Braelon Allen is the missing piece the NY Jets offense desperately needed

Braelon Allen could play an important role in 2024
Braelon Allen
Braelon Allen / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Breece Hall, but it became painfully evident to anyone watching last year that the team desperately needed depth behind him.

Dalvin Cook was predictably washed, Micheal Carter struggled and was released midseason, and 2023 rookie Israel Abanikanda couldn't earn the trust of the coaching staff and was underwhelming when given an opportunity.

That's why it was imperative that the Jets found not only quality depth behind Hall this offseason but ideally someone who could complement their star running back. That's where rookie running back Braelon Allen comes into play.

The Jets used a fourth-round pick in the 2024 draft on Allen with the hope that he could compete for the team's No. 2 running back job as a rookie. It's still early, but Allen already looks like the runaway favorite to earn that role.

Allen has a chance to give the Jets everything they were looking for in a quality Breece Hall complement. In many ways, he could be the missing piece in the Jets' offense.

Braelon Allen addresses an underrated need in the NY Jets offense

While Hall remains one of the NFL's most dynamic and explosive playmakers, he's never been a particularly efficient short-yardage back. That much was evident last year.

Hall converted on just 53.8 percent of his short-yardage attempts (third or fourth down with two or fewer yards to go) in 2023, which ranked 28th out of 31 qualified running backs.

Part of that was absolutely a result of the Jets' inept and injury-riddled offensive line, but Hall has to share some of the blame himself. The Jets coaching staff has even been critical of Hall's inability to grind out the tough yards in between the tackles in the past. It's never going to be a strength of his game.

Unfortunately, the 2023 Jets did not have a player who was capable of doing that. The 5-foot-8 Michael Carter was never going to be that guy and, even in his prime, Dalvin Cook was never an effective short-yardage back.

The Jets needed to add a big-bodied bruising tailback who can convert consistently in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Allen gives them exactly what they were looking for and possibly adds additional versatility in the passing game.

At 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Allen is a well-built, powerful running back who runs with physicality and regularly runs through would-be tacklers. While he may not be quite the battering ram that his size suggests, Allen is already the Jets' best short-yardage back.

That's likely what his role will be in 2024, and it's why he has the edge over a player like Abanikanda, especially with the Jets switching to more of a power-run offense. Allen is tailor-made for that type of scheme.

The 20-year-old also flashed his upside as a pass-catcher this spring, earning praise from both his coaches and reporters. He has a chance to earn a regular role in the Jets' offense as a short-yardage, goal-line, and occasional third-down back.

Allen isn't just an upgrade over Cook, Carter, and Abanikanda — he's a much better scheme fit who fills an exact need in the Jets' offense. And if early reports are to be believed, he's already well on his way to establishing a consistent role.

The Jets need to find ways to convert on easy downs and finish drives in 2024. Braelon Allen should help immensely in both areas.

This article is part of the "Summer Spotlight" series on The Jet Press, dedicated to highlighting individual players on the Jets roster throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more features as we provide in-depth profiles and insights on various Jets players before the season kicks off.

More Summer Spotlight Content: