Aaron Jones was drafted 182nd overall (Pick 39 in the 5th Round) by the Green Bay Packers. He’ll try to earn a spot alongside Aaron Rodgers in the high powered Green Bay offense.
From a fantasy perspective, it is expected that wide receiver turned running back, Ty Montgomery, will get the first shot at rushing duties for the Packers. Montgomery is the last man standing from the 2016 squad. Eddie Lacy is in Seattle. James Starks, Christine Michael and Don Jackson were all given their walking papers. Green Bay drafted three backs in the NFL Draft: Jamaal Williams from BYU, Devante Mays from Utah State, and Aaron Jones from UTEP.
In 10 games as an NFL running back, Montgomery has exceeded nine carries only once. Despite publicly claiming that Montgomery is their starting running back, the Packers use of three draft picks on the position may indicate that they might have some reservations. This could end up being the most competitive running back battle of the summer with massive fantasy implications.
We’ll get to more of that in a minute. But first, we take a comprehensive look at the new Green Bay Packers RB, Aaron Jones.
Aaron Jones, Texas-El Paso, 5-9, 208
Dominator Score: 0.49 (3rd) Workhorse Score: 84.9 (3rd) Success Model: 0.12 (9th)
Let’s take a second and revel in how amazing his model results are. This is a player that most people hadn’t heard of until he was drafted. The following explanation is extracted from the 2017 RB College Dominator Scores article:
A Workhorse Score in the mid-80s is a good score — above 90 is better, and the very best RBs often have Workhorse Scores that approach 100. But for the College Dominator Rating, a score above 40 percent is considered excellent. Anything above 50 percent is elite.
While not quite at 50 percent, Jones’ Dominator Score and Workhorse Scores are near the top of this draft class. Only Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette have better Dominator Scores than Aaron Jones.
Just how good was Jones at UTEP? Shawn Siegele describes Jones’ college career succinctly in the 2017 RB Prospect Lab:
Over the last decade, 42 RBs have managed 2,000 yards from scrimmage. None eclipsed that barrier in fewer touches. Running a 4.56 forty at 208 pounds may keep Jones out of the early rounds, but he crushed the other drills with a 37.5-inch vertical to go with his 6.82 three-cone.
Let’s look at Jones’ production comps using the Box Score Scout.
Ted Thompson definitely has a type. Jones compares well to ex-Packer Jonathan Franklin who was taken in the same draft as Eddie Lacy. As Shawn mentioned, Jones’ 4.56 forty time likely pushed him down the NFL draft board. And while Jones crushed it in most of the RotoViz RB models, his draft position cost him some name brand comps in the Box Score Scout.
Jones’ final season rushing and receiving was so spectacular that despite his poor forty time, he still checked in at ninth overall in Kevin Cole’s RB Success Model, which heavily weights the forty. His new teammate in Green Bay, Jamaal Williams, ran a 4.59 at 212 pounds and finished 15th in the model with a 5-percent chance of top-12 RB success.
Aaron Jones was the 21st running back prospect in the RotoViz Scouting Index. In our pre-draft RotoViz rankings, Jones’ composite rank was RB13. I had him ranked as the tenth rusher in this draft class.
Jones had an excellent vertical jump and three-cone at the combine which equates to outstanding burst and agility scores. Jones is also an excellent receiver (as you will see in the video below). He caught 28 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns in his final season, good enough for a 13.9 percent target share of the UTEP offense.
At 5 feet 9 inches, Jones is three inches shorter than both Montgomery and Williams. They all weigh relatively the same amount and all three ran in the low 4.5s. Jones is the best athlete of the group and given his four-season running back pedigree in college, I believe he has an advantage on Montgomery as a runner, even as a rookie.
I think that Jones, not Williams (who was drafted 42 spots earlier), is the biggest threat to Montgomery. Given Jones’ receiving ability and workhorse pedigree, Green Bay might be better suited continuing to limit Montgomery’s role as a traditional running back.
I applaud the Packers for trying to incorporate as many playmakers into their offense as they can. With the return of Jordy Nelson, the breakout of Davante Adams, and the consistency of Randall Cobb, Montgomery was faced with a target squeeze at WR. Overall, I’m skeptical of how extreme the Packers go with Montgomery’s transition. I’m also wary that he’ll be able to hold off a true workhorse running back like Aaron Jones.
This is Aaron Rodgers’ team. He gets what he wants. Aaron Jones must establish himself in this offense with every opportunity presented to him. If he earns the confidence of his quarterback and coaches, it could be a summer of keeping up with Jones for the rest of the Packer running backs.
Find all our 2017 NFL Draft reaction content here.
- Running Backs – The RB Success Model – Using age, production, and combine measurables, Cole builds on earlier regression tree analysis to build a model that predicts success within the first three years of a player’s NFL career. Odds of success are given for 28 RBs from the 2017 NFL draft class, along with commentary on the more prominent names.
See for yourself…