NY Jets 2023 Spring Depth Chart Preview: Running back

NY Jets, Michael Carter, Breece Hall
NY Jets, Michael Carter, Breece Hall / Elsa/GettyImages

The NY Jets' offense has historically been their weaker point, especially over the past decade, but in the past two years, they've built a deep, talented roster all over the offense. As we saw in 2022, running back could be their strongest position on that side of the ball.

Any success they'll have in 2023 somewhat depends on the availability of standout rookie Breece Hall in his return from an ACL injury, but with another new body added to the group this year, we may be looking at one of the deepest running back rooms in the entire NFL.

With so much being dependent on the health of one man, depth becomes key for this Jets team. Do they have that depth? Can they find success behind this offensive line? Who's next up in a worst-case injury scenario? Let's find out.

Depth chart

  • Breece Hall
  • Michael Carter
  • Zonovan Knight
  • Israel Abanikanda

What are the pros of the 2023 NY Jets running back room?

Despite the Jets' struggles over the past 12 seasons that have seen them miss the playoffs every year, running back hasn't been too bad of a position, with the likes of Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, and Shonn Greene holding down the position, but they've never been this deep.

While Breece Hall won't be at 100 percent to start the season, the Jets now have a trio of Michael Carter, Zonovan Knight, and rookie Israel Abanikanda waiting behind him. After last season, if the offensive line can improve, all four of those guys are expected to be difference-makers.

If the Jets can spread the touches around until Hall gets healthy, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, this team should be in a good position. When Hall gets back, this could be a team that has arguably the best running game in the NFL.

What are the cons of the 2023 NY Jets running back room?

Unfortunately for New York, while the depth at the position is solid, no one on the roster is a proven contributor at the NFL level, and while the talent is there, producing consistently at the NFL level is a different animal entirely.

With Rodgers leading the offense and a litany of veterans around the squad, they will do their best to bring this group along, but until they've gone out on Sunday and produced, we don't know exactly how good any of these guys are truly going to be.

With a good off-season and health on the offensive line, there's a good chance for all four names in this unit to contribute, but for now, there will no doubt be questions about their ability to be consistent going forward.

Who will be the biggest stud in the 2023 NY Jets running back room?

This comes as no surprise, but if the Jets want to have the balanced offense that they need to make a genuine Super Bowl run, 2022 rookie standout Breece Hall will need to be the leader and biggest contributor for this running back room.

It's unclear when he's going to be 100 percent healthy, but in his rookie campaign, Hall racked up almost 700 yards in just six games along with five touchdowns. With an improved offense around him, a full season could be something special for Hall.

In the case that he doesn't get healthy until the mid-way point of the season, keep an eye on Izzy Abanikanda, who showed flashes of being a big play threat at Pittsburgh. While it may take him some time to earn carries, he can no doubt be an every-down back from day one in the NFL.

What are the biggest running back storylines to watch for the NY Jets in OTAs and training camp?

As we've mentioned above, the health of Breece Hall is absolutely crucial to the Jets' chances in 2023, and just seven months after suffering an ACL injury, it appears that he's on track to be ready to go for the regular season.

On that note, the first-team reps, while Hall continues his recovery, will be interesting to note, as many believe Zonovan Knight overtook Michael Carter on the depth chart toward the end of the 2022 season. With rookie Abanikanda expected to play a key role, training camp should be a consistent battle at the position.

Predictions for the 2023 NY Jets running back room?

So much of the Jets' production depends on Breece Hall, but if he's healthy, there's no reason for Jets fans to expect anything less than 1,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns, especially if the offensive line gets rolling early.

If Hall isn't healthy, the expectations should no doubt be lowered, as the Jets are likely to spread the carries between three players instead of leaning on one back, but in that case, we can no doubt expect 1,000 yards rushing and 10 or more touchdowns between Carter, Knight, and Abanikanda.

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Ultimately, everyone will pay attention to Aaron Rodgers, Garrett Wilson, and this passing attack, but playing in a tough AFC, you need to be balanced. For that reason, expect New York to get the running game going early, and they will likely lean on it in big situations all season long.