One of the biggest surprises of the nascent season has been Bilal Powell. Widely regarded as an afterthought this offseason with the acquisitions of Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, Powell has emerged as the clear number one running back on the New York Jets. In the past two years, Powell looked to be a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. He was okay at everything, but never showed any real promise.
This year, however, has been a revelation for Powell. He's looked quick, with ankle-breaking jump cuts. He's looked fast, bursting through the hole. And he's looked strong, grinding out those extra yards. So far this season, Powell has demonstrated an excellent ability to run the ball, catch it, and protect the quarterback.
For many people, however, the "eye test" simply isn't enough. They want numbers. So far this season, Powell has had 66 carries and 292 yards at 4.4 yards per carry. Over a season long period, Powell's states prorate to 1,168 yards. Compare this to last year, when Powell had 437 yards total. He has forced 12 missed tackles, compared to 16 in all of last season. His longest run of the season was 27 yards, compared to last year's long of 18 yards.
Powell has been responsible for only one quarterback hurry as a pass protector, and no sacks. As a receiver, his longest reception is 36 yards, compared to a long of 16 from last year.
Powell has had marked improvement since last year, and it will be fascinating to see how he continues to develop.