.
“I don’t think I’m out of this place in this scheme at all. I can fit in any scheme, really,” Taylor said.
Why he’s got a chance: Last season, according to PFF, 63 guards played at least half the snaps. In that group, Turner ranked 58th in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency, which measures sacks, hits and hurries per pass-protecting snap. So, while it’s true Taylor might be fighting the likes of veteran Lucas Patrick and rookies Jon Runyan and Jake Hanson for a roster spot, he also might be battling Turner for a starting spot. “I know I’m a starter and I can play. So, I’m not worried about all that,” Taylor said last year, a quote that applies to this year, as well. “I’m just trying to take care of business.”