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Day 2 picks enhance offense

May 01, 2020 by Brett LaBore

The 2020 Packers’ NFL Draft class is one that will be looked upon with heavy interest. At the end of the day, did the Packers improve? Here’s what I thought of day two, rounds two-three.

AJ Dillon

The Packers first pick of day two, their only pick in round two, was the running back from Boston College, AJ Dillon. He’s a bruiser and can run in-between the tackles.

Like quarterback Jordan Love, I like this guy. He’s a big back who can be the thunder to Aaron Jones’ lightning. My problem with the pick is it wasn’t a need. For the second straight pick, the Packers didn’t select someone that can be an immediate starter.

Last season, Dillon rushed 318 times for 1685 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry and had long run of 61 yards. He also caught 13 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.

In 2018, Dillon also put up some numbers. He rushed 227 times for 1108 yards and 10 touchdowns, with a long run of 74 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry. 

I think Dillon will contribute this year and he can be a beast. Like I said in my column in Tuesday’s paper, the first three rounds are for players who can immediately help and fill in the major gaps of the football team.

I can see Dillon plowing through guys in the cold, December games at Lambeau Field. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. My problem isn’t with the guy, but with how high we took him. I would have loved to take Dillon in the third round. 

This pick makes me think of what the futures of our current running backs are. Jones and Jamaal Williams are set to be free agents next March. I would like to re-sign both, actually, to smart contracts. Now that we have Dillon, it most likely means the end of one of the two.

I wouldn’t say both are doomed to leave. If he has a good and healthy season, I really think we can re-sign Jones and then have a Jones/Dillon backfield for 2021. 

Remember Eddie Lacy? I liked him a lot and he was a big back who could run in the cold and get the tough yards. Dillon is going to do the same thing and can catch out of the backfield in those screen-type plays. 

Josiah Deguara

The other interesting pick was Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara with our pick in the third round. He is someone who can catch the ball, but still not a wide receiver.

Last season, Deguara caught 39 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2018, he caught 38 passes for 468 yards and five touchdowns. Pretty consistent numbers in back-to-back seasons.

From what I’ve heard, this is a hard worker and someone who’s going to bring a lot of versatility to the Packers. He’ll catch the ball and block for our backs. 

Again it just seems like a reach. I feel like the Packers could have got him on day three. But I trust in their board and they felt he was the best player for them. I think he’ll contribute with other tight ends Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan as we build up three young tight ends. Then you add in veteran Mercedes Lewis and you have a great tight end room. 

What worries me about this pick, and this has nothing to do with Deguara, is we haven’t had great success with drafting tight ends. Richard Rodgers was okay and guys like DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor never worked out. Andrew Quarless was one of our better ones. I want Deguara to succeed and be really, really good. 

From these two picks, it looks like Matt LaFleur and Brian Gutekunst know what they’re doing. It looks like we’re headed or we are in an offense that focuses on running backs, blocking and tight end sets. 

I trust the Packers’ management that they have a plan in mind for these two picks. As a fan, these aren’t the selections I would have made, but I’m not the one who watched a ton of film on these players, so what do I know? But I think they’re great guys who will be great additions to the roster.

These picks show the future of the Packers’ offense and what they’re trying to do. With that being said, I’m excited and can’t wait for the preseason to start. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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