A.J. Dillon Brings Power to Packers Backfield in Another Surprise Pick
Green Bay Packers found themselves again on the clock at pick 62. The well had run dry on wide receivers for the most part. Denzel Mims was the last remaining wideout that seemed viable, and the New York Jets grabbed him at 59. Packers still had options at offensive line and linebacker though. Two places of need for the Packers. That is not where Green Bay went with their pick. Rather, they drafted A.J. Dillon, a running back, out of Boston College. Dillon is an absolute brut at 251 pounds. What does this mean for the Green Bay Packers backfield?
When looking at potential running backs for the Packers, I believed Green Bay would consider a running back that could replace Jamaal Williams next season. That is accurate. Did I expect a guy like Dillon in Round two? No. The Packers are clearly higher on him than any of the draft experts. Dillon is a different type of runner than Aaron Jones or Williams. Packers will be creative with their offense likely having Dillon in the backfield while Jones is split out. The term ‘Thunder and lighting.’ with Jones and Dillon. Matt LaFleur will be creative with both running backs.
While this became more clear in Round 3, it is evident the Packers are moving away from the Mike McCarthy offense and transitioning towards the Mike Shanahan-style offense with zone blocking and running the football. The wear and tear on Jones is significant, and while he stayed healthy last season, the first two years were marred by injuries. LaFleur wanted to get a back that reminded me of Derrick Henry. Dillon is exactly that kind of running back. We all saw the impact Henry had last season, and the thought of teams trying to bring Dillon down in the cold at Lambeau Field is exciting.
Look, this pick isn’t what any of us expected in Round 2 especially after drafting Jordan Love in Round 1. But Dillon does have a place on this team. Packers lacked a guy that can wear down defenses. The combination of him, Jones, and Williams is flat out scary for a team to deal with. The NFL appeared to transition to a more run-focused approach last season amid the metrics saying otherwise. There is a case to make that if you give Rodgers less to think about and more play action that he could be even more dangerous.