Shonn Greene: A Hidden Gem of the 2009 NFL Draft

Jerry FrasierContributor IApril 26, 2009

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01:  Shonn Green #23 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates a touchdown run against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The 2009 NFL Draft was filled with a lot of surprises such as Darrius Hayward-Bey going to the Raiders, but in every draft there are sure to be the players who get drafted in the second day that can really help your team. Every draft fans hope for one player who they can consider a hidden gem.

With the 65th pick in the 2009 draft the New York Jets selected Shonn Greene (5-foot-10, 227 pounds), running back out of Iowa. Many believe this was a message to Thomas Jones, to either get ready to play and stop complaining or to be replaced by Greene.  Greene has a real opportunity in the NFL and it is surprising that he wasn’t a highly touted prospect in this year’s draft.

This could be because of his personal problems; Green missed his sophomore year because he was academically ineligible.  Green rushed for 2,228 yards and 22 touchdowns while at Iowa, including a huge 2008 season in which he rushed for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns.

This pick opened the second day, and many were surprised that Green made it to day two of the draft. In the 2008 season some believed that Green deserved the Heisman Award. He was eventually given the Doak Walker Award which is awarded to the nation’s top running back. Along with the Doak Walker Award, Green was voted First-Team All-American, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and Outback Bowl MVP. All in all Green had a huge 2008.

Green could be a huge pick up for the Jets with their third-round pick. Jets currently have Thomas Jones and Leon Washington as their halfback tandem, but with this pickup they could be forming a three-headed monster like the one of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

Jones will still receive the bulk of the carries, but as Bradshaw and Ward were for the Giants, Washington (Bradshaw) and Greene (Ward) will be for the Jets. These two backs are both big play threats.

Another reason for drafting Green would be if he didn’t return for the 2009 season, the Jets would still have two running backs to fall back on. Greene would be a solid No. 2 back to Leon Washington if Jones does not play this season.

About the pick, Rex Ryan commented, “This is a young man that I think has the ability to be a starting running back in this league. You look at his size, and he has outstanding vision for a back and that’s what you have to have to be able to run the football.” Ryan is correct; Greene does have what it takes to be a running back in the NFL. He has a great combination of speed, strength, vision, and talent.

One running back that Greene can be compared to is Derrick Ward of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ward and Greene are both about the same size and have a lot of the same abilities.

Ward was drafted by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. Although Ward did not make an immediate impact in the NFL, he has become a great back, compiling his first 1,000 yard season of his career in 2008.

If Greene is given a good offensive line and a good amount of carries he could do the same thing for the Jets in the upcoming years, even as soon and the 2009 season.

Greene seems to be a great selection for the Jets in this year’s draft. It is surprising that the running back of the year slipped to the third round.

The Jets seem to be working on putting together a great group of backs to help rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and could replace Jones if he were to hold out or be traded. As the upcoming season unfolds we will most likely see a successfully Shonn Greene, and we can say that he was a hidden gem in this years draft.