2012 NFL Draft: Should the New York Jets Draft LaMichael James?

Nick Carlo@@carlo2612Analyst IIApril 2, 2012

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks looks on during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The New York Jets have recently been known for their "Ground and Pound" offense. An offense in which running downhill plays a huge part. The "Ground and Pound" offense wears down opposing defenses and is successful when ran correctly.

The New York Jets tried their best to maintain their top statistics in the rushing categories this past season, but it simply didn't work out. Shonn Greene had most of the carries, and he put together a decent season. Future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson also did his share of running for New York.

Despite strong individual rushing seasons, the New York Jets' run game wasn't as strong as it used to be. Many believe that the reason for the decrease in production was due to the absence of Brad Smith. Smith seen most of his playing time in a Wildcat formation.

Smith provided the Jets' offense with an ample amount of speed and a nice change of pace. It is clear that he was greatly missed last season. The Jets did, however, address this problem this offseason. The trade for Tim Tebow has the possibility of supplying the Jets with another "Brad Smith."

The run game will need more than just Tebow though. Tomlinson isn't getting any younger and is currently on the free-agent market. He did an admirable job in New York, but it is safe to say that his time in New York has come to an end.

New York will need to do their best to replace Tomlinson. This year's draft is loaded with talent at the running back position. The Jets will most likely look to address their running back situation on Day 2 of the draft.

Players like Chris Polk and David Wilson should pop up on New York's radar, but they should really have their eye on a certain running back. That running back is LaMichael James.

James is a former Oregon Duck who contended for the Heisman and won the 2010 Doak Walker award. James racked up 5,082 yards along with 53 rushing touchdowns in three years with Oregon. Couple those stats with his four receiving touchdowns and career yards per rush average that was well over six yards, and it seems like you have yourself a first-round prospect, right?

Not so fast.

The reason that James is not considered a first-round prospect is his size. The Texas native is 5'9", 185 pounds. Many scouts strongly believe that James doesn't have the body to be a feature back in the NFL. The scouts might be right, but that shouldn't stop the Jets from taking a chance on James.

If the Jets draft LaMichael James, he will be a change of pace back. James blazing speed will complement Shonn Greene's power perfectly. James could possibly become the next Darren Sproles, and elevate the Jets' rushing game to a whole new level.

James' agility and knack for finding holes could be just what the Jets need. Greene and James could form a "Thunder & Lightning" running attack and help bring New York back to the playoffs.

James has played on the spotlight before, and he should be more than comfortable in Gotham. There is no doubt that the New York Jets should take a chance on LaMichael James if the opportunity arises. He is a great player and would make New York even more exciting to watch.