Packers coach Matt LaFleur hints at new role for AJ Dillon: 'Not just a tailback'

Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon
Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon / Michael Owens/GettyImages

All signs seemed to point to AJ Dillon's departure at the start of free agency. Even Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst called his return a "nice surprise."

The Packers signed Dillon to a rare four-year qualifying offer, a risk-free move on their part. They can easily move on from their former second-round pick this summer if they strengthen the running back room in the draft.

However, head coach Matt LaFleur has a plan for Dillon moving forward.

Dillon is currently the No. 2 running back on the depth chart behind new signing Josh Jacobs, but LaFleur believes he can take on a more versatile role in the offense in 2024.

Matt LaFleur believes AJ Dillon can become 'moveable piece' in Packers offense

Re-signing Dillon gives the Packers stability at running back, which is important after losing Aaron Jones. Dillon knows the system and is an effective runner in short-yardage situations.

LaFleur hinted at a new role for Dillon this season.

"The things he was able to bring from a pass protection standpoint—this was his best year in pass pro. We know what we're getting with AJ Dillon," said LaFleur. "I think there's some versatility that we can start to use with him moving forward, and trying to be more of a moveable piece, not just a tailback."

The last line is particularly interesting. A "moveable piece" and "not just a tailback"? Could we see Dillon playing some fullback snaps this season? It is a potential area of need following Josiah Deguara's departure in free agency. If LaFleur believes in Dillon's blocking ability, it could be an interesting way to get him on the field at the same time as Jacobs.

What else could Dillon mean? He's not exactly going to become a slot receiver.

LaFleur also believes in Dillon's ability to lead the backfield.

"AJ is another guy who can be a high-volume guy. Unfortunately, this last year he battled through some stuff," said LaFleur.

Dillon could face competition for a spot on the 53-man roster if the Packers add another running back in the draft, especially if they have high hopes for second-year Emanuel Wilson. Dillon will increase his chances if he can take on a more significant role in LaFleur's offense as a "moveable piece."

Pass-blocking is an underrated part of his game, and it could help him secure a roster spot in the months ahead.

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