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Packers Rookie Preview: RB MarShawn Lloyd

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By: Tyler D. Brooke

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

MarShawn Lloyd is the perfect running back behind Josh Jacobs.

The Green Bay Packers have found their potential Aaron Jones replacement in MarShawn Lloyd.

Lloyd was taken with the 88th pick in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft. A former running back at South Carolina, he transferred to USC for his final college season, where he continued to be an explosive playmaker.

In 11 games for the Trojans, Lloyd ran for 820 yards and nine touchdowns, adding another 232 yards on 13 catches. He averaged an absurd 7.1 yards per carry and 17.8 yards per reception, consistently generating explosive plays despite limited touches.

Not surprisingly, the film backs up that absurd efficiency.

Lloyd consistently wins with burst and top-end play speed. Once he sees a hole and plants his foot, he can burn past second-level defenders who get caught flat-footed.

On top of that burst, Lloyd has a compact but well-built frame that allows him to squeeze through smaller holes at 5’9” and 220 pounds. He doesn’t need much space to squeak out big plays.

Unlike other home-run threats, Lloyd isn’t looking to bounce everything outside, either. He’s surprisingly patient waiting for his blockers to get to their spots before turning on the jets. You can see that in the play below, with Lloyd acceleration clearly showing up once he sees the hole develop.

Another option I had put on the Packers big board at running back was Jaylen Wright out of Tennessee. However, one of his biggest issues as a prospect was wanting to bounce all kinds of runs to the sideline, instead of letting his blockers set him up for success.

That’s not the case with Lloyd. He consistently has an impressive blend of patience and acceleration.

On top of those strengths, Lloyd is also an intense competitor who doesn’t give up on plays. He understands that he may not look like it. but his 220-pound frame combined with his motor can make him an absolute bowling ball that defenders will struggle to get down.

That becomes an asset near the goal line. Where so many running backs can get caught being too patient or hesitant near the end zone, Lloyd is the complete opposite. He turns off his brain and patience, instead opting to launch himself full speed towards the goal line, using his size and momentum to ideally generate forward push for a touchdown.

When Lloyd is able to show off all of his traits in a single snap, it turns into highlight-worthy plays.

For all of the strengths that Lloyd possesses, there’s one crucial weakness that will be something to monitor throughout his rookie season. The USC running back has struggled with fumbles throughout his career, racking up eight over his three-year college career.

Hand size could be a legitimate reason for the ball security issues. Lloyd has just 8.75-inch hands, which is in the 14th percentile for running backs. Having small hands means there is less surface area on the ball and more opportunities for defenders to try and rip the ball out.

The only other big questions about Lloyd is his ability in pass protection. The Trojans didn’t often ask him to chip in on six-man protection schemes, which gives us an incomplete picture about his abilities in that phase of the game. The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be a lack of effort when he’s asked to protect his quarterback, even if there are questions about his technique.

It will be fascinating to see how Lloyd is utilized in Green Bay’s backfield. The team signed Josh Jacobs to a four-year contract this offseason, and he’ll be the presumed starter getting the majority of the carries. However, if Lloyd can keep flashing in training camp, he could be the perfect change-of-pace back for the Packers. After Jacobs wears defenses down on the ground, Lloyd can come in and go for the explosive plays.

Still, if fumbles become an issue for Lloyd, he could also find himself in the doghouse during his rookie season.

Originally posted on ACME Packing Company