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A.J. Dillon NFL draft profile and fantasy projection

Boston College’s A.J. Dillon was a productive work horse in college. Will he be able to take his consistent play into the NFL?

AJ Dillon #2 of the Boston College Eagles in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

A.J. Dillon was a bell cow at Boston College, carrying the ball 300 times his freshman season and ended up with 845 rushing attempts in three seasons. Overall, he ran for 4,382 yards (5.2 ypc) and 38 touchdowns in 35 games, missing three. last season Dillon rushed for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns while the team passed for 2,288 total yards and 20 touchdowns. There is little doubt that Dillon was Boston College’s offense in 2019 and defenses knew.

Scouting Report

Most scouting reports on Dillon start and end with, big bruising back with little skill outside running hard through contact. But, Dillon is more than that. In an offense that uses two tight ends and averaged 50.2 rushing attempts to 23.5 passing attempts, Dillon was running into stacked boxes constantly and still finding ways to get positive yardage.

At 6’, 247 pounds, Dillon is often compared to Derrick Henry and LeGarrette Blount, as they have the size, footwork and body control to find a narrow crease and make defenders regret trying to arm tackle. With little room, Dillon has to be economic with his rushing attempts as he navigated his way through tremendous traffic. If Dillon were in an offense that spreads out more or even a little and doesn’t telegraph the run, his yards per carry numbers would have been much better.

At the combine, the 247 pound Dillon ran a 4.53 40, put up 23 reps on bench press and had a 41 inch vertical. Derrick Henry, at 247 pounds, ran a 4.54, put up 22 reps and had a 37-inch vertical. Those are impressive numbers for such a stout back and his tape shows plenty of ability to make good decisions at the line of scrimmage. The knock against Dillon is that he has too much usage and not enough versatility, but both knocks can be countered, as big usage in college hasn’t been a problem for running backs in the NFL and has actually been more of an indicator of future success while Dillon wasn’t asked to be versatile at BC’s run-first offense, but did do everything asked of him and well.

Dillon’s elusiveness is truly a blend of Henry and Blount. Henry has the footwork to adjust his stride and he runs with a shiftiness that’s underrated. Blount had a high degree of mobility in his hips to drop his weight, spin away from pursuit, and reverse field with the flip of his hips. Dillon is not as dynamic as Blount, but he has more maneuverability with his legs and hips than Henry. — Matt Waldman, Rookie Scouting Portfolio

Mock Draft Results

Mel Kiper, ESPN: Not in mock
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Not in mock
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Not in mock
Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: Not in mock

Fantasy impact: Rookie year

Dillon’s lack of receiving work at Boston College hurts but he is a competent receiver and pass protector. He may be asked to be more of a bruiser early in his career, but he’s got the ability to earn more work in passing downs and his efficiency as a runner will get him work early in his career. Much will depend on where he goes, as I’ve seen second to fourth round grades on him.

Fantasy impact: Career

Dillon is the kind of player who can lead a team in rushing for multiple years despite analysts projecting he will break down at any time. I love Dillon’s consistency and believe it will continue in the NFL, making him a strong dynasty back that you can probably get in the second round of rookie drafts.