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GGN Big Board: 2013 NFL Running Backs & The Jets

We have a look at the Running Backs entering the 2013 NFL draft, and ask the question - "Which one fits with the Jets?"


We are just under a month away from the NFL draft, which means everyone is evaluating the talent on their team and discussing where the biggest area of need is. For some teams that is a short conversation, the likes of the 49’ers and the Broncos can pick just the one or two positions and be done. Unfortunately for other teams like the Jaguars and the Jets it’s a much longer conversation. So we are going to look through each position, highlight the players who are currently on the roster and then give it a need score out of 10. Also looking at some players we can look at come late April. In the second edition, we look at the Running Back position.

Running Back

Current players on roster: Mike Goodson, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight, John Griffin, Lex Hilliard (FB)

Need: 6/10

Looking at this group I really don’t know what we have. I think both Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight could be valuable in Marty’s new West Coast offense. Goodson in particular is a player I wanted straight from the outset. 59 receptions for 524 yards out of the backfield. He has been stuck behind some talent in his 4 year career, but he will have a chance to compete for extended touches this year. I thought Bilal showed some real potential last season too, running the football and he even had 17 receptions too. It’s a young group of players, who could have a real nice season for the Jets.

So let us have a look at the running back class for the 2013 NFL Draft. The more you look at this class, the more you see that there is no first round talent available. However there are two talents that will go early on day two. Those being the powerful but nimble Alabama back Eddie Lacy and the elusive, patient, receiving threat of a back from North Carolina in Giovani Bernard. The knock on both is speed, with both backs having a tendency to be caught from behind. Is Eddie Lacy a fit for the West Coast? Is Bernard too similar to Goodson and McKnight, is that a bad thing? I wouldn’t hate selecting Bernard at the top of the second, but then I would much prefer us going in a different direction.

Towards the end of the 2nd round, and throughout the 3rd round – I think you see an avalanche of running backs come off the board. I’m talking make 6-7 coming off the board over the space of 35-40 picks. Those guys being Montee Ball, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, Christine Michael, Le’Veon Bell, Jonathan Franklin, Joseph Randle. We know that the Jets have shown some interest in two of these guys, Texas A&M’s Christine Michael and Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell. Now I really like Michael, he’s patient but explosive, hits the hole well and shows good agility and open field moves. Le’Veon is a big back who can be impossible to bring down at times, he has good power and thickness throughout his lower body. He also is accomplished receiving out of the backfield and as a pass protector. Andre Ellington is another player here that would interest me, he makes some explosive runs, but doesn’t show a great deal of patience.

Moving on to the next tier of runners. Here we look at the 4th and 5th round. Here you are looking at Florida’s Mike Gillislee, Rutgers Jawan Jamison, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner. If you read GGN regularly, you will know that I’m a massive Marcus Lattimore fan. He may not be ready for 2013, but I think he has all the tools to be an elite back in this league – if you are not looking to compete in 2013 then Lattimore is definitely in play. Medical history will scare away at least 10-15 teams in my opinion. Another player I like here is Mike Gillislee, the elusive runner from Florida. He has a lot of potential, good speed, soft hands and good acceleration. He is a little slight and won’t run through too many tackles at the next level. However he could be a game changer with some future development. The wildcard here is Kenjon Barner, a finesse runner who has the potential to take it to the house every single touch. If we do pass on the talent in the first three rounds, an argument could be made for all of these backs.

Let’s go right to the back of the draft and look at the projects. The two from Notre Dame, Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick, Zac Stacy from Vanderbilt, Knile Davis from Arkansas and Ray Graham from Pittsburgh. I’ve watched Theo and Cierre for years now, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking either. Riddick is impatient and doesn’t spot the holes, Wood runs soft. Knile Davis is an interesting prospect, good start to his career but a lacklustre end. May be down to the problems at Arkansas after Petrino left, but at one point I thought he would be a first or second round talent. Now he may not get drafted at all.

My Big Board for Running Backs!

Eddie Lacy – 2nd Round

Giovani Bernard – 2nd Round

Joseph Randle – 3rd Round

Jonathan Franklin – 3rd Round

Christine Michael – 3rd Round

Andre Ellington – 3rd Round

Stepfan Taylor – 3rd Round

Montee Ball - 4th Round

Le’Veon Bell – 4th Round

Mike Gillislee – 4th Round

Marcus Lattimore – 5th Round

Kenjon Barner – 5th Round

Jawan Jamison – 5th Round

Zac Stacy – 6th Round

Ray Graham – 6th Round

Theo Riddick – 6th Round

Kerwynn Williams – 6th Round

Cierre Wood – 7th Round

Knile Davis – 7th Round

Miguel Maysonet – 7th Round