A.J. Dillon is an outside the box draft prospect for Cleveland Browns
By Ryan Murphy
The Cleveland Browns plan to tender RFA Kareem Hunt; however, failing to lock him up long-term opens up running back options later in the draft, including A.J. Dillon.
The Cleveland Browns intend to keep restricted free agent Kareem Hunt as general manager Andrew Berry revealed the organization plans to place a tender on the restricted free agent.
However, this is a good draft to look elsewhere to lock up a future running back. It will be tough to keep Hunt long-term, as analytics do not seem too keen on paying running backs, let alone two of them in Nick Chubb and Hunt.
An outside the box draft prospect the Browns should consider is running back A.J. Dillon out of Boston College. Dillon is the all-time rushing leader at Boston College, totaling 4,382 rushing yards on 845 attempts (5.2 yards per carry), with 38 rushing touchdowns in his career.
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He was not much of a receiver in college, having 21 receptions for 236 yards since 2017. This is something that can be coached and developed. His combine numbers show that.
Dillon showed out at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, despite weighing in at 247 pounds. That is a power-back who can also get to the second level and outrun the secondary. He also had a 41-inch vertical jump and a 131-inch broad jump.
The 247 pound bruiser showed athleticism mixed with size that should have raised the eyebrows of many teams at the combine. This athleticism also shows that he can be coached to become more of a threat receiving out of the backfield.
Why does this matter to the Browns, a team with arguably the best running back room in the entire NFL?
Hunt will not be wearing brown and orange for much longer, assuming tendering him keeps him in Cleveland for the 2020 season. Added to the fact that an analytically driven Browns front office will not be shelling out money to two running backs when it is time for Hunt to be paid. So, the Browns can grab Dillon later in the draft to succeed Hunt, and keep a nice one-two punch at running back for years to come.