Green Bay Packers RB AJ Dillon is ready to breakout in 2021

Green Bay Packers RB AJ Dillon is entering his 2nd year in the NFL with the Packers. The former Boston College RB, who rushed for 4,382 yards and 38 touchdowns during his 3 seasons in college, is ready to breakout for the Packers in 2021.

Dillon, often cited for his absolutely enormous quadriceps, is a workhorse running back who conveniently has fresh legs for Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. During his 3 seasons at Boston College, Dillon had an obscene amount of carries, as illustrated by the table below.

YearGames PlayedRushing Attempts
201713300
201810227
201912318

In Dillon’s 3 seasons at Boston College, he averaged 11.67 games played per season and 282 carries per season. To put in perspective how crazy Dillon’s workload was in college, take a look at the Top 5 2020 NFL rushing leaders below.

PlayerGames PlayedYardsRushing Attempts
Derrick Henry162027378
Dalvin Cook141557312
Jonathan Taylor151169232
Aaron Jones141104201
James Robinson141070240

When you study Dillon’s college stats and compare his carries (in less games) to last year’s NFL rushing leaders, it makes you wonder if Boston College ever passed the football during his time in Massachusetts. Dillon finished at Boston College as the Eagles All-Time Leader in rushing yards, touchdowns and all-purpose yards. He came 220 yards shy of breaking the All-Time ACC Rushing Yards Record for an individual player.

Much Needed Time Off

It’s important to note Dillon’s workload in college to emphasize his potential impact in 2021. As is common knowledge in football, running backs generally have short shelf-lives due to the wear and tear they incur by constantly being tackled and running into defenders.

2020 was Dillon’s rookie season and he found himself number 3 on the depth chart behind starter Aaron Jones and backup Jamaal Williams. As a result, he barely saw the field. He finished last year’s regular season and playoffs with a combined 55 rushing attempts. With those 55 carries, he rushed for 286 yards (5.2 avg per carry) and 2 touchdowns.

Setting the Table

As we head into the 2021 season, Dillon now finds himself as the #2 behind Aaron Jones, as Jamaal Williams signed with the Detroit Lions in free-agency. That opens the door for #28 to receive an abundant amount of additional carries.

Last year as the Packers #2 running back, Jamaal Williams had a combined 138 carries in the regular and post-season. Packers star running back Aaron Jones had 221 carries in 2020, who was coming off a 2019 season with 269 rushing attempts.

Jones, 26 years old and turning 27 in December, is going into his 5th NFL season. Viewed by the Packers brass as a key component to their team, they re-signed him (a free agent this off-season) to a 4 year, $48 mm deal to keep his services in Green Bay. Jones not only is a very good rusher but adds fantastic value in the receiving game, evidenced by his 52 receptions last year and 55 in 2019.

Why is this Important?

It’s important because as mentioned earlier, running backs generally have limited shelf-lives. As Jones heads into his 5th season with already a decent amount of miles registered running and receiving the football, it’s necessary to keep him as fresh as possible throughout the season. Dillon, who basically took 2020 off, has max rejuvenated legs to bully defenses in the upcoming year.

Dillon’s measurables on Packers.com are 6’0 and 247 pounds but he appears even larger than that. If you were able to watch him play last season against the Titans, Rams and Buccaneers, his physical presence was easily seen, while showing surprisingly quick agility in tight spaces for a big man.

What it all means

Dillon is going to have his number called on very frequently this year. At only 23 years old with special physical gifts, he will have many, many opportunities to run the football down the throat of defenses. Clearly immensely talented, as he showcased in record-breaking fashion in college and his limited opportunities in the NFL in 2020, AJ Dillon is poised to make his name known across the league in 2021.

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Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\\\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.

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