GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers were stopped a step short of the Super Bowl last season but general manager Brian Gutekunst has spent his first two picks thinking about the future.
With their second-round pick, No. 62 overall, the Packers selected Boston College running back A.J. Dillon. The Packers were set in the backfield with the tandem of explosive Aaron Jones and steady Jamaal Williams, but both players will be free agents at the end of the season.
Not that the 247-pound workhorse can't – and won't – contribute immediately. Speaking at the Scouting Combine, LaFleur spoke of the importance of the position.
"I think anytime you look at the running back position, it’s such a long season, and those guys take on a ton of punishment," LaFleur said. "I think that’s one of the more tougher positions to play in terms of physicality, and I think you always need multiple guys to get to that finish line. Certainly, we’d like to play one more game than we did last season, and we’re going to need not only those two guys but I do think we’re going to need a third guy to put into that mix moving forward."
Dillon gives the Packers a powerful but nimble back in the mold of Eddie Lacy. And Tennessee's Derrick Henry. LaFleur was the offensive coordinator for the Titans in 2018. His offense ran through the duo of Henry (1,059 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Dion Lewis (517 yards).
“A player who can do everything on the field,” Dillon said in describing his game at the Scouting Combine. “I've got size, obviously that's just God given, but I have speed, I can catch the ball, pass protect. So, I bring everything to the table.”
Dillon (6-0 3/8, 247) rushed for school records of 4,382 yards and 38 touchdowns in three seasons. He topped 1,000 yards each year, including career-high totals of 1,685 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry and 14 rushing touchdowns in 2019.
He’s by far the biggest back in the class. But he’s got some finesse and wheels, as evidenced by his shocking 4.53 in the 40. He carried the ball 842 times in three years at Boston College. Only Wisconsin’s Taylor had more. He ran into a stacked box on a whopping 44 percent of his carries, according to Sports Info Solutions.
“Underrated is a phrase,” he said at the Scouting Combine. "It depends on how everybody rates. It’s an opinion. But I know that I’m definitely the full package and a team would get a hard worker out of me, a leader and obviously a running back who is capable of doing everything.”
He had only 21 career receptions.
“I don't feel like they're underrated,” he said of his hands. “Once again, that's an opinion. I don't really focus too much on what outside media has to say about my game. I know what I can do or what I bring to the table and I would say that opinion comes from lack of opportunity, not lack of skill. When I've had the opportunity to catch the ball, I've done it to the best of my ability to do that and I've done that at a high level and I made tough catches. We're just a run heavy offense and that's just how we play it.”
The Packers are scheduled to pick at No. 94 overall of the third round. After trading up for Jordan Love on Thursday, they do not have a fourth-round pick to open Saturday.