Green Bay Packers

A.J. Dillon Is the Most Critical Component In the Packers Offense (Who’s Not Jordan Love)

Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

A cloud hangs over the entire Green Bay Packers organization this offseason in the form of Jordan Love. Everyone is doing their best Jim Cantore impersonation in trying to predict what type of storm that cloud will be come September, but there is a tropical depression in the distance. Ironically, the tropical depression started forming last year during A.J. Dillon’s breakout season, and now in 2023 he has a chance to be a full-blown hurricane for the Packers’ offense.

The Packers’ running back situation is both one of the best in the league and also one of the most confusing. Both running backs face unique contract situations, and they will likely lean on them heavily this coming season. While Aaron Jones is the straw that stirs the drink for now, Dillon may be the new hot hand in the offense.

For Dillon, specifically, 2023 should be the year that he finds himself entering rare company in the league as one of the best backs.

Is College AJ Dillon Finally Going to Appear?

While the running back position has seen its value dip lower than Dogecoin’s, the Packers got a steal in Dillon. In the 2020 NFL Draft, Green Bay drafted him 62nd overall just before the second round closed. That class is more well-known for having Jonathan Taylor in it, but other running backs drafted ahead of Dillon include D’Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers, and J.K. Dobbins.

While that is quite the list of names, Dillon has worked at his own pace with the Packers, and patience is paying off for both parties. He is now set to be the premier back after sitting and developing to the tune of 1,573 rushing yards in the last two seasons combined. During that same time, the Packers had Aaron Rodgers and the pass-happy offense, of course. But things are changing with the arrival of the Jordan Love era.

There is no better remedy for a young, jittery offense led by a first-time starting quarterback than a well-established run game. That’s how the fourth-year running back could finally have his breakout season. The college version of A.J. Dillon ran for 4,382 yards in only three years. Look for that production to be on display in 2023.

A Tough Front Office Choice on the Horizon

There is a looming decision for the front office to make, and it’s potentially a unique situation in that Dillon could be a free agent after a breakout year. On top of that, Aaron Jones is also entering a year in his contract where they could break free of him at age 29 next winter and save money in the process. If Dillon has a banner year, the front office will have to make a tough call.

Dillon’s situation is comparable to Josh Jacobs‘ in Vegas. Jacobs was in an offense where the quarterback play was interesting, to say the least. But they still had Davante Adams, who they used often (something Packers fans can understand). The point is that Jacobs had a career year, led the league in rushing. He became became a safety valve for the Las Vegas Raiders’ offense that allowed them to focus on other positions while figuring out their quarterback scenario.

If the situations are similar across the board, then Love has an average year at quarterback and Dillon’s emergence would allow for them to take things slow. Jacobs kept the Raiders’ offense going the same way Dillon could while earning a payday.

Very much a win-win in the right circumstances for the Packers and A.J. Dillon.

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