Giants landed underrated value in new offensive guard addition

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On Monday, the Giants made several moves to reinvest in the offensive line during the first day of free agency. In addition to securing Jermaine Eluemunor on a two-year, $14 million deal to compete at right tackle alongside Evan Neal, they also went after a mid-tear offensive guard in Jon Runyan.

Runyan is a 26-year-old former sixth-round pick out of Michigan. The Green Bay Packers have utilized him at both left and right guard over the past four seasons, but his story has underlying metrics that suggest he can be an above-average pass-protecting guard for the Giants.

Signing him to a three-year, $30 million deal with $17 million guaranteed is certainly no cheap investment. Still, the Giants will have the opportunity to get out of the contract after the second season if they see fit. Given Runyan’s age of only 26, he has further room for development, and the Giants likely believe he can be the starting left guard long-term.

READ MORE: What the Giants’ offensive line will look like in 2024

Breaking down Jon Runyan’s Upside With the Giants

Many will immediately look to his 1006 snap count at right guard in 2023, giving up 22 pressures, two sacks, and six penalties. On paper, those numbers certainly don’t look very exciting, but if we reflect back on his 2021 and 2022 seasons, we can start to get a better picture of where the Giants plan to use him.

During his sophomore season in 2021, Runyan played 1109 total snaps; in fact, he’s played three consecutive seasons with over 1000 snaps. Over that sample size, he gave up 21 pressures and two sacks, adding just one penalty. He posted a 72 pass protection grade at left guard (PFF), which seemed to be the long-term solution for the Packers at the position.

However, Green Bay landed Elgton Jenkins in 2019 and featured him at LG before he briefly transitioned to left tackle in 2021.

The Packers recognized that while Runyan was best suited at LG, Jenkins was a bit better, so they moved Runyan out of his position and to the right side.

In 2022, Runyan played 370 snaps at left guard, putting together some of the best price pass-protecting metrics in football before they changed his position. He still maintained his consistency at right guard for the most part but did see a noticeable drop in efficiency.

In fact, over the first five weeks of the campaign, Runyan didn’t give up a single pressure before a tough outing against the Jets in Week 6, when he gave up four. Overall, he only allowed 17 pressures during the 2022 season and 22 last year.

Theoretically, Runyan should provide the Giants with a massive upgrade at left guard compared to 2023. He posted a pass-block win rate of 94.2%, ranking 9th among all guards. He ranked 12th in 2022 with a 94% win rate.

An Underrated Asset

The numbers suggest that Runyan is an extremely underrated player who excels in pass protection but has been inconsistent in run blocking. Based on his salary compared to other offensive guard deals in free agency, this could be another Joe Schoen value-grab.

Fortunately, Carmen Bricillo, the Giants’ new offensive line coordinator, has provided substantial results in run-blocking with plenty of journeyman linemen during his time with the Raiders.

The Giants should take a big step forward in that regard, not to mention adding several slightly above-average pass protectors to the unit. Schoen is evidently trying to avoid the exact situation the Giants faced last year in the trenches, so reinforcing with durable and high-upside talent seems to be the priority this off-season.

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