A lot of people were pretty disappointed by the Packers’ efforts in the 2020 NFL Draft. We get it! Few people, if any, would have predicted the Packers would come out of the weekend with a first round quarterback and no wide receivers.
Still, there was a lot to like this weekend, and we’re diving into our favorite players here, both drafted and otherwise. Who did you like from this weekend’s haul?
Tex Western – Jon Runyan, Jr., G, Michigan
The Runyan pick in round six was the first selection that made complete sense to me in the Packers’ 2020 draft class. While I like the potential that AJ Dillon brings to the offense and the versatility that Josiah Deguara promises, I cannot square those picks with the fact that they were Day 2 selections.
Runyan, meanwhile, has been someone I had identified as a Packers target immediately after running Combine numbers through the Packers’ athletic filters. He was one of only a few linemen to complete every drill and hit the team’s benchmarks, and the fact that he did so after a good college career at left tackle screamed “Packers pick.” Indeed, every mock draft I performed ended up with Runyan on my roster in round six or seven.
I love Runyan’s projection as a player who can back up any position on the line in year one and someone who I feel has the potential to develop into a good starter on the interior or even at right tackle. I believe he will be penciled in as a starter at right guard or tackle for the 2021 season at this time next year, and that’s great value in round six.
Mike Vieth – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Like a lot of people, I had some questions when the Packers made their picks. Those questions really got answered for me before hearing anything too much from Brian Gutekunst or Matt LaFleur. Once Josiah Deguara was drafted I saw what was happening and, to be honest, I really liked what the Packers did.
Last year, LaFleur did a masterful job adapting his offense with what was basically Mike McCarthy’s roster. Now, we see Gutekunst and LaFleur shaping the roster into what fits their current offense. Everyone complained about not getting a receiver but the Packers don’t need one. Devin Funchess and Allen Lazard are perfect number two and three receivers for the LaFleur offense. They are big red zone targets that are good at immediate routes and, most importantly, they are good blockers for the outside run game.
LaFleur likes to use multiple athletic tight ends and he got that with Deguara to pair with Jace Sternberger. He grabbed a big, bruising back to pair with Aaron Jones, an athletic offensive line to fill the potential gaps coming in the future, and to top it off, he got a potential franchise quarterback in Jordan Love in the first round.
After realizing what was happening, the Love pick is easily the best of the bunch. He has the arm, the size and the athletic ability to run LaFleur’s offense the way he wants it after Aaron Rodgers is no longer a Packer. The biggest question about Love is his decision making. That’s not a big deal because, barring injury, he shouldn’t see the field for a few years.
Having that potential franchise quarterback to replace our aging star needed to be addressed. The Packers won’t be in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields next year and, after that, Jordan Love has better potential than any other quarterback in 2021. The last thing we want is to miss out on someone and be put in quarterback purgatory like the Dolphins, Browns, or Bears for decades.
While the Love pick won’t pay dividends for a few years, he will have the time to learn everything he can from one of the best quarterbacks in the game. When he takes over, the Packers will continue to be a regular playoff team and Super Bowl contender, no one will remember the controversy around the pick. Just that the Packers keep winning.
Shawn Wagner – Stanford Samuels, CB, Florida State
I’m excited to see AJ Dillon take the field and the dimension he brings to the running game, but I’m more excited about several defenders added late on Saturday. I think the pair of seventh-rounders in Jonathan Garvin and Vernon Scott could provide good upside down the road, but the undrafted Samuels offers that as well.
The Packers’ cornerback room is uncertain a year from now with Kevin King entering a contract year and plenty of inconsistent or unproven talent behind him. Samuels could surely battle for a roster spot with the likes of Ka’dar Hollman and eventually secure a meaningful role on the team. Green Bay has hit on undrafted corners before with players like Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, and Samuels could build on that tradition despite being a different type of player. Samuels, a highly-regarded recruit, is battle-tested coming from Florida State where he played for three years and brings good size (6-foot-1) for an outside press coverage role. He also has experience as a coverage safety at FSU and is physical and athletic enough to carve out a role there, though he has a thinner frame for his height. Green Bay didn’t draft a corner this year like they have most drafts in the past decade, but Samuels may very well earn a final roster spot by the end of summer at a position that could utilize him heavily in 2021.
Paul Noonan – Jon Runyan, Jr., G, Michigan
The back end of the Packer draft was mostly fine as they used their lottery tickets on interior offensive linemen and a few defensive players. Runyan probably should have gone earlier, and while not a perfect prospect (obviously) he’s a good athlete with coachable flaws, who may even bulk up a bit. The Runyan pick was a nice consolation prize.
Jon Meerdink – Marc-Antoine Dequoy, S, University of Montreal
The Packers took quite a few players over the weekend that I am excited to watch, but, as far as I’m concerned, nobody has a more intriguing story than Marc-Antoine Dequoy.
A Canadian football “strongside halfback” at the University of Montreal, Dequoy majored in video game studies (a real thing you can do!) before lighting up his pro day. He ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, posted a 37-inch vertical leap, and broad jumped 128 inches. Toss in times of 4.14 and 6.65 seconds in the three-cone and short shuttle, respectively, and you’ve got a Relative Athletic Score of 9.76, which is pretty darn good no matter what side of the border you come from.
Oh, and according to Gil Brandt, he did it all nursing a (non-coronavirus related) bad cold and a fractured arm.
With numbers like that, it barely matters if he knows football at all. Put him on special teams. Let him run around in the secondary. Heck, he tested like a Canadian Denzel Mims. Put him at receiver! I’m very interested to see if he can cut it in the NFL, then forget about him by December when it turns out he can’t.