Green Bay Packers

The Packers Envision A New Future For Marshawn Lloyd

Photo Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers remade their running back room in the offseason, swapping out Aaron Jones for Josh Jacobs, who is four years younger, in free agency. Then they took Marshawn Lloyd, a running back out of the University of Southern California, in the third round of the draft. Jacobs and Lloyd will replace Jones and A.J. Dillon as Green Bay’s primary backfield duo.

Dillon will return on a one-year deal this season. Still, there’s reason to believe that his presence will not stop Lloyd from taking snaps immediately.

“I would like to get him out there as much as possible,” offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said of Lloyd. “He’s got a skillset that’s a little bit different from A.J.’s as far as his speed. He’s not quite the bruiser that (Dillon) is, obviously, but he’s got a different type of skillset. So it’ll be nice to get him the ball in space and just see what he can do. I think he’s gonna add a good explosive element to the offense, for sure.”

Look at Lloyd’s highlight reel, and it’s easy to understand why.

Lloyd is shiftier than Dillon, bringing an explosive home-run ability that Dillon lacks. While Dillon is a bigger back who can take on blocks better, Lloyd’s ability to move laterally and make things happen in the open field is superior.

 

The Packers are also excited to use Lloyd in the receiving game. He didn’t catch many passes in college, only amassing 232 receiving yards in 2023. However, the Packers see Lloyd’s tape and his performance at the Senior Bowl as a foundation they can build upon.

“He definitely can be a weapon out of the backfield,” said Matt LaFleur. “I love all the measurables. He’s a 220 lb. back who runs 4.4 and can run routes out of the backfield. I think he could be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.”

The Packers will give Lloyd opportunities.

The Packers have typically given rookie backs a lot of snaps. Jacobs will be the starter, but the dynamic won’t be as lopsided as some might think. If Lloyd can get involved in the passing game, he could increase his snap count.

Lloyd said during the draft process that he was the best running back in the draft.

“Honestly, I feel like just being able to be used in any way possible,” Lloyd said at Packers rookie camp. “I can be used on special teams. I could be used on third down. It can be used anywhere, really. I can be used on kickoff returns. I feel like I have that shiftiness, quickness, and explosion.”

Three running backs were taken ahead of Lloyd: One in Round 2 and two more in Round 3 before Lloyd went to Green Bay. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network ranked Lloyd at the top of his class for backs, and he was not the only one who saw Lloyd as one of the best backs in the class.

I’ve seen comparisons to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin. They are both smaller guys who are muscular and fast. Martin had a pair of seasons with over 1,400 yards and over 30 touchdowns in 84 career games. If the Packers can get Doug Martin-type production out of a third-round pick, they’ll take it.

Lloyd is coming into Lambeau Field with a golden opportunity. He won’t feel the pressure of being the bell cow immediately, but he will get his fair share of snaps. The USC product has a coaching staff and front office that believe in him, and Lloyd has the body, the skills, and the opportunity to be special in Green Bay.

All stats and data via ESPN, PFF, NFL, and CBS unless otherwise noted.

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