Battle Looms for Third RB Spot for Packers

The Green Bay Packers are set at the top of the depth chart at running back heading into OTAs and training camp with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon set to get the bulk of the snaps this season. But behind the top two runners, the team likely faces an intriguing battle for what is likely one roster spot and another on the practice squad.

Right now, there are four players on the Packers 90-man roster fighting for that third running back spot. Here is a look at each of them and what they bring to the table:

1. Kylin Hill

Hill was the Packers seventh round draft choice last season. The former Mississippi State star made the team and won the third running back position after a strong preseason. He was also the team’s primary kick returner.

During the regular season, Hill saw limited action on offense, carrying the ball 10 times for 24 yards. Half of those carries came in the Packers Week 1 blowout loss to the Saints.

Hill averaged 19.9-yards per kick return and seemed to show promise as a kick returner before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Cardinals in Week 8.

The injury will likely force Hill to start 2022 on the PUP list. This will give him a chance to compete for a roster spot once he gets healthy. Hill is hoping he can continue his development in year two, even if he will not start the regular season on time.

2. Patrick Taylor

When Hill was injured, Taylor was added to the roster from the practice squad. The Memphis alum gained 89 yards on 23 carries and scored one touchdown. He is also a good receiver out of the backfield who can use his 6’3”, 223-pound size to his advantage. His strongest performance came in Week 18 in Detroit where he played the second half.

Taylor hopes to build on the progress he made last season when he finally got a chance to show what he could do in the NFL. His size and receiving ability make him a good fit in the Packers offense.

3. Tyler Goodson

The Packers signed Goodson as an undrafted free agent last month. The former Iowa star stands only 5’9” but weighs nearly 200 pounds. He’s not tall but his body is not small, either. He has 4.42 speed in the 40 which gives him the ability to break away from defenders if he breaks into the open field.

He was a three-year starter at Iowa and gained more than 1,100 yards in 2021.

Goodson ran in a zone blocking offense at Iowa and has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but he isn’t the most elusive runner and needs to be more decisive in his cuts.

Some scouts feel Goodson has the skills to return kicks although he did not see extensive action in that role at Iowa.

We shall see how Goodson fares in training camp and in the preseason.

4. B.J. Baylor

Baylor gained more than 1,200 yards last season at Oregon State while averaging 6.0-yards per carry and running for 13 touchdowns. He did not see significant playing time prior to 2021. He also ran in a zone blocking scheme in college which is similar to the one the Packers utilize under Matt LaFleur.

Scouts say Baylor has good vision and hits the hole decisively, but he tends to run high and that means he doesn’t gain as many yards after contact and he takes more punishment than a runner who keeps a lower center of gravity.

Baylor caught 14 passes in his college career. Scouts question whether he can become a reliable receiver at the NFL level. Similar questions were asked about A.J. Dillon and it turned out Dillon was a good receiver out of the backfield once he got the chance. The jury is still out on Baylor.

Baylor is slightly taller than Goodson at 5’10” and 202 pounds but is still considered a little undersized.

GM Brian Gutekunst may decide to sign another running back prior to the start of training camp, but as of right now, these are the four candidates fighting for one or at most, two spots on the active roster.

The third running back has the opportunity to grow into a larger role with the team. He would be the next man up if injuries hit either Jones or Dillon and would immediately see a bigger role in the offense. Remember, Dillon started his rookie campaign as the Packers third runner behind Jones and Jamaal Williams.

Somebody is going to win a roster spot this September, the big question is who it will be?

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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6 points

Comments (45)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Leatherhead's picture

May 19, 2022 at 12:04 pm

I think it should be Hill, because he can return kicks for us.....at least until he's injured and out for the rest of the season.

That 19.9 yard return average is lots better than just starting at the 25.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

May 19, 2022 at 03:12 pm

I'm not sure 20 yards is very good since the average depth of kick offs is well into the end zone and the average spot of balls run back in the NFL is now the 22 or 23 though I agree with you that Hill will be the cup holder.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 19, 2022 at 04:31 pm

"at least until he's injured and out for the rest of the season." Why make a comment like this? Hoping it's not a bash on Hill. Sometimes fans take a dislike to injured players. I'm thinking nobody trying to make a living in the NFL wants to get injured, nobody wants to miss games. This guy is dreaming of a contract like Aaron Jones' some day and wanting to do whatever he can to get there. Not his fault he was injured in a violent sport.

