Monday Musings: Runyan’s Potential
The NFL is a business, and once Aaron Jones was re-signed, there was no way Jamaal Williams was going to return for a fifth season in Green Bay. But that doesn’t make his departure any easier to take. Besides being a productive and dependable running back, the former fourth-round pick from BYU star seemed like an even better person than player. Anyway, here are three more of my Packers’ related thoughts from the past few days:
1) It’s hard to watch Jon Runyan’s tape from last season and not come away impressed. The former Michigan star allowed only 5 pressures in 86 dropbacks. More impressively, he did this while coming into games as an injury replacement. That’s a challenging thing to do for a veteran, let alone a rookie who never played guard before entering the NFL. Runyan showed good feet and enough agility to reach and seal defenders and work up to the second level. If he improves his strength and improves as a run blocker – finishing was a problem at times – he has a chance to join Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang as recent Packers’ guards to go from being day 3 draft picks to the Pro Bowl.
Runyan (#76) isn’t flashy, but he plays like the son of an ex-NFL star. Lined up at left guard againstthe Colts, he’s involved in three separate blocks against two different players. First, he helps against Grover Stewart (#90), then he helps against Justin Houston (#50), and finally, he deals with Stewart again. Runyan’s impressive work helped give Aaron Rodgers enough time to connect with Davante Adams over the middle for 20 yards.
2) I’m not sure if there’s any way to look this up, but it’s hard to imagine any team in NFL history having more size at wide receiver than the Packers. Their top six players at the position are Davante Adams (6-2), Allen Lazard (6-5), Marquez Valdez-Scantling (6-4), Devin Funchess (6-4 1/2), Equanimeous St. Brown (6-5), and Malik Taylor (6-2 1/2). That’s an average height of 6-foot-3 1/2. For the sake of comparison, three of the Packers’ tight ends aren’t that tall. It’ll be interesting to see if Gutekunst adds a smaller and quicker player to the mix – something the offense hasn’t had since Randall Cobb in 2018. For what it’s worth, as far as yards are concerned, only three of the top 20 receivers last season were over 6-foot-2 (Seattles’ DK Metcalf, Tampa’s Mike Evans, and Tennessee’s Corey Davis).
3) All’s quiet on the free agency front. A week into the process, over 100 players have changed teams. The Texans lead the league with 19 new faces, while Green Bay and Tampa Bay have yet to join in on the fun. Of course, the Buccaneers spent the past seven days keeping their championship team intact by re-signing wide receiver Chris Godwin, tight end Rob Gronkowski, edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, and inside linebacker Lavonte David to deals totaling over $120 million. As for the Packers – aside from extending Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones – their reluctance to do anything is harder to explain. They’ve done the bare minimum to create cap space, and despite holes on both lines and at corner, appear to be just fine going into another season with few significant veteran additions.