2017 may be last chance for Bilal Powell
By Samuel Sutton
This upcoming season may be the last opportunity running back Bilal Powell has to step up and earn a permanent starting job with the New York Jets.
Six years ago, the New York Jets drafted running back Bilal Powell in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He’s been able to stay on the team since then but has never earned the full-time starting role. If Powell doesn’t earn that role this offseason, then he might be blowing his last chance of ever doing so.
Powell has been an effective backup throughout his Jets tenure, but because he’s 28 years old, that effectiveness could be coming to an end. In his six years with the Jets, the versatile running back has racked up 2,331 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground. He’s also been great in the passing game, receiving for 1,287 receiving yards and four touchdowns out of the backfield.
While the numbers prove his talent, he’s pushing 30; the “home-stretch” age of a running back’s career. Once a runner hits 30, his body starts to wear out due to all of the hits he takes. One big part of the body that wears out the most for a running back is the legs. If a defender can take out a running back’s legs enough times, it’ll slow that runner down a lot. Obviously, that equals a lot of hits to the legs for a 30+-year-old veteran.
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Fortunately for Powell, his body hasn’t taken the hits that a six-year starting running back would.
This means that he may still be fresh enough to come out and play really well as a full-time starter if he is able to earn that job this offseason.
However, if he doesn’t earn that job this year, or at least within the next two years, then he may not get that chance again.
The bottom line is that if he doesn’t earn that job this season, then it might be time for the Jets to find a new running back. They could use him as a mentor for a drafted running back if they want, but he probably won’t have a chance at earning a full-time starting job. It’s now or never for Powell to finally get it done.