New York Jets Pre-Free Agency/Draft Roster Breakdown – Running Back

Cole Patterson breaks down the New York Jets running backs before Free Agency and the Draft

Before you know it, your favorite NFL team will undergo a dramatic facelift and hypothetically improve their prospects for the 2014 season. Don’t forget, however, the 2013 rosters are still set and old faces will play just as important roles as the new ones. As of today there are three days until NFL Free Agency and the start of the new league year. So, each day, we at TOJ will address a new position group and where there will be change. Today, running back.

2013 New York Jets Depth Chart:

  • Chris Ivory- Under contract through 2015
  • Bilal Powell – Under contract for 2014
  • Mike Goodson – Ended season on Injured ReserveUnder contract through 2015
  • Tommy Bohanon (FB) – Under contract through 2016
  • Alex Green – Under contract for 2014
  • Darius Reynaud – Unrestricted Free Agent
  • John Griffin – Restricted Free Agent
  • Lex Hilliard – Unrestricted Free Agent

As Currently Constituted: 

The Jets depth at running back last season was partially overlooked due to Goodson’s suspension and injury. However, Goodson showed promise in his limited snaps. The speedster added a dimension that the Jets offense lacked all season.

Ivory started off slow but picked up a head of steam down the stretch. Though he was a liability as a pass catcher, Ivory proved himself capable of a serious role. Powell started off hot but slowed down the stretch, perhaps due to Ivory’s ascendance. He showed he can be a reliable asset to the team but may have already reached his ceiling.

The bottom of the depth chart is is filled with question marks.  Green, who is under contract for 2014, showed little in a depth role. Reynaud, brought in for his special teams ability, made little contribution. Griffin, before landing on Injured Reserve, showed promise and may be back in camp this coming season.

Bohanon was inconsistent at best from the fullback spot. He showed fleeting awareness and a lack of fundamentals. However, his competition was Lex Hilliard who, besides being arguably worse, was injured in pre season.

Keeping it In House:

Besides Ivory and Powell, nobody in the Jets 2013 backfield is safe. Hilliard and Reynaud are free agents and likely goners. Griffin, also a free agent, may return after showing promise in the pre season. Green is making only $645,000 in 2014 but, should he be outplayed by a newcomer, could be cut.

Goodson is the biggest question mark of the bunch. Though he has an obvious skill set to contribute, his legal troubles and health issues severely limited him in his first season with New York. Should he heal quickly and manage to put his legal troubles behind him, Goodson should remain in New York. However, if the Jets find an adequate replacement for what he brings to the table, Goodson could be gone.

The Market:

This free agent running back class isn’t bursting with talent, however, some players may be just what the Jets are looking for. Donald Brown has been linked to the team and would make sense because of his speed and ability to contribute on passing downs. He would be an ideal compliment to Ivory. Dexter McCluster would also be a valuable signing because he could contribute as a running back, wide receiver, and kick returner. The Saints have been shopping Darren Sproles and are expected to cut him should they not find a trade partner. Reuniting Sproles and Ivory, at the right price, could add an explosive element to the offense.

In the draft Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk and Kent State’s Dri Archer stand out as players who could make an impact on the Jets. Both are noted for their speed and elusiveness. They can both contribute on specials and would add some dynamism to the Jets backfield

It should be noted that any one of these players could make Mike Goodson expendable.

For more on the FA RBs see:

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.

  • John X

    Not sure why you wouldn’t mention Ben Tate as he was brought up in the same report as Donald Brown.

    Goodson is obviously the wild card here.

  • I’m a big fan of Seastrunk. Looking to draft this guy in the 3rd or 4th round. He reminds me of Lesean McCoy. He has to learn to run more North and South however, his burst and cuts are tremendous. Ivory, Powell, and Seastrunk (Three Headed Monster)

  • Mark Phelan

    Love the contribution Powell made last year – remember most thought he would not make the squad.

    Ivory starting 16 games? I’d put over/under at 11.5. Boy do we need Powell.

    After what we saw from Goodson last year, both in the Trainer’s room and the Garden State Parkway, I’d conclude backup or replacement is needed at that slot.

    Agree that Bohanan showed little in his rookie year.

  • KAsh

    The problem with Seastrunk is that he did not catch a single pass last year and was not really asked to pass block. Whose role would he fulfill on this offense?

  • Fill in as a 3rd down back for now behind Powell. He’ll have to learn to pass block. Even though he had zero rec in 2013 he does have good enough hands for the screen game. His speed and changing of direction is off the charts. Outstanding acceleration in open space. Avg 7.7 yds per carry in 2012 and 7.4 in 2013. With Ivory and Powell, theres no need to rush to give him large amount of carries at first.

  • KAsh

    How do we know what Seastrunk’s hands are like? He never caught a pass last year. He had less than ten catches the year before that, if I recall.

    I like Seastrunk as a player; his vision and his anticipation of the defenders’ reactions are superb. But every single touch he gets would come at the expense of Ivory (just Ivory, not Powell, who would become the pass-catching, pass-blocking third-down back). Seastrunk needs to go to a team with a utility back where he can be the 1B back and just gain yards on carries as he learns to catch and pass-protect. Lots of teams would find great use for him.

    Ivory, too, caught passes in practice last year. He just dropped them when it came to real games. It is not a skill that is easily picked up. The same goes for pass-blocking. There are lots of RBs in the middle rounds that already have these skills like Dri Archer, Marion Grice, and Charles Sims.