Position Grade: A
The Packers rushing game exceeded expectations last year. Aaron Jones had a breakout season and Jamaal Williams proved to be a serviceable backup. The drafting of AJ Dillon in the second round of the draft makes this running back group a force to be reckoned with.
Starting Running Back: Aaron Jones
The question of whether or not Jones will be a Packer beyond this season is a topic for another day. For now, though, Packers fans can enjoy the success he has had and, hopefully, will continue to have. In 2019, Jones had 1,084 yards rushing with a 4.6 yards per carry average. He also led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. He added 474 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. In LaFleur’s run-first offense, the quick Jones has thrived and will continue to do so in 2020.
2019 Second String Running Back: Jamaal Williams
While Aaron Jones is an agile, speedy back, Jamaal Williams is a bruiser. His style of running perfectly contrasts that of Jones and created problems for opposing defenses in 2019. Williams had 460 rushing yards and a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. While he only had one rushing touchdown, he added five receiving touchdowns and 253 receiving yards. Like Jones, Williams is entering the final year of his contract and his future in Green Bay beyond 2020 is in question. Which leads us to…
2nd Round Draft Pick: AJ Dillon
The selection of a running back in the second round was a surprise to many. However, with the uncertainty of Jones’s and Williams’s futures after 2020, it made sense to invest in a talented back who could potentially take over in 2021. Dillon has received comparisons to Titans running back Derrick Henry because of his bulk and bruising running style. In 2019, Dillon had 1,685 rushing yards on 5.3 yards per carry. He also added 14 rushing touchdowns, as well as 153 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. It is possible that he could supplant Williams as Jones’s backup in 2020.
And Don’t Forget: Tyler Ervin
Last season, the Packers’ special teams was on pace to be the worst special teams unit in NFL history. Their savior came in the form of Tyler Ervin, who, in just four regular season games, turned the return game around. He returned 11 punts for 106 yards and six kickoffs for 160 yards. He was recently resigned by the Packers and is slotted to be their kick returner once again. He will not get many snaps in the backfield, but his addition to the team is invaluable and deserves recognition.
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