A.J. Dillon Adds Another Element to the Packers' Backfield
With the 62nd pick in the NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select running back A.J. Dillon.
Diilon was one of the nation's premier running backs at Boston College for three consecutive seasons and he's the highest-drafted running back by the Packers since selecting Eddie Lacy No. 61 in 2013. Dillon finds himself in a change of pace role behind Aaron Jones while splitting carries with Jamaal Williams. Let's take a look at what the distinguished ACC-running back will offer fantasy football owners as a rookie.
Dillon burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2017, recording the third-highest single-game rushing total in program history with 272. Over three years and 35 career games, Dillon had three consecutive seasons of 1,100 yards, 11 total touchdowns and posted 300 rushing attempts in two out of three seasons. Dillon set career-highs as a junior with 318 rushing attempts and 1,685 yards, which were both good enough to lead the ACC.
His 1,685 rushing yards was the sixth-most in the country and he was one of five players to record 300 carries this season, finishing third in the country. His 14 rushing touchdowns were tied-second in the ACC and he ended his Eagles career the program leader in rush attempts (845), rushing yards (4,382), rushing touchdowns (38), scrimmage pays (862), and touchdowns from scrimmage (40). He's can be a brute force when wearing down a defense at 6-foot and 247-pounds and over his career, only Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin had more carries.
Dillon led the nation with 79 missed tackles forced and gained a whopping 1,104 of his 1,685 yards after contact last season (65.5%). He had a 24% missed tackle rate and posted a 88.9 college grade per Pro Football Focus. He's a defensive backs worst nightmare with a 4.53 40-yard dash paired with his athleticism and downhill running style at 247-pounds. He may do some damage once he gets an opportunity in Green Bay, but it is noteworthy to add that he's been through wear-and-tear at Boston College, posting the second-most yards after contact since 2017 (2,890).
What to Expect
Dillon will likely step in and compete for the No. 2 running back role in Green Bay, with the focus being on short-yardage and red zone work. Jones had 44 red zone touches in 2019 (11th most) and 12 goal line carries (3rd), finding the end zone 16 times on the ground and 19 times total. Dillon will provide some durability to Jones' young career after Jones logged 285 total touches last season, and the rookie gives the Packers another option besides Williams.
The Packers finished 15th in rushing yards per game last season (112.2), 16th in rushing attempts per game (25.4), and had the sixth-best offensive line in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. After selecting Jordan Love in the first round, it's clear the Packers are moving toward their future, and Dillon can be an exciting bulldozer of a piece in Green Bay.
Our JJ Zachariason projects Dillon to record 99 rushing attempts for 457 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns in 2020.