New York Jets: Full Position Breakdown and Depth Chart Analysis at Running Back
I previously looked at how the quarterback depth chart is shaking up. Now, let's take a glance at the running back position.
The Jets have come a long way from when the futile Shonn Greene was carrying the load at running back. Last year, the team actually had one of the most efficient rushing attacks in the league.
Gang Green currently have seven running backs on their roster, but they are likely to only keep four for the regular season.
Let's look at the projected backfield depth chart and see where each rusher will be slotted this upcoming season.
Don't expect John Griffin to come even close to winning a roster spot this offseason, as he's simply not an NFL talent.
Griffin, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts in 2011, has cycled between UFL teams and NFL practice squads over the last couple of years.
The 25-year-old lacks the explosiveness and speed to contribute on Gang Green's offense, and with six other running backs competing for a spot, Griffin is basically doomed before training camp even begins.
Griffin should be waived in August, or perhaps even earlier.
General manager John Idzik signed Mike Goodson to a three-year deal in free agency last offseason, hoping that the former Raider would become the explosive third-down back the offense has lacked in recent seasons.
However, Goodson has been an absolute disaster since joining the Green and White.
In less than four months after becoming a member of Gang Green, Goodson had already been arrested for drug and gun possession, suspended for performance-enhancing drugs and suffered an ACL tear.
The 27-year-old is a terrific pass-catcher and he possesses great speed, but he's too much of a headache for the team's front office.
Goodson will likely be suspended by the league for his legal issues, and expect the Jets to use that as the perfect way to show him the door.
I'd be shocked if Goodson was still on the roster by the time September rolls around.
Alex Green has largely disappointed since being taken in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Despite possessing a thick frame and above-average speed, Green hasn't been able to make the impact he was projected to early on in his career.
The 25-year-old has averaged a porous 3.4 yards per carry over the first three years of his career, as his lack of power and explosiveness have plagued him.
The Hawaii product was simply a depth provider for New York's backfield last year, but with the additions of Daryl Richardson and Chris Johnson in free agency, Green's future in Gotham looks bleak.
Green should be a late cut come training camp.
Richardson's career has been a bumpy ride, and he's only been in the league for two years.
The Abilene Christian product wasn't deemed much of an NFL talent entering the draft. He was selected with the penultimate selection in 2012 by the Rams.
However, Richardson came out of nowhere to have a terrific rookie season. He rushed for 475 yards on just 98 carries for a superb 4.6 yards per touch, while also grabbing 24 passes.
Following the departure of Steven Jackson in free agency last offseason, Richardson was then deemed the favorite to start for the Rams in 2013.
However, the 24-year-old couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, as he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and was ultimately passed over in favor of other runners midway through the year.
The Rams then completely lost faith in Richardson, as he was cut in May.
However, the Jets obviously see something in Richardson. They signed him despite having a multitude of other runners.
But which Richardson will Gang Green get? The 2012 version, or the 2013 version?
We'll have to wait and see, but for now, I envision Richardson squeaking onto the final roster as a depth provider at running back.
Bilal Powell doesn't do anything extremely well, but he still manages to contribute in nearly every facet.
Powell was a solid complement to Chris Ivory last year, as he racked up nearly 700 yards on the ground while catching 36 passes.
The former fourth-round pick was also tremendous in pass protecting and a force on short-yardage situations.
Powell's role will be severely diminished this offseason, though, as the addition of Johnson makes him the No. 3 option in the backfield.
The Louisville product doesn't have the explosiveness of Johnson or the power of Ivory, so he will probably be the odd man out.
Barring an injury to either one of the top two backs, don't expect Powell to contribute much more than a few carries here and there and in pass protection on long third-down situations.
Johnson isn't the same back who ran for an amazing 2,000 yards in a single season or made three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, but he can still be one of the game's most dangerous backfield threats under the proper circumstances.
Johnson could form a tremendous duo with Ivory if Marty Mornhinweg uses each of their strengths to help counteract each of their weaknesses.
Ivory should be used on early downs and short-yardage situations to wear down opposing fronts and pick up tough yardage, while Johnson should be utilized to cut through an already tired defense between the 20s.
In all, I expect Johnson to receive just a few less carries than Ivory, simply because the Jets will be in a lot of 3rd-and-short situations.
However, the East Carolina product should be productive nonetheless, as he's no longer relied upon to carry an offense by himself.
After being stuck behind a trio of runners in New Orleans over the first three years of his career, Ivory finally got the carries last season to prove that his success in limited carries was no fluke.
Despite a slow start, Ivory managed to rack up over 800 yards on less than 200 carries for a tremendous 4.6 yards per carry.
Ivory's ferocious rushing style proved too much for opposing defenses to handle, especially late in the season when they began to wear down.
With speedster Johnson now in the fold, Ivory could be even more productive in the same amount of carries this season.
Defenses will now have to handle both Johnson's speed and Ivory's power, making them susceptible to mistakes.
Expect Ivory to build off his successful 2013 and have another solid year this season.
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