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Thursday Cheese Curds: AJ Dillon’s future is looking bright

The third-year Packers running back figures to play an even bigger role in the offense.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

AJ Dillon is going to be an interesting conversation piece for a long, long time. For starters, he’s hard to ignore on the football field. His performance would turn heads even if he wasn’t an athletic marvel among marvels, but with deft agility and good speed at nearly 250 pounds, he certainly fits the bill of a physical specimen, to say the least.

He’s also embraced Wisconsin culture in a way that few Packers players do, declaring himself the Mayor of Door County and performing his unofficial official duties with enthusiasm, regularly visiting one of the state’s most picturesque destinations.

But beyond that, Dillon will always be a bit of a curiosity from an NFL economics standpoint. The Packers spent a second-round pick on Dillon, a running back, in a time when running backs are less valued than ever before, running afoul of the analytics-driven wisdom of the modern NFL. But the Packers, I think, could argue they’ve been vindicated. Who of the next 30 or so picks would you rather have? It’s not a long list. Even if taking a running back in the second round is not an optimal use of resources, getting a good player is preferable to getting a bad one.

Dillon may never be better than he was in 2021. In many ways, it was an ideal situation. He got to play with an MVP-caliber quarterback with a dynamic running mate in the backfield. He was always fresh, had plenty of light boxes to slam into, and could be strategically deployed as a receiver for maximum effect. It’s likely those circumstances are going to be hard to duplicate in 2022, if ever.

But even if he isn’t, his skills should make him valuable in Green Bay, and he’ll always be interesting to talk about no matter what comes next.

Matt LaFleur says Packers RB A.J. Dillon is ‘just scratching the surface of what he can become’ | Packers Wire

LaFleur thinks the future is bright for Dillon.

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur doesn’t want to annoy Aaron Rodgers during decision-making process | ESPN

To his credit, LaFleur has also avoided pestering me about my offseason plans.

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