New York Jets: Running Back Prospects In NFL Draft

A look at what running backs the New York Jets could consider in this year’s NFL Draft

The New York Jets are likely to add another running back to their current depth chart which features Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, and Bilal Powell. Unless they are looking to make an unexpected power move into the top six, they probably aren’t going to end up with Trent Richardson who is the consensus top back in the draft. If for some reason Richardson begins to slide at all, I wouldn’t be stunned if the Jets made a strong push to move up for him. He is the type of player who could change the dynamic of their offense and is exactly the type of power back Rex Ryan/Tony Sparano craves. Regardless, it is more likely the Jets will spend one of their other nine picks on a running back. Here is a quick review of a few potential targets –

Doug Martin, Boise State – 5’9, 223 pounds, 4.47 forty – Martin has been climbing up draft boards and is expected by some to sneak into the bottom of the first round. The Jets would have to take a long look at him if he was still on the board at #47. Martin is a versatile, well-rounded back who could immediately push Shonn Greene for carries and develop into the long term number one back. He catches the football exceptionally well.

David Wilson, Virginia Tech – 5’10, 206 pounds, 4.40 forty – Another back quickly rising up draft boards, who the Jets could be hard pressed to ignore in the second round. Wilson had a monster combine and has potential to be a much needed home run hitter for the Jets. Similar to Martin, he catches the football very well and would immediately press for substantial playing time.

LaMicheal James, Oregon – 5’8, 194 pounds, 4.37 forty – A burner who projects to being a third down back in the NFL. If the Jets took him in the 3rd round, it wouldn’t bode well for Joe McKnight’s future with the team.

Chris Polk, Washington – 5’11, 215 pounds, 4.46 forty – A back the Jets could also consider in the third round. He has good size and is a power runner. Polk is cut from a similar mold as Shonn Greene and could be groomed as a replacement for him if he showed potential in his rookie season.

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati – 5’10, 197 pounds, 4.41 forty – A player the Jets could look at in the 5th round. Pead has the skill set to be an explosive third down back, with his speed and ability to catch the football. He would compete directly with Joe McKnight for reps.

Robert Turbin, Utah State, 5’10, 222 pounds – 4.44 forty – Could be a very good value pick in the 5th round if he is still around. He has very good speed for a back with his size and is also elusive for a bigger back. He is the type of guy who surprise early in training camp and become a contributor immediately.

Also From Today

New York Jets Draft Scenarios: What Are The Best Options?

Chris reviews the New York Jets options at number 16 in the first round of the draft

Check out Turn On The Jets most recent mock draft projection for the New York Jets by myself and then where Chris Gross argues about my undervaluing of Courtney Upshaw. Today Chris reviews the Jets primary options with the 16th overall pick. I will be publishing my updated mock draft this Friday and then a full first round mock draft next Wednesday.

Take it away Chris… – JC

When it comes to the New York Jets,  there is a number of ways they could go with their first selection. So who will it be? Here are the options the Jets might consider, ranking from top to bottom in terms of what I think they should do.

1A – Stay put at 16 and Draft Courtney Upshaw – I’ve said this before in a previous article, I think Upshaw is unfairly falling down draft boards. He has everything the Jets need as an outside linebacker: pass rush ability, every down capability, high motor, and plays his best football in big games.

1B – Trade Up for Melvin Ingram – In my defense of Upshaw, I made note that I do not think the Jets would be making a bad move in trading up for Ingram. However, these two players are similar enough for the Jets to not sacrifice the picks and stay put at 16. However, if Mike T and Rex love Ingram enough, I am on board for the move and would not hate to see them grab the South Carolina product.

2 – Jump Ahead of Dallas and Grab Mark Barron – It is no secret the Jets need help at the Safety position. Even with the signing of LaRon Landry, Barron is a high quality young prospect who could be a top tier Safety in this league for years to come. In a division where you play Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez twice a year, safety is one position you can never have enough depth at.

