The Packers' breakout star isn't getting enough attention (and other important developments)
Jon Runyan Jr. looks like a genuine keeper while Christian Watson has begun flirting with a lost rookie year.
The conversation around the Green Bay Packers' offensive line has pivoted multiple times over the past two months. Yet, arguably the most intriguing development has garnered little discussion to date.
When players reported for training camp, the health of David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins dominated the discourse around the unit, and not without good reason. Bakhtiari had essentially missed all of the 2021 season while dealing with a complicated rehabilitation of his reconstructed knee. Meanwhile, Jenkins endured an ACL tear of his own last November, complicating the timetable for his recovery.
Since both made their returns in September, the conversation has shifted to how much longer the team will persist with a left-tackle rotation between Bakhtiari and Yosh Nijman and when, if ever, the latter will end up flipping to right tackle and allow Jenkins to slide into Royce Newman's spot at right guard.
The unresolved parts of those matters remain highly relevant to the Packers in both the short and long term. However, they've obscured a similarly important development: Jon Runyan Jr.'s stellar play.
The occasionally mustached Runyan has served as a starter for a while now, taking over at left guard in Week 2 of the 2021 season and never relinquishing the job. And he performed admirably in that role, allowing just two sacks (both in the same game) and 21 total pressures in his first year as a starter, according to Pro Football Focus.
But despite the promising campaign, Runyan didn't have a guaranteed starting job to start camp in 2022. But while the coaching staff made him earn it, the third-year pro never really allowed anyone else to take the inside track.
However, the strong camp didn't fully prepare anyone for Runyan's start to this season. In five games and 167 pass sets, he hasn't allowed a single pressure of any kind nor drawn a single penalty, according to Pro Football Focus. No player in the NFL with at least 100 blocking snaps can say the same, with only former All-Pros Corey Linsley and Jack Conklin coming close (one pressure each).