Five New York Jets With Breakout Potential in 2011: Joe McKnight

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - AUGUST 16: Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets rushes against the New York Giants during their game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Like many of his fellow 2010 Jets draftees, Joe McKnight did not contribute as much as hoped for in his rookie year. In fact, he was so unprepared entering the league that he almost did not make the team. He landed himself in the doghouse and was inactive early in the year. By now, you know the story. He worked hard, got himself activated working on special teams and had a big Week 17 outing against Buffalo's scrubs.

Many view McKnight as a guy who will take on LaDainian Tomlinson's role as an outside runner and pass catcher. I think he is one of the most likely guys to potentially replace Brad Smith as a homerun threat. Some guys are fast, which is speed over long distances. Other guys are quick, which notes speed over short distances. McKnight has both. He is also very agile, excellent at moving laterally. This can be dangerous on the football field. In some of his touches last year, he was adept at making guys miss even on plays that did not net much yardage. Getting him the ball in space and on returns like the Jets did with Smith can make him a dangerous threat. Unlike Reggie Bush, you can see that Joe does not try to bounce everything outside. He is willing to take on contact and grind out yardage with the ball, which can put doubt into a tackler's mind and make him even more dangerous when he takes it outside.

I could see anything happening with McKnight in 2011. I could see him being cut by the end of the year if he reverts back to his early 2010 work ethic and fumbling habits. This is an important year for Joe. He might not be able to survive another disappointing campaign. He also might build on what he did at the end of last season, though, and be a breakout player and a major contributor.

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