3 – Do Whatever it Takes to Get a Right Tackle – Whether this means trading into the top 10 and drafting Iowa’s Riley Reiff or trading down for someone like Cordy Glenn from Georgia or Jonathan Martin of Stanford, the Jets would not be killing themselves in selecting an Offensive Tackle. We all know how poor the play at Right Tackle was last season, which in my opinion was the biggest factor in Sanchez struggling at times. However, I still firmly believe that Gang Green has full intentions of entering training camp with Ducasse and Hunter battling it out, so I wouldn’t put a lot of faith into a move like this. Still, it cannot be ruled completely out.

4 – Move up into the top 10 and draft Michael Floyd – I am completely against this move, only because I think the Jets have too many needs to take a wide receiver that I am not completely sold on. In an offense that lacks a WR who has the ability to stretch the field, Floyd had only one catch over 35 yards last season, and has had some off the field issues. I am not saying that he will not be a good pro, but for what New York needs, I think this would be far too great a risk. However, with only Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley opposite Santonio Holmes, this is not completely out of the question.

5 – Sell the farm and trade up for Trent Richardson – I know, on the surface this seems crazy. But if the Jets are truly committed to returning to ground and pound, what better way to do that then to pair this year’s top running back prospect with Shonn Greene and Tim Tebow, who is expected to see a lot of time at H-Back, for the toughest, most lethal backfield in the draft. Clearly, the Jets have too many other needs to make a move like this, but with Mike Tannenbaum, we can never say never. Ideally, the Jets make one of the other 5 moves, and address running back in the later rounds, possibly with Miami’s Lamar Miller or LaMichael James out of Oregon, but would anyone truly hate seeing Richardson in Green and White next year?

If I could have it my way, I’d have New York stay put at 16 and take Upshaw, while either trading back into the first round for S Harrison Smith, or waiting to grab Lamar Miller in the second, if available. Miller has the home run speed the Jets lacked on offense last year (4.38 40), which would be fantastic paired with Greene and Tebow grinding out the tough yards.

TOJ New York Jets Mock Draft 1.0

TOJ rounds up all the recent mock drafts and gives his selection on who the Jets will take at number 16 in the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is only 22 days away. Let’s take a look around at what various mock drafts have the New York Jets doing with the 16th overall pick and then we will give our current projection:

Don Banks, Sports Illustrated – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama

Mel Kiper Jr, ESPN – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Todd McShay, ESPN – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Walter Football – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama

Rob Rang, CBS – Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

Pete Prisco, CBS – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Draft Countdown – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

TOJ –  Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Analysis: Roll Tide. Barron and Upshaw have been popular picks for the Jets since the day the season ended. Both players were key parts of a National Championship defense and both players fill huge areas of need for the Jets. At this point it seems that Upshaw is the pass rusher who matches up the best to the Jets spot in the draft. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples should both be off the board. Andre Branch probably could be selected in the late 20s. Despite rumors of the Cowboys being interested, #16 seems a little high for Barron who the Jets might be able to trade back a few spots and still grab. Floyd’s stock has been soaring and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him selected in the top ten.

Upshaw would be a solid selection, although there should be concern about him fitting into the 3-4 outside linebacker role. At 279 pounds and lacking an elite burst off the ball, Upshaw could be Calvin Pace 2.0. A player good against the run, who struggles in coverage and gives you 6-8 sacks per year. He has also had knee issues over the past few months.

At the moment, Upshaw does seem like the safest bet for the Jets at 16, if he is still on the board. Here are TOJ’s projections as of right now in descending order of likelihood

5. Stay Put and Take Michael Floyd – It is hard to see the Jets prioritizing a receiver in the first round with the type of offense they plan to run but Floyd’s talent could be too much to ignore if he is still available at 16.

4. Trade Up For Melvin Ingram/Quinton Coples – Mike Tannenbaum has never been shy about going to get his guy. It would cost the Jets a hefty price to move into the 7-9 range needed to select one of these guys but they could view Ingram’s value as too much to ignore.

