Late round draft picks are always a ton of fun to investigate and watch grow. From the pre-draft process, to draft night, all the way to the start of the season. There is almost always talk about the late round gems who could become future stars or major steals of the draft. I believe that these 4 prospects, with the correct system and progressions, could end up being either solid contributors to the Packers, or the future of the Packers.
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State:
Weight: 205 lbs
2019 Stats: 13 G, 71.6% Completion %, 5579 yards, 48 TD’s, 16 INT’s
Projected Round: Late 4th – Mid 5th Round
Pros: From high school, to community college, to Washington State, Gordon has completely dominated at every level and every school he goes to. He is extremely accurate, calm and collected in the pocket in order to make good decisions with the ball, and he is tough minded and competitive. Also, Gordon has shown the ability to make some good throws on the run, and we all know that if you are going to be a Packers QB, you have to be able to make some crazy throws outside the pocket.
Cons: The main reason Gordon is projected so low is because he has a small body and his arm strength isn’t what a lot of teams are looking for but the tape shows that he can make any throw he needs to and can do it accurately.
Conclusion: If you follow me on Twitter there is a good chance you know that Anthony Gordon is one of my favorite prospects of the entire draft. With a year or more of experience behind one of the greatest QB’s to ever throw a football, Gordon could easily come in after Rodgers retires and completely light the league on fire like we have seen from young QB’s recently.
Tanner Muse, S, Clemson:
Weight: 227 lbs
2019 Stats: 15 G, 54 tkls, 1.5 sacks, 4 INT’s, 3 PD’s
Projected Round: 5th– 6th Round
Pros: At 227 pounds, running a 4.41 40-yard dash, and posting a RAS of 9.97, it is very hard to think that GM Brian Gutekunst could look past Tanner Muse. Muse is a great tackler and he plays fast, aggressive, down-hill football. Muse is very intelligent as was praised by his zone coverage skills and almost always knowing where to be and where the ball will be. This makes Muse an ideal fit for matching up with TE’s all over the field and RB’s in the flats waiting on the check downs.
Cons: Muse’s stats aren’t eye popping because he played more deep safety at Clemson and his best suit is a box safety or as a S/LB hybrid player. He doesn’t have a lot of man coverage experience, even though he has all the tools to thrive there, and that is likely something that would have to be improved upon if he wants to be a really good contributor.
Conclusion: If there is one thing DC Mike Pettine has made clear, it’s that he loves a S/LB hybrid whether its Ibraheim Campbell, Raven Greene, or even Will Redmond. If Muse is drafted by the Packers, he would most likely be the main S/LB hybrid from the start and I have a feeling that he would be a solid contributor to the run defense and the TE coverage, both of which were major issues in 2019.
Jon Runyan, OT, Michigan
Weight: 306 lbs
Projected Round: 6th – 7th Round
Pros: With a 8.37 RAS, and really good combine numbers across the board, Jon Runyan has all the foundations of a good OT in place. His best attributes on the field is his pass blocking. He is athletic, smooth, and smart about his approaches on passing downs and he makes it as tough as possible for defenders to get past him.
Cons: During the season Runyan weighed in at 321 pounds and 306 pounds at the combine. His tape has shown that he is not a true anchor and lacks the ideal strength of a run blocker. His style is efficient but he never seems to move the pile any, it’s more of a “lock on and stay put” look. Whoever drafts him will most likely look to add about 15-20 more pounds of good muscle to get the body frame they seek.
Conclusion: If an athletic, smaller bodied, pass protection oriented offensive lineman is not your cup of tea coming out of college, then I give you to never pull for Packers All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari. Not that Runyan will ever be on David’s level of play but they have similar starts coming out of college. Having pass protection as your best strength is always a great thing, and with a little more muscle and some proper training, I believe Runyan could be a quality starter for the Packers someday.
Marquez Callaway, WR, Tennessee
Weight: 205 lbs
2019 Stats: 13 G, 30 rec, 635 yards, 21.2 Y/R, 6 TD’s
Projected Round: 7thRound- UDFA
Pros: Punt returner, deep threat, run after the catch, jump ball specialist, you name it and Marquez Callaway can do it. From the tape I’ve watched, he has some really good hands. He was constantly tracking the ball, undercutting and boxing out the defender, and making incredible leaping grabs. When he wasn’t doing that he was just straight burning the defenders deep or either taking a screen pass downfield. Callaway is also an outstanding blocker.
Cons: Tennessee only had Callaway running about 3 routes through his entire career so we don’t truly know how good of a route runner he is but I assume it will be good enough. His stats also suffer a bit from poor QB play and the inability to get him the ball when he goes deep.
Conclusion: For a 7th round pick with his potential and ball skills, I don’t know how you pass up an opportunity like that. Even if he doesn’t work out as a WR like you hoped, you still get a guy with great character, a high motor, a really strong blocker, and an elite special teams player.