Aaron Jones was the No. 182 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He was a pick that many thought was simply about depth, with Ty Montgomery expected to emerge as a star in the backfield and fellow rookie Jamaal Williams as the backup. Following injuries to Montgomery and Williams, Jones began to see playing time and made the most of it.
In his first game as the starter, Jones carried the football 17 times for 131 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. When everything was said and done, Jones totaled 81 carries for 448 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Looking ahead to 2018, Jones is expected to be a big part of the backfield for the Packers. He will form a two-man system at running back with Williams, which Green Bay fans couldn’t be more excited to see.
All of that being said, what should Green Bay fans expect from Jones in his second NFL season in 2018?
Jones ran into some off-the-field trouble during his rookie season. He was arrested on marijuana charges but quickly apologized and seemed to understand that things needed to change.
Outside of the arrest, Jones showed major potential for the Packers as a rookie. He combines excellent speed to go along with an impressive amount of strength and the ability to make tacklers miss. Jones is a capable playmaker and earned the trust of franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the season.
“I’ve been a big fan of his since the beginning. I think he’s a very natural runner with the football. He knows what he’s doing. There wasn’t any hesitation. He asked me one time to repeat which side he was motioning to. But other than that, I think he did a great job. Like I said, he’s a natural runner. He had some good runs for us, and I’m very confident with him.”
Moving forward, Jones will need to prove that he can stay consistent. He isn’t going to be given the starting job in Green Bay. Both Williams and Montgomery will be competing for carries this season.
Predicting what kind of season Jones will have is not an easy task. Green Bay has three running backs who are more than capable of starting and there is no telling how Mike McCarthy will utilize them. Jones certainly has a good chance to win the starting job due to Rodgers’ success with Jones in the backfield, but Williams also had quite a bit of success as a rookie.
While it is not an easy job to throw out projections, Jones should end up carrying the football at least 140 times for 800 yards and five or six touchdowns. He could end up receiving more carries, while there is also a chance that Williams becomes the workhorse back and Jones ends up being the third-down back and doesn’t get a large workload.
No matter what ends up happening, Jones is a very talented running back and has a successful career ahead of him if he continues working hard and stays out of trouble. Green Bay should be excited to see how he has developed throughout the offseason.
Expect to see Jones come into his second season looking to prove a point. Winning the starting job in preseason and training camp will be the first step in the process of proving that he is a capable NFL starter.