It has already been reported that running back Joe McKnight was included as one of the New York Jets‘ first roster cuts. Last season, he rushed for 179 yards on 30 carries. The former USC running back failed to make a real splash after being selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In college, McKnight demonstrated tremendous ability while breaking outside of defenses.
Unfortunately, his counterparts were able to catch up at the next level. When looking into the past, one major mistake is apparent.
Danny Woodhead showed some potential in very limited action while with New York during 2009. While totaling only 15 carries, he averaged 4.3 yards per carry. This organization made a choice by cutting him. Woodhead was promptly signed by AFC East rival New England Patriots in a move which paid off. His style of gaining tough yards between tackles fit into head coach Bill Belichick’s image of a hard worker.
Woodhead’s career total of 1,263 yards during his career more than double that of McKnight. New England’s decision to move on had to do more with the emergence of others like Stevan Ridley than his own talent level.
New York kept McKnight in part because of his return skills. He has posted an average of 29 yards per carry on kick returns. Gang Green’s depth chart currently lists receiver Clyde Gates as their primary kick returner. He possesses solid speed and is capable of being a good replacement.
Reaching a decision to cut McKnight makes sense. Pride from head coach Rex Ryan foolishly prohibited him from admitting error. Keeping an undrafted free agent instead of his pick may have been difficult, but would have benefited his franchise.