Now that the Super Bowl is over and the New York Jets — as well as the rest of the NFL — are transitioning to offseason mode, it it time to plan for the draft. New York has many holes to fill on the offense, and one of them is at the running back position, believe it or not.
Many will argue that the running back position is not of high priority right now. Wide receivers and tight ends as well as strengthening the offensive line and establishing a quarterback of the future is what is key right now. However, in the third or fourth round, it is essential for New York to add at least one back if there is value to be had.
New York ranked sixth in rushing last year in the NFL, gaining just under 135 yards per game on the ground. Chris Ivory led the way with 833 yards on the year and three touchdowns. Bilal Powell rushed for 697 yards and one score, and Geno Smith had the most rushing touchdowns on the team with six.
To many this does not spark a concern. However, when you really think about it, neither Ivory nor Powell can really be considered a true featured back. Ivory played in 15 games this past season, which is by far the most games he has suited up for in his four-year career. Due to his smash-mouth run style, Ivory only played in six games in each of his past two seasons before getting traded to New York. Powell, in all honesty, is not your featured back, and if you want him to be then you should re-evaluate yourself as someone who knows what they are talking about. Powell is an excellent complement to a featured back, but he is not your go-to, every-down back.
Some guys to keep on the radar for the draft are Boston College‘s Andre Williams, who was a Heisman candidate, and Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr, both out of Florida State. These are just a few backs who could still be around in the third or fourth round worth picking up. De’Anthony Thomas from Oregon is also an intriguing prospect who currently sits 18th ranked among running backs entering the draft.
There’s no question New York has to pick up some receivers and some offensive weapons for Geno Smith or whoever the quarterback may be. Ivory and Powell may be solid backs, but neither are truly an offensive weapon which is really what New York needs at the position.