As the offseason begins, Gang Green Nation will take a look at potential ways to improve the club. Today we will explore finding a role for Danny Woodhead.
Profile: Woodhead owns the NCAA records for rushing yards in a season and career rushing yards. This helped him win the Harlon Hill Trophy, the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, twice during his career at Chadron State in Nebraska. Despite his success in college and superb numbers at the Combine (4.3 in the 40 yard dash)), he was not selected in the 2008 Draft. The low level of his competition and 5'7" 200 pound frame were contributing factors. The Jets eventually signed him as a free agent, but he was carted off the field during training camp and placed on Injured Reserve.
Why It Makes Sense: Woodhead's elite speed makes him an asset. He may have played at a small time school against weak competition, but he dominated it to the tune of 2,756 rushing yards for an average of 8.0 per carry and 34 touchdowns in the 2006 season alone. He may be too small to carry the ball 25 times per game at this point, but small and quick backs have proven scouts wrong time and again through the years from Darren Sproles to Steve Slaton to our own Leon Washington. Good coaching puts talent in a position to succeed, and Woodhead has an NFL skill set. He might be able to spell Leon Washington returning kickoffs if Washington gets a bigger role in the offense. Perhaps the Jets could use him and Washington in packages together to force the defense to identify two homerun threats.
Odds of Happening: With a new coaching staff, everybody gets a fresh start. Woodhead will get his chance. It might come down to how serious his leg injury was. Eric Mangini never allowed any specifics on any injury to leak. If Woodhead's ailment robbed him of his speed and athleticism, he will not bring much to the table. If he can fully recover, he might become a real asset.