AJ Dillon Is Best Suited For A Rotational Role (2020 NFL Draft)
AJ Dillon, Boston College
Weight: 247 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
Vertical Jump: 41 inches
Broad Jump: 131 inches
3-Cone Drill: 7.19 seconds
(Games Scouted: UConn (2017) | Miami (2018) | Florida State (2018) | Louisville (2019) | Clemson (2019) | Florida State (2019))
AJ Dillon is what we classify as a “big boy” at the RB position. At 6’0/247 pounds, he can engage with linebackers at the second level like few others…he has the size to withstand a significant workload too, which we saw during his time at Boston College.
Throughout his three seasons at BC, Dillon carried the ball 845 times for over 4,300 yards and 38 touchdowns. He absolutely dominated his competition in college and looks poised to handle a large workload for a NFL team if called upon.
Heading into the NFL Combine though, the buzz surrounding Dillon was that people were concerned about where he played at the next level. A lot of the talk was involving Dillon potentially moving to fullback, which of course would negate any sort of fantasy potential. However, Dillon showed up to the NFL Combine and put on a performance that shocked the NFL world. As you can see from the numbers listed above, Dillon ran extremely well for a player his size and he jumped out of the gym.
Dillon’s a great athlete, but does that translate to playing RB in the NFL? Where should we be valuing him in Dynasty rookie drafts?
Those questions are answered here in my detailed scouting report on AJ Dillon (ratings out of five stars):
Dillon excels when he’s given one read and asked to hit that hole as hard as he can. However, his lack of lateral agility prevents him from being able to jump from gap to gap when things close down at the line of scrimmage. He showed decent vision capabilities on tape, but it wasn’t his strong suit.
— Stadium (@Stadium) November 2, 2019
Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking)
For his size, Dillon carries his momentum extremely well. As mentioned above, he doesn’t possess great lateral agility, which prohibits him from juking defenders out in the open field. He purely relies on a spin move to change direction. Additionally, he has trouble slowing his momentum once he reaches top speed. He’s able to accelerate to top speed fairly quick, as evidenced by his 40-yard dash time, but the issue is being able to stop his momentum and it results in a lot of plays where he’s running into the back of his blocker downfield, etc. Dillon’s calling card will be his power and ability to run through defenders to break tackles. There was little evidence of this in his 2017 and 2018 tape, but I did see more of a willingness to engage in contact at the second level this past season.
AJ Dillon had himself a day! ⁰⁰
💪 242 rushing yards
⁰💪 3 TDs pic.twitter.com/FQaf3bPSno
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 2, 2019
There’s only one other player in the NFL who has the same size and speed measurements: Derrick Henry. While this is not a true comp for Dillon, they share a lot of the same traits with one of those being their top-end speed. When Henry gets into the open field, it’s hard to find defenders that can catch him and bring him down. The same can be said for Dillon, who is a nightmare for defenses when he finds a hole and is able to explode through it.
AJ Dillon runs a 4.53 40-yard dash at 247lbs!
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 29, 2020
Dillon won’t be used as a pass-catching back at the next level, but he’s capable of being used out of the backfield when called upon. He showed natural hands in the receiving game and also showed a strong proficiency in the pass protection game.
A.J. Dillon making ALL the moves for Boston College on this touchdown run!
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) September 3, 2019
Dillon will be asked to carry the rock in-between the tackles or to be a goal-line back at the next level. It’s hard to envision him being used in a different role than that.
AJ Dillon has forced 11 missed tackles on the ground so far this season – safe to say that number is going 🔼🔼
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) September 13, 2018
Projected Draft Spot
It’s looking like Dillon might be an early day three pick, which would put him in the 4th/5th round discussion. At that point, it’s going to be very difficult to see a team handing him the keys to the kingdom to be their lead back. Dillon’s a freight train on the field, but does lack some refinement that would put him in the conversation for a fantasy football star. He will be best suited for a rotational role at the NFL level and could be a pickup off of the waiver wire if the starter in front of him goes down. I would currently be looking to draft Dillon in the back of the 3rd round of Dynasty rookie drafts, but his current ADP has him going well before that point.
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