Don't count out Isaiah Davis in the NY Jets' RB2 battle this summer

Isaiah Davis has a real chance to win the RB2 job
Isaiah Davis
Isaiah Davis / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

The NY Jets will have an open competition for their primary backup running back job this offseason with rookies Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis expected to compete with 2023 holdovers Israel Abanikanda for snaps behind Breece Hall.

Many have already been quick to hand the job to Allen, who was reportedly one of the team's top standouts from the spring. Allen was not only drafted before Davis but he also saw the most action with the first-team offense during OTAs and minicamp.

The Wisconsin product seems to be the favorite to win that RB2 battle, but we still have an entire summer of training camp and the preseason to go through. One player who absolutely should not be counted out just yet is Davis.

The former South Dakota State star was selected in the fifth round by the Jets in this year's draft, a surprise to many fans who had just seen their team add a running back one round earlier. Davis has the skill set to carve out a regular role in the Jets' offense in 2024 and beyond.

How Isaiah Davis can earn a role in the NY Jets offense

Davis, much like Allen, represents a stark change in offensive scheme for the Jets in 2024. The team's offensive line additions signal a shift to more of a power-run offense, which is good news for players like Davis and Allen.

At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Davis is the tallest and second-heaviest running back on the Jets' roster behind Allen. The two rookies are both physical and powerful runners, but Davis has a few clear advantages.

While Allen may be a hulking 235 pounds, he doesn't always run like it. The former Wisconsin star isn't the battering ram you'd expect a player his size to be. In other words, he doesn't always run with urgency and authority.

He can be effective in short-yardage situations due to his sheer size alone, but he wasn't as efficient as you'd like someone his size to be in those situations at Wisconsin. That isn't an issue for Davis.

Davis runs with a purpose, frequently breaking through arm tackles and carrying defenders for an extra few yards. His outstanding vision also makes him an excellent short-yardage option, as he's able to identify running lanes much quicker than his rookie counterpart.

Allen is a more explosive and versatile pass-catching option than Davis, but the latter might be a more effective short-yardage/goal-line back. That's a role the Jets desperately need to be filled, given the team's struggles in those areas last year.

On top of that, Allen had issues with ball security in college. The 20-year-old fumbled the ball nine times over three years at Wisconsin, including four in 2023 alone. Davis, on the other hand, fumbled just three times on over 700 career touches in college.

Israel Abanikanda struggled to see the field as a rookie due in part to his ball security issues. If those concerns follow Allen to the NFL, Davis might be the only viable backup running back on the roster who the Jets trust.

Allen is probably a more complete running back than Davis at this stage. He's a more effective pass-catcher, a better pass-blocker, and provides more explosiveness than Davis's 4.57 speed.

But if the Jets are looking for a physical back who can grind out tough yards and consistently convert in short-yardage and goal-line situations, Davis might be their best bet. That will be his path to earning a role in the Jets' offense in 2024.

Don't sleep on Isaiah Davis this season. The Jets really could've used a player with his skill set in their running back rotation last year. He has a real chance to beat out Allen and Abanikanda for the RB2 job this summer.

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.

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