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Coldworld's picture

May 19, 2022 at 07:46 pm

Injuries happen, but that one was somewhat self invited. That ball should have stayed in the end zone as well anyway

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greengold's picture

May 19, 2022 at 08:45 pm

What a super shitty thing to say…

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flackcatcher's picture

May 24, 2022 at 03:20 pm

But it reflects the reality of the current NFL, where players have become more expendable...

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 19, 2022 at 12:13 pm

I had no idea Taylor is that big. Pulling for any of these guys but my hunch it will be between Hill ( when fully healthy) and Taylor. Taylor needs to jump on this opportunity...

Will the next James Starks or Samkon Gado please stand up...

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

May 19, 2022 at 01:35 pm

What opportunity? When Dillon went down in the Playoff Game, their Elusive running game went into the deep freeze. Taylor should have been next guy up. He did well when he got the ball in previous games. They need FOUR viable running backs on the depth chart. Dafney scares no one as a Fullback.

6 points
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Rarescope's picture

May 19, 2022 at 09:26 pm

Yeah i seem to recall him going in and not being handed the ball once. Considering the way that game went down I believe that was a mistake.

1 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

May 19, 2022 at 01:29 pm

It's no secret I have been a major PTJ supporter, but was very disappointed when Dillon got hurt and MaLF didn't even give him an opportunity in the playoffs. This year he needs to step up and show out if he expects to make the 53 this year.

IDK if Hill, Goodson, or Baylor will show enough, but I figure they'll make the right decisions as far as the roster goes. Sure STs will be an important consideration for any of our fringe guys, and Rich Bisaccia will have some say in who stays. Will be interesting who stays healthy and who shows out during TC.

As long as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are our primary backs and stay relatively healthy, our ground game should be fine. IDK who our 3rd and/or 4th RBs will be but the the competition should be fun.

2 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 19, 2022 at 01:53 pm

ML has done a VERY POOR job of in game changes especially during the Playoff losses. If ML needs a certain comfort zone of using AJ , Dillon and Taylor he needs to get it figured out in season and not wait until the playoffs to not have an answer to an injury or how to use a #3 RB. I like ML but, that is a big obstacle for him with AJ getting knocked out in 2020 and now Dillon in 2021 and not using next most physical RB Taylor in the playoffs after using him in Detroit game week before. Unbelievable....

12 points
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Lphill's picture

May 19, 2022 at 01:57 pm

Two mistakes in that game not using Taylor more and shuffling the O line for the biggest game.

7 points
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GregC's picture

May 19, 2022 at 07:10 pm

That O-line shuffle was a killer. I had a bad feeling in my stomach when they announced the starting O-line. Billy Turner at LT--ugh.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 19, 2022 at 07:58 pm

I think the general consensus before the game was "why do that?" At least Steno owned up to it and said that was on him.

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dobber's picture

May 20, 2022 at 09:42 am

It's done and over, and can't be redone.

Life is better with eyes pointed ahead and not back.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

May 19, 2022 at 03:13 pm

I did not know that Ralph Malph was on the coaching staff.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 19, 2022 at 03:49 pm

MaLF = Matt LaFleur

*Keep up with the acronyms... ; )

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GregC's picture

May 19, 2022 at 08:10 pm

While we're at it, I have to say that I'm not down with referring to Aaron Jones as AJ when the other running back happens to be named AJ Dillon.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 19, 2022 at 10:46 pm

Who had this for his personalized license plate?

"A1ANA2"...you got it, Lawrence Welk baby!

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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 01, 2022 at 02:14 pm

Were you born without a sense of humor or did you have it surgically removed when it was injured as water boy?

And the CORRECT acronym for him is MLF.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 01, 2022 at 02:14 pm

Were you born without a sense of humor or did you have it surgically removed when it was injured as water boy?

And the CORRECT acronym for him is MLF.

