The Green Bay Packers already have a strong duo of running backs in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but general manager Brian Gutekunst continues to add competition behind them heading into OTAs and training camp.
With OTAs kicking off on Monday, May 22, Gutekunst decided to bring in another running back to see if he can compete for a job on the final 53-man roster over the next few months. NFL insider Aaron Wilson tweeted that the Packers signed former Fort Valley State running back Emanuel Wilson, who went undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft a month prior to being signed by Green Bay.
Wilson garnered all kinds of accolades during his time with the SIAC program, even earning conference player of the year in 2022. As one of the top running backs in Division II, Wilson finished the season with 1,252 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns while averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. 14 of those 19 touchdowns came in just the final five games of the season for Wilson.
At 5-foot-10 and 229 pounds, Wilson brings plenty of size and college production into OTAs, but it’ll be an uphill battle for him to make the final 53-man roster in a crowded backfield for the Packers.
Other Running Backs Competing for Roster Spots
While Jones and Dillon are locks to make the final 53-man roster, the rest of Green Bay’s running backs will be fighting with Wilson for jobs.
Patrick Taylor will have the inside track to retain his third-string role. The 6-foot-2 running back saw some action throughout the previous season, running the ball 10 times for 31 yards. However, seventh-round pick Lew Nichols III will by trying to usurp Taylor for that role. The 2021 MAC Offensive Player of the Year ran for over 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns over his career, bringing some legitimate playmaking to Green Bay.
Former UDFA Tyler Goodson could be a sleeper to make the roster as well. A preseason standout in 2022, Goodson brings a dual-threat ability that he showed off during his college days for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
In all likelihood, the Packers will only keep three running backs on their 53-man roster with Jones and Dillon expected to get so much of the workload. That likely leaves guys like Goodson, Nichols, and Wilson fighting for practice squad spots at the end of the preseason.
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Wilson isn’t the only signing the Packers have made following the draft, with Gutekunst and his staff staying busy during one of the slowest parts of the football calendar.
The Packers added even more safety help after the draft by signing former Houston Texans starter Jonathan Owens to a one-year deal. The husband of superstar gymnast Simone Biles will likely compete for a starting role in Green Bay’s secondary, going against the likes of Rudy Ford and Tarvarius Moore.
All-XFL punter Dan Whelan was also brought in as camp competition with veteran Pat O’Donnell. While unlikely to beat out the established veteran, Whelan could become the first Irish-born player to play in the NFL in nearly 40 years.
The Packers could also be bringing in a veteran wide receiver in the coming weeks after hosting a workout for Keke Coutee. While a deal wasn’t completed after the workout, there is optimism that the two could get a deal done in the coming weeks.