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Bilal Powell: 2013 and Beyond

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bilal Powell had a couple of big games in the first quarter of the 2013 season, including a 149 yard game on the ground Week 3 against the Bills. Powell served most of the year as a compliment to Chris Ivory. He did get 21 carries in the finale as Ivory was slowed by an injury. He ended 2013 with 697 yards on the ground and an average at 4.0 yards. Bilal added 36 receptions and 272 yards.

Outside of the Buffalo game, Bilal mainly looked like the guy he was in 2012. He has enough talent to be in the NFL but probably not enough to be a big difference-maker. There just isn't anything overwhelming about his game. He isn't that fast. He isn't that strong. He doesn't change directions that well. He can catch and pass protect, but he isn't dominant in those areas. There aren't a ton of glaring weaknesses in his game. He can take what the defense gives him. Some backs like Shonn Greene can't even do that. To be an impact guy, though, you need to have something that really sticks out and allows you to create your own yardage. I don't see that in Powell.

Fourth round rookie contracts are team friendly. Powell's cap number will be under $750,000 in 2014. What will his role be? It depends on what the team does in the offseason. The Jets could really use a better compliment for Ivory. Powell is kind of like David Nelson to me. If you have him as depth and to make minimal contributions, that's a great place to be. If he has to make a big contribution, you can live with it you are surrounded with talent, and he's like the tenth or eleventh best player you have on offense. If he is expected to be one of your top dogs, you have problems.

The Jets could probably live with Powell splitting carries with Ivory again if they upgrade other parts of the offense. I would like to see them upgrade running back, though, perhaps through the Draft. Powell is fine as depth, and it would be no great tragedy if the Jets entered 2014 in a position to part ways.