The New York Jets are expected to have as many as 12 picks in May’s draft, barring any trades. Arguably the two position groups that most expect to not be impacted by the draft are running back and defensive line. However, Mike Goodson’s legal situation is one to be monitored over the next couple of months (as I stated in my ideal off-season, I think he will have to be replaced) so the Jets could be in the market for a change of pace running back to pair with Chris Ivory. We’ll be breaking down the running backs once a week between now and the draft, highlighting if there’s a fit and where the Jets should potentially draft them. You’ll see my grades for the prospects below as well. We begin with Auburn RB Tre Mason…
Weight: 205 pounds
40 Yard Dash: 4.5
Vertical Jump: 38.5”
Broad Jump: 10’5”
2013 Stats: 317 carries, 1,816 yards, 5.7 yards per carry, 23 touchdowns, 12 receptions, 163 yards, 13.6 yards per reception, 1 TD
Positives: Mason has a good ability to keep his legs moving, despite facing contact. Mason also has quick feet and is a very decisive runner. He’s not going to dance behind the line of scrimmage, he’ll see a hole and hit it. He has shown the ability to set up blocks, and despite being small he runs like a power back. Mason has good hands, and is a very good kick and punt returner.
Negatives: Despite his size and the regular assumption that backs of his size are all quick scat backs, Mason doesn’t have top line speed. He won’t run away from defenders. He also doesn’t shy away from contact, some will view this as a positive, but with his size it’s not necessarily ideal.
Grade: 3rd Round
Where the Jets should draft him: Pick #100
Analysis: Mason, to me, is the third best running back in the draft. He had back to back 1,000 yard seasons at Auburn. In fact, there were concerns that Mason wouldn’t be able to take the additional carries that Auburn was planning to give him as their featured back. Not only did Mason withstand the additional workload, but with 146 more carries, he gave the Tigers 814 more yards. Mason’s yards per carry didn’t decrease despite the increase in carries. Mason, while built similar to Mike Goodson, doesn’t bring the same explosiveness that Goodson does. However, because he’s a weapon in the return game and out of the backfield so you can’t dismiss him as a potential pick if he’s available when the Jets pick in the 4th. It’s possible that a team drafts him in the 3rd round, but with the draft being as unpredictable as it is Mason may drop. He’d be great value in the 4th round.