Packers 2016 Recap: FB Aaron Ripkowski
- 34 carries, 150 yards, 2 touchdowns
- 9 receptions, 46 yards, 1 touchdown
- Pro Football Focus: 82.8/100 (5th of 17 qualified fullbacks)
Expectations going into the season: Moderate
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: Ripkowski picks up the mantle of Kuhn
When the Packers drafted Aaron Ripkowski in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d one day be a folk hero in the mold of John Kuhn. All the pieces were there: a cool name, a quirky (in today’s NFL) position, and all the cliche stereotypes of grit, toughness, and bringing one’s lunchpail to work.
In 2016, Ripkowski got his chance to show what he could do. He did not disappoint.
In limited opportunities, Ripkowski proved himself to be a tough runner, a relatively reliable receiver, and a capable blocker. In Week 11, he became the first Packers player other than Aaron Rodgers to score a rushing touchdown, then went on to power his way for 61 yards on nine carries in the Week 17 win over Detroit that pushed the Packers into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the lasting image of Ripkowski’s 2016 season may be his fumble in the NFC Championship game. Though it ultimately may not have changed the game much, it did end Ripkowski’s season on a sour note.
But Ripkowski is young, and heading into his third year, there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have a lot of good football ahead of him. He’ll be a valuable part of the Packers’ backfield in 2017.