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Coldworld's picture

May 19, 2022 at 04:32 pm

Taylor did fine when he got opportunities. I’m not sure you can blame him for LaFleur not using him. A player can only show when given a chance. The threat of 3.9 physical ypc might have helped. I havnt seen LaFleur as particularly good at getting rookies involved on O, both in preparation and during games when needed. Hopefully he can do better this year, because he’s going to have to.

5 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 19, 2022 at 08:02 pm

There was that story last year about how hard Taylor was working and how well he knew the offense when camp rolled around. If he doesn't make it he has nothing to be ashamed of, he's done everything he could to give himself the best shot at a roster spot. I think he does make though and probably one of the UDFAs while Hill starts the season on the PUP list.

3 points
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NoNonsense's picture

May 19, 2022 at 02:33 pm

It's Kylin Hill if he's healthy. If not my money is on Goodson, heck I'd probably keep him as the 4th RB anyway. He could be a good fill in for Aaron Jones if he gets injured and might be able to help replace him when Jones cap hit goes to $20 million next year. Jones was a 5th round pick and Goodson went undrafted in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory so they are not that far off in ability. In terms of size and athletic profile they are almost identical. CBSsports have his pro comparison as Kylin Hill so either way he's a guy I'd like to see stick around.

He's gonna have to earn it but I think he's very capable of it. I look forward to the competition at all positions but this one should be a lot of fun.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 19, 2022 at 04:17 pm

I’d rather have a back up for Dillon if we would use him. The hard yard carries must be part of our arsenal during games. As we saw in the end of season debacle. If Jones were hurt, I don’t see any. RB getting his passing game targets and we’d probably just switch to running Dillon more.

To me it’s Jones then Hill/Goodson and Dillon then Taylor/Baylor. I don’t see Hill necessarily being healthy or odds on to be our kick returner if he is. So it’s likely health versus all of them, but after that, Taylor v Hill with the factor of which best fits the wider roster.

The caveat is, if we keep either LaFleur, you need to be willing to use them or get Gute to find you one that you will.

5 points
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greengold's picture

May 20, 2022 at 07:24 am

I think Hill is more likely to return midway through this 2022 season, if not pressed into action. Seems reasonable, and I’m here for that. I love the player, and believe him to have talent on par with Aaron Jones & AJ Dillon, with a running style entirely unique, like Jones/Dillon themselves. Distinctive North/South acceleration once he finds the opening.

I like both Taylor and Goodson, and their natural order of mention is likely how they rank out. 1 Jones. 2 Dillon. 3 Hill. 4 Taylor. 5 Goodson.

Great group of RBs for Aaron Rodgers to not hand off to…

The Ringmaster of the new Aaron Rodgers Aerial Circus in Green Bay would be wise to employ the run MORE. Play action effectiveness increases. Opposing Ds get gassed. Take some pressure off 4 young, important WRs, learning NFL level of play.

etcetera.
etcetera.
etcetera.

I have doubts. We know the horse we hooked this Circus wagon up to.

Rodgers the knife thrower. Our hopes tied to the girl strapped upon the spinning wheel, wincing.

Hopefully, it’s all laughs & giggles when the show is over.

1 points
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dobber's picture

May 20, 2022 at 09:46 am

I think you're right: unless Hill is ready to go at the start of camp, I think the Packers keep him on the shelf and PUP him, allowing him to get healthy and come along at his own pace. We don't know how extensive his injury was, or where he is in his rehab. He might be a total nonfactor in 2022.

Between the active roster, PUP, and practice squad, it's entirely possible that all these guys are still in the Packers locker room in September.

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Turophile's picture

May 20, 2022 at 02:21 pm

I loved the Kylin Hill pick when it was made. In fact it was my favourite value pick in that draft. I thought he should have been taken two or more rounds earlier.

He'd be my number three RB when fit. Such a shame he was injured last year. I like him as a return option..............and as a number 3 RB. ST is where he would be earning many of his touches, but Once a RB ahead of him is injured (a common event as their position is so physical), he will get a lot more carries on offense

It's all about the recovery of his knee. He took an arrow to the knee (sorry, too much Skyrim) he took a helmet to the knee in week 8, hard enough to knock the helmet's owner (Arizona RB Ward) out - and tearing his own ACL.

