Should the Chicago Bears draft Jon Runyan?
Jon Runyan is the son of a long time Pro Bowl left tackle. He followed in his dad’s footsteps of football and found his way to Michigan as a starter.
Runyan started nine games at right tackle in his redshirt sophomore season and started at left tackle in his junior and senior year. He was a college tackle but may translate to guard in the NFL.
With the Bears need for the offensive line in general and particularly guard, could they have an interest in Runyan? What round is he expected to be drafted in?
You can see from his measurable why he is likely a guard candidate in the NFL. He is a bit shorter and does not have the reach for play tackle. However, he has the quickness. His athletic profile shows burst, agility, and speed that would come from the son of an NFL football player.
When thinking of his transition to guard, you can find developmental traits. To start, he is a downhill run blocker. He has a nasty streak to finish blocks and has the foot speed to step out into the second level. His underrated athleticism does him a lot of good on the move. He also would provide depth play at tackle or guard in a pinch. There is talk that he could play center as well. A five-position depth asset is valuable.
His hand placement is off. A lot of times, he misses his punch entirely and can take himself out. This can be highlighted with his length issue. He is also much better moving forward than moving backward. His footwork can be unrefined. Most of these issues all but solidify a move to the inside. At guard, his NFL ability is completely projectable with no college experience to speak of.
NFL comparison for Jon Runyan
When looking at a list of physical and athletic comparisons to Runyan, you can see that there are a variety of positions, but mostly centers or guards. Runyan is expected to be a day three pick. Players who turned out successful careers at similar sizes and athleticism after being drafted on day three include Joe Looney, J.C. Tretter, Connor McGovern, Mark Glowinski, and Joe Berger. All of them found their way at guard or center for Tretter.
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This shows that there is upside to a player such as Runyan making the transition and being drafted that late.
NFL.com compared him to Colby Gossett. Gossett was a tackle at Appalachian State but moved to guard in the NFL. He was a sixth-round in 2018 and has bounced around to multiple practice squads. They wrote:
"Determined and smart, Runyan held his own as a Big Ten tackle despite a lack of desired physical and athletic traits. He’s inconsistent taking control into initial engagements, but stays after it and recovers back into the second phase of the block. He plays with high hands that diminish power and control, but that should improve as he slides inside to guard. He has adequate athleticism and body control to fit into a variety of run schemes but may not excel in any. Runyan’s protection experience at tackle improves his draft value as a later-round, backup-caliber guard."
While a late-round pick turned starter is the upside shown in a Glowinski, his floor could be closer to Gossett as a practice squad addition.
Fit with Chicago Bears
According to mock drafts, Runyan goes on average at the 199th pick. The Bears have picks at 196 and 200 in the sixth round. Would you be happy spending one of those two picks on a lineman such as Jon Runyan?
He could arguably come in and compete for right guard snaps right away. At worst, he has the versatility to play all positions, and that does include center with experience. In a worst-case, Runyan could spend a year or so on the practice squad, but at a sixth-round value, that is the price of doing business. The upside in round six may be worth it for a player such as Runyan.