A player should never be judged based on one season with limited action, a player should also not be judged on one week of training camp where it's unlikely that everyone was playing full speed, 100% of the time.
However props need to be given where they are due, and Powell has elevated his game to a point where he is getting reps with the first team. He's not going to replace Shonn Greene as the feature back in this offense, but for a team that could carry the ball 550-600 times this season, another back like Powell could become a very valuable commodity.
We all know that Powell struggled last year in his rookie season, featuring in two games rushing 13 times for 21 yards, an extremely poor 1.6 yard average. It's a tiny sample size to judge a player but Rex Ryan himself has said that although Powell was mentally ready for game time, he wasn't physically ready. However that looks to have changed:
"From a physical standpoint, he wasn’t. He had a lot of injuries, little thing here, little thing there that set him back. We really never got to see his capabilities. Now, he’s healthy. He’s in great shape. It seems like every day he does something where you’re like, ‘Oh, that was a nice run,’ or he does a good job in protection."
Powell was a slow starter at Louisville only breaking out in his senior year. I'm sure the Jets are hoping that the trend continues and now with some experience, and having sat behind a future hall of famer last year, Powell can take his training camp form into regular season action.
The thing about Powell is he can do a lot of things, similar to Joe McKnight. He can carry the ball, but he was also used at Louisville coming out of the backfield and catching the football. Something the Jets have been testing this week in training camp.
With most athletes, positive performance comes hand in hand with confidence. It has been noted by his coach, team mates and even himself that he is feeling and playing with a lot more confidence this year, simply because he knows what he is doing.
I'm not going to sit here and say that I was a big fan of the selection, as I wasn't. I did criticize him at points last season but you can never write off a player based on one year. A lot of false alarms come from training camp and the team with talk up any and every player, so lets see him in game action first. The signs are looking good however!
"Sitting out last year, especially learning from LaDainian, it was a pretty big experience," Powell said. "Year two, you’re a little more comfortable with everything and the people around you and everything."