He has a real chance as long as the Packers are patient enough to keep him around until he recovers, but there is no certainty of that, as it would seem unlikely he plays before November this year. NFL teams often cut lower-end roster guys when injured.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

May 19, 2022 at 03:08 pm

Kylin Hill will almost certainly be the water bottle holder--I mean 3rd running back.

-5 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

May 19, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Indeed, a plethora of battles loom for this training camp including the epic gridiron quest for the aforementioned third running back spot.

4 points
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PeteK's picture

May 19, 2022 at 04:54 pm

The O line battle will have my attention.

1 points
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Spock's picture

May 20, 2022 at 06:44 am

Thumbs up for using "plethora" and "aforementioned" in one sentence. Haven't seen those two words in the comments section for awhile now. :)

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 19, 2022 at 06:01 pm

Those sweet cheerleaders with the Hardware Hank gloves will have my attention first off. Then I will be locked into the Special Teams like a Bald Eagle looking through monoculars!

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 19, 2022 at 07:48 pm

I hope you know the difference between a cheerleader and a proctologist.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 19, 2022 at 08:05 pm

Why not both??😁

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 19, 2022 at 09:24 pm

Well Cold, if my proctologist cranks either Beer Barrel Polka or Jump Around as I enter the room...I may break Neon Deon's 40 time getting the heck outta there... :D

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dobber's picture

May 19, 2022 at 09:56 pm

You must not go to Dancin' Walter: the hip-hop proc.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 19, 2022 at 10:49 pm

Super D, I ain't sayin' nuthin'...nuthin ya hear?...:D

(As long as my Bob the Builder underwear is clean without any tears, I have done my job).

0 points
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Handsback's picture

May 19, 2022 at 06:01 pm

Jones is a slasher and Dillon is a battering ram. Both are very good and the offense uses both of their talents in the running game. So does Green Bay keep another slasher if Jones gets hurt? How about another Dillon if AJ goes down?
I don't know the answer but think they will keep 2 RBs that can duplicate Jones and Dillon's talents. Suspect Hill will be the backup slasher and Taylor to go in for Dillon. If another guy makes the team, think it will be Baylor.

2 points
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MainePackFan's picture

May 19, 2022 at 06:40 pm

I can't wait to see how Goodson performs. His tape reminds me of the first time I saw A Jones tape. I didn't know who A Jones was but I said to myself, this guys got something. Same vibe with Goodson.

3 points
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Grandfathered's picture

May 19, 2022 at 08:55 pm

Patrick Taylor seems to have different height and different weight depending on the source. I've seen 6'1" #217, 6'2" #217, and 6'3" #223. Whichever is accurate, he would seem to have the inside track for early year 3rd spot RB. Special teams will play into it, but also who can make it onto the PS and not get plucked. We can't protect PS players like last year.

2 points
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Grandfathered's picture

May 19, 2022 at 09:00 pm

BTW, nice article Gil. It should be interesting to see if any veteran RBs are added after initial cuts. I don't see it hapening before then, but the RB room looks pretty good now and I don't see the Pack keeping more than 6 going into training camp.

0 points
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GilMartin's picture

May 20, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Thanks, Grandfathered I appreciate the kind words. I wouldn't be surprised if the Pack brings one more to camp especially if they place Hill on the PUP when camp starts. A lot may depend on that and who else is available. Thanks for commenting.

0 points
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mrtundra's picture

May 20, 2022 at 07:50 am

There is lots of press on how this season could be Aaron Jones's last one in GB. Of the RBs we have on the roster and practice squad, now, which RB do you see replacing Jones? Does Gute go with one of the guys we have, or does he look to next year's draft or FA period, to get Jones's replacement? Or does he and Ball work out a new deal for Jones, to keep him in GB? IMO, both Goodson and Baylor will need to be developed, in the system. I see split duties between Hill and Taylor, in replacing Jones, and Dillon used as our primary RB, if a deal with Jones does not occur.

0 points
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ReaganRulz's picture

May 20, 2022 at 10:43 am

Should be fun to watch in pre-season. I watched Goodson a few times last year at Iowa and he looked great against some pretty good competition. His overall highlights show that he does fall down pretty quickly after the first hit. Maybe a little more coaching will help this. But still excited for Hill and Taylor too. Let the games begin!!

1 points
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