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Unpacking Future Packers: No. 43, Purdue RB Tyrone Tracy Jr.

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

As it stands right now the Green Bay Packers have a formidable one-two punch at running, with Josh Jacobs and AJ Dillon

With 11 picks at his disposal, it’s a safe bet that Brian Gutekunst will use one of those picks on a running back as they look to round out the running back room at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

Tyrone Tracy Jr. is a running back that Green Bay’s general manager could target on Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Purdue product checks in at No. 43 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.

An Iowa transfer, Tracy Jr. made the switch from wide receiver to running back this past season and put together an impressive campaign at his new position. Tracy Jr. rushed for 716 yards and eight touchdowns.

“He was a key cog as a pass-catcher and running back,” Tom Dienhart, the Purdue editor for On3.com, said. “He also was a valued member on special teams, running back a kickoff for a touchdown against Fresno State. It was a good call by Ryan Walters to move him from wide receiver to running back last spring. He is more of a natural running back, the position he played in high school.”

As a former wide receiver, Tracy Jr. will be a piece that a creative offensive playcaller will move around to create mismatches. He’s an explosive waiting to happen. At the scouting combine, Tracy Jr. clocked a 4.48 40-yard dash. This past season he handled 113 rushing attempts and 25 of those totes went for 10-plus yards. 

“His greatest strengths are his versatility and big play ability,” Dienhart said. “I don’t think he’s an every-down NFL player, but he can play a role on third downs and special teams.”

Tracy Jr. runs with patience and attacks the hole with burst. Tracy Jr. gave himself the nickname “Sweet Feet” and the nickname fits his game. He makes sharp, decisive cuts and can string together moves when he reaches the second level. 

At 5-11 and 209 pounds, Tracy Jr. is a well-built running back. The former wide receiver has the lower body strength to run through arm tackles and create yards after initial contact. According to Pro Football Focus, Tracy Jr. racked up 506 yards after contact and forced 46 missed tackles. 

“He is a good athlete with shiftiness and instincts,” Dienhart said. “He showed off his speed at the Combine in Indianapolis when he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. He combines that speed/shiftiness with good strength. He’s a workout warrior who looks the part.”

As a former wide receiver, Tracy Jr. has natural receiving skills. He adjusts to balls away from his frame and has reliable hands. Tracy Jr. had a promising 2019 season as a Hawkeye when he hauled in 36 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns. His ability to catch passes out of the backfield is the strength of his game. Despite being fairly green to the position, Tracy Jr. is alert in pass protection and steps up to meet oncoming traffic.

“That is one of his strong points,” Dienhart said. “Having honed his pass-catching skill the first five years of his college career as a wideout before moving to running back in 2023.”

Fit with the Packers

Tracy Jr. will turn 25 in November and that could be a reason why some teams stay away from the Purdue product. By the time his rookie contract is up he’d be pushing 30 and that’s the kiss of death for most running backs. However, Tracy Jr has very little wear and tear. He’s only handled 146 carriers during his collegiate career. There is plenty of gas left in that tank.

Given his skillset and size, Tracy Jr. could carve out a James White-like role for a team. Tracy Jr. would provide the Packers with a change of pace back, who could also make an impact on special teams. 

“On top of his physical skills—which are ample—Tracy also is a good teammate who is selfless and has an infectious personality,” Dienhart said. “His multiple skill set adds value on many levels. As they say: the more versatility, the more marketability. That’s Tracy.”

The Packers need a third running back behind Jacobs and Dillon. With those two in place, the Packers need to find a running back who can make an impact despite getting limited touches on offense. 

Tracy Jr. logged over 300 snaps on special teams during his collegiate career and has experience playing on coverage units, as well as returning kicks and punts. He also has a proven track record of making splash plays on limited touches. 

With the Packers having six picks on Day 3 of the draft, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of them used on the wide receiver turned running back. 

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire