Ranking the Packers (No. 59): Jake Hanson
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. 59: C Jake Hanson (6-4, 296, rookie, Oregon)
Who knows, perhaps 12 months from now, Hanson will have moved up 40 spots on this list.
A four-year starting center at Oregon, Hanson was drafted with the second of Green Bay’s sixth-round draft picks. With veteran standout Corey Linsley headed into his final season under contract and with the Packers not exactly awash in salary-cap space, it’s possible Hanson could enter training camp in 2021 as the team’s new starter.
It's a situation he’s been in before.
“When I came in at Oregon, we had a veteran center (Matt Hegarty),” Hanson said upon being drafted. “He was a grad transfer from Notre Dame, so, obviously, came in knowing that he was going to be the starting guy. I knew that I needed to take advantage of that situation and learn as much as I could from him in that redshirt year. And then after that season was over, the position was up for grabs and I had already been running with the twos during practice, so it was pretty much my position to lose at that point. I just had to keep showing the progress that I had been the year before to secure that job.”
At 6-foot-4 and 303 pounds, he ran the second-slowest 40 among the offensive linemen at the Scouting Combine with a timing of 5.50 seconds. He did put up an impressive 33 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
While the subpar athletic numbers no doubt hurt his draft stock, Oregon offensive line coach Alex Mirabal dismissed Hanson’s workout numbers.
“As O-line guys, we live in a 10-yard box. He was great in a 10-yard box,” he told Packer Central after the draft. “When we did the pin-and-pull play, he had zero issues getting out in front of it. You know what? No offense to scouting but I think scouting stinks. You take a kid who’s started 49 games and all you want to do as a scout is tear him down. That happened to our quarterback, to our left guard who started 52 games. To me, watch what’s on the damned film. David Bakhtiari, I’m sure, got torn down when he was coming out. Linsley, I’m sure, got torn up when he was coming up. Is he a damned good football player or not? Does he get his assignment done or not? Jake Hanson, we played Utah this year in the championship game and Utah’s got two guys inside [who were drafted] and Jake Hanson got all over their ass. He’s a heck of a football player.”
Football is part of his DNA; his grandfather played in the 1950s.
“My grandpa played for the L.A. Rams way back when it was leather helmets, didn’t even have facemasks and he played right out of high school,” Hanson said. “He didn’t go to college or anything like that. He was just kind of a backup support player, playing both on the O-line and D-line for about three seasons. Every time I get to talk to him and see him, he’s always telling me all these cool stories about some legendary Rams players he got to play with and how different the game was back then. So, it’s really cool that I’ll be able to kind of share a similar experience with him.”
Why he’s got a chance: The Packers also have Lucas Patrick as a potential successor should Linsley depart in free agency, but it was Hanson who was hand-picked in the draft. “You’re getting a good one. You’re getting a real good one,” Mirabal said. “In our opinion, you’re getting a great one. He’s going to learn from a great player in Linsley.”