The Green Bay Packers have what seems to be a ton of needs. These needs range from tight end and safety to pass rusher and offensive linemen. But a position that no one is talking about is running back. And why would any sensible person even think about the Packers selecting a running back? Well, I’m no sensible person. This is why the Packers could pick Bijan Robinson.
In this scenario, the Packers don’t just pick Bijan Robinson, they select him in the first round. Now you might be saying, “Oh, well why would they select a running back in the first round? They have two stud running backs already! Ya know, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon!” And I would reply, “I wholeheartedly agree.” Aaron Jones is a pure playmaker and really is more than just a running back, all the while AJ Dillon is a beast. However, the draft can get interesting and we need to be ready for all scenarios.
So let’s break down why the Packers would select Bijan Robinson:
BAP: Best Available Player
The Packers have been known as a team to draft using the Best Available Player method. This is in contrast to drafting based on needs. Now don’t get me wrong, if the Packers have a couple of players on their draft board ranked very similarly, then they could break the tie based on team needs. The Packers view the draft as a method to ensure a bright future for the team, not for answering the needs of the now. So the Packers are more likely to draft the Best Available Player over a team need.
This could very well be Bijan Robinson. Daniel Jeremiah has Robinson ranked as the third best prospect in this year’s draft. However, most mock drafts have him going late in the first round due to the running back position being devalued.
If the Packers are sitting at pick 15 and find themselves looking at their draft board and they see Bijan Robinson is available and is ranked higher than any other prospect left on the board, then they could very well select Robinson. It never hurts to add generational talent to a roster.
Current Team Depth
Like I mentioned in the introduction, the Packers currently have AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones. Why would they take a Bijan Robinson if they already have those two? Well, Aaron Jones, at the end of this season, will be 29 years old. That’s old for a running back. And his cap hit next year will be 17.7 million dollars. That’s a lot. His cap penalty if cut or traded would be 12.3 million, saving the Packers 5.4 million dollars toward the cap. I’m looking at 2023 as Jones’ last year as a Green Bay Packer.
AJ Dillon had a fantastic sophomore season, but his 3rd season was not up to his standards. Dillon didn’t seem to have as much impact when he stepped in than he did in his second season. Don’t let the stats fool you. On top of that, this is Dillon’s last season under his rookie deal and the Packers have not extended him; they very well might not.
If this is indeed AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones’ last season on the Packers, then wouldn’t it be great to have drafted a very talented running back in the 1st round with a fifth year option the year prior to their departure?
More Than Just a Running Back
Sound familiar? The Packers extended Aaron Jones and paid him a ton of money because he isn’t just a running back, he is an extremely talented football player who can run, block, catch, run wide receiver routes, etc.
Bijan Robinson is much the same, except maybe even more athletic. Daniel Jeremiah says that, “Robinson is a three-down back with excellent size, vision and burst…In the passing game, he is a fluid route runner out of the backfield, boasting excellent hands. He can contort and adjust to poorly thrown balls.” That sounds absolutely wonderful if you are to ask me, especially when you have a new starting quarterback at the helm.
The one area Jeremiah says that Robinson is lacking in a bit is in pass-pro, which is why it could be very important to draft him and have him play alongside Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. He can learn from them and the coaches on how set up blocks. Bijan Robinson going to Green Bay could be the perfect fit. But will the Packers draft him?
Probably not. But if the Packers can draft a generational running back, then they should. I mean imagine if they would have drafted Barry Sanders? (Pssst, it’ll help you imagine if you check out this article by Greg Meinholz titled The Packers Multiverse Ep. I: What if we Drafted Barry Sanders?) The Packers have WAY too many other needs to address that would require that first round pick. But never say never, Robinson could be a Packer.
But more than likely the Packers will draft an offensive tackle or something in the first round, and that’s probably for the best.——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.