Why the New York Jets Need Former University of Florida Running Back Jeff Demps
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Let's be totally honest, the New York Jets offense doesn't exactly scare anyone. There are question marks spread through out the entire unit. The quarterback play has been inconsistent, no one appears to be ahead of the next guy at the running back position, the wide receivers are banged up and their tight end's behind Dustin Keller are two projects—Josh Baker and Jeff Cumberland.
Sounds like trouble if you ask me. With not many household names surrounding Mark Sanchez, this offense, which ranked No. 21 in the NFL in 2011, needs a spark in the worst way. You aren't going to get that from starting running back Shonn Greene. Greene is more of a bruising back. Bilal Powell, while he looks great in camp, can't seem to get it going in live action, and Joe McKnight is having trouble picking up the blitz, so that will cut his playing time in a Tony Sparano offense.
They need a back who is a home run threat. They need a guy who can take a dump-off back to the house. They need someone who can make a man miss and go the distance.
Enter Jeff Demps
Demps went undrafted in this April's NFL Draft after announcing in January that he was giving up his football career to focus on track and the Olympics. Oh yeah, he was only part of the men's 4x100 relay team that won a silver medal at the 2012 London Games. He didn't run in the 4x100 final, where the U.S. team finished second behind Jamaica, but still received a medal for competing in the qualifying rounds.
So he could focus on track, the 22-year-old Demps, who finished his college career with 2,470 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Florida Gators, did not attend any college football all-star games or take part in any workouts.
Demps' agent Daniel Rose told The Associated Press late Wednesday night that several NFL teams are interested in signing his client, one of those teams being the New York Jets. Rose said Demps is expected to make a decision by Thursday night.
The Jets are in desperate need of something on offense. They haven't had a weapon like Demps on their offense since Leon Washington. Actually, Leon Washington is a great comparison for Demps. Or you can think a more dynamic Dexter McCluster. Demps could be an immediate help on special teams as well. He was a dangerous kickoff returner for the Gators, averaging 28.8 yards per return in his four-year career. That is where I see him making a more immediate impact, with only a ton of upside, for very little risk.
So lets talk about what kind of runner Demps is.
As you can imagine, being an Olympic track star and all, he has tremendous 4.2 speed. He can kick it into the next gear before you blink. He gets to the perimeter and even at top-speed, he can stop on a dime and make defenders miss. We're talking SEC defenders too, not some small Division 1 AA competition. So with top end speed and the ability to run by anyone, you wouldn't think he has the vision and patience you look for at the next level, right? Wrong.
Since his first two college seasons, Demps has really matured at a more complete back. He is a more patient runner and allows his offensive line to get out in front and set up blocks. That is HUGE.
How about in the passing game? Get Demps the ball out of the backfield and watch him go. Sure Joe McKnight brings that aspect that to the Jets a well, but he has yet to consistently show it. Whether that's the quarterback inefficiency to throw the screen or the offensive coordinator's philosophy is still unknown, but adding Demps immediately leaves the opposing team on it's heels.
Now I am sure many are worried about his size (5'7" and 190 pounds), his ability to be the "bell cow" and his durability in the NFL when asked to carry the heavy load—but at the price and the low risk in which he would come, this is a NO-BRAINER for the Jets.
If the Jets plan to make it back to the playoffs, they will need to be better on offense. They need the big play. Adding a guy like Demps, who has that ability every time he touches the ball, is a match made in heaven.
The defense will be top-5, I'm willing to say that with extreme confidence, but the way they are on offense right now, could be the difference between 8-8 and 11-5. There is an opportunity to add a spark at the price of an undrafted free agent with just three weeks to go until the regular season.
Make the move, Mike Tannenbaum.
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