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Packers 2020 NFL Draft Class Looks Even Worse After Aaron Jones Extension

Brian Giuffra
Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers. / Dylan Buell/Getty Images
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The Packers confounded everyone and drove Aaron Rodgers into the tender arms of tequila when they moved up to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Love didn't look great in training camp and Rodgers wound up winning the 2020 NFL MVP, so yeah, that pick was bad.

Today the Packers ensured their second pick in the 2020 draft would also remain a backup (barring injury) for the foreseeable future when they signed running back Aaron Jones to a four-year, $48 million deal. With the rest of their 2020 draft class coming off uninspiring rookie seasons, it's fair to wonder if the Packers' entire 2020 class will wind up being a dud.

The Packers' nine draft picks in 2020 started a combined seven games last season and the most impactful player was running back A.J. Dillon. Many pundits assumed the Packers selected Dillon in the second round to be the lead back in 2021 and beyond with Jones headed toward free agency. Instead, the Green Bay opted to make Jones the fifth-highest paid running back on average in the NFL, thus limiting Dillon to a backup role for at least the next two years. Which begs the question: why draft Dillon in the second round in the first place?

With 2020 backup running back Jamaal Williams presumably out now in free agency, Dillon should assume a larger role in the Packers' offense in 2021. Williams averaged 8.3 rushing attempts per game in his four years backing up Jones, which is a good indicator of what Dillon can expect as long as Jones is on the field. So the Packers used their first two picks in the 2020 draft on players who will average touching the ball around nine times per game. Not great.

The Packers' 2020 third-round pick, tight end Josiah Deguara, was drafted to take over the starting role but tore his ACL in October. Robert Tonyan excelled in his absence, catching 11 touchdown passes in 2020. Deguara will get chances to contribute, but Tonyan is the starter for now. Three picks. Three backups so far. Not what Rodgers needs to get over the hump.

Green Bay's six other picks in the 2020 draft came in the fifth round or later. Inside linebacker Kamal Martin was probably the most encouraging of the bunch, shining in the preseason before an untimely injury limited him to six starts in 2020. He's expected to start in 2021. With the exception of offensive lineman Jon Runyan, the other players will be fighting for roster spots in the preseason this year.

For every NFL team, there are always a few questionable picks or decisions that don't pay off during any draft. No one hits on 100 percent of their selections, but the Packers' draft picks in 2020, especially their first two, look questionable and lacking foresight.

Selecting Love in the first round has been the focus of ire for the last year, but picking Dillon seems odd considering how much the Packers are paying Jones. Deguara might also be a backup in 2021 and the only starters could wind up being players drafted in the fifth round or later. That's not what you want for a team chasing a title with an aging quarterback, but it's the situation the Packers find themselves in. Now they can only hope their 2020 picks pan out and they do better in 2021.

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