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Jacob Monk, a leader and tone-setter, boosts competition along Packers IOL

Duke interior offensive lineman Jacob Monk, who the Packers selected in the fifth-round of the NFL draft, was a player that, as GM Brian Gutekunst put it, they “really wanted to acquire.”

“First of all, he’s a really good player,” said GM Brian Gutekunst after the draft. “He’s very quick, he’s very strong, powerful man. He can play guard, he can play center, so he’s got the versatility that we like.

“The more we got to know him as a person and all the things coming out of there, he just, we really felt like he was a fit for what we’re trying to do, not only athletically and what he can do on the field but just the grit and determination that you have to have to be a really good player in that room.”

When it comes to what the Packers look for in offensive linemen, Monk checks really every box.

Monk is about as experienced of a player as you will see with 58 starts at Duke, playing 3,681 snaps. He’s versatile as well, having the ability to play all three interior spots, and even has some tackle experience.

Monk is also an excellent athlete and strong, posting an elite Relative Athletic Score of 9.74, which featured a 5.09-second 40 time and 31 reps on the bench press.

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard has said that Monk is “an incredible human being,” but at the same time, is “the most intense football player” he’s ever played with.

“I have a brother with Down Syndrome and autism,” said Monk when speaking to reporters after being drafted, “and he’s taught me compassion, he’s taught me how to be a good human being, I feel like he’s taught me how to be patient with people.

“And also, at the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had my dad play football, I’ve had my uncle go play at the highest level. They taught me how to play this game the correct way. You have to flip that switch. You cannot go out there wily-nilly on Fridays, Saturdays and now Sundays for me. You can’t do that. You’ve got to play the right way.”

In addition to what Monk showcased on the field at Duke, which includes his versatility, durability, and his competitive fire, like several of the Packers’ draft picks this year, he was a team captain–holding that title twice.

“I feel like passion for the game, passion and effort,” said Monk. “Like I said earlier, you have to play this game a certain way. I try and go out there and not disrespect it. If I’m not giving full effort, if I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, I don’t need to be out on that field. That’s my strengths, being a captain.”

Monk will join a Packers’ interior offensive line group where competition was very much needed, and he should contribute to that right away. Prior to the draft, the only interior blockers on the roster were Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Sean Rhyan, and Royce Newman.

With his ability to play both guard and center, Monk could push either Rhyan or Myers for playing time. Rhyan has to continue to improve in pass protection, while Myers continues to battle consistency issues and is in the final year of his rookie deal.

Although the Packers did spend three of their 11 draft picks on the offensive line, Matt LaFleur said that Jordan Morgan will start out at left tackle, and Travis Glover, a seventh-round selection, has far more experience at tackle than guard.

Cultivating competition within each position group has been the theme of the offseason for Gutekunst, and when it comes to Monk, he is going to find himself in the heat of that right away, as the Packers begin their search for the “best five” offensive linemen.

“He’s quick,” said VP of Player Personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan. “Very quick, strong, aggressive play style, excellent motor, gets after it. He’s a snap-to-whistle kind of guy. Like I said, his play style and the way they talk about him, his wiring, he’s an elite, elite guy.

“He’s a leader and he kind of sets the tone at that program. Guys follow him and I think that kind of oozes out on his film when you’re watching him and this guy’s getting after it and he’s out there to win.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire