Ranking the Packers (No. 41): Lucas Patrick
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. 41: C/G Lucas Patrick (6-3, 313, fourth season, Duke)
Patrick, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016, made a surprisingly strong transition to the team’s zone blocking scheme last year. So much so that the Packers handed him a modest contract extension through the 2021 season. In extensive action in place of center Corey Linsley at Dallas in Week 5 and Detroit in Week 17, Patrick neither gave up a pressure nor was penalized. Along with being the backup center, his six career starts are split evenly between the guard positions.
“I thought Lucas did fantastic,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the Detroit game. “He’s a very valuable asset to this team, which is why they re-signed him, because you can’t find guys like that who can play the interior three and be super-reliable.”
In Rodgers, Patrick has one of his strongest supporters. The schematic change wasn’t easy for Patrick, and it took its toll mentally on him as he pondered upcoming roster cuts. Seeing his friend struggling, Rodgers delivered a pep talk during lunch that made all the difference. As Patrick said in October, “If you feel like ‘12’ has your back, it’s like the whole state of Wisconsin has your back.” Patrick made the team, and his value showed when pressed into duty.
“Everyone likes to think you’re always the belle of the ball, you’re always having a great day, but I didn’t feel like I was having the best OTAs or camp,” Patrick said after the Dallas game, a performance marked by a couple wayward shotgun snaps but otherwise solid play “I didn’t think it was up to my standards, let alone up to the Packers’ standard or necessarily Aaron’s. Wasn’t even remotely there. He took time out of his day to talk to me and encourage me that it's not just one day that turns you into a bad player and it’s not just one day that turns you into a great player. It’s stacking a few days on top and the mentality of approaching it with hard work and determination.”
It will take that determination again. Sports Info Solutions charged Patrick with five blown blocks in the run game, worst by percentage among all linemen with at least 45 run-blocking snaps. And the extension didn’t stop the Packers from drafting three offensive linemen in the sixth round, including Oregon center Jake Hanson.
Why he’s got a chance: Money talks. Patrick’s extension hardly broke the bank – two years for $2.795 million, which includes a $350,000 signing bonus. Still, it’s not chump change during a pandemic. Moreover, the lack of offseason practices won’t help the rookies mount a challenge. Patrick’s ability to play all three interior positions is highly valued.