Buffalo Bills Draft Hunt: RB AJ Dillon, “The Bruiser”
Weight: 247 lbs.
College: Boston College
40 time: 4.53
What the Bills Need:
This off-season has been extremely eventful with the acquisition of Stefon Diggs and other free agents to help bolster the roster. This gives the Bills some room to draft the best player available each round instead of filling holes. One spot that is somewhat of a need but could be a great value is a running back in the mid-rounds. A lot of people look at receiving groups like a basketball team in regard to having different sizes and talents.
The same thing can be said for running back groups. There are complete backs who can play every down, catch out of the backfield, and be a workhorse. If you’re not willing to spend a high draft pick or pay them the big bucks, you’re most likely looking for a group of guys who each does one thing at a high level. AJ Dillon out of Boston College is a mid-round prospect who offers a lot. He would fit well into the Bills’ rotation as a goal-line back and change of pace bruiser.
While at Boston College, Dillon was asked to carry a big workload in their heavy run offense. He worked well in zone blocking schemes and was used in powers/split zones between the tackles. He is a one-cut back that ran mainly out of single back and I formation sets with some experience out of the gun. He had 1,685 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns last year while carrying the ball 318 times.
Speed, Vision, Contact Balance, Power:
When it comes to speed, you can’t expect a 250-pound running back to have burners, but at the combine, Dillon torched Singletary’s best 40 time by a whole tenth of a second. Dillon’s 4.53 time matches his play speed on tape as well. He had multiple runs over 40 yards this year with a long of 61. He showed a decent burst at the line of scrimmage with the ability to get through holes quickly. Dillon lacks some lateral quickness due to his size but shows acceleration as a north-south runner.
Dillon has the vision to find smaller holes when running between the tackles and utilizes a jump cut to locate lanes. After getting into space, he sees the field well and understands when to make moves.
His contact balance and power when running is at the top of this class. Dillon has shown he can’t be tackled high and has a mean stiff arm. During goal line situations he can move piles and carry defenders into the endzone.
Along with a stiff-arm, Dillon has utilized a spin move that makes him slip off of contact. He uses some elusiveness combined with brute force to work his way through contact and pick up extra yardage.
Although Singletary will most likely be the top back for the Buffalo offense, it’s always a good idea to add depth at this position due to injuries. Bringing in a big back like Dillon to compliment the elusiveness of Motor along with the receiving ability of Yeldon is a great idea. It would remind me a lot of the Patriots backfield in 2016 with James White, LeGarrette Blount, and Dion Lewis. Last year, Frank Gore ended up being used as a 3rd down back in short-yardage situations, and I think Dillon could fill that hole nicely. His draft projection is trending toward a 4th or 5th round selection, which would be a solid spot for the Bills to add some size to their run game.