The Jets offense is largely predicated on having a strong, physical running game, i.e. Ground & Pound. However, the loss of Thomas Jones, the uncertainty surrounding Leon Washington's recovery (will he fully recover, and when will he be ready?), and the uncertainty regarding Shonn Greene's ability to stay healthy while carrying the load over the course of an entire season has turned what was once deemed a certain strength of the offense into... well... an uncertainty. It may be prudent for the Jets to expend their first pick of the 2010 draft on a running back. The Jets' heavy emphasis on a strong running attack almost mandates that they do.
Nowadays many NFL teams utilize a runnging-back-by-committee approach (e.g. Cowboys of this past year, Giants of two years ago). The Jets followed this approach last year and it served them well. Shonn Green stepped in nicely for Leon Washington as #2 back after Leon's horrific injury, and then he smoothly transitioned into the role of the primary back in the post-season. The Jets would be ill-advised to enter the 2010 season with just a 2-back approach.
This year's draft is loaded with talent at the running back position. Better yet, the backs best suited for the Jets style of offense are very likely to be available at the 29th pick. Some of my favorites include:
- Ryan Matthews, Fresno State
- Toby Gerhart, Stanford
- Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
- Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State
- LaGarrette Blount, Oregon
These are all big powerful backs that would fit nicely into Rex's Ground & Pound running style. Matthews is considered by many to be the best of the bunch with the perfect blend of power and speed (220, 4.4). Gerhart is my personal favorite with his 230+ pound frame, 4.5 speed and excellent footwork. Regardless of who the Jets select, a good back is needed fill the void left by Jones. And it is all the more imperative with the uncertainty surrounding Leon.