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.