I do not know if the Jets will go in this direction, but if I were general manager Mike Tannembaum, I would strongly consider drafting a running back with one of my first two picks. I would even consider doing it in the first round with the 30th pick because they do not have a 2nd round pick (dealt to San Diego in Cromartie trade). Picking a running back in the first round is risky, especially when all-time great running backs like Curtis Martin and Terrell Davis were taken late in the draft. Some will say wait to find a gem later in the draft, but I do not agree with that for this Jets team.
I am very skeptical of the Jets running back situation going into the season. LT did more than anyone could have imagined, but we saw him slow down at the end of the season, and he is only getting older. Shonn Green has a difficult time staying on the field and when he is on the field, can’t hold on to the football. The Jets expected big things from him and he had a very disappointing sophomore season. I refuse to listen to Jet fans trying to sell me on Joe McKnight. This is a guy that was puking on the practice field. He couldn’t hold on to the football either and one 100 yard game against a terrible Buffalo team on the last game of the season did not convince me he could be a solid NFL running back.
Sports Illustrated writer Peter King has them taking DL Muhammad Wilkinson in the first round. The Jets need help on the defensive line, but the offense is what gives the Jets the most problems. Although the defense is not as good as Rex thinks; they are still the strength of the team. It was the offense that was inconsistent and I believe improvement at the running back position could take this team to the level they need to get to a Super Bowl.
Mark Ingram is probably the only running back worth taking in the first round, and it is unlikely for him to drop to the Jets. With no second round pick, they might have to reach a bit for a first round running back. This is where scouting comes into play. Hopefully they have been doing their job and found a back with first round potential. Mikel Leshoure of Illinois or Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech could be potential names to look out for.