Potential 2012 Jets Breakouts: Joe McKnight

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets runs against the Buffalo Bills during their game on November 27, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Part 3 of my potential break out players of 2012, will shed some light on what I expect from Joe McKnight. Unlike my previous stories, McKnight is going into his 3rd year as a Jet. Some might say that he broke out last year, but I would argue that we only scratched the surface of what McKnight could do for us. Come join me after the jump to see what I mean.

The story of Joe starts with ending of Leon's. It would be a hard task to find someone with something bad to say about Leon Washington. He was truly loved by all Jets fans. When the Jets decided to part ways with him, there was automatically a big void in our football loving hearts. This set the stage for great expectations regarding Joe McKnight. Joe was even selected in the same round as Leon. The comparisons were made almost immediately. After his poor training camp, and a lackluster rookie season, most gave up hope for the kid.

In 2011, McKnight had a much better training camp, and was set to rise from 2010's ashes. He found a home on special teams. Right now, there is no other person on this team I want taking kick returns. McKnight erupted onto the scene and never looked back. He ended the season with 1073 return yards, and 1 TD. This showing of production should be reason alone to cheer, but he made strides in gaining our confidence in him as an offensive weapon also. He showed decent ability to be the LT of this team (production wise). I feel for Joe. Just as he is getting out from under the shadow of Leon Washington, he is put under LT's.

With the Jets pressed for cap space this year, an expensive replacement for LT, or even LT, might not be an option. The front office might see what some of us see in McKnight, and give him a shot at the #2 RB position. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper, and convenient. I think another RB will have to be brought in to push Powell though; Perhaps with an undrafted RB. We seem to find good backs that way. I think with a good training camp, McKnight can develop even more. I can see him being the lightning to Shonn Greene's thunder. If he does move up, you can almost guarantee to see a jump in production.

2012 predictions: 425 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing TDs, 467 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs, and 2 Returns for TDs

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