Packers 2021 roster preview: AJ Dillon set for breakout season

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

A second-round pick a year ago, AJ Dillon is finally set for a bigger opportunity in the Green Bay Packers‘ offense.

He had a limited role as a rookie, which was to be expected with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both under contract. Williams signed with the Detroit Lions this spring, opening the door for Dillon to step into the number two role.

Will this be a breakout season for the Packers’ 2020 second-round draft pick?

2020 stats

Dillon rushed 46 times for 242 yards and two touchdowns, averaging an impressive 5.3 yards per attempt in a limited role.

2020 review

One of the biggest criticisms of the Packers’ decision to draft Dillon was that he was a pick for the future. He wouldn’t get significant playing time as a rookie.

Well, that proved to be true with Jones and Williams dominating the snaps. But Dillon did all he could, which was to make the most of the limited opportunities he received. Averaging over five yards per carry and looking every bit the powerful runner we expected, Dillon impressed in a limited role.

Given the keys to the backfield once, in the win over the Tennessee Titans, Dillon dominated with 124 yards and two touchdowns from his 21 carries. It’s that performance that got everybody to take notice.

After making the best of being the third RB on the depth chart, Dillon showed why he deserves more opportunities moving forward.

Will he make the roster?

Yes. No doubt about it. The Packers’ second-round pick from 2020 will be needed this year.

What to expect in 2021

After signing a big four-year deal, it’s clear Aaron Jones remains the featured back in Matt LaFleur’s offense. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities for Dillon. LaFleur loves to have depth at the position and regularly rotated Jones and Williams in games.

Williams had 216 carries in two years under LaFleur, so there will be plenty of work for Dillon in this offense.

After impressing last year, Dillon can have a breakout 2021 season.