Two Talented Undrafted Free Agent RBs Will Fight For A Roster Spot In Green Bay

Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor signed with the Packers after the draft

Photo: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have what could easily be considered the top running back duo in the NFL with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. But Matt LaFleur frequently talks about how important it is to have a deeper rotation, as the Packers are a run-oriented offense. So, besides seventh-rounder from last year Kylin Hill plus Patrick Taylor, who assumed the third-string role last season after Hill's knee injury, general manager Brian Gutekunst has added two undrafted free agent running backs after last weekend's draft. They are Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor, who are different styles of runners.

For the next months, Goodson and Baylor will fight for a roster spot - or at least a practice squad spot, which is a little bit harder now, considering the Covid-specific rules applied for the last two seasons are gone, and the practice squads are now back to 14 players.

Tyler Goodson

Goodson is a running back from Iowa, and he was considered the best available undrafted free agent according to NFL.com Chad Reuter's ranking. He is fast for the position, with a 4.42 40-yard, but is thin at 197lbs. Goodson had a strong three-year career at Iowa, where he became in 2019 the first true freshman in school history to lead the team in rushing yards. He also had a good 2020 season, being a first-team All-Big Ten. Last season, Goodson ran for 1,151 yards and six touchdowns in 13 starts.

NFL.com overview:
Runner with average size and athleticism, and below-average toughness to add yardage beyond what his offensive line creates for him. Goodson played in Iowa's zone-heavy run scheme but lacks elements like vision and decisiveness, which are usually associated with successful zone runners on the pro level. He rarely runs with authority or a willingness to create for himself through contact and doesn't appear to have explosive top-end speed to lean on. There aren't traits or positional skills that stand out enough to warrant more than a late-round glance.

BJ Baylor

Baylor was the 21st best UDFA RB according to Chad Reuter, but can be more than that if he realizes his potential. In his last season with Oregon State, the running back had impressive numbers: 1,337 yards and 13 touchdowns with a 5.6 yards per carry average. He was the first player from Oregon State to lead the Pac-12 in rushing yards since Steven Jackson in 2003. Before 2021, he had a small role and hadn't had more than 30 carries in any year.

Pro Football Network's overview:
Positives: Highly celebrated ball carrier with average potential. Sees the field, finds the running lanes, and effectively follows blocks. Runs with an aggressive style, keeps his feet moving, and does not go down without a fight. Runs with authority, has a burst through the hole, and turns on the speed with a single step. Strong and breaks tackles to pick up yardage off initial contact.
Negatives: Runs with an upright style and takes a lot of heavy hits. Loses momentum trying to cut back against the grain and alter the angle of runs. Rarely used as a receiver out of the backfield.
Analysis: Baylor comes off a career season carrying the ball, but he is primarily an undersized downhill runner with average speed and no capacity to create yardage. The inability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be his downfall trying to make a roster.

For Goodson and Baylor, it will be a battle to try and make the roster considering how deep the Packers' depth is. However, both players have talent and styles that can function in LaFleur's system.

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Wendell Ferreira covers the Green Bay Packers for Zone Coverage and Cheesehead TV. He is a Brazilian journalist with over a decade of experience covering the NFL, soccer, NBA, and MMA. Follow him on twitter at @wendellfp  

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4 points

Comments (30)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
greengold's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:55 pm

I seriously like both Goodson & Baylor. Fine RBs.

Do yourselves a favor. Kick back for a nice, fun football refresher, and dial in Kylin Hill’s 8:13 highlight reel… and you’ll immediately see the difference between a good RB and a PREMIERE RB.

Kylin Hill was widely considered the best RB in the SEC the year Clyde Edwards-Hilaire was drafted R1. He should have entered the draft early with CEH. Fortunately for the Packers, he didn’t, and Gutekunst stole him R7 last year.

Kylin Hill is the BOMB.

I’m hopeful for his healthy return, and if we need another RB until he’s fully healed post ACL surgery, I guess we can’t go wrong with either of these cats. Thinking I like BJ Baylor better. PAC12 RBs are guys I can vouch for…

I’m really just anxiously awaiting Hill’s healthy return. What a boss.

7 points
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MooPack's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:32 pm

Disagree with over half of NFL.com's overview on Goodson. In many cases it's the exact opposite. Yeah he doesn't create when the hole is not there. Not many backs do. When the hole is there, he can hit it in a hurry, breaks ankles with his elusiveness and is a homerun threat.

8 points
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MainePackFan's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:44 pm

Looks like you and I have the same thoughts on Zierlein's overview :)

6 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

May 03, 2022 at 04:03 pm

Me three... Zierlein reminds me of the kid that always got picked last in school and ended up being the equipment manager and statistician. In fact, many sports reporters strike me as those guys.

4 points
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MainePackFan's picture

May 03, 2022 at 07:24 pm

Yes. Exactly!!!

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ReaganRulz's picture

May 04, 2022 at 04:08 pm

Totally agree. Watched him several times last year at Iowa and he was impressive. Glad we got him and lets see what he can do!!

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MainePackFan's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:39 pm

"He rarely runs with authority or a willingness to create for himself through contact and doesn't appear to have explosive top-end speed to lean on".

Not that I am NFL scout, but based on the tape I saw (copied and pasted in an earlier thread), I completely disagree with Lance Zierlein on this assessment.