3. Trade Down For Andre Branch – Depending on how the board breaks, the Jets could look to move back 10-12 spots and select Branch, a player they are apparently pretty high on while accumulating another pick.

2. Stay Put Or Trade Down A Few Spots For Mark Barron – The Jets could be content to take Barron at #16 if Upshaw is off the board or they could trade back a few spots and look to still grab him. An intriguing scenario could arise if the Jets trade back to the 27-29 range for Branch, see Barron beginning to fall and then use the extra pick/picks acquired in the Branch trade to hop into the first with a second pick and maybe grab both.

1. Stay Put And Take Courtney Upshaw – Seems like the safest bet at the time.

New York Jets: Moving Forward From Tebow…

The aftermath of the Tebow press conference and where the New York Jets go from here

Tim Tebow’s press conference didn’t leave us with anything we didn’t already know. He is a class act and easily handled the 40 minutes of questions hurled at him by the media. Unless you are surprised by hearing him say that him and Mark Sanchez have a great relationship, he is going to work his hardest to do whatever the coaches ask him to do, and that faith is a big part of his life, there wasn’t anything newsworthy said today. Tebow said all the right things, which is a good start for him with the New York media.

So now we move on. Tebow is on the Jets. He will either be a successful or unsuccessful role player, push Mark Sanchez to meet his potential or lead to an ugly quarterback controversy…only time will tell. As a Jets fan, I hope it works and I will be rooting for it work. That being said, can we shift to the discussion to the NFL Draft being exactly a month away and the Jets still having many holes to fill?

Perhaps their off-season strategy will be worked around draft weekend and looking to make moves in the dust that settles after that weekend. I do know this team can’t be comfortable with a current depth that boasts Tracy Wilson as the starting free safety, Chaz Schilens as the starting split end, Wayne Hunter as the starting right tackle, and Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, and Calvin Pace all still starters at linebacker.

Mike Tannenbaum needs to find starters by using his draft picks (the team currently has six and will likely get a few more via compensatory picks), remaining cap space, and whatever trade assets the team has.

When you look at this team needs, you would hope they are building to beat the New England Patriots. They are the team who has owned the division the past decade. They are who represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year. They are who is preventing the Jets from getting home playoff games on a yearly basis.

From what I have seen, you beat New England by hitting Tom Brady and slowing down their tight ends. Buffalo got the memo and signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. It is time for the Jets to beef up their pass rush and add a safety who has some type of hope of slowing down their duo at tight end. Beyond that, it is time to make sure other teams can’t batter Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow by improving their offensive line.

I welcome Tebow to New York but I soon hope to be welcoming an outside linebacker, safety, and right tackle to join him.

Don’t Panic Jets Fans, NFL Draft Is Deep At Safety

After losing out on Reggie Nelson, Chris breaks down the safeties the New York Jets could pursue in the NFL Draft

With the Jets getting spurned by Reggie Nelson after hosting the free agent safety for a weekend long visit, it seems as though LaRon Landry is the only viable option left. But if Landry happens to politely decline an offer from the Jets as well, Mike Tannenbaum and Co. will most likely need to address this need via the draft. Many “experts” view this year’s crop of safeties to be shallow in comparison to other positions. However, when taking a closer look, this may not be the case at all. There are three safe picks that the Jets could make in one of the early rounds this year that may save their safety situation for the upcoming season.

The first, and probably most popular, of the bunch is Alabama’s Mark Barron. By now, Jets fans know who Barron is simply because his name has been linked to the team in countless mock drafts. Having played his entire career under the tutelage of defensive backs guru Nick Saban, Barron was a cornerstone to the nation’s top defense this past season, making him the safest pick at his position this year. Barron certainly has the skills and big game experience that will make him an immediate impact player on whatever team selects him.

However, the Jets are starving for a dominant pass rusher, something Rex Ryan has never had since coming to New York. The first round is poised to be filled with game changers at outside linebacker, so Tannenbaum and Ryan may opt to pass on Barron for the likes of Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, or Nick Perry.

