Ranking the Packers (No. 48): Alex Light
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. 48: T/G Alex Light (6-5, 309, third season, Richmond)
Light replaced injured right tackle Bryan Bulaga in Week 4 against Philadelphia and Week 12 against San Francisco. While he didn’t allow a sack, Pro Football Focus charged him with 10 total pressures in those games. Of 91 tackles to play at least Light’s 85 pass-blocking snaps, Light ranked 82nd in ProFootballFocus.com’s pass-blocking metric, which measures sacks, hit and hurries per pass-protecting snap.
The perfect backup is one that can enter the game and allow the play-caller not to change his plan. Light, an undrafted free agent in 2018, settled in after a rough start against Philadelphia and helped limit veteran Brandon Graham to one tackle for loss and no quarterback hits.
“I’ve been able to elevate my game going against Za’Darius and Preston every day,” Light said during training camp last year of his battles against the Smiths. “Those are two elite guys, who if I make the team and happen to be out there, then I’m going to have to go against those type of players every day. So just going against them and working my technique that I’ve learned from the coaches and older guys here, just trying to get better every day and do it against that type of player, is really a blessing.”
He wasn’t nearly to that level against the powerful 49ers, which is why the team added Jared Veldheer late in the season. It’s hard to imagine the Packers would have survived the playoff game against Seattle, when Bulaga was sick and replaced at the last minute by Veldheer, had Light been thrown into the fray.
At left tackle, David Bakhtiari has started every game three of the past four seasons but is 28 and battled his share of aches and pains. At right tackle, new starter Rick Wagner has been more durable than Bulaga but missed eight games in three seasons in Detroit. Chances are, whether it’s for a few series or a few games, the No. 3 tackle is going to have to play meaningful snaps.
To be that reliable third tackle, Light is going to need another big jump. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Green Bay was one of the few teams that viewed him as a tackle rather than a guard or even a center. He made the roster and played in three games as a rookie. To get ready for coach Matt LaFleur’s zone scheme and a presumed camp battle against Jason Spriggs, Light put himself on a strict diet, lifted weights six days a week and wound up cutting about 10 pounds. The clash against Spriggs didn’t last long, with the former second-round pick being waived-injured early in camp and Light emerging as the No. 3 tackle. The opportunity is there again for Light.
Why he’s got a chance: The Packers’ tackle depth is practically nonexistent, with the main challengers being former undrafted players Yosh Nijman and John Leglue. They didn’t draft an offensive tackle – sixth-round pick Jon Runyan is listed as a guard – and they’ve shown no interest in re-signing Veldheer, though he remains unemployed. For better or worse, should something happen to Bakhtiari or Wagner, Light might be the best option.