We all can see it happening. The Green Bay Packers are a few picks away from their spot. There have been a few crazy trades. Some huge surprises have emerged. The Detroit Lions have made a terrible pick.
And now we are at pick 29. They are on the clock. Fans look over the board and the different possible positions available. And then they see it: First-round running backs Najee Harris and Travis Etienne are still there. The panic sets in.
I am all for the theory that you draft the best player available. I think it is a great strategy and works out a lot. But this is not the year for the Packers to do this with the running back position. They just drafted AJ Dillon in the second round last year. Aaron Jones was just re-signed to a team-friendly deal for the next four years.
The Packers have time to figure out the future of running back the next four years. But until then, there are plenty of other, more important positions of need. Don’t do it. Don’t draft a third-string running back a second year in a row.
Both Backs Solid, Not the Right Year
Both running backs are great choices and would look great in the green and gold. It just doesn’t make sense when Green Bay needs offensive line depth more than another running back to play behind them.
In four years with Alabama, Harris rushed for 3,843 yards and had 46 touchdowns. He had another 781 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Last year was huge for Harris. He had 1,466 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, and 4 receiving touchdowns in his final season alone. 30 total touchdowns is huge. He was awarded a first-team ALL-SEC spot last year as well.
Etienne is just as impressive, if not more so: He had 686 carries for 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns for Clemson. He recorded 24 of those 70 touchdowns in his sophomore year, his college-career high. As a receiver, he had 102 catches for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns. He was the ACC Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and holds ACC records for rushing yards, touchdowns, and career total touchdowns.
Both backs are fantastic but would serve much better on a team that desperately needs a running back now.
Green Bay Wouldn’t Do This, Would They?
The thought of the Packers drafted a running back didn’t even cross my mind until someone brought it up. When I was asked who they would draft, I said a linebacker or cornerback is most likely. It wouldn’t shock me if they picked offensive line help either. Depth at that position to keep Aaron Rodgers healthy and to open space for Jones and Dillon is a huge weapon to have.
I then got way too many comments like “the Packers never pick what you expect” or “I am ready to be let down.” So what position was I least expecting? It was definitely running back. That is a position this year that Green Bay does not need to touch until the later rounds, if at all.
The Packers need a cornerback. They need linebacker depth. Some offensive line depth would help. I would be a little surprised if they took a wide receiver, but some solid picks might drop that would make a solid WR2 next to Davante Adams.
Okay, so the most shocking pick would be another quarterback. But there is no way. If that happens again, I think Brian Gutekunst’s second-round pick would be in his car on his way to get the things from his office. Besides a QB, a running back seems like another position that has no business being selected by the Packers in the first round. Harris and Etienne are two amazing backs who deserve to be selected in the first round, but Green Bay shouldn’t pick them. They were able to grab Jamaal Williams and Jones in the fourth and fifth rounds in 2017. Their future one-two punch of high-caliber backs came from the later rounds.
And not to bring it up again, but they just drafted Dillon last year. The duo of Jones and Dillon is going to be deadly for the next few years. The Packers can easily pick someone like Pooka Williams Jr. out of Kansas in the sixth round. They don’t even have to draft a running back this year.
So please, Green Bay. Don’t be tempted. The Packers are so close to winning another Super Bowl. Let’s make the right pick on the defensive side of the ball. And if you go offense, go for the line or on the receiving side of things. This is not the year for a first-round running back.
Did I just jinx this into existence? Reverse-jinx it? No idea. Let’s hope this year is finally the year of a solid and safe first-round pick that can make an immediate impact for the Green Bay Packers.