Entering Michigan as a three-star recruit, Jon Runyan Jr. carved out a solid career as a Wolverine and capped off that section of his life when the 6-4, 306-pound blocker was selected by the Green Bay Packers at pick No. 192, a 6th round selection, in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Now that Runyan will be headed to the Packers, the questions becomes whether or not the two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection can similarly outperform his expectations at the professional level.
According to Bill Huber of Packer Central, Runyan’s selection by Green Bay should not come as a surprise to those that have closely followed the team. Based on a strong combine performance, Runyan fits the bill for what the Packers are looking to add to their offensive line.
“Green Bay, they like a zone blocking scheme, so zone schemes tend to like athletic guys,” Huber told Wolverine Digest. “Even before Green Bay went to a zone scheme, they’ve always tended to like athletic guys anyway, and Runyan really tested well at the combine. The Packers, like a lot of teams, like taking college left tackles and moving them to guard, so he checked all the boxes, so that they picked Runyan where they picked him is really no surprise at all.”
As a blocker that can come in with a wealth of experience lining up at tackle, Runyan has the intellectual makeup and the experience necessary for spot-start duty at tackle in the NFL. That flexibility is a noted bonus, but the prevailing notion is that Runyan will be used on the interior to start, most likely at guard.
“Even at the scouting combine, I talked to him and he felt pretty certain that guard would be his spot,” Huber said. “I think if you’ve got a guy who’s played tackle and you’re short on tackles, and that’s Green Bay, then you might as well try him out there. I think they will play him at guard and tackle to start— kind of see what you’ve got, then move him inside. I think if you’ve got anybody who has any prayer at all of playing tackle, it’s probably worth at least trying him out there, but you can always move him inside later. Ultimately, guard probably is his lot in life, but will probably get a crack at tackle, at least some snaps here and there.”
At the combine, Runyan was clocked running a 5.08-second time in the 40-yard dash and complemented that effort with 24 consecutive reps on bench press, a 30.5” vertical jump, a 107” broad jump, a 7.57-second three-cone drill and a 4.69-second 20-yard shuttle. These measurables help reinforce two seasons worth of tape at Michigan that suggest Runyan could see the field in 2020 before graduating to a larger, more influential role during his second year as a pro.
However, there is not a clear opening on the Packers offensive line for the upcoming season, but that may change moving into 2021 as both the team’s center, Corey Linsley, and its left tackle, David Bakhtiari, will be free agents when the offseason begins.
“Last year, they drafted Elgton Jenkins, a center at Mississippi State and moved him to guard,” Huber said. “He was fantastic at guard. I suppose they could do musical chairs in 2021 and move Jenkins back to center and let Runyan in at guard, that’s always an option. Otherwise, the more you can do the better. If you have a guy that can play guard and tackle as your NFL 6th man, that’s a pretty good thing.”
Since Runyan could provide support at multiple positions, his chances to see the field this fall actually appear pretty strong. Of course, every NFL team battles the injury bug throughout the course of its season, so that could force Runyan into early action as well.
“I would think he has a chance to be that 6th guy right off the bat,” Huber said. “Another thing too, their starting right guard is Billy Turner, a free agent they signed last offseason— a lot of money, not very good. So, I would think there is certainly an opportunity if he impresses in 2020, then maybe that door is open in 2021 with us moving on from Turner or moving some guys around and giving him a shot at guard.”
With the NFL Draft wrapped up, Michigan had four offensive lineman drafted, and Runyan should have a chance to impress in training camp before battling it out for playing time as a Packer this fall.
How do you see Runyan’s career turning out as a Packer? What about in his first two seasons, does he make an impact in Green Bay and if so, to what degree? Let us know!