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New York Jets: With the Drafting of Bilal Powell, Will Joe McKnight Play CB?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets sits dejected after being defeated 24 to 19 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
No NameContributor IIIMay 6, 2011

With the 126th overall pick in the NFL Draft 2011, the New York Jets selected running back Bilal Powell out of Louisville.

Bilal Powell comes to the Jets with a lot of upside, rushing for over 1,400 yards in his senior season at Louisville and tallying 11 touchdowns along the way. Although he didn't get a full-time starting role until his senior season, many believe Powell's availability to the Jets in the fourth round of the draft was a steal.

But the biggest concern in New York, regarding Powell, isn't his recovering hamstring or combine results, but rather his future role on the team. The Jets came into the draft with a lot of missing areas in their roster but running back definitely wasn't one of them.

Powell joins a backfield which includes future HOFer LaDainian Tomlinson, feature back Shonn Greene, last year's draft pick Joe McKnight and Rex Ryan's favorite powerhouse John Conner at fullback. Veteran Tony Richardson's future with the team is still in question, as he is slated to be a free agent.

Joe McKnight's arrival in training camp last season didn't just ruffle a few feathers in the New York area, as the entire nation witnessed through the team's appearance on HBO's Hard Knocks how unprepared for camp he actually was.

Showing up at training camp out of shape, McKnight's  struggles were well documented for all to see. It was as if McNight felt his roster spot was never in question and many second-guessed his future with the Jets.

In mid-November of last season, Rex Ryan unveiled to the media that the Jets had been trying McKnight out at the cornerback position and if the need arose, McKnight could see time as the fifth CB on the roster. While that possibility seemed bleak, with the Jets poised to make a run deep into the NFL Playoffs last year, things may change this season.

McKnight was listed as the starting back for the Jets in last year's season finale against the Buffalo Bills, and he put on quite a show for the home crowd. Many believed this was the McKnight they'd been waiting to see and although the game was meaningless, his performance was definitely promising.

But then the Jets selected Bilal Powell in the fourth round, and we can't help but question Gang Green's future plans for McKnight.

Should we expect to see Joe McKnight take on a bigger role at the running back position, like we assumed he would before the draft, or will Powell compete for the job on his own? Maybe Rex and the boys are up to something else?

While nothing has been asserted and this is just speculation, don't be surprised to hear that Joe McKnight is getting added practice on the defensive side of the ball in training camp.

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