There’s been a lot of speculation about the New York Jets‘ running back situation in the wake of Mike Goodson‘s recent arrest and pending legal troubles after his late night to forget last Thursday/Friday morning.
Goodson was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a loaded handgun, possession of hollow-point bullets, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia over the weekend.
Entering his fifth NFL season, Mike Goodson signed a three-year deal with the Jets this offseason that may only have $1 million guaranteed. That may very well be a relevant factor in terms of his future with the team.
Goodson was expected to be a major factor in the Jets’ running back competition, likely as a compliment to fellow offseason addition Chris Ivory. However, Goodson’s pending legal situation has muddied things up now.
The Jets are wisely waiting for the legal process to play out in the immediate aftermath of the arrest, but it’s very possible that Goodson may have blown his opportunity and could get cut before ever suiting up with the Jets.
Competition is the name of the game in Jets camp this summer, and Goodson was scheduled to join Ivory and three young incumbent running backs in a five-way battle likely for four roster spots in training camp.
We know about Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, two guys who have already gotten their feet wet in the NFL over the last couple of seasons. But the man who may end up benefiting the most is 24-year-old John Griffin.
Griffin (above, left) has had a proverbial cup of coffee in the NFL after going undrafted out of UMass in 2011. He was on the Jets’ practice squad most of the 2012 season and was added to the active roster in December.
Even if Goodson stays put, the 5’11, 208-lb Griffin is a strong candidate to make the team due to his ability to play special teams. Running backs coach Anthony Lynn had some nice things to say about him recently as well.
“I’m expecting John to really compete,” Lynn said. “Not just be a ‘camp guy’ but compete for playing time. He’s a big back … He’s fast, he’s quick, he can make people miss … and he does some really nice things that I like.”
Griffin understands the opportunity in front of him, and he knows he can look to his new teammate Chris Ivory for inspiration. Ivory was an undrafted free agent himself who has earned his way into more playing time.
“Chris was in the same situation, and when he did get an opportunity, he stepped up big,” Griffin said recently, after taking part in Jets rookie mini-camp earlier this month. “That’s the main reason why he’s here right now.”
“I look up a lot to guys like Chris, who went undrafted and were at the bottom of the depth chart … He took advantage of his opportunity … He’s living proof that it can be done no matter where you are on the depth chart.”
While the Jets may have internally penciled in Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson atop their projected depth chart, the talent they have at the running back position may be deeper than most outsiders realize.
Whether or not Goodson ends up being part of the future plans, the talent and depth at the running back spot is much improved from last year, and it should be a fun competition to monitor in camp and in the preseason.
Even if he’s not a known quantity, don’t count out John Griffin. If he’s healthy, he’ll certainly be a factor in that competition. He could end up emerging as a diamond in the rough. Keep an eye out for the Jets’ new #24.