The Green Bay Packers might lose star running back Aaron Jones to free agency after this season so they used a second-round pick on Boston College tailback AJ Dillon. Here are Dillon’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Packers’ over/under win total.
Jones had a breakout season last year for the Packers – his 19 regular season touchdowns were tied for the second-most in Green Bay’s historic franchise history, which not so coincidently occurred on a career-high 285 touches. So why draft Boston College’s Dillon with the No. 62 overall pick this year?
Because Jones wants to get PAID after the 2020 season. Jones’ agent, Chris Cabott, confirmed “there have been conversations” regarding a long-term extension with the Packers. Jones admitted he “would love to be a lifelong Packer” but isn’t sure it’s plausible. The Packers haven’t given a second contract to a running back they drafted since James Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010, and most recently allowed Eddie Lacy to walk after rushing for 1,000 yards in 2016.
Out of Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, Dillon originally committed to play college football at Michigan but then changed his mind and went with Boston College. He has good genes as his grandfather is former Notre Dame receiver Thom Gatewood, a College Football Hall of Famer.
“I always joke that I think I was like a nerd … that just got blessed with athleticism,” Dillon said.
In his 2017 freshman year, Dillon was ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, the first BC player to win either award. He finished the season with 1,589 rushing yards, seventh nationally and second among all freshmen nationally. He was a FWAA Freshman All-American, the first Eagle to be named to the FWAA team since Luke Kuechly in 2009. Dillon’s rushing yards were the most by any freshman in BC history and second in ACC history.
The next year, Dillon was All-AC first team despite missing a few games injured. He appeared in 10 games, rushing for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns to become the first player in BC history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. The Eagles officially did not make postseason, as the First Responder Bowl was declared a no contest after lightning early in the game. In the short time before lightning ended the event, he ran for 33 yards on six carries, including a touchdown run of 19 yards.
Last year, Dillon was a monster with 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns while also catching 13 passes for 195 yards and a score. Dillon was named to the All-ACC first-team in 2019 for the third consecutive season. He left BC as the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher with 4,382 yards. His 38 career rushing touchdowns, 40 total TDs and 4,618 all-purpose yards are also program records. He finished 227 yards shy of the Atlantic Coast Conference record for career rushing yards. In three seasons, Dillon rushed for at least 150 yards in 14 games. He hit the 200-yard mark four times.
Dillon raised his draft stock at the NFL Combine by posting an official 40-yard dash time of 4.53. This was better than expected for Dillon, one of the biggest backs in this year’s class. Dillon (6’0/247) ran faster than Derrick Henry, who had the same Combine weigh-in back in 2016. He also showed off a 41-inch vertical jump – that’s a lot of air underneath nearly 250 pounds.
“I feel like a lot of people kind of put me in this old school, big back because of my weight. And yeah, I do weigh 250 but it’s not like, I’m not out here looking crazy, you know so. I just feel like I’ve got a lot more to prove and a lot more to show,” said Dillon.
Dillon was a punishing power back in school, but rarely broke off big runs and only caught 21 career passes. In the NFL, he profiles as a potential two-down committee back who has more top-speed than other goal-line backs, but will likely be subbed out on passing downs. He might eventually be a difference-maker but will open 2020 buried behind Jones and Jamaal Williams, but Dillon could emerge as the Packers’ lead back as soon as 2021.