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Packers Undrafted Rookies: Goodson, Baylor Bring Different Skills to Backfield

The Green Bay Packers boast an excellent backfield but there is room for a developmental prospect such as Iowa's Tyler Goodson and Oregon State's B.J. Baylor.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – About the last thing the Green Bay Packers needed in the 2022 NFL Draft was a running back. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, they’ve got as good of a one-two punch as there is in the league.

But, with an exploding salary-cap number in 2023, Jones potentially is entering his final season under contract. With last year’s seventh-round pick, Kylin Hill, coming off a torn ACL, there is a long-term opportunity in front of undrafted free agents Tyler Goodson and B.J. Baylor.

If it’s going to take a patient approach to make it in the NFL, Baylor brings that to the table. Buried on Oregon State’s crowded depth chart, Baylor redshirted in 2017 and had only 89 touches the next three seasons. He could have transferred to greener pastures. But with Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce off to the NFL, Baylor finally got his chance in 2021. The fifth-year senior took full advantage. He led the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,337 yards (5.9 average) and 13 touchdowns.

“I take loyalty serious,” Baylor told The Oregonian. “I feel like loyalty is better than anything else. Because when you’re loyal, you always feel like you have someone’s back.”

According to Pro Football Focus, 42 running backs in the draft class had at least 150 carries. Baylor ranked 13th with 3.50 yards after contact per attempt and 12th in elusive rating, a metric that measures the impact of a runner beyond the blocking.

He ran predominantly zone schemes, which should make him a good fit for Green Bay.

“With B.J., his feel for the wide zone run and his ability to stay on a path and press the line of scrimmage, and make those ‘backers commit, then get vertical is something that really stands out,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren.

The knock on Baylor is his receiving skills. In 2021, he caught 8-of-12 passes with two drops. Catching the ball is not a problem for Goodson, who caught 70 passes in three seasons for Iowa.

While Baylor had to bide his time, Goodson was a three-year star. He had 603 career touches, with first-team all-Big Ten honors in 2020 and a career-high 1,151 rushing yards in 2021.

Goodson has always loved football. So much so that he slept with a football as a kid.

“I want the ball,” Goodson told The Daily Iowan, as opposed to his brother, a linebacker at Mercer.

His youth team in Suwanee, Ga., was coached by Brentson Buckner, a 10-year NFL veteran and current defensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “All he ever talked about was playing Division I football and having a chance at the NFL," Buckner told Hawk Central. "'What do NFL running backs do? How did they get there?' He was always looking for that at an early age."

It will be an interesting battle to see which back, if any, sticks around either on the 53-man roster or the practice squad. Goodson measured 5-foot-9 and 197 pounds with a 4.42 in the 40. Baylor measured 5-10 and 202 pounds with a 4.52 in the 40.

Of the aforementioned 42 backs with 150-plus rushes last season, Goodson ranked ninth with 1.30 yards per pass route but 42nd with 2.35 yards after contact on runs. Baylor was 32nd with 0.65 yards per pass route but forced 19 more missed tackles while getting 29 fewer rushes. Neither player returned kicks in college but Goodson is viewed as a potential threat in that phase.

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