2020 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: AJ Dillion
School: Boston College
Position: Running Back
First and foremost, Dillon runs the way he looks. Too many times, bigger backs want to display the nimbleness they believe that scouts prefer. Instead, Dillon attacks the line of scrimmage with a forward lean, pumping knees and the ability to absorb and deliver heaps of punishment. With good pad level, he buries the shoulder into the chest of high wrapping tackle attempts. When he gets free of the line, Dillon deploys his hands. To fend off tackles, watch for the stiff arm. Dillon clubs the defender away without losing momentum.
Despite his massive frame, Dillon shows adequate burst. Granted, he will not break away from an entire defense, but the acceleration exists for chunk yardage. Dillon gets up to speed quickly and maintains that through the line of scrimmage. When deployed on perimeter plays, Dillon gets the corner.
Dillon only caught 21 passes during his career in Chestnut Hill. However, he managed to improve his hands and stats each season. At best, Dillon shows the ability to snag the flat passes, turning up field, getting his shoulders square and looking for contact.
With Josh Jacobs firmly entrenched as the number one, cornerstone back, the Raiders need depth. If you look down the depth chart, you see a bit of redundant talent. For as talent as Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are, they fit the same mold. Each attack the perimeter with a quicker approach. As a result, there are two roster spots used for the same job. Meanwhile, some point to Isaiah Crowell as a free agent option, even though he will return from major injury. Either way, the current composition of the backups do not appear to what Jon Gruden envisions his running game resembling.
By drafting Dillon on Day Three, the Raiders feel like a perfect fit. First, Dillon’s aggressive, power-based style models what Gruden wants. Downhill, between the tackles, wearing the defense out as Jacobs rests would force opponents to stack the box. In addition, by conserving Jacobs’ carries, he will stay fresher down the stretch. When December rolls around, a group of Jacobs, Richard, and Dillon could give opponents headaches. More importantly, Mike Mayock knows Dillon well and could lean towards drafting him. Mayock, a Boston College grad, maintains a strong connection to the football program. You can guarantee Dillon lives on Mayock’s Raider. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders call his name later in the draft.