Undrafted Packers rookies: Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor bring different skills to Backfield
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Pretty much the last thing the Green Bay Packers needed in the 2022 NFL Draft was a running back. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, they have as good a brace as there is in the league.
But, with a salary cap exploding in 2023, Jones is potentially entering his final season under contract. With last year’s seventh-round pick Kylin Hill coming off a torn ACL, there’s a long-term opportunity ahead of undrafted free agents Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor.
If it takes a patient approach to succeed in the NFL, Baylor brings that to the table. Buried on Oregon State’s crowded depth chart, Baylor wore a redshirt in 2017 and had just 89 touches over the next three seasons. He could have been transferred to greener pastures. But with Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce leaving for the NFL, Baylor finally got his chance in 2021. The fifth-year senior took full advantage. He led the Pac-12 rushing with 1,337 yards (5.9 average) and 13 touchdowns.
“I take loyalty seriously,” Baylor told The Oregonian. “I feel like loyalty is better than anything else. Because when you’re loyal, you always feel like you have someone’s back.
According to Pro Football Focus, 42 running backs in the draft class have made at least 150 runs. Baylor ranked 13th with 3.50 yards after contact per attempt and 12th in the elusive, a metric that measures a runner’s impact beyond blocking.
He mainly ran area projects, which should make him a good fit for Green Bay.
“With BJ, his feel for wide area running and his ability to stay on a path and press the line of scrimmage, and get those ‘backers’ to engage, and then get vertical is something something that really stands out,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren.
The knock on Baylor is his receiving skills. In 2021, he caught 8 of 12 passes with two drops. Catching the ball isn’t a problem for Goodson, who caught 70 passes in three seasons for Iowa.
While Baylor had to bide its time, Goodson was a three-year-old star. He had 603 career touches, with first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2020 and a career-high 1,151 rushing yards in 2021.
Goodson has always loved football. So much so that he slept with a soccer ball as a child.
“I want the ball,” Goodson told the Daily Iowan, as opposed to his Mercer linebacker brother.
His youth team in Suwanee, Georgia, was coached by Brentson Buckner, a 10-year NFL veteran and current defensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “All he ever talked about was playing Division I football and having a chance in the NFL,” Buckner told Hawk Central. “‘What do running backs in the NFL do? How did they get here?’ He always looked for that from an early age.”
It will be an interesting battle to see which back, if any, remains on the 53-man roster or practice squad. Goodson was 5-foot-9 and 197 pounds with a 4.42 in the 40. Baylor was 5-10 and 202 pounds with a 4.52 in the 40.
Of the aforementioned 42 backs with 150+ carries last season, Goodson ranked ninth with 1.30 yards per pass but 42nd with 2.35 yards after contact on carries. Baylor finished 32nd with 0.65 yards per passing rush but forced another 19 missed tackles while getting 29 fewer rushes. Neither player has returned kicks in college, but Goodson is seen as a potential threat in this phase.
The 2022 NFL Draft
Six takeaways from the Packers’ draft class
Final NFL Draft Ratings
Elite 11: A fun fact about 11 draft picks
No. 255: Nebraska WR Samori Toure
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No. 249: Penn State OT Rasheed Walker
#234: Miami DT Jonathan Ford
No. 228: Georgia Tech S Tariq Carpenter
No. 179: South Carolina edges Kingsley Enagbare
No. 140: Wake Forest OL Zach Tom
N°132: Nevada WR Romeo Doubs
Day 2 NFL Draft Ratings
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No. 92: UCLA OL Sean Rhyan
Great talent, great expectations, great challenges for Christian Watson
No. 34: North Dakota State WR Christian Watson
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First Round Draft Notes
Again, no receiver in the first round. So who’s left?
Packers add some bulldogs to the kennel
No. 28: Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt
No. 22: Georgia LB Quay Walker