Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones led the NFL in yards per carry in 2018, posting an average of 5.5 yards on 133 carries. That mark beat out a handful of other backs across the league, as rookies Kerryon Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Phillip Lindsey of the Denver Broncos were a big behind at 5.4.
However, Jones was more than just a rushing threat. He worked hard to improve his pass-blocking abilities, which were at least part of the reason he did not take over as a full-time starter early in the season. By week six, though, he started over Jamaal Williams and did not let that job go until suffering a sprained MCL late in the season. Jones also took a big step forward as a receiver in 2018, catching 26 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown.
Combined, those efforts earned Jones the top Pro Football Focus grade among all running backs in the NFC North:
2018's highest-graded running backs in the NFC North pic.twitter.com/5oCcgehLqY— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 16, 2019
As he did in yards-per-carry, Johnson finished one-tenth of a point behind Jones. Meanwhile, Williams finished well back of his teammate, earning an overall grade of just 68.5.
Jones’ grade was not only the best among players at his position in the division; it ranked him 12th among all running backs in the entire NFL last season. Furthermore, his rushing production ranked seventh in the NFL in DVOA. These numbers illustrate the impact he had on the Packers’ offense in 2018, as well as why Packers fans expect him to take yet another step forward next season.