AJ Dillon barely saw playing time during his rookie season as the Green Bay Packers stuck with their proven running back duo of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams for the majority of the year. The two RBs combined for over 1,600 rushing yards in the regular season to go along with 11 combined rushing touchdowns. Dillon on the other hand, had just 24 carries through the first 14 weeks of the season, and missed 5 games on the Covid Inactive list. Not what the Packers were hoping for from their second round draft choice.
The early thoughts of many Packer fans was that the Packers wasted that second round pick on a running back the team had no need for. Those thoughts were quickly thrown out the window in week 16 when AJ Dillon finally got his opportunity against the Tennessee Titans.
In that matchup AJ Dillon ran all over the Titans defense. He ended the day with 21 carries, 124 yards, and 2 Touchdowns per Pro Football Reference. In a single game, Dillon had almost as many carries, and totaled more yards, than his entire season until then. This game was only the beginning for AJ Dillon as he will now step into the role of RB2 with the departure of Jamaal Williams.
AJ Dillon is not afraid of a large workload. Per Sports Reference, Dillon had over 800 total carries in his 3 seasons at Boston College. He was the primary back for the majority of his collegiate career, so his body can take the toll of large snap counts. He has only improved with his physicality and his vision coming out of the backfield has increased as well. These combined aspects have improved his game, making him even more ready for the big stage and increased playing time.
Now that Dillon has Aaron Jones in the backfield with him, things are looking good for both players. They give each other time to rest, as well as keeping defenses on their heels.
The power of Dillon combined with the speed and elusiveness of Aaron Jones should turn into a deadly combination of running plays for the Packers this upcoming season. Both players can take ample breathers, and if they both get tired, their quarterback isn’t too bad at his job. This offense is clearly filled with dangerous weapons, and as long as these two running backs stay healthy, look for them to be at the top of many rushing stats in 2021.
Kaleb is currently attending UW Green Bay pursuing an English degree. His lifelong goal is to one day work for ESPN. You can follow him on twitter at @kaleb_baumgart.