We begin our ranking of the New York Jets’ 25 best players with a surprise performer from last season, running back Bilal Powell. Powell was not expected to make a huge impact prior to last season, but Mike Goodson’s suspension and subsequent injury opened the door for him to back up Chris Ivory, and he took full advantage. Powell finished the season with 176 carries for 697 yards and one touchdown, adding 36 receptions for 272 yards.
The carries, receptions, and both yardage totals were all career highs for Powell, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract. Powell had an up and down season, as he started and finished strong, but disappeared during the middle of the year. However, that was more due to the emergence of a healthy Ivory rather than anything Powell did wrong. Powell remained the third down back for much of the season, and his pass blocking skills were an important asset for the Jets.
Despite his solid season, the Jets brought in Chris Johnson this offseason to add speed and playmaking ability to the backfield, knocking Powell back to the third string role. Powell’s versatility and pass blocking will keep him on the field this year to a point, but it is hard to believe that he will be able to replicate last season’s numbers if Ivory and Johnson stay healthy. Still, Powell did enough last season to earn his roster spot and his ranking on this list.
Reliable depth is an underrated asset, and Powell provides the Jets with exactly that at the running position. He may not be an elite talent, but he has made himself into a contributor and a valued member of the team. It remains to be seen if he will be able to continue to make an impact going forward, but for now it is fair to say that he is deserving of this spot.