The Green Bay Packers must use the 2020 NFL Draft to provide the finishing touches on a team that won 13 regular-season games and got within one game of the Super Bowl during Matt LaFleur’s first season as head coach.
Between now and the draft, Packers Wire will periodically break down one top prospect fitting the Packers’ roster needs.
Up next is LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire:
What he can do
– Game-changing three-down ability. Might be the best route-runner and pass-catching running back in the class
– Incredible balance. Low center of gravity and powerful lower body make him so hard to get down
– Forced 71 missed tackles in 2019, per PFF
– Impressive combination of vision and lateral agility allows him to always find and get to the right hole. Impressive jump cutter from gap to gap with great feet quickness and the burst to get upfield once he finds the alley
– Huge production in the gap run game out of the shotgun. Should be a highly effective zone runner in the NFL
– Good luck tackling him at the second level. Made a lot of players look really bad with both elusiveness and pure power
– Quickness shows up all the time in the passing game. Blew past linebackers on all kinds of routes. Will be a great checkdown player. Even won down the field on some routes (see: touchdown vs. Alabama)
– Doesn’t have elite top-end speed. Might not hit a lot of home runs at the next level
– Ran 4.6 in the 40 but had a 1.53-second 10-yard split. Highlights burst
– Lack of height occasionally helps. Second-level defenders struggle to find him in traffic
– Produced 180 total yards and scored four touchdowns in win over Alabama. Created first downs and found the end zone twice in huge moments late
– Quality pass protector. LSU scheme wasn’t afraid to use him in protection. Generally held up well
– Has kickoff return experience
How he fits
The Packers are set at running back in 2020, but the future of the position is murky. Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Tyler Ervin are all scheduled to be free agents in 2021. Drafting Edwards-Helaire could provide the Packers with long-term stability. Even if the Packers plan on retaining Jones with a new deal, Edwards-Helaire could make sense as a do-it-all back capable of handling everything Williams does, and likely at a much higher level. His vision as a runner and ability in the passing game could be special in the right scheme and with the right players around him.
Ray Rice. Both are low to the ground and hard to tackle running backs with real value in the passing game.
Where Packers could get him
Running backs are rightfully devalued in today’s NFL, but Edwards-Helaire looks like a top-50 player. He could easily come off the board before the Packers’ pick in the second round. GM Brian Gutekunst and the Packers would have to consider him at No. 62, and he’d be nothing short of a steal at No. 94.