NY Jets had two of the best RBs in the NFL last season
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets' running back room might be one of the strengths of their entire roster entering the 2023 season. Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Zonovan Knight will be joined by rookie Israel Abanikanda to form a deep and talented position group.
Everyone should be well aware of how good Hall was as a rookie in 2022. In just seven games, Hall finished with 463 yards and four touchdowns on an excellent 5.8 yards per carry while adding 19 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown in the air.
Despite playing more than 50 percent of his team's offensive snaps in just four games, Hall was top 10 in the entire NFL in scrimmage yards at the time of his injury. There's every chance he might have won Offensive Rookie of the Year if he hadn't gotten hurt.
Hall's talent needs no introduction, but what many might not realize is just how good Knight was in 2022. You could make the argument that he was one of the more effective running backs on a per-snap basis in the NFL.
Breece Hall and Zonovan Knight both shined for the NY Jets in 2022
Pro Football Focus put together a chart of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL last season. To do so, they combined two notable and important statistics: broken tackle rate and explosive run rate.
Unsurprisingly, Hall was one of the most dynamic running backs in football, finishing third behind Nick Chubb and Khalil Herbert. Hall's broken-tackle rate was among the best in the league, while his 18.8 percent explosive run rate ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
Hall wasn't the only highly-ranked Jets running back, however. Knight actually ranked 13th on the list, ahead of standouts such as Rhamondre Stevenson, Kenneth Walker, Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and others.
Knight's explosive-run rate was actually below average, but his ridiculous 34.1 percent broken tackle rate was the best in the NFL by a wide margin. No other player broke more than 29 percent of tackle attempts.
As for Michael Carter, he ranked 33rd on the list with a woeful 6.1 percent explosive run rate but an above-average 22.8 percent broken tackle rate.
So what does all of this mean? How can we interpret this data?
Hall is clearly one of the best running backs in football. Not only does he break tackles at a higher rate than most, but once he gets in open space, he's as dynamic and explosive as any running back in the NFL.
Keep in mind that PFF considers an explosive run as any carry over 10 yards. Hall had 15 such runs last season, despite only totaling 80 carries. That's a ridiculously high rate.
As far as Knight goes, he may not have been as explosive as Hall, but he broke tackles at a higher rate than any player in the NFL. Over 34 percent of attempted tackle attempts on Knight ended with the defender whiffing.
Part of Knight and Carter's lack of explosive runs can also be attributed to the deteriorating nature of the Jets' offensive line late in the season. Injuries took their toll on the unit and didn't open many holes for the Jets' running backs.
It should also be noted that James Robinson, who appeared in four games for the Jets in 2022, finished 44th out of 50 qualifiers. He was analytically one of the worst running backs in football. You probably don't need the analytics to tell you that.
The Jets have an incredibly talented running back room with Hall and Knight leading the way. If Carter could regain his rookie form and if Abanikanda could make the impact the Jets believe he can, we might just be talking about one of the best running back groups in the NFL.