The Packers' decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round while Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime made for one of the league's biggest talking points of the offseason. Their selection of running back A.J. Dillon in the second round was far less examined yet similarly polarizing.
Aaron Jones, who's spent the past year-plus establishing himself as one of the NFL's top rushers, said he never did talk to Green Bay's front office about it. His play has always done the talking for him.
"It definitely caught me a little off guard but I kind of know it's the business of the game, it's what comes with it," Jones said on the latest episode of the Huddle & Flow podcast with NFL Network's Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter. "… I gotta remember, this guy didn't choose where he got drafted, they drafted him. So, I welcome him with open arms and help him grow as a player as well because that's what somebody did for me when I was coming in."
All to Green Bay's benefit. Jones, who led the league in rushing touchdowns last year, has continued to blossom as an every-down back for the unbeaten Packers. Despite playing just four games because of a bye, he's fourth in rushing, tied for third in touchdowns and is averaging 127.2 yards from scrimmage per game.
The two players leading those categories, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara, were also among the plethora of running backs to go before Jones in the 2017 draft. Jones wasn't even the Packers' first RB selection, coming off the board about 50 spots after current teammate Jamaal Williams. Such slights have driven the University of Texas-El Paso product throughout his playing days.
"These are some of the guys that you've been competing with your whole life," Jones said, pointing to recruiting rankings, scholarship offers, college stats and draft position. "It's been non-stop motivation for me and it's going to continue to push me to be at the top of my game."
The fourth-year back admitted his motivation intensified even before this past draft when he was left sitting at home during the Pro Bowl and didn't receive any All-Pro votes. Akin to Michael Jordan's refrain from "The Last Dance" documentary, the 25-year-old Jones took that personally.
"Everything fuels me, from being underrecruited out of high school to being a fifth-round pick and 18 guys were taken before me," he said. "All of that fuels me. I'm just going to continue to go harder and let that chip on the shoulder grow."
Did we mention Jones is in a contract year as well? No wonder Green Bay's other Aaron has been just as vindictive on the field in 2020.