Having used a second-round pick on Boston College running back AJ Dillon and a fifth-round selection on Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin, the Green Bay Packers had important roles in mind for each of these players. And while Aaron Jones and Christian Kirksey are the incumbent starters at both running back and linebacker, it is still (in all likelihood) very possible that both Dillon and Martin will have big roles this season.
Dillon, who has had an offseason filled with publicity about his massive legs, was known as more of just a rushing threat at BC, where opposing teams regularly just loaded boxes against him and he still put up eye-opening numbers. His physicality is going to work perfectly in the colder months of the season when he is running between the tackles at Lambeau Field.
But Dillion is going to be fighting with Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin, and potentially even Dexter Williams for some playing time, so it is not like it is already promised. Dillon is likely to fit in as the third back on the depth chart to start the year, but it would not be a surprise at all if Dillon was the second man on the depth chart before the halfway point of the season is reached.
A nice positive is how Dillon has shown a touch in the passing game, as his 21 career catches in 35 collegiate games shows how little he was focused on in the passing game at BC. But head coach Matt LaFleur feels that his abilities to contribute in the passing game are very undervalued, and he has had some nice hands in situations so far in training camps.
For Martin, he looks to have a slightly-inside track to the other inside linebacker position alongside free-agent signee Kirksey, and the fifth-round selection is teetering on the brink of being the week one starter.
Having lost middle linebacker Blake Martinez this offseason to the New York Giants, there was a large gap that needed to be filled in the LB core. And even with Kirksey being brought in, someone amongst the group of Martin, Oren Burks, Ty Summers, or others needed to step up, and so far it looks like Martin has taken the biggest steps.
With nothing being set in stone quite yet, it will be interesting to see how much both Dillon and Martin are able to prove over the final three-ish weeks of camps to see if they earn solid playing time to start the season.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23
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