We may have already witnessed AJ Dillon’s final snaps as a Green Bay Packers running back. The fan favorite player and the holder of a “key” to Door County is scheduled to become a free agent at the start of the new league year in March.

Dillon previously stated his interest in remaining with the Packers back in 2023. “I’d play here until I can’t run anymore. I’ll pick up long snapper or whatever it is when I start slowing down. But there’s only so much I can control,” Dillon said.

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst recently implied that he values the role that Dillon plays, but didn’t go as far as saying that Dillon would be the one filling that role going forward. We of course know that a rookie addition with a similar on-field pedigree can easily be what the front office has in mind. Gutekunst does seem to want a large bruising back of some sort “for short-yardage situations and playing in the weather and closing out games,” he said via Packers.com.

Who Could the Packers Draft to Replace Dillon?

The top few running back prospects in the draft such as Blake Corum and Trey Benson don’t really fit the mold of what AJ Dillon currently does in Green Bay. Its impossible to know if the Packers will look outside of that size and athleticism range, but assuming they stick to a similar type of back as Dillon, here are some potential prospects to look out for.

Audric Estime – Notre Dame

Estime is an elite looking prospect who, depending on a lot of factors between now and the draft, may find himself coming off of the board before the Packers pick in the second round. Assuming he’s there, a second round replacement for the 2020 second round pick AJ Dillon might be poetic.

Estime, who is 5’11 and about 230 pounds, looks and plays like a strong and bruising RB. He has a muscular frame and his ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact is apparent on film. This is probably the most notable prospect that the Packers will have interest in, assuming they’re looking for Dillon’s replacement in April.

Braelon Allen – Wisconsin

Allen might be my favorite RB prospect in the entire class. At 6’2 and 245 pounds his best size comparison at the NFL level is probably Derrick Henry. Questions about his pass protection abilities are valid, but there’s no doubt that many RBs end up honing that skill at the NFL level. I’m not usually all about the Wisconsin prospects like some Packers fans may be, but sign me up for this Badger’s hype train.

I can’t see how Allen isn’t being projected by most analysts as a top 3 RB prospect in this class. If he’s there in the third round, he would be a phenomenal fit in Green Bay, not only as Dillon’s replacement, but potentially as a future RB1 for the Packers.

Ray Davis – Kentucky

Davis is a prospect that I don’t think fits neatly into a box. When looking at the RB position as a binary where we either have bigger stronger backs or smaller shiftier backs, Davis is somewhere in the middle. Some would look at this optimistically and say that he’s versatile in his abilities, and some would say he doesn’t have any clear identifiable strengths that make him stand out. I tend to lean towards optimism with this prospect.

Davis, who stands at approximately 5’9 and around 220 pounds, has shown the ability to get yards in many different ways. He showed off good vision at the line of scrimmage during his short tenure at Kentucky, and he also did well in short yardage situations, whether he had to find a cutback lane or just bruise up the middle. His pass catching ability has also improved greatly over the last year. Many describe Davis as a “high floor, low ceiling” prospect, and that may be a fair option to replace someone like AJ Dillon.


Despite an—at times—underwhelming outcome from Dillion’s usage as a short yardage RB in Green Bay, he had some great moments, too. Without him the Packers would have certainly been in some trouble during Aaron Jones’ long absence in the 2023 season, for instance.

AJ Dillon will likely be able to get paid more than the Packers are willing to spend on a RB not named Aaron Jones. The Packers are undoubtedly looking at many prospects in the 2024 draft who can fill his shoes, and maybe even Jones’ shoes in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if we see at least one new face at the running back position in 2024.


Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.