Packers 2021 roster preview: Big opportunity for Jon Runyan Jr.

Green Bay Packers, Jon Runyan Jr.Packers16 11 Hoffman
Green Bay Packers, Jon Runyan Jr.Packers16 11 Hoffman /

Of the three offensive linemen the Green Bay Packers drafted in the sixth round last year, Jon Runyan Jr. made the biggest impact.

After impressing in a backup role as a rookie, Runyan enters the conversation to potentially start for the Packers in 2021.

Can Runyan win a starting job over the summer, and what will it take for him to achieve this?

2020 review

The Packers had the best offensive line in the league, topping ESPN’s pass block and run block win rate rankings.

Runyan was a backup but was called on to play fairly regularly, and to his credit, the offensive line didn’t take a step back when he was on the field. Runyan stepped in and played well, helping the line maintain its excellent level of play.

That’s a great sign moving forward and Runyan deserves to be in consideration to start at guard.

Will he make the roster?

Despite there being plenty of competition along the offensive line, especially at the interior positions, it’s hard to imagine Runyan not making the 53-man roster. He was far too impressive last year to not keep him on the roster.

What to expect in 2021

Matt LaFleur will have a headache trying to figure out the Packers’ best starting five along the offensive line.

If All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari it out at the start of the season, who fills in for him? If it’s Elgton Jenkins, a Pro Bowler at guard last year, an opening becomes available at Jenkins’ usual spot.

That’s possibly Runyan’s best opportunity to win a starting job, but not the only one. If rookie center Josh Myers isn’t ready to start initially, the Packers could ask Jenkins or Lucas Patrick to play at center, again opening the door at guard. Maybe Runyan could win the center job himself.

Then there’s a scenario in which Runyan outplays Patrick over the summer and earns his way into the starting lineup regardless of the other situations mentioned above.

Runyan showed he’s a talented player last season. According to Pro Football Reference, he played on 15 percent of the offensive snaps in 2020. If he continues to improve, that number could be considerably higher this season.