New York Jets – What Is Bilal Powell’s Value?

13

Despite being the New York Jets best running back down the stretch last season, Bilal Powell is frequently the forgotten man when it comes to discussing the running back position in 2013. He isn’t a flashy player and is never going to turn heads with his natural ability but there will be a role for Powell on the 2013 Jets because of his steadiness and versatility.

Last summer, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Joe McKnight would be the team’s third down back. LaDainian Tomlinson was retired and McKnight had the apparent skill-set to step into his role. Powell had a quiet rookie season, where his most notable contribution was fumbling into the end-zone when given an opportunity in a regular season game. However, it was Powell who came out of nowhere with an impressive training camp and beat out McKnight for the third down job, thanks to his ability to pass protect and quickly pick up the offense.

The numbers were never spectacular, as Powell finished with 437 yards on 110 carries with a 4.0 yards per carry. He had 4 rushing touchdowns along with 17 receptions for 140 yards. Yet, there was a steady improvement from Powell in the Jets final stretch of games as he was given a larger opportunity. When given 12 carries against Arizona in week 13, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry for 58 total yards. The following week, with 19 carries against Jacksonville, he averaged 4.1 yards per carry for 78 yards. Then against Tennessee he averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 6 attempts and also had 2 receptions for 15 yards. Despite limited work against San Diego in week 16, he still had 4 receptions for 37 yards and then closed the season against Buffalo with 12 carries for 56 yards at 4.7 yards per carry.

Powell lacks speed and big play ability. He didn’t break a play over 20 yards last year despite receiving 127 touches. Despite that, he has good vision and is a tough north/south runner who can handle inside handoffs. He runs bigger than his 5’10, 204 pound frame. Along with his inside running ability, Powell is a good enough pass protector and receiver out of the backfield to handle a 3rd down role. He isn’t an ideal fit in there because of his lack of speed but he is capable of handling it at a competent level. Powell can also protect the football. He had zero fumbles last season in his 127 touches.

The value of having Powell on the roster is that he can backup both Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson. Powell can spell Ivory for a series and handle the interior runs, or step in for Goodson on 3rd downs, handle check down passes and protecting the quarterback.

Yes, Joe McKnight has more speed and natural ability than Powell but McKnight hasn’t shown that he can stay healthy, pass protect and run the football inside. McKnight’s best role might be as a flex/situational player who is used in a certain package of plays as hybrid running back or slot receiver. Powell provides more stability and versatility as a pure backup running back. Considering the injury history of both Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, it is likely the team will keep four running backs anyway and Powell makes the most sense as the primary backup.

  • matr dontelli iii

    in his first two years mcknight sat behind productive running backs. that was not the case last year. so many unfortunate things have happened to this team over the years, yet the most unfortunate may have been the hiring of sparano. we should know more about mcknight by now but we had a coordinator who, it is claimed, didn’t speak to mcknight all year. did he not play due to injuries? fumbles? lack of knowledge? who knows? what can we expect from him this year? who knows? given what we got from the running game, we shoulda learned something last year. now sparano goes to oakland. what a surprise! and we’re the circus?

  • Dan

    Watching those highlights, it seems like Powell has good vision, but maybe lacks the explosiveness to take full advantage. Still, he makes some nice, subtle cuts to gain extra yards which is something we never saw with Greene. The Jets would be foolish to cut him considering the injury risk to both Ivory and Goodson.

  • Pingback: Today’s Jets Twit Directory Links July 1, 2013 | New York Jets Online Directory()

  • Pingback: Today’s Jets Twit Directory Links July 1, 2013 | New York Jets Online Directory()

  • JetOrange

    Consider, Powell as a small WCO. FB. A backfield of Goodson & Powell could an excellent alternative in Marty’s attack.

  • Anthony

    I love Bilal Powell. He reminds me of a smaller Richie Anderson. I know he is not necessarily a feature back, but in a league that has moved further and further away from a feature back system, he just kinda does “stuff” well. Where Chris Ivory pounds the ball up the middle, Powell seems to pick holes patiently and slip through the line. I don’t see what other people seem to with physical running. He blocks rather aggressively, catches the ball with some regularity but doesn’t break loose. His versatility however is what can keep him on the field. I like that.

  • Anthony

    I love Bilal Powell. He reminds me of a smaller Richie Anderson. I know he is not necessarily a feature back, but in a league that has moved further and further away from a feature back system, he just kinda does “stuff” well. Where Chris Ivory pounds the ball up the middle, Powell seems to pick holes patiently and slip through the line. I don’t see what other people seem to with physical running. He blocks rather aggressively, catches the ball with some regularity but doesn’t break loose. His versatility however is what can keep him on the field. I like that.

  • David

    The biggest thing I am hoping for, whether it is Bilal Powell or whomever, is that the best players are playing each week. For example, if Bilal Powell comes in and rushes say 15 times for 102 yards and 2 TD’s, I feel like he should get the opportunity to start until he gives you no choice but to replace him. I remember last year, guys like Garrett McIntyre, Joe McKnight, Clyde Gates would have solid performances, and another “Rex Favorite” would come back, those guys would go back down the depth chart. Play the best players!

  • Hill

    Not comparing, but watching those clips, he has similar running style to C.Martin. Again – NOT comparing players, just styles (i.e. nothing that will blow you away, no long gainers, just kinda runs well, finds holes, and protects the ball.)

  • Harold

    Hill:

    I wouldn’t compare his style to Curtis. Martin had a lot more wiggle than Bilal and much better vision and cutback ability. The styles they they have are completely different IMO.

  • Keith

    The Jets Need To Go All In on Running Backs!

    They picked up Ivory who was a great steal but lets be honest we don’t even know if he can play 16 games. The Offense is horrible the biggest boast they could give to the offense is trading for a true starting RB. The WR’s & TE’s QB’s are all question marks. You go out and get an Elite runner and take the pressure off of them.

  • Pingback: No Huddle - New York Jets Pre-Season Go Time Edition - TOJ()

  • Pingback: Turn On The Jets Film Room - New York Jets RB Chris Ivory - TOJ()