The scouting combine is now in the rearview mirror, meaning the 2023 NFL Draft is a little over seven weeks away. Currently slated to hold 11 selections, the Green Bay Packers have several needs across the roster. This includes safety, outside linebacker, tight end, wide receiver, and along the offensive and defensive lines. The franchise could also look to add a piece to the backfield in another deep class for running backs.
Choosing to restructure the contract of Aaron Jones, the one-time pro bowler took a $5 million pay cut to return for his seventh season with the team. However, with the former fifth-round pick set to turn 29 years old next season, look for the Packers to find a partner to pair with AJ Dillon as a full-time starter in 2024. Here are five running backs they could look to target.
5 Running Back Targets in the 2023 NFL Draft
Devon Achane, Texas A&M
A three-year player at Texas A&M, Achane was featured in a complementary role in the Aggies backfield before taking over as the full-time starter in 2023. Quickly becoming one of the most electrifying playmakers across college football, the Texas native rushed for 1102 yards on 196 attempts while adding eight scores. Along with this, he also hauled in 36 passes for 196 yards and three more touchdowns.
An explosive player who remains a threat to take the ball the distance on any given play, the one-time First-team All-SEC member can outrun opposing defenders while also possessing the ability to stop/start and quickly change directions. Projecting to be a tandem running back at the pro level, the 21-year-old would provide another dangerous piece for Matt Lafleur’s offense.
DeWayne McBride, UAB
The 2022 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, McBride, rushed for 3,084 yards and 32 touchdowns during his final two seasons at UAB. Possessing substantial size with his 5’11 232 pound frame, the Florida native has excellent vision as a runner, allowing him to wait for the blocks to develop in front of him. He also uses exceptional pad level and leg drive, leading him to go down when contacted by the first defender rarely.
Not as quick as other running backs in the draft class, the junior still has exceptional short-area burst and lateral agility. This allows him to hit the hole easily and find the second level of the defense while also locating the cut-back lane to create a chunk play.
Sean Tucker, Syracuse
Formerly a multi-sport athlete in high school, Tucker played both running back and cornerback. Along with this, he also shined as a member of the track team, winning several state championships in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. Ultimately landing at Syracuse, the Maryland native made an instant impact on the team as a true freshman in 2020. He logged 137 attempts for 626 yards and four touchdowns while averaging over four yards per carry.
Gaining control of the lead role the following season, the 21-year-old broke the school’s record for rushing yards (1,496) and the most 100-yard games in a single season (8). A home run hitter with breakaway speed, Tucker also possesses quality hands with the ability to run a diverse route tree as a receiver out of the backfield.
Keaton Mitchell, East Carolina
Mitchell arrived at East Carolina in 2020 as a three-star recruit. Spending his first two years in a tandem backfield, he racked up 88 carries for 443 yards and two touchdowns while adding 11 catches through the air. Earning an expanded role last season for the Pirates, the Georgia native finished 11th in the NCAA with 201 carries for 1,452 yards and 11 touchdowns.
A dynamic running back in space, Mitchell has the footwork to make opposing defenders look silly when they try and bring him down in the hole. Moreover, the Eagles Landing Christian Academy High School product can easily turn the corner to create chunk plays. He is also a good receiving threat with the ability to track the ball and pick up yards after the catch.
Kenny McIntosh, Georgia
The lead running back for the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, Mcintosh, amassed 1,334 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns in 2022. Offering substantial length with his 6’1, 210 lbs frame, the Florida native has exceptional vision and patience as a rusher, allowing him to follow his blocks easily. He also has quick feet when inside the tackle box, leading him to force missed tackles and shift gears to create big plays.
One of the best pass catchers at his position in the entire class, the 23-year-old is a natural receiver with soft hands and good tracking skills. Maintaining the ability to line up in the backfield, slot, and out wide, he has RB1 potential as a late-day two-pick.