Unpacking Future Packers: No. 95, UConn G Christian Haynes

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

With Jon Runyan Jr. set to hit the open market, Sean Rhyan is currently projected to be Green Bay’s starting right guard at the start of the 2024 season. 

It’s his job to lose, but a player the Packers could target in the upcoming NFL Draft to compete with Rhyan is Christian Haynes. The UConn guard checks in at No. 95 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.

Haynes finished his career at UConn with 49 straight starts at right guard. He’s been the anchor of the offensive line and a leader inside the locker room for the Huskies. 

“Haynes’ time at UConn has been a period of major change for the program as whole, as the team moved on from Randy Edsall, who built the program up in the early 2000s but couldn’t replicate the success a second time around,” Dan Madigan, the editor for The UConn Blog, said. “Combine that with the move from the American Athletic Conference to life as an independent and a canceled 2020 season due to COVID-19, there have been few, if any, constants over the past few years.

Haynes is a notable exception. He has developed into an elite right guard at the FBS with the PFF stats to back it up and is just the third Husky ever to earn All-American honors since the move to FBS. His consistency and skill helped the Huskies reach the Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2022 and has served as a reminder to those inside the program and fans that despite the program’s up-and-down nature, UConn can still produce top-tier NFL talent.”

Haynes is a mauler. He plays with an edge and is looking to bury anyone that’s in his way. Haynes has good quickness off the snap and his wrestling background shows, as he plays with good leverage. On top of his physicality, he is a good athlete with good range as a run blocker. He rolls through contact and keeps his feet moving. 

“Haynes is a better run blocker than pass blocker and should be able to be a plug-and-play lineman in the NFL in some capacity for this reason alone,” Madigan said. “He has experience and has excelled in UConn’s zone blocking schemes which should translate nicely to the next level. With his speed, power and athleticism, Haynes can get to the second level quickly when needed and help ball carriers break off big chunk plays.”

During his first year as a starter, Haynes gave up five sacks. Since then, Haynes has logged 1,294 pass-blocking reps and yielded just three sacks and just one sack in the past 786 reps. He plays with a heightened awareness and doesn’t get fooled by anything. He strikes with heavy hands and has the grip strength to control the man across from him. The 49-game starter has the core strength to anchor against power. 

“Haynes has matured and grown into his body more, putting on nearly 20 pounds since coming to campus in 2018,” Madigan said. “His ability to use his hands and explosiveness to keep defenders at bay has always been apparent, but has also had the benefit of more experience to more quickly identify and pick up defensive pressure. UConn as a whole has also benefited greatly from Jim Mora’s arrival as head coach, where he has helped stabilize the offensive line with more consistency and better coaching to greatly improve the run game.”

Every year a prospect goes down to Mobile, Alabama and turns heads at the Senior Bowl. It happened with Travis Jones, a former teammate of Haynes. 

“UConn is not, and likely never will be, a football powerhouse in any way, shape or form,’ Madigan said. “But the Huskies have always excelled at bringing in elite athletes and developing them into successful NFL players. Haynes is no different. UConn’s independence and overall irrelevance hinder exposure for top talent, which means they usually fly under the radar until they can get to the national stage like at the combine or Senior Bowl. I expect Haynes to impress scouts as the Senior Bowl and combine approach and his athleticism begins to shine through.”

Fit with the Packers

As it stands right now, the interior of Green Bay’s offensive line consists of Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Rhyan and Royce Newman, with Zach Tom having the ability to kick inside.

Look for Gutekunst to add pieces there and to provide depth and competition for Rhyan and Myers. 

Haynes would provide quality depth at guard and has the athleticism, power, IQ and with plenty of collegiate snaps under his belt, he has the skill set to challenge Rhyan for the right guard spot. If the UConn guard is on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the third round, Gutekunst could be tempted to add the player who started 49 straight games at right guard. 

“Despite being undersized, Haynes should be able to contribute almost immediately for just about any team that decides to draft him,” Madigan said. “He has the athleticism and skill to be successful in the trenches at the next level and is likely going to be drafted lower than his true talent level just because of the program he comes from. General managers across the league love capitalizing on value, and the ability to get an All-American talent with elite athleticism gets harder and harder to do as the draft goes on. Drafting Haynes and betting on him continuing to improve as he joins a new staff could make a general manager look like a genius come the end of next season.”

The thing that could keep Haynes off Green Bay’s board is his lack of position versatility. He only ever saw snaps at right guard during his time at UConn. It will be worth monitoring if he takes any reps at center during his time at the Senior Bowl.

While he doesn’t offer versatility, Haynes is a people mover as a run blocker and he’s improved each season as a pass blocker. With his movement skills and physical nature, Haynes would be a great addition to the Great Wall of Lambeau. 

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire