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Five Day 3 sleepers who could intrigue the Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft

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Brian Gutekunst and the Packers love to throw darts with high-upside athletes on the third day of the draft. Who are the players who could fit that profile this year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 29 Toledo at Fresno State
Mykal Walker’s versatility and athletic traits could make him appealing to the Packers on Day 3.
Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When it comes to the NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers are like that one friend who always dates the same kind of person. Unlike that friend, though, the “type” tends to work for the Packers, who prioritize outstanding athletes with average-or-better size and quality college production. Particularly on Day 3, the MO for Green Bay’s front office going back years, has been to target plus athletes, with the draft turning into a lottery with each passing pick. It’s a dart throw, only the dart board is enormous and the person throwing the dart is blindfolded after six whiskey sours. Narrow the field, by prioritizing these types of players, has helped the Packers find Day 3 gems like David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Aaron Jones and more.

With that in mind, here are five players who could be potential Packers targets, fitting the athletic profile they tend to prefer, along with a potential position of value for Green Bay later in the draft.

Joshua Kelley RB UCLA

With looming contract decisions to be made about Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, along with the kind of offense Matt LaFleur wants to play, it’s a safe bet the Packers will use the Ron Wolf approach to quarterbacks with this position: they’re going to take one at some point just about every season.

Kelley rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the last year season’s in Chip Kelly’s zone run scheme, which has some similarities to the Green Bay offense. At 5-foot-11, 212 pounds, Kelley ran 4.49 and posted a Relative Athlete Score of 8.41 (out of 10). In particular, his sub-7 second 3-cone solidifies him as a potential Packers type and he showed enough at UCLA as a receiver to be a factor there.

In the fourth or fifth round, keep an eye out for Kelley to Green Bay.

Joe Reed WR Virginia

One of the most fun late Day 3 players in the draft, Reed brings a running back build at just over 6 feet, 224 pounds, with sub-4.5 speed and crazy burst. He didn’t complete athletic testing, but as is, he’s looking at an RAS of 9.64 as a potential gadget player and returner in the Packers offense.

With Reed, there are some shades of Ty Montgomery in terms of build and potential usage. Line him up on jet sweeps, in the backfield even, split out wide, and let him return kicks. Sure, Green Bay just re-signed Tyler Ervin, but Reed could be a supercharged version and a team can never have too many versatile weapons.

Mykal Walker LB Fresno State

Even if the Packers get a linebacker in the top-100 of the draft, an experienced, athletic linebacker always has value as a backup and special teams player. Unlike so many versatile overhang defenders in the college game, Walker boasts legitimate linebacker size at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. None of this measurables jump off the page, but an 8.67 RAS score for an All-Mountain West performer as a two-year starter at Fresno State looks like the kind of player Gutekunst would covet.

The other trait to like from Green Bay’s standpoint comes from positional versatility. Walker stood up as an outside linebacker on the edge at times, and particularly as a junior in 2018, showed some capabilities creating some pressure. He may be a Round 5-6 type player, but Mike Pettine still has to like that kind of versatility, even from a backup player.

Jon Runyan Jr. OT Michigan

Yes, you’re that old if you remember Jon Runyan the elder, one of the steadiest offensive linemen in the NFL in the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. He’s now in Congress and his son enters the 2020 NFL draft as an under-the-radar prospect who has “Packers” written in ink on his scouting report.

Offensive linemen with a 4.5 or better shuttle time hit at an enormously high rate and while Runyan doesn’t quite get there, he meets the 4.75 standard the Packers like. His 8.37 RAS score provides the upside pathway to improvement over time, and NFL bloodlines show up in development. Again, it’s not just the testing though, with Runyan garnering All-Big Ten honors twice. Some believe Runyan fits better as a guard in the NFL, and that positional versatility late in the draft could help him make a roster, including Green Bay’s.

Tyrie Cleveland WR Florida

Another receiver on the list just for fun because there’s a good chance the Packers double up at the position, and could even go for three as they did in 2014. If they want the athletic marvel who can be a special teams player and a niche role player on offense, it could be Cleveland.

A disappointing collegiate career after coming to UF as a heralded prep prospect may take the shine off his talent, but Cleveland can really move. He’s the definition of a project, never producing consistently in college but showing enough in bursts to warrant a look in the NFL. He ran 4.46 at the combine, putting his speed score in the 86th percentile, with an RAS of 9.52. For someone who is likely to go in the seventh round or be a priority free agent, the conversation can end there. Take a flyer on a freak athlete.