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Backfield Adds ‘Great Finisher’ in Powell

Posted by Eric Allen on May 13, 2011 – 9:24 am

To many an outsider, the Jets’ selection of Louisville RB Bilal Powell in the fourth round seemed rather curious. With LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight under contract, the backfield already appeared to be a full house.

“If people follow with what we do at here with the Jets, since I’ve been here and obviously with Rex, it hasn’t changed. But we’ve always had a stable of backs,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told me on a recent “Four Quarters” appearance that will air next week. “When Curtis Martin left, you added Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. We cannot have enough backs and we feel great about our running back situation. A lot of the guys we have are dual threats.”

Tomlinson, who will turn 32 in June, paced the Jets during the regular season with 914 yards and six touchdowns on the ground and added 52 receptions. While his three postseason TDs also were a team high, Shonn Greene became more of the workhorse in January as he totaled 198 rush yards and 45 attempts as the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship Game. And McKnight, a fourth-round pick from USC in 2010, got going late last year and Rex Ryan has already indicated he’ll get more offensive touches in his sophomore campaign.

“You look at a guy like LT and a guy like Joe McKnight, they can play other positions,” Schotty said. “They can play in the slot, they can play extended and run routes 1-on-1.”

And Powell will soon be on his way to Florham Park as well. The 5’10”, 204-pounder rushed for 1,405 yards last season, averaging an impressive 117 rush yards an outing. He was a model of consistency in a memorable senior campaign, rushing for over 100 yards seven times and topping the 200-yard mark on two occasions.

“We’ve got a great finisher, a guy with great ability to see things and use his vision,” Schotty said. “This guy can take off and make people miss in space.”

Interestingly, Powell started just five times his first three seasons for the Cardinals, amassing 933 rush yards in 30 contests.

“People point to one year of production, but the philosophy before the new staff under Charlie Strong was to split time,” Schottenheimer said. “Once they started giving Bilal all the touches, I think you saw what he was capable of doing. We were thrilled that he was sitting there for us in the fourth round, knowing that you are going to have to find some gems and also get some luck on those last couple of days.”

The fourth round has provided plenty of recent gems for the Jets.

Dwight Lowery, the defensive back selected out of San Jose State in 2008, tied for the team lead with three interceptions last year and returned two of them back for scores. Back in 2006, the Jets scored Missouri weapon Brad Smith 14 selections before they drafted another RB, Leon Washington. B.Smith, who returned two kicks for scores in 2010, is the only player in the modern era to have scored touchdowns by reception, rush, kickoff return and blocked punt return and by throwing a TD pass.

Jerricho Cotchery, a fourth-round selection in 2004, has 358 catches, 4,514 receiving yards and 18 TDs on his regular-season résumé. Despite playing last season with a herniated disk, J-Co still managed 41 receptions and then stepped it up in the playoffs with another 12.

So the Jets have four talented backs, there is plenty of optimism about the latest fourth-round pick, and Brian Schottenheimer was pleased with the quartet of offensive prospects he acquired on day three of the draft.

“All the scouts do a great job. They make it easy for us as a coaching staff once the season ends to kind of jump in and be ahead of the game because they’ve done so much work during the season while we’ve been game-planning,” he said. “It’s kind of set for us, so we get a chance to look at and give our input.”

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Posted in Eric Allen, Randy Lange | 38 Comments »

38 Responses to “Backfield Adds ‘Great Finisher’ in Powell”

  1. By IRA on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    EA, They sure have found some gems in the 4th rd lately. And Powell sure looks like a very interesting prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some playing time this year. He looks like a more physical back then McKnight and they say he can pu the blitz and block well. So Schotty shouldn’t be afraid to put him in on passing downs. Plus i really like Greene and i am not sold he can stay healthy for 16 gmaes and more because of his running style. I just don’t think he is a 250 plus carry back until he shows it. So getting a player like Powell with LT’s age and some other question marks this could turn into an outstanding pick.
    GO JETS!!!!

  2. By GaryC on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Look I like the pick of Powell and last year Knight and connor and the bringing in of tomlinson, but that being said, shouldn’t Greene be asked to carry more of a load seeing that we moved up in draft to obtain him.Unless you are talking about Jim Brown or Earl campbell is Greene going to get the carries and have the longevity that warranted the jets to move up and give away more draft picks for his services.

