Trio of rookies produce underrated performances during Packers’ Week 1 win

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Green Bay Packers got unexpected and underrated contributions from a trio of rookies during Sunday’s season-opening win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.” data-reactid=”13″>The Green Bay Packers got unexpected and underrated contributions from a trio of rookies during Sunday’s season-opening win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The rookie class across the NFL was challenged this offseason, given the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. There was no in-person offseason workout program and no preseason games, both vital events for first-year players.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="While first-round pick Jordan Love was inactive and second-round pick A.J. Dillon received just two carries, three others from the Packers’ rookie class helped Matt LaFleur’s team in a meaningful way on Sunday.” data-reactid=”15″>While first-round pick Jordan Love was inactive and second-round pick A.J. Dillon received just two carries, three others from the Packers’ rookie class helped Matt LaFleur’s team in a meaningful way on Sunday.

LB Krys Barnes

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Who would have expected Barnes to start at inside linebacker on Sunday? The undrafted free agent from UCLA didn’t make the initial 53-man roster. He wasn’t promoted from the practice squad until Saturday afternoon. Yet, there he was, on snap No. 1 of the 2020 season, lining up as a starter next to Christian Kirksey. According to Pro Football Focus, Barnes played 15 total snaps and graded out as the Packers’ top defensive player in Week 1. He made three stops, including two tackles for losses on Dalvin Cook. The second, an impressive stop on a screen play to Cook, prevented a big play.” data-reactid=”21″>Who would have expected Barnes to start at inside linebacker on Sunday? The undrafted free agent from UCLA didn’t make the initial 53-man roster. He wasn’t promoted from the practice squad until Saturday afternoon. Yet, there he was, on snap No. 1 of the 2020 season, lining up as a starter next to Christian Kirksey. According to Pro Football Focus, Barnes played 15 total snaps and graded out as the Packers’ top defensive player in Week 1. He made three stops, including two tackles for losses on Dalvin Cook. The second, an impressive stop on a screen play to Cook, prevented a big play.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Packers had Deguara, the team’s third-round pick, on the field for 24 snaps. He lined up as a traditional fullback, inline at tight end and split out wide in the slot. His best work came in the run game, where he proved to be an effective blocker on the move. On one end around, Deguara got out front and cut down two defenders with one block, springing Allen Lazard for 19 yards. In the passing game, Aaron Rodgers targeted him twice, completing one for 12 yards. The incompletion was a near miss on a well-disguised wheel route out of the backfield. It’s a play the Packers will almost certainly come back to at some point. Eric Kendricks, one of the NFL’s best coverage linebackers, played it well.” data-reactid=”23″>The Packers had Deguara, the team’s third-round pick, on the field for 24 snaps. He lined up as a traditional fullback, inline at tight end and split out wide in the slot. His best work came in the run game, where he proved to be an effective blocker on the move. On one end around, Deguara got out front and cut down two defenders with one block, springing Allen Lazard for 19 yards. In the passing game, Aaron Rodgers targeted him twice, completing one for 12 yards. The incompletion was a near miss on a well-disguised wheel route out of the backfield. It’s a play the Packers will almost certainly come back to at some point. Eric Kendricks, one of the NFL’s best coverage linebackers, played it well.

OL Jon Runyan

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Runyan, a sixth-round pick transitioning to guard, went into Week 1 needing a rash of injuries to interior linemen to get on the field. That’s exactly what happened. Billy Turner was inactive, and Lucas Patrick and Lane Taylor both went down, so it was Runyan getting the call in the fourth quarter. He played 15 issue-free snaps, including eight as a pass blocker, and Matt LaFleur didn’t hesitate calling run plays behind him. The Packers thought Runyan was one of their most improved players during camp, and he didn’t look overwhelmed in any way during his NFL debut. He could be a valuable backup in 2020 and a potential starter in 2021.” data-reactid=”25″>Runyan, a sixth-round pick transitioning to guard, went into Week 1 needing a rash of injuries to interior linemen to get on the field. That’s exactly what happened. Billy Turner was inactive, and Lucas Patrick and Lane Taylor both went down, so it was Runyan getting the call in the fourth quarter. He played 15 issue-free snaps, including eight as a pass blocker, and Matt LaFleur didn’t hesitate calling run plays behind him. The Packers thought Runyan was one of their most improved players during camp, and he didn’t look overwhelmed in any way during his NFL debut. He could be a valuable backup in 2020 and a potential starter in 2021.

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