So if not Barron, then who else? The two most quality under the radar safeties this year are Antonio Allen of South Carolina and Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith. Allen is more of an in the box type strong safety, having played the Rover position for the Gamecocks last year, but his ability to make big plays in big games should be noted. Last season, Allen’s two best games came at Georgia, where he had six tackles and a 25-yard interception returned for a touchdown, and home against Auburn in which he totaled 13 tackles, including 9 solos, and an interception. His combine numbers aren’t flashy, having run only a 4.67 40-yard dash, so Allen may be a day two option for the Jets.

Smith, on the other hand, has blown away scouts with his athletic ability. At 6’2” 213 pounds, combined with a 4.57 40 yard dash, 19 reps on the bench, and a 34 inch vertical leap, he has all the tools to be a force in both the pass and run games. A 4-year starter and Captain last season at Notre Dame, Smith has also proven to have the durability, experience, and leadership skills that should make him an asset if drafted into the right system. There is a good chance the Jets will give him a look if they choose to pass on Barron. However, at the rate his stock is expected to rise closer to draft day, Tannenbaum may have to resort back to his “Trader Mike” days and work a deal to get into the back end of the first round to grab him.

With Nelson seemingly using the Jets as leverage to obtain more money from Cincinnati, there is certainly cause for concern among Jets Nation. However, there is no reason to panic. As TOJ noted, Nelson is a good, not great, safety. Although he surely would have been an upgrade to New York’s current safety situation, he does not possess the upside of any of these three young players. Rest assured all is not yet lost for Gang Green.

Early New York Jets Draft Thoughts

TOJ with a collection of early thoughts on what the Jets could do in April’s draft

The NFL Draft is still a few months away but with the Combine kicking off today, let’s discuss some of the early chatter about what the Jets might do this April.

1. There has been an alarming amount of talk about the Jets selecting a guard in the first round, which I am pretty sure would lead to a storming of the stage at Radio City. Listen, I understand the value of the offensive line but the Jets had three Pro-Bowlers on their line last season. They need to improve one spot on it and that is right tackle. Yes, Matt Slauson is coming back from surgery and Brandon Moore is into his 30s but if they draft a lineman in round one…it better be a right tackle and it better be after trading down.

2. So my preference is clear, I want the Jets to address their pass rush in round one even if that means moving up a few spots to get their guy. Courtney Upshaw is the most complete, ready to go player available at outside linebacker and if gets anywhere near #16 Mike Tannenabaum needs to move.

3. Mark Barron was a player originally being heavily associated with the Jets at the 16th overall pick. However, he is now recovering from double hernia surgery which will likely cause him to fall down most team’s boards. If he gets within close range of the team’s 2nd round pick (47th overall), would they consider moving up for him…especially if they stay put or trade down in the first round?

4. I am aware about the Jets having depth issues from having a limited number of picks in recent years, so it might seem crazy that I am discussing them moving up with their first two picks. However, if you get the guys you want…and need, it is the right move. Do you remember 2007? The Jets traded up for both Darrelle Revis and David Harris. I do not think the Jets will move up in both round one and round two but if they netted a duo like Upshaw and Barron by trading one or two of those picks it will be hard to complain.

5. Mike Tannenbaum has selected four running backs over the past three years and I don’t think anybody would be surprised if he added another one in the middle rounds. The Jets still need depth at the position thanks to Shonn Greene not truly proving himself as a lead back, Joe McKnight having injury issues, and Bilal Powell looking thoroughly average in limited opportunities last year. I am not throwing in the towel on any of the Jets three backs but they need insurance via free agency or the draft.

6. The Jets also need a wide receiver, particularly one with some size. Tannenbaum struck out looking for a big receiver when he selected Marcus Henry. He has had success in later rounds with smaller, slot receivers like Chansi Stuckey and Jeremy Kerley (hopefully). Now he needs to find a player to be a long term split end, unless he address the need in free agency.

