The NY Jets could look to address the running back position in the 2021 NFL Draft, even after the signing of veteran Tevin Coleman in free agency. And one recent report indicates a couple of players they might be targeting.
Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported on Friday that the Jets are “high on” Virginia Tech’s Khalil Herbert and North Carolina’s Michael Carter — two running backs who are expected to be mid-round picks in this year’s draft.
Pauline also noted that the Jets aren’t expected to target the running back position before Round 3, as most would have expected. That means players like Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams are likely going to be out of their range.
The Jets’ running back room currently consists of the aforementioned Coleman, 2020 fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams.
The expectation is that the team will employ a running-back-by-committee approach to their backfield, but they could still use another young body on the depth chart.
Both Herbert and Carter make sense as mid-round targets.
The NY Jets could target either Khalil Herbert or Michael Carter
Herbert spent the first three years of his college career at Kansas never receiving more than a handful of touches a game. He was a reserve running back, but upon transferring to Virginia Tech in 2020, he finally received significant playing time.
The Florida native broke out in his senior season amassing 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns on a highly efficient 7.6 yards per carry. He was one of the most explosive running backs in the country, and as such, he found his way climbing up draft boards.
At 5-foot-8, 204 pounds, Herbert will likely never be a three-down back in the NFL — a role that’s quickly fading away anyway. Instead, Herbert’s blend of speed and vision make him an excellent fit as a rotational back in a zone-blocking scheme.
Muck like the one run by new Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
The same could be said for Carter who helped form college football’s most formidable backfield duo alongside Javonte Williams last year. At just 5-foot-8, 199 pounds, Carter is never going to be anything more than a rotational player in the NFL.
But that’s perfectly fine. The 21-year-old is one of the most natural pass-catching running backs in the draft and his agility and elusiveness make him a dynamic threat whether carrying or catching the ball.
Carter also has experience in the return game giving him added versatility to provide to prospective NFL teams.
Both Herbert and Carter fit the mold of a running back the Jets are looking for. Agile, elusive backs with soft hands who have ample outside speed and acceleration.
Those are the types of running backs that work best in a Mike LaFleur scheme. And it appears those are the kind of running backs the Jets are targeting in the 2021 NFL Draft.