Savage, Jenkins Earn All-Rookie Honors

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – After crushing free agency, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst put together an outstanding draft, too.

On Tuesday, the Professional Football Writers of America announced that first-round safety Darnell Savage and second-round guard Elgton Jenkins had been selected to its all-rookie team.

After using the 12th pick on edge rusher Rashan Gary, who has posted meager numbers while working behind stalwarts Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, Gutekunst traded from No. 30 to No. 21 to land Savage to fill a big hole at safety. He had two interceptions, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles in 14 games (all starts).

Jenkins was a standout center at Mississippi State but Gutekunst drafted him to play guard. After failing to beat out veteran Lane Taylor in training camp, the door was open for Jenkins after Taylor suffered a season-ending injury at practice before the Week 3 game against Denver. Jenkins started the final 14 games and was one of seven rookie guards to play at least 350 snaps. Of that group, he was the only one to not allow a sack.

“Just trying to be the best in the league,” Jenkins said recently. “If you want to be the best, there’s always things you can work on. You can never be complacent with your job and the things that you’ve accomplished. So, you critique every small thing. When you’re doing everything to the best of your ability, eventually, everybody will label you as the best.”

The Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year was San Francisco’s Nick Bosa, whom the Packers will face in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. Niners guard Dre Greenlaw also made the all-rookie team.

On Monday, left tackle David Bakhtiari was named to the PFWA’s all-NFC team. Niners tight end George Kittle was named to the all-NFL and all-NFC teams and cornerback Richard Sherman was all-NFC.

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