  3. By matt on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    He’s a good running back. He runs to the whistle and looks tough, although he isn’t a breakaway runner. I’m surprised some have called him a big back since he’s about the same size as McKnight. He reminds me of Johnny Hector, and if he has that kind of career, I’d be happy with him.

  4. By GaryC on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I had a slip of the tongue on previous post, I got my Ryan Knight mixed up with my Joe McKnight.believe ryan knight was also a runner at USC.

  5. By the real t.o. on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    you got that right IRA! powell looks like a powell-house!! smashmouth RB that we need as insurance…
    can anyone tell me why we didnt beat peyton manning the first AFC champ game?

    cuz WE DIDNT USE WOODHEAD meanwhile greene and jones were beat up!!!!!!! we need the legs to finish out the playoffs i been wantin to give the jets a piece of my mind for a long time for that one.

    ..but i digress and the fact remains that the jets have a darn good system in place that has really yielded amazing results over the last 5-10 years…i only wish they could start hoarding picks like belichick does and steal a drafts worth of talent cuz itd be a goldmine!! they got good eyes for serious talent

  6. By IRA on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    matt, McKnight is built like a WR. Powell’s lower body has more bulk to it than McKnight’s.
    One good thing about Powell not playing much his first three years in college is he has less mileage and wear and tear on his wheels than most RB’s coming out after their college careers. He has fresh legs and i am really looking forward to watching him play at some point in a Jets uniform.

  7. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Listening to you guys talk about all these young RBs, I’m reminded that my main concern is just that Rex puts them on the field instead of panicking at the first sign of trouble like with Wilson and pulling them…

  8. By Tom Spicer on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    All 3 of them are diffferent types of backs Mcknight is 200 lbs, Powell is 215 & Greene 235. We will need all of them. I really think this is LT’S last year with the team & Greene has not proven to able to withstand the punishment of 250 plus runs & McKnight has a bad year. Powell could be the starter for us in 2012 depending on how Greene & McKnight do this year.

  9. By matt on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Ira-yeah, I’m just talking about their size. McKnight is an inch taller and the same weight. Powell doesn’t mind running between the tackles, and McKnight is still learning how to do that since USC didn’t use him that way. McKnight is faster and a bigger home run threat, IMO. They will be battling for the #2 spot in 2012, so it will be interesting to see who the better 3rd-down back will be. But I still hope Greene gets the majority of the carries. If we’re going to stay a ground and pound team, Greene has to be the clear #1, IMO.

  10. By matt on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Tom-I’m just going by the size listed on this site. McKnight is 5-11, 205 and Powell is 5-10, 204. I think Greene was underutilized last year more than injured. With all the talk about his fumbling, he lost only one fumble the first 10 games (I think) and only two all year. I’d love to see him get 16 carries per game.

  11. By GaryC on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    this is a little off the subject but isn’t it funny that the new york islanders can sign grabner to a five year extension, no muss, no fuss and this guy could be named rookie of the year in june,if this was football the player wouldn’t sign until he found out he was rookie of year and holdout for more.the hockey players do have a little more loyalty than the football community.where is the santonio or edwards loyalty, ha.

  12. By IRA on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Looking into the future i would say McKnight turns into the better 3rd down back. He has excellent pass catching skills. Powell i can see being used like you said running between the tackles and pounding the ball. McKnight will always be a flashy outside runner.Which is not a bad thing. The three combined could turn into a great threat.

  13. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, matt, Spicer, and you other guys, I hope all of you are right and that starting this yr, we look to Greene, McKnight, Powell, AND Conner in the backfield, stop worrying about offending T-Rich (give him a special day at the stadium and let ‘im retire already), and stop dreaming that LT’s ever gonna be for us what he once was for the Bolts.

  14. By Row on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    LT showed last year that he had a lot left, so right now he is #1. If he shows any type of a slow start this year, I see Powell being the 1 guy. Ya they will try to see what Mcknight can do in preseason, but I see him released before the start of the season and signed to the PS. As for Greene, hopefully he’s the third down back. I love the pick and I want his jersey. Randy, what number is he gonna wear? Ground and pound. Go Jets

  15. By Hassan on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    I believe that the Jets brass will take the following stance in the future: continue to draft RB prospects in future rounds and not re-sign current RBs on the squad to long-term, multi-million dollar contracts. The Jets have identified RB as one position that they can develop and groom through the draft. Also, they certainly have a knack at identifying good RBs coming out of college (greene, mcknight, oconnor, woodhead, chauncey washington, powell…)

  16. By 38 year fan on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Schotty’s got to shake the familly curse…No excuses …

  17. By J-Rod on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Powell seem to have some speed as witnessed in his highlight reels. That’s a plus. A guy whose build is a bit slender to Greene but enough to be a powerback. A Willie Parker, Ahmad Bradshaw hybrid.

