With the 62nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers Select RB AJ Dillon out of Boston College.
🚨 THE PICK IS IN 🚨
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) April 25, 2020
A.J. Dillon brings a big 6’0″ 247lbs. frame to the NFL. While he is big for most running backs, don’t let the weight fool you, Dillon can move. His 4.53 second 40-yard dash time is nothing spectacular. However, with the weight-adjusted speed score, Dillon’s time comes in at the 97th percentile for his position class. Furthermore, his burst score (a combination of broad and vertical jump results) is also in the 97th percentile.
Dillon made the top 10 in my pre-draft RB Film Scores. He demonstrated several great traits in his game tape. Specifically, Dillon finished in the top 5 for my footwork, balance and burst scores. This ranks out of over 30 running backs the I evaluated for this class. In my eyes, Dillon has one of the best initial steps among his peers. His combine results merely confirmed what I was witnessing with regards to that excellent burst. The footwork really helps with that burst to move his massive frame. There are no wasted movements with his feet, and he will constantly churn them when taking contact. This is especially helpful in gaining extra yards through contact. Dillon’s ability to maintain contact balance is especially apparent as he is rather difficult to take down.
The only aspect that concerns me with Dillon, is his body control. His straight-line speed and initial get off and footwork are all great. But when Dillon needs to avoid a would-be tackler, he is not nearly as elusive as other top prospects in the class. While he moves his feet very well, Dillon does not demonstrate that same tendency with the rest of his body. His knee and hip movements are not fluid enough which hurts his elusiveness.
With all of this in mind, Dillon projects as a power-back at the NFL level. I believed that his best fit would be a gap blocking scheme where his lateral cutting ability will not be as tested. However, the Packers clearly had no problem investing a second-round selection into Dillon. They obviously see no concern with Dillon fitting into Matt LaFleur‘s zone scheme.
A.J. Dillon was the 6th running back off the board. His body frame and athletic ability certainly separate him from others at his position. The uniqueness of his profile may be what led Green Bay to make this particular selection at the time.
From the outside, I saw three potential Packers picks go off the board in the four picks before their turn. Perhaps the plan was to go with either an offensive tackle, a wide receiver or a cornerback. But with the players selected just before them, the team decided not to force the issue.
Looking at the current team construction, one could wonder why Green Bay would spend such significant capital on a running back. With the season Aaron Jones had in 2019, it could be expected that the position is set. Not to mention that Jamaal Williams is still on the team. However, both backs are entering the final years of their respective rookie contracts. With no one else of note currently on the roster, Dillon could be line for a massive workload in 2021.
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This selection could very well spell the end of Jones’ time with the Packers. Coming off of a 1,500 scrimmage yard, 19 touchdown season, I expect Jones to command a big contract next season. At least, large enough that Green Bay will likely be unwilling to pay. Considering that Williams has not scored that many touchdowns in his entire career, he should come in at a much cheaper price, and thus is likelier to return. Still, nothing is guaranteed so Dillon provides some great insurance.
Perhaps the Packers retain either Jones or Williams beyond 2020. But if both walk, the team is ready with A.J. Dillon waiting in the wings.
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