Packers draft Jordan Morgan, Arizona offensive lineman, in first round

<div>Jordan Morgan (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)</div>
Jordan Morgan (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers selected Arizona offensive lineman Jordan Morgan with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft on Thursday.

The decision to draft Morgan, addressing a position of need, was a departure from the team's defensive-heavy strategy in recent first rounds. He's just the fifth offensive player taken in round one since 2005 – Aaron Rodgers (2005), Bryan Bulaga (2010), Derek Sherrod (2011) and Jordan Love (2020) the others.

After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament late in the 2022 season, Morgan came back and earned first-team all-Pac 12 honors as Arizona’s starting left tackle last year. Morgan, who is 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, allowed only two sacks in 787 snaps over 12 games last season.

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Green Bay needed to boost its offensive line after losing much of its depth there over the past month. The Packers released left tackle David Bakhtiari, who had played just 13 games over the past three seasons because of chronic knee problems, and lost guard Jon Runyan Jr. and reserve tackle Yosh Nijman in free agency. Morgan says he'd like to emulate the skills that helped make Bakhtiari an All-Pro.

"The way he moves, he’s very balanced and he has a good strike – he has a really good strike in the pass game, really strong arms, really strong upper body and he can really lock people up, which is where I get my game from," Morgan said. "I like to lock people up and stalemate."

Although Morgan played left tackle exclusively at Arizona, there's no guarantee he will end up playing that position in the NFL. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Morgan has the ability to play either tackle or guard.

"I think he can play all four spots (left tackle, left guard, right tackle and right guard)," Gutekunst said. "We’re fortunate enough that we’ve got a lot of guys in our group right now that can do that, and so I think we’ll kind of let the best five battle it out and see where that ends up."

Last year, Green Bay didn’t draft any offensive linemen for the first time since 2015. The Packers had a pair of first-year starters at offensive tackle last year with Rasheed Walker on the left side and Zach Tom on the right side.

Packers draft history

Since 2005, the Packers have developed a track record of bolstering their defense in the first round. Of the 20 first-round picks made since then, 16 have been defensive players. Remove quarterbacks Rodgers and Love – a position sure to be off the board in this year's first round – and the Packers have gone defense eight times as often as offense during that span.

For fans hoping for an offensive playmaker in particular, history suggests it's even less likely. The last time the Packers drafted a running back, wide receiver or tight end in the first round was wide receiver Javon Walker in 2002. However, though it came in the second round, the first Packers pick of 2008 was receiver Jordy Nelson.

The Packers do favor offensive players as a whole in the draft – just not in the first round. Ninety-five offensive players have been picked since 2005, compared to 83 defensive players and four specialists throughout all seven rounds. The team also heavily leans toward players from Power 5 programs compared to non-Power 5 schools (130-52) throughout all rounds since 2005.

First round picks under Gutekunst

<div>General manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur talk before a game against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles Rams;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles Rams</a> at Lambeau Field on Nov. 5, 2023. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)</div>

Offseason highlights

2024 picks

The Packers entered the draft with 11 selections, tied for the most among all NFL teams. It marks the sixth straight year the team will enter the draft with at least 10 picks.

"You never have enough ammunition to build your room, so there’s significant competition in every room," Gutekunst said Monday during a pre-draft news conference. "I think that’s really important. We have 11 right now. I’d love to end up with 13, 14 or more."

Entering draft night

  • Round 1, Pick 25 (25)

  • Round 2, Pick 9 (41) via New York Jets

  • Round 2, Pick 26 (58)

  • Round 3, Pick 25 (88)

  • Round 3, Pick 28 (91) via Buffalo Bills

  • Round 4, Pick 26 (126)

  • Round 5, Pick 34 (169) compensatory

  • Round 6, Pick 26 (202)

  • Round 6, Pick 43 (219) compensatory

  • Round 7, Pick 25 (245)

  • Round 7, Pick 35 (255) compensatory

This year, the Packers went into the draft with five of the first 91 picks after landing an extra second-round selection in the Rodgers trade as well as a third-round pick from sending cornerback Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills at last year’s trade deadline.

Gutekunst said the Packersabundance of selections in the first few rounds puts them "in a pretty good space to move, or just sit and pick." But he also noted the benefits of adding extra picks.

The Packers selected 13 players in the 2023 draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.