Packers 2021 post-draft position review: Running backs

Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers‘ rushing offense ranked eighth in the NFL last season. Head coach Matt LaFleur has shown a commitment to running the football and likes to have depth in the backfield.

Drafting AJ Dillon in the second round was heavily criticized, but it’s not looking like such a bad move now. Dillon should see a much bigger role this year.

We continue to break down each position group on the roster, moving onto the running backs.

Currently on the roster

Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Kylin Hill, Patrick Taylor, Mike Weber, Dexter Williams

Offseason moves

Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both had expiring contracts so it seemed certain the Packers wouldn’t be able to bring both back. Maybe neither.

They did work out a new multi-year deal with Jones, which is great news for this offense, but Williams signed with the Detroit Lions and will now face the Packers twice a season.

With Williams’ departure hurting the Packers’ depth, they drafted Kylin Hill in the seventh round.

Improved from 2020?

On paper, no, but it’s possible the Packers’ rushing attack does improve.

Clearly, losing Williams hurts. And it will take a lot for Hill to replace him as a rookie. But I do like Hill’s potential and think he could slip under the radar having been drafted so late on.

What’s going to be key is the development of Dillon. He didn’t play a whole lot of snaps last season but did impress when given opportunities.

Key player

Aaron Jones.

Back on a new contract, Jones is more than just a running back for the Packers. He’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands whether he’s lined up in the backfield or as a receiver. There’s reason why Green Bay paid him big money, something we don’t regularly see with running backs. He’s far too important to this offense to watch him sign elsewhere.

Position outlook

Green Bay’s rushing attack was up there with the best in the league last year. The same can be true again in 2021.

The offensive line played a huge role. Losing All-Pro center Corey Linsley certainly doesn’t help, but the Packers still have a ton of talent along the line, including Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins and All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari, when he’s back to full strength.

Jones returning is great news and Dillon will be a player to watch. Don’t be surprised if he has a breakout season as the Packers’ number two running back.