  18. By Jimmer on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    If Tanny picked a holder in the 4th round I’d be ok with it. That’s a round we seem to strike gold at. We may have questioned position picks, much like I did this yr, but our 4ths turn out much better than the draft status.
    There was a guy Denver drafted in the 90’s that had very little playing time in college, and some people out there are talking HOF. We gave Gholston the time as a 1st, lets give a 4th some time too.

  19. By fred on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    The pick of Powell is why I am a fan & not a GM I did not see it comming but it makes sense & it should light a fire under McKnight & keep RB’S fresh- having a good bench so to speak & USING it will be critical this year if teams continue to loose time. As far as the pass rush is concerned don’t be surprise if the push comes from the DL with all the young bodies there -maybe the Jets won’t have a double digit sack guy but maybe they will have 5-6 guys with 6 sacks each & I will take that

  20. By Tom Spicer on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    I dont really know anything about Powell but I had him as a between the tackle runner like LT & Greene. I know lots about McKnight he is more of a Leon Washington change of pace type of back good pass catcher, kick & punt retuner.

  21. By uncle joe on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    I’m loving LT and the role he is taking with the team. Conner has to be the starting FB,just worried that he’s a fumbler.Feel bad for T-Rich and I hope he stays,at least as part of the coaching staff. Would love S.Ellis,JT,T-Rich and LT to get a ring with US before they hang em up.

  22. By uncle joe on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve seen a lot of rumors involving Moss AND Plaxico.

  23. By IRA on May 15, 2011 | Reply

    uncle joe, You can almost take it to the bank. IF they lose Edwards Moss, Plax, T.O or Ocho will replace him.
    I too hope T-Rich stays with the Jets in some type of capacity. He has executive written all over him.

  24. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Edwards’ court date is TODAY! Randy, can you give us the report when you get it?

  25. By IRA on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    NFL.Com is running a list of the Top 20 games of the year. Well i feel [not that it matters} the Jets should have quite a few on that list. Considering how they played out and ended i would put on that list Jets vs Browns, Texans, Steelers [reg season] and Colts. Your thoughts everybody?

  26. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, I’m boycotting NFL.Com until they figure out what they’re going to do about games THIS year.

  27. By matt on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Ira-also Denver, Detroit and Chicago. There were a lot of games that were closer than they needed to be, IMO. That’s where the Holmes acquisition really paid off and why he must be re-signed.

  28. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    EDWARDS MISSES HIS COURT DATE?! Oh man, do these guys think they deserve EVERY break in the book? I’d like to see how long anybody posting to this site would stay out of jail if he failed to make it before the judge after all this time and legal maneuvering. I’m sure I’ll feel differently when his unfairly-gained privileges enable him to skate on this, as just about every NFL player this side of Ray Lewis seems to do, but today I have no sympathy for him. If he can’t even show up for court after doing something this reckless in the first place, let him sign with somebody else. I’m getting sick of having to face football fans who seem to think the Jets are becoming some kind of shelter for clowns, creeps, and criminals anyway.

  29. By uncle joe on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Ira,Jets Patriots when Cassel played and tied it up at the end on a pass on Ty Laws coverage,Mangini was coaching,I think we won in OT.

  30. By uncle joe on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Ira,of the WRs you mentioned I want Edwards over any WR almost in the league. With the exception of a few untouchable WRs Edwards is the most complete & talented,and was only available because of some mistakes he made. He wants to stay and we should jump all over it.That said,TO would be my choice,he is the closest to Edwards’ skill set,awesome blocker who would love to play for Rex.He would be good with his last chance for a ring.

  31. By wayne on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    What’s this whining about players holding out in football vs hockey….This is the USA. If you get something for free, beware. You got a 4yr career,in football , if you’re lucky…..What fool wouldn’t try to get every penny he could?

  32. By uncle joe on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Moss is in love with the Patriots & I would not trust him and Chad Johnson is a clown who disgraced his family name by changing it! Plaxico is nice,but look how long it took Vick to get back in shape,we don’t have the time to wait. TO was very good last year considering the mess of a team he was on. He is a pain,but the bottom line is he LOVES THE GAME!

  33. By wