NY Jets Post-NFL Draft State of the Roster: Running backs

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets appear to have improved their roster heading into the 2020 season. Today we took a look at the state of the running back position.

The NY Jets made it clear that fixing the offense was one of their primary goals this offseason. From the offensive line to the wide receiver position, the Jets will host a new-look offense in 2020.

And another position that will feature a few new faces is running back.

The Jets played host to one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL last year finishing second-to-last in total rushing yards (1,257) and dead last in the league in average yards per carry at a measly 3.3.

Many of those issues stemmed from the abysmal play of the offensive line and some subpar game-planning, but the Jets still sought out to bolster their running back depth chart in the offseason.

Through the draft and late-free-agency, the Jets added two new faces who figure to share a percentage of the backfield touches in 2020.

Let’s take a look at the state of the team’s running back position.

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Projected starter:

  • Le’Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell will enter 2020 in his second season with the Jets hoping to rebound after what was a difficult 2019. The two-time All-Pro averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry and amassed just 789 yards on the ground.

Among players with at least 200 carries (Bell had a whopping 245), both figures were far and away the worst in the league. Again, many of his struggles were simply out of his control.

Be it the offensive line or his subpar coaching staff, Bell wasn’t given much of a chance in 2019. But with a possible out in his contract after the 2020 season, Bell will need to do everything possible to convince the Jets to keep him around for the future.

Hopefully he’s given an actual opportunity to do so.

Projected backups:

  • Frank Gore
  • La’Mical Perine (R)

The Jets will enter 2020 with two new backups behind Bell replacing the likes of Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery with the legendary Frank Gore and fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine.

Gore will provide a veteran presence to the team’s backfield and likely handle some short-yardage work. However, don’t expect the future Hall of Famer to be much of a threat in the passing game.

Perine will have the advantage of learning behind two of the best running backs of the past couple of generations. The Florida product isn’t lightning-quick, but he’s a tough runner who has good vision and elusiveness.

The Jets will hope for Perine to show enough to solidify himself as part of the future at the position. And if he impresses, there’s a chance that he’s the lead back in the offense as soon as 2021.

If anything, look for Perine to be featured in the offense more and more as the season goes by.

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Fighting for a roster spot:

  • Josh Adams
  • Trenton Cannon
  • Kenneth Dixon

There’s no guarantee that the Jets carry a fourth running back on the roster — and some might even go as far as to say it’s unlikely. But if they do, three players will be competing for that spot.

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams saw a cup of coffee with the Jets last season and he’ll be brought back to add depth. Adams showed potential in Philadelphia, but will have to impress on special teams to earn a spot.

His primary competition in that case will be former sixth-round pick Trenton Cannon who has carved out a nice role on special teams over the past two seasons. However, Cannon is limited as a runner and will be relying strictly on his special teams’ skills to make the team.

Former Baltimore Ravens fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon will also be in the mix, but he likely faces the biggest uphill battle out of them all. It might take an injury or two for Dixon to truly receive an opportunity.

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The running back position has depth this year just as it did last season, but it will ultimately be up to the offensive line and the coaching staff to allow them an opportunity to succeed.