Jul. 30, 2019
2019 Packers Camp by Position: Running Backs
For a team revolving around the highest-paid Quarterback in NFL history, they certainly have talent at Running Back. Aaron Jones had a breakout campaign last year, and if you transferred his part-time RB1 numbers across all sixteen games, he would've been well on pace for a 1,000-yard campaign. If healthy, I don't see any reason why Aaron Jones wouldn't be a potential Top 10 back, let alone the starter. Jamaal Williams was my prediction for the starting job at this time last year, however, he showed more solid RB2 potential rather than a potential starter. Dexter Williams was taken in the sixth round in April and is already seen as a steal. Danny Vitale and Malcolm Johnson are two Fullbacks fighting for the rare fullback on a 53-Man roster, with the former having much better odds than the latter. Tra Carson is a veteran with bubble experience on the Packers already, Corey Grant is a veteran who never panned out in Jacksonville, and Darrin Hall is an undrafted free agent who's the biggest long shot out of this corps of backs. I'm still not entirely sure how many backs Matt LaFleur wants in his new-look offense, so my guess is just as good as yours on how many of the players below will still be on the active roster come September.
Aaron Jones - 24, 3rd season, 12 starts, $695K Salary
For the second straight season, Aaron Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry, which he turned into 934 total yards and 9 total touchdowns. Oh, and he only started 8 games. Depending on how HC Matt LaFleur, OC Nathanial Hackett and QB Aaron Rodgers design this offense, Aaron Jones could easily be lined up for a 1,000 yard, double-digit Touchdown campaign this fall. Just stay healthy, please?
Jamaal Williams - 24, 3rd season, 15 starts, $786K Salary
As mentioned above, Jamaal Williams was in line for the RB1 job last year. He started in the 8 games Aaron Jones didn't, and ran a menial 3.8 yards per carry for 464 yards and a few scores. Williams has proved his worth in pass blocking and in between the tackles over his first two seasons, but it's time to start seeing him as a solid RB2 than a potential RB1 in Green Bay.
Dexter Williams - 22, Rookie, $536.5K Salary
Dexter is the other Williams back, but his potential may actually be higher. He was drafted in the sixth round of this year's draft and was immediately seen as a steal. Since camp opened, he's defended the steal label, and he's naturally earning respect from spectators on a daily basis. Will he contribute more than Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams? That's another questions, but us Packers fans also know how Running Backs typically hold up injury-wise in Green Bay, meaning opportunities will undoubtedly be presented as long as you're on the active roster. Seeing the field may be a challenge, but making the active roster shouldn't be too much of one.
Danny Vitale - 25, 4th season, 9 starts, $720K Salary
Vitale is called a lot of things, among them "Muscle Marinara", and I think he's a sleeper to make the 53-man roster. He's emulating John Kuhn's peak role as the lone back in shotgun to protect Aaron Rodgers, and he could contribute significantly on special teams as well. Fullbacks don't have a place on most rosters, but I don't see why Vitale shouldn't make it over other special teamer, bubble-type roster candidates.
Malcolm Johnson - 27, 5th season, 6 starts, $645K Salary
Johnson was a sixth-rounder in 2015, and since them has bounced from Cleveland (where he started briefly) to Seattle (just on their practice squad) and San Francisco (cut in camp). Unless he shows something I haven't seen from him yet, I don't know how the 27-year-old Fullback could escape getting cut again.
Tra Carson - 26, 4th season, $570K Salary
Carson was signed on Halloween last year and recorded no stats in the four games he technically appeared in. I haven't heard any news about him from camp, and unless he has a breakout campaign when the preseason games begin, I don't see how he's making the active roster.
Darrin Hall - 22, Rookie, $495K Salary
Hall is an undrafted rookie from Pittsburgh that was claimed from Cincinnati last week. He's an inside zone back like Aaron Jones, but if there's an undrafted free agent that I haven't heard of after all the draft coverage I did this spring, they're probably a helluva long shot to make the active roster. I'm not even sure of his odds to make the practice squad, to be honest.
Corey Grant - 27, 5th season, Salary unknown
Grant played in 38 Games across his four seasons in Jacksonville, ending 2018 on Injured Reserve with less than 500 career yards. While he might not be the worst back in camp, it's hard to see a 27-year-old back with a mediocre resume and an injury history making the 53-man roster come September.
Aaron Jones: RB1
Jamaal Williams: RB2, who could slip to RB3 by the winter
Dexter Williams: RB3, who could take the RB2 reps by the winter
Danny Vitale: FB1
Malcolm Johnson: Misses the Cut
Tra Carson: Misses the Cut
Darrin Hall: Misses the Cut, less-than-likely odds of making Practice Squad
Corey Grant: Misses the Cut