Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy Calls Packers’ MarShawn Lloyd ‘Best Back in Draft’

A third-round pick by the Packers, MarShawn Lloyd's second-level "juice" stood out to Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.
MarShawn Lloyd
MarShawn Lloyd / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – When the Green Bay Packers selected USC running back MarShawn Lloyd with a third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said Lloyd was the best running back in the draft.

Asked during his Zoom call, Lloyd agreed that he was the best running back in the draft.

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy agreed, as well.

“I thought he was the best back in the draft,” Nagy told Packer Central this week in an interview regarding the NFL-high nine Senior Bowl players the Packers drafted.

“This was going back to really the beginning of the season. When we started watching the USC stuff, it was pretty clear to me. He had a couple of monster games against lesser opponents, but some of the stuff you saw – making people miss, running through contact, the juice at the second level to pull away from people – he’s got it all.”

Lloyd transferred to USC from South Carolina for his final season. He carried 115 times for 816 yards and nine touchdowns and added 13 receptions for 232 yards.

According to Pro Football Focus, 134 FBS-level running backs had at least Lloyd’s number of carries. Lloyd ranked third with 7.1 yards per carry and 18th with 3.97 yards after contact per carry.

Honing in on the draft class, Sports Info Solutions’s data had Lloyd ranked No. 1 in broken tackles per 100 touches, missed tackles per 100 touches, yards after contact per attempt and boom rate (percentage of plays that result in an EPA greater than plus-1).

The Packers entered the draft with the powerful duo of Josh Jacobs and AJ Dillon atop the backfield depth chart. What they needed was a big-play threat. At 220 pounds and boasting 4.46 speed in the 40, Lloyd ranked third in the nation and first in the draft class with 56.7 percent of his yards coming on runs of 15-plus yards, according to PFF.

There are a couple potential potholes on the road to Lloyd proving that he, indeed, was the best back in the draft.

The first is fumbles. Lloyd coughed it up eight times in three seasons, including three times in 2023. Only three running backs in the draft class had more fumbles last year and they all had significantly more touches.

The second is Lloyd’s ability to factor in the passing game. Including two seasons at South Carolina, he caught only 34 passes.

That’s where the Senior Bowl and other scouting opportunities came into play for general manager Brian Gutekunst and his scouts.

“When you got boots on the ground, certainly in practices and things like that, you get a pretty good idea, whether it’s the all-star games, things like that,” he said after drafting Lloyd last week. “And then the (Scouting) Combine’s a very good indicator for me and the pro days.

“I know with AJ, he rarely was used in the passing game at Boston College, but when he went through the stuff at the Combine, his hands were rare. He had excellent hands. Whether that can translate into running routes, that’s the harder part if they don’t do a lot of that. Then you’re kind of just betting on the athletic skill-set and do they have the ability to do that stuff once they’re in our system and get coached by our guys.”

Lloyd’s hands and pass-protection ability stood out to Nagy, confirming the veteran scout’s best-back belief.

“This guy’s an all-around running back,” Nagy said. “He goes down to Mobile, he did a nice job in the pass-game stuff. He’s a three-down player. I think he’s going to be a really good pro. I was really excited. This was one of my favorite players in the draft, regardless of position. I love Marshawn’s game.”

MarShawn Lloyd at the Combine
MarShawn Lloyd at the Combine / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Packers at the 2024 NFL Draft

All-Star Scouts: Jordan Morgan | Edgerrin Cooper | Javon Bullard | MarShawn Lloyd

Triple dipping | Ranking undrafted free agents

Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.