7 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:52 pm

If Hill is healthy, I prefer him to Goodson, but if not, Goodson has potential. I prefer Taylor to Baylor. Now we need this RB heavy offense to materialize. It did not last year.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2022 at 02:59 pm

Yeah, Coldworld. It should have literally been a 3-Headed Monster last year with Jones-Dillon-Hill.

We would have won the Super Bowl had we emphasized that early, and delivered that punishing rushing assault throughout. I’m convinced of that.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 03, 2022 at 03:42 pm

Yes, but he was injured for the season valiantly trying to return a kick, and we all know how critically important that is.

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Ya_tittle's picture

May 03, 2022 at 05:05 pm

That kick should have NEVER been taken out of the end zone.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2022 at 08:26 pm

My guess is that Hill knows that

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murf7777's picture

May 03, 2022 at 03:40 pm

CW...Where do you want Green bay to be in run vs pass? Last year they were middle of the pack regarding the amount they run the ball. I think that is about right, especially when you have an elite QB. FYI, Rams ran the ball one of the least amount.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 03, 2022 at 03:49 pm

Call it a run or a pass, but over half of our plays feature a RB getting the ball via pass or handoff. Also, when we throw those bubble screens? That's a pass officially, but it's essentially a long handoff. Jet sweeps?

Jones and Dillon are half of what we do, and if the blocking is there, they do it pretty well.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2022 at 06:11 pm

I want them to be willing to lead with the run more than they do., especially later in the year outside. Finishing things out is nice, but a run led offense uses the run to set up the pass more than we do. How many carries did Dillon have in the first half of the Championship game?

2 points
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PatrickGB's picture

May 03, 2022 at 03:25 pm

I am a fan of Hill. I think that he has potential. The two UDFA’s are a tad small for this offense. I wonder about their pass pro and catch ability. But what the heck, why not? When you get to the end of the draft picks you do the best you can.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2022 at 08:25 pm

Goodson is actually a surprisingly willing blocker. He’s the most natural catcher of all of them probably. Baylor I do not know.

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 03, 2022 at 05:45 pm

Why not give these two gentleman a go. Speaking of RB, I always loved this quote by Leroy Hoard: “Coach, if you need one yard, I’ll get you three yards. If you need five yards, I’ll get you three yards.”

Go, go, go...one handers...go...go...

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 03, 2022 at 06:18 pm

sports comedy gold!

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 03, 2022 at 06:25 pm

If nothing else, Leroy is consistent. :)

1 points
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Straya's picture

May 03, 2022 at 06:57 pm

There were other backs I liked better but honestly why would you sign on to be an UDFA RB at the Packers behind Jones, Dillon and Hill?

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2022 at 07:51 pm

Because they know they'll get plenty of reps in preseason games, and it's hard to stick or draw interest elsewhere unless you can show something on film.

2 points
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PhantomII's picture

May 03, 2022 at 08:57 pm

Hate to go here.....But, if ML wants a deep RB rotation he needs to use The Top 4 RB's throughout the year so in the " PLAYOFFS"
HE..... feels comfortable using more than 2,..... especially.....WHEN one of the 2 get hurt like back to back years playoff games and HE will actually use what he has on hand instead of nothing.....which is what has happened in the past. 2 times in a row is more than enough to have learned this HUGE error.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 04, 2022 at 09:27 am

They are still below grade with their power game.

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PhantomII's picture

May 04, 2022 at 09:02 pm

When our OL is up to snuff and can open some holes......They won't have to be as special as our 2 starters are.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 04, 2022 at 10:40 am

Having drafted three more OL whose primary strength is run blocking the message would seem to be the running game is important and the Packers are going to utilize heavily this year without Adam's. I too like Hill and hope he recovers but it will come down to Special Team's. Whoever is best on ST's makes the squad as back-up RB's.

PS: I don't see anyone knocking Patrick Taylor off the squad. He is big, strong, and one tough dude which is needed on ST's.

2 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

May 04, 2022 at 11:30 am

I was very disappointed in the playoff lose when Dillon went down and MaLF forgot all about Patrick Taylor Jr. (PTJ).

PTJ is a beast, and I am also disappointed they didn't work him in more during the season. He only had 23 attempts last year.

2 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 04, 2022 at 02:46 pm

Agree Bird!

Patrick is a good football player and one I wouldn't want rushing straight at me one on one in the open field. Nope!

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PhantomII's picture

May 05, 2022 at 09:31 am

That is ML biggest weakness so far.......When things go sideways a little through injury or defensive adjustments...He has no answers. At least admit to yourself your own weaknesses and appoint someone to come up with adjustments to what is stopping the offense pre-game and in game. Again his lack of Coaching and ability to adjust is costing us Super Bowl shots....every year. We are going to have to win in spite of this handicap. Hopefully the draft helps and AR spreads the ball around more......The Defense has a few pick-sixes at the right time.....In the playoffs. GPG

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mrtundra's picture

May 05, 2022 at 03:55 pm

If either Goodson or Baylor want to make this team, they will have to show they can catch the ball and block. We know they can run, but MLF's offense has its RBs catching passes and blocking for others. Rooting for both these guys and also for Hill to make a complete recovery and to contribute this season. GO PCK, GO!!!

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