Draft Prospect Profile | RB AJ Dillon, Boston College

Jackson Thompson

AJ Dillon

Height: 6-foot 
Weight: 245 pounds
Grade: Junior
School: Boston College

The Giants have a superstar as their top running back in Saquon Barkley, but if they are looking for backfield depth and a dependable short-yardage option, then the scrappy power-rushing AJ Dillon could be a solid pickup on the third day of the draft.

Dillon was a workhorse his junior year at Boston College, with 318 carries for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns. He even broke the program's all-time rushing yards record in 2019 with 4,382 career rushing yards.

He was the most prolific player for an offense that lost its starting quarterback in Week 7, and didn't boast top-tier talent at any other position. 

Even with the heavy workload, Dillon was a model of durability in his junior year. The only injury on his collegiate record was an ankle sprain that sidelined him for three games in 2018.

The New London, Connecticut native specializes at running between the tackles as a bruising power back. Among his best traits, are his vision and ability to find and charge through holes. Draft experts have compared him to James Connor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He does, however, struggle with outside runs and tosses, and fields no value as a receiver out of the backfield.

Why He's A Fit

Dillon's skillset contrasts Barkley's multi-dimensional style, and would give the Giants a much-needed option on short-yardage and goal-line situations.

One area where the Giants struggled running the ball with Barkley, particularly in 2019, was an excess of negative runs. Barkley was often caught behind the line of scrimmage, and the Giants were consistently stuffed at the goal line on scoring opportunities.

Dillon would bring a skill set that contrasts Barkley's, and give the Giants the power running they need to punch the ball into the endzone from the one or two-yard line.

New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett could use Dillon in a similar role to how he used Ezekiel Elliot in Dallas, to wear down defenders and control the tempo of the game.

Lining up Dillon in the backfield could also draw attention from defenders, and help open up play-action opportunities for quarterback Daniel Jones.

Dillon is considered to be the most physical running back in this year's draft. However, there are multiple running backs projected to be taken ahead of him, including Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor and Georgia's D'Andre Swift.

If Dillon falls into the fourth or fifth round, then general manager Dave Gettleman could use one of those picks to bolster his team's power running game with a true bruiser out of the backfield. 

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