New York Jets Draft: Mark Barron Out Until July With Hernia

New York Jets draft prospect Mark Barron is out until July with a sports hernia. Is this a blessing in disguise?

It has been reported today that Alabama safety and frequently mock-drafted to the New York Jets safety Mark Barron will be out until July or August with a double sports hernia. Owch.

At initial glance, this would seem to continue the recently never ending cycle of bad news for the Jets who had to be planning to give strong consideration to Barron at number 16. He is the type of athletic safety Rex Ryan’s defense desperately needs and was without question the top prospect at his position heading into this April.

However, considering the Jets equally…if not bigger need for a pass rushing outside linebacker perhaps this injury will be a blessing in disguise. How about the Jets grabbing Courtney Upshaw or Melvin Ingram at number 16 and then maneuvering up from their 2nd round pick to grab a sliding Barron? That would be a hell of a start to retooling this defense in proper manner.

The Jets have the 47th pick overall pick after their first pick at number 16. Barron was originally projected to go in the 15 – 25 range but with this injury, it isn’t crazy to think he could drift close enough to number 47 where it would be too tempting to ignore the urge to trade up for him.

A nice perk for the Jets this year is that they finally have a selection in every single round.

All About Bilal Powell

A closer look at the Jets fourth round pick, Bilal Powell

Background – Powell played his high school football in Florida at Lake Gibson. He was originally recruited to play defensive back for Louisville. Powell had a rough upbringing and was stabbed, allegedly in a gang fight during his sophomore year of high school.

College – Powell didn’t do much during first three seasons at Louisville. In his junior year, he only ran for 392 yards, while averaging 3.6 yards per carry. However, he exploded in his senior year, where he earned 1st team All-Big East honors. Last year for Louisville, Powell finished with 1,405 rushing yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He also tacked on 18 receptions and 3 receiving touchdowns.

Vitals – 5’11, 216 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 yard dash at the combine.

Position – He will join the Jets crowded halfback depth chart, along with Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Joe McKnight.

NFL Comparison – I read Rich Cimini compare him to Thomas Jones because of his one cut style. However, he looks a little more explosive and to have more big play potential than Jones in some of his highlights…then again everybody looks good in their highlights.

Quotable

“It’s a great feeling right now, just to get the opportunity at a great organization and having the chance to play under Rex Ryan.”

Where He Fits – It will be very interesting to see. Everything we have heard since the Jets made the selection is that LaDainian Tomlinson will still be back, which means Powell will be battling Joe McKnight for reps behind Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. He should also contribute on special teams.

Best Case Scenario – Powell finds a way to contribute on both offense and special teams. He provides good depth for the Jets and is able to step in to handle some carries if one of the lead backs are banged up, showing an ability to take on an even bigger role in 2012.

Worst Case Scenario – Powell imitates Joe McKnight’s rookie performance last year.

What Should Jets Do On Day Two?

Now that the Jets have found a defensive end of the future in Muhammad Wilkerson, what should they look to do on day two of the NFL Draft? The Jets have no second round selection and pick at the back end of round three tonight (94th pick overall).

There are many players on the board the Jets were rumored to be targeting with the 30th overall pick, including Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed, Jabaal Sheard, and Justin Houston. It might be very tempting for Mike Tannenbaumto attempt to move into the middle or end of round two if one of them begins sliding.

However, they may not have the ammunition to move up considering there are no player trades and the Jets only have one pick each in rounds 3-7. It may require dipping into next year’s collection of picks, if the Jets really want to make a bold move tonight.

Personally, I think Houston is going to be a bust. He has too many questions about his desire and consistency. However, if Sheard, Ayers, or Reed is still available in the bottom half of round two. I do think it could be worth it making a big leap to acquire one of them. The Jets could walk away tonight having addressed their two biggest needs and then look to add on to their secondary or receiver position with whatever picks they have left on day three.

We know Mike Tannenbaum won’t ever hesitate to be bold, let’s see what he has up his sleeve tonight.