Packers training camp roster preview: Running backs

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The Green Bay Packers begin training camp practices on Wednesday, July 27. Over the next month, Packers Wire will break down the 90-man roster at every position group, highlighting roster locks, positional battles and strengths and weaknesses entering training camp.

We continue our training camp roster preview for the Packers at the running back position:

Roster locks (2)

(AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

1. Aaron Jones: He’s entering the 2022 season on the heels of producing at least 1,000 total yards and scoring 10 total touchdowns during each of the last three years. Jones has averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry every season of his career and now has three straight seasons with at least 40 catches. He can do it all.

2. A.J. Dillon: The 247-pounder broke out in 2021, rushing for 803 yards and producing 1,116 total yards over 17 games. He churned out the tough yards between the tackles while also catching 34 of 37 passes as a receiver. The Packers gave him 221 touches but he could handle much more. Expect his role to expand. There’s a good chance Dillon and Jones will handle 500 or more total touches in 2022.

Fighting for a roster spot (4)

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

1. Kylin Hill: He was lightning in a bottle last summer, but the Packers didn’t get much from him as a kick returner and then he tore his ACL on an ill-advised return in Arizona in October, ending his rookie season. He might miss camp and the start of the regular season. The Packers don’t have to rush him back, but Hill – a seventh-round pick in 2021 – isn’t necessarily guaranteed a roster spot once he’s healthy. Then again, he showed enough real talent during camp last year to believe he could be a legit long-term option at running back. The Packers will hope he returns at 100 percent at some point during the regular season or sooner.

2. Patrick Taylor: The Packers activated him to the 53-man roster after Hill went down midseason. He played in nine games, but almost all his production came in the season finale in Detroit. The Packers think he can do a little bit of everything at running back, making him a valuable backup option. If Hill isn’t ready to begin the season, Taylor is the heavy favorite to be the No. 3 back on the roster.

3. BJ Baylor: As a redshirt junior, he scored 13 rushing touchdowns and led the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,337 yards in 2021. He rushed for at least 100 yards in six games and scored at least one touchdown in eight games. There’s real rushing talent to develop here, but Baylor must get better in the passing game to have a chance.

4. Tyler Goodson: The Iowa star was a two-time Big 10 selection who led the Hawkeyes in rushing each of the last three seasons. Goodson (5-9, 197) rushed for 2,551 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught 70 passes over three seasons at Iowa. While undersized and lacking playstrength, his ability as a receiver could make him a player to watch during camp.

Position strength

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33)

Strong. The Packers have two legit No. 1 options at running back – and both Jones and Dillon have value in the passing game despite featuring two very different play styles at the position. This is as good a one-two punch as there is in the NFL. The Packers will lean on them even more now that weapons at receiver are gone and the offense is forced to evolve. Behind Jones and Dillon, the Packers have a skilled recent draft pick coming off a major injury (Hill) and a third-year player coming off an encouraging end to his second season (Taylor). This position group is a strength of the offense.

Position battle to watch

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Hill vs. PUP list, and Taylor vs. UDFAs: It remains unclear if Kylin Hill will be back in time to make the team to start the regular season. The PUP list is a real possibility, which would open up another roster battle between Patrick Taylor and undrafted rookies BJ Baylor and Tyler Goodson. Taylor is entering his third season in Green Bay and his versatile skillset looked strong to end last year. He’s got size, a little wiggle and some value as a receiver. He’ll be tough to beat out for the No. 3 spot if Hill starts the season on the PUP list.

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