Welcome to a new series at Turn On The Jets! Every Friday we are going to publish an article from one of our fans/regular readers of the site. We want to hear from you and hopefully source a few new regular contributors. Jason Wiles kicks us off with this debut piece about Jeremy Kerley and Bilal Powell. Make sure to give Jason a follow and if you are interested in submitting an article for next Friday, send an e-mail along to JoeC@TurnOnTheJets.com!
Following the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, talk immediately turned to how the New York Jets had one of the most improved receiving duos in the league. Marshall and Eric Decker are a pair of very talented X receivers that were going to give some defenses nightmares. The Jets acquired RB Stevan Ridley about a month later, ostensibly to rotate in with Chris Ivory. This was followed by trading for RB Zac Stacy, bringing up several questions regarding the backfield. Several analysts thought this was an odd move, given the similarities of Stacy’s running style to the other two between-the-tackle backs.
Two names have slipped the minds of the Jets media: 2011 draft selections Jeremey Kerley and Bilal Powell. Two very solid players for us over the past four years, who were both re-signed and are poised to be surprise standouts in crowded positions. Jeremy Kerley had the unenviable position of being the WR1 for the Jets in 2012 when Santonio Holmes went down. Kerley nabbed 827 yards that year, despite not usually having the skill to compete with CB1s. In 2013, the Geno to Kerley connection was the steady and most reliable one on the team.
He is built to be most effective when he is the third most dangerous weapon on the field, as having him go up against the nickel corner on a third down play is a surefire way to have a shot at a conversion. Kerely was also successfully used as a surprise rusher: averaging 21.5 yards per attempt last season. He can be used in a variety of ways, but look for him to get the ball on third downs with defenses worried about YAC monster Brandon Marshall and the surgical route running of Decker, Kerley can slip under the cracks and give the offense an additional option.
While Kerley has secured his WR3 position on the depth chart, Bilal Powell is most likely looking at a specialized role on the depth chart. He is an interesting player. After his rookie year, Powell averaged over four yards per carry. Sharing work with Chris Ivory in 2013, he still managed to get nearly 700 yards to Ivory’s 833. Powell managed to earn nearly a thousand all-purpose yards that year with receptions factored in and was clearly the better pass protector.
Powell continued this trend of being a superior passing option in 2014, gaining 100 yards after the catch on only eleven receptions. On the ground, Powell had 4.3 yards per carry on only 33 attempts, still improving on his YPC despite limited playing time. On games where Powell had four or more carries, however, Powell averaged 4.7 YPC. Clearly, the man can play well enough to be a starter on most rosters and his passing game expertise does fill in the apparent need.
Personally, I would love to see these two players be utilized by new OC Chan Gailey. He loves having three or more WRs out on the field, so Kerley would fit in well with his spread offense. If Gailey really wants a pass-catching option in the backfield, he didn’t have to go looking for on since Powell has proven he has that ability. All that is left is for Gailey to recognize the pieces he has, and play them appropriately.