The Best Comps For Packers RB A.J. Dillion Ahead Of Dynasty Rookie Drafts

The Best Comps For Packers RB A.J. Dillion Ahead Of Dynasty Rookie Drafts article feature image

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: A.J. Dillon

A.J. Dillon Dynasty Rookie Analysis

  • Position: RB | School: Boston College
  • Height: 6’ | Weight: 247 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
  • 2020 Age: 22 | Class: Junior
  • Recruitment Stars: 3
  • Draft Position: 2.62 (Packers)

A.J. Dillon’s Fantasy Fit with Packers

In a class overflowing with wide receiver talent, the Packers chose to give aging quarterback Aaron Rodgers a wealth of support by selecting — checks notes — a developmental quarterback in Round 1 and non-receiving running back in Round 2.

But it’s not as if Dillon is a massive reach. Maybe he doesn’t address a strong need for the Packers, but he’s a justifiable pick in Round 2, as I first suggested in February. (Cough.)

@MattFtheOracle AJ Dillon 2nd round

— Dan Back (@dan_back) February 20, 2020

As an early-down grinder, Dillon will have limited upside in PPR leagues, but given his college production, physical ability and draft capital, he seems likely to get significant playing time right away.

And if he actually manages to beat out Aaron Jones for the starting job, he could be a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown back as a rookie.

A.J. Dillon: Dynasty Analysis

In the words of Freddie Mercury, “Get on your bikes and ride!”

A.J. Dillon runs the way Danny Donahue feels on a Saturday morning — with an excess of pain.

He’s a high-volume downhill rusher who intelligently follows his blockers and consistently takes what the defense gives him instead of looking to break long runs every play.

And that’s not to say that he can’t get chunk yardage. He absolutely has the ability to turn short gains into big plays thanks to his tackle-breaking power and elite size-adjusted speed and explosiveness (per Player Profiler).

  • Speed Score: 117.3 (97th percentile)
  • Burst Score: 135.2 (97th percentile)

Dillon runs a bit upright, but he cuts through arm tackles like scissors through crate paper — and I’m not even sure what crate paper is. Only Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss have more than Dillon’s 198 broken tackles over the past three years (per Pro Football Focus). The dude trucks defenders as well as anyone in the class.

Since his first day on campus at Boston College, he was the lead back.

  • 2017 (13 games): 300-1,589-14 rushing, 0-0-0 receiving on 0 targets
  • 2018 (10 games): 227-1,108-10 rushing, 8-41-1 receiving on 11 targets
  • 2019 (12 games): 318-1,685-14 rushing, 13-195-1 receiving on 16 targets

Like BC forerunner Andre Williams, Dillon doesn’t offer much as a receiver — and that is absolutely cause for concern — but I want to make the case that, perhaps, he’s not as much of a pass-catching nonentity as most people believe.

It’s incredibly suboptimal that he dropped three of his 24 catchable targets (per PFF), but he has improved as a receiver each year. Last year, he dropped just one pass.

It’s not as if Dillon was used extensively in the passing game, and he lacks route-running sophistication, but in expected points added per target (EPA) and yards per route (YPR), he was comparable to the top-five backs in the class in 2019 (per the 2020 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook).

  • A.J. Dillon: 0.35 EPA | 2.1 YPR
  • J.K. Dobbins: 0.52 EPA | 1.4 YPR
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 0.20 EPA | 1.2 YPR
  • D’Andre Swift: 0.06 EPA | 1.3 YPR
  • Jonathan Taylor: 0.05 EPA | 2.7 YPR
  • Cam Akers: -0.21 EPA | 2.0 YPR

It’s not probable, but it’s possible that Dillon has some under-appreciated James Conner-like potential as a receiving back.

And even if Dillon is only ever a two-down grinder, he might still have significant success as the lead back in a committee. We’ve seen several big-bodied early-down grinders have multiple seasons of success in recent history, including:

  • LeGarrette Blount (2010, Undrafted): Two 1,000-yard season
  • Jeremy Hill (2014, 2.55): Two 1,000-yard seasons
  • Carlos Hyde (2014, 2.57): Three 1,000-yard seasons
  • Jordan Howard (2016, 5.150): Three 1,000-yard seasons

As a prospect, Dillon is highly comparable to Blount, Hill, Hyde and Howard — except he’s bigger and faster.

Dillon has a real shot to be a 1,000-10 back for multiple seasons.

Because of his rare physical attributes and voluminous college production, Dillon is unlike the vast majority of backs … but there is one player to whom Dillon is screamingly similar, even if the comparison is imperfect.

And you know exactly who I’m talking about.

NFL Prospect Comp: Derrick Henry minus three inches of height, the SEC pedigree, the Heisman Trophy and a little bit of draft position

More Dynasty Analysis For Freedman’s Top Rookies

  1. RB D’Andre Swift
  2. RB Jonathan Taylor
  3. WR Jerry Jeudy
  4. WR CeeDee Lamb
  5. WR Justin Jefferson

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.

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