Why the Green Bay Packers should replace AJ Dillon in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Green Bay Packers have some work to do at the running back position this offseason.

 

Aaron Jones won’t be going anywhere. Head coach Matt LaFleur recently called him the heartbeat of the team and if he can stay healthy for most (if not all) of the 2024-25 season, he should be one of the best running backs in the NFL.

 

Jones’ health is a concern, though. He’s a tough runner but he does have a bit of an injury history. That’s why it made sense when Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted AJ Dillon in 2020. Sure, he was probably picked too high as a second-rounder, but the idea was the create a “thunder” to Jones’ “lighting.” At times that vision has played out well in Green Bay.

 

The problem, though, is that while Dillon has been impactful as a runner, he’s been far from consistent. At nearly 250 pounds, he also hasn’t been the steady pile mover that the Packers likely expected he would be back in 2020. Dillon has had his moments, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent once the 2024 league year starts and there’s plenty of wisdom behind the idea of not re-signing him to a second contract considering his middling production and the fact that he’ll be heading in to his year-26 season.


Jones will be back, likely on a restructured deal, and there are plenty of strong running back options who Green Bay can kick the tires on somewhere in the middle of the upcoming draft.

 

The Packers may not want to spend another second-round pick on a running back but there are some intriguing options currently being mocked in the third round and beyond.

 

Names to watch include Michigan running back Blake Corum, who rushed for 1,245 yards and 27 touchdowns last season and is arguably the best running back in Wolverines’ history. He has the blend of explosiveness and tough running the Packers usually covet.

 

Another interesting option could be Audric Estime from Notre Dame, who checks in at a stout 5-foot-11, 227 pounds. He rushed for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Irish last season and would be a high-upside replacement for Dillon.

 

Whether it’s Corum, Estime or any other back in the draft, the Packers would be wise to use a mid-round pick to replace Dillon.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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