About two months ago, the plan was simple. Following the NFL Combine, most of AJ Dillon’s time leading up to the Draft would be spent at BC and at home in Connecticut. The Pro Day was scheduled for March 18th, and team workouts would be scheduled afterwards. He would fly out for visits, but would largely be with friends and family until Draft night.
But alas, things change. For AJ though, he doesn’t really know how different things are. While he had of course talked to some older Eagles about the process before, it’s all changed now. “This is my only draft,” Dillon explained in a video teleconference Monday, “so this is my normal.” It’s the only experience he can truly draw from, so all he can do is go about his business.
The biggest difference in terms of draft preparation is with team meetings. AJ is constantly in communication with coaches and GMs, although he couldn’t disclose which ones in particular, through every means possible. While it’s different than the face to face interaction, he knows everyone’s had to adapt, and was glad he at least had the chance to put a face to the name when he met some teams at the combine
To stay in shape, he’s going back to some old school workouts like many of us at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, stairs are the average day, along with some resistance training and running. He’s holed up in Orange County, California with a friend right now, so he can toss the ball around too occasionally . It’s unfortunate he can’t get in the weight room or work out with trainers, but he can still stay in shape. With so much going on, it’s easy to get lost. “Anything to distract myself from the draft.” He’s focusing on himself and calling mom as much as possible.
Looking back at his combine performance, Dillon feels great. He knew what he would do at the combine and he feels more confident going into the draft now that everyone knows what he can do. It may have came as a shock to the outside world, but most of us in the BC community were aware of his ability. He talked about how it was a real grind there, but that it was great to be put in different positions than at BC, catching passes and working out with two notable quarterback prospects in Jordan Love and Justin Herbert. His pass catching has been a real knock on him throughout the evaluation process, but Dillon explained how he never saw it as a lack of ability, just opportunity. Showing that ability off and not dropping a pass in drills was something he was proud of. He’s seen and heard the comparisons to current NFL running backs, but for him he doesn’t care. He’s just trying to take ‘A.J. Dillon’ to the next level.
AJ’s face lit up when he asked about his time at BC. It meant everything to him, and he called the community something special. “I re-watched our entire season on YouTube,” he even noted how else he’s been spending his time. He’ll be back soon to finish up his degree, but in the meanwhile he’s still staying in touch. He’s playing video games with some of the guys and catching up as much as possible, including with his former coaches. He’s excited about the new staff too and even noticed the uptick in the social media game. Everyone he’s talked to seems locked in and he loves the clear buzz around the program.
He’s heard a wide range about when people think he’ll end up being drafted, but he knows he’s done all he can to show what he can do. While he won’t be with his big family back home for the draft, he’ll still be on FaceTime with mom the whole way. And when we do hear his name called, pay no mind to his hair. He doesn’t plan on giving himself a haircut anytime soon.