Now, the Packers have assembled perhaps their deepest backfield since Ahman Green, Najeh Davenport, William Henderson and the indomitable Tony Fisher filled out Green Bay’s depth chart in the early 2000s.
LaFleur’s vision fits a popular trend permeating throughout the NFL right now, with teams such as Baltimore, San Francisco and New England building their running games around three, four and sometimes even five different running backs.
The biggest move the Packers made this offseason to deepen their backfield reserve was drafting Boston College’s AJ Dillon in the second round (62nd overall) in April. The 6-foot, 247-pound running back’s draft stock surged after he clocked an impressive 4.53-second time in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis to pair with a 40-inch vertical jump and 23 bench-press reps of 225 pounds.
What’s more, Dillon carries his weight well. His college position coach, Brian White, said Dillon possessed only 5 percent body fat during spring testing prior to last season.
On paper, Dillon’s north-and-south running style makes him an ideal fit for LaFleur’s scheme and gives Green Bay a bruising, power running back the offense hasn’t possessed since Eddie Lacy.
While unable to work out at Lambeau Field due to league rules, Dillon still trained in Green Bay for a portion of his offseason. So far, he’s been saying all the right things in the meeting room.
“He’s been great,” Jones said. “He’s texting me trying to figure out the playbook as fast as possible so he can get it down. He’s just ready to learn. He’s hungry. I’m excited to work with him and help him as much as possible.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Packers re-signed 5-foot-10, 192-pound running back Tyler Ervin in March. A late-season waiver claim from Jacksonville, the fifth-year veteran sparked Green Bay’s return units en route to earning a handful of offensive snaps. He picked up 21 yards on three touches.
The Packers also bring back 2019 sixth-round pick Dexter Williams and practice-squad holdover Damarea Crockett. That depth not only is good to have in case of emergency, but it also gives the Packers a half dozen running backs with vastly different running styles, body types and individual strengths.