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Woodhead's Roster Chances Hinge on Washington's Role

Danny Woodhead is one of my sentimental favorites. How can anybody not root for a 5'7" undrafted running back from Chadron State? I have followed him ever since the 2007 Draft. On the second day, ESPN cameras were at his house all day waiting for a call that never came. Woodhead came across as very humble and likable. I was thrilled when the Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent.

His 2008 season was over before it began as Woodhead suffered a serious knee injury in a preseason practice. This year is his second chances. Despite his slight build and small school pedigree, he has a chance to make the Jets. He has talent, having rewritten the NCAA record books in college albeit against relatively weak competition. He also ran a 4.3 40, elite timed speed. Woodhead's future in New York is probably linked to a similarly small but fast back, Leon Washington.

This has nothing to do with depth in case Washington has a long holdout. Anything extending into the season is unlikely. The real question is how big Washington's role in the offense will be. Jets fans asked, "Why isn't Leon getting more touches?" more than any question in 2008 aside from, "What were you thinking with that throw, Brett?" Rex Ryan told the media a few months back getting the most explosive player on the team more involved in the offense is a priority.

If Washington takes on a major load offensively, the team might take him off kickoff returns to limit wear and tear. There are a lot of good candidates to take over like Jim Leonhard, but a shifty guy with 4.3 speed might make a compelling case. If the Jets are going to carry a fourth halfback behind Thomas Jones, Washington, and Shonn Greene, he will need to be a major special teams contributor. Woodhead is way too small to be an effective blocker and perhaps to amount to anything in coverage. If he can become an impact returner to limit the loss of Leon running back kicks, the Jets might have a reason to keep him around. If not, it is difficult to figure what he would bring to the table.