subject: Green Bay Packers: Brandon Jackson can help running backsPosted: 8:20pm, Jun 7, 2017
266 posts

The Packers recently hired Jackson as a coaching intern. That move could pay dividends not just for Jackson’s coaching career, but for the Packers’ young stable of running backs.

Brandon Jackson was the Packers’ second round pick out of Nebraska in 2007. He never really became the every-down back that the team envisioned due to the unexpected emergence of Notre Dame’s Ryan Grant, but he played out his entire rookie contract with the team.

Jackson wasn’t a dynamic rusher and he battled injuries throughout his career,, but he was still a useful player for the Packers.

Most significantly,, he became invaluable in the passing game and the shotgun. Pro Football Focus rated Jackson as the third-most efficient pass blocking running back in the NFL from 2008 to 2010,, and he caught 43 of his 50 passing targets in 2010 for 342 yards.

Running back is the most inexperienced position on the Packers. Ty Montgomery is the presumptive starter,, and he’s only spent about half a season at running back.

Besides Montgomery, the favorites for roster spots are the Packers’ three 2017 draft picks: Jamaal Williams from BYU (fourth round), Aaron Jones from UTEP (fifth round), and Devante Mays from Utah State (seventh round).

These backs each have unique strengths and weaknesses. Williams is a banger between the tackles, while the 5-foot-9 1/2 Jones is a smaller back who wins with quickness. Mays is a size-speed prospect at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, with a 4.52 40 yard dash at Utah State’s pro day.

Williams caught only 15 combined passes in his final two years at BYU,, though he had had 45 combined in his freshman and sophomore years. Jones is a more established receiver with 28 catches in his senior season,ttp://,,, meanwhile,, but his lack of size could lead to difficulties in pass protection. Mays, caught only two passes in his Utah State career.

As long as Aaron Rodgers lines up under center, the Packers’ offense will run through the passing game. So for these backs to make the team and get on the field, they’ll need to be at least adequate in receiving and pass blocking.

Jackson could be a great resource for these young backs. Hardly a pass blocking expert coming out of Nebraska, he honed his technique until he became a superb third-down back.

The lack of proven talent at the position means that the race for running back roster positions will be wide open. There’s probably only two spots available behind Montgomery and Ripkowski, though five total backs is conceivable.

Special teams as well as traditional running ability will undoubtedly be crucial. But whichever young running backs can take in Brandon Jackson’s coaching and emulate his play in the pass game will greatly improve their chances of making the 2017 Packers and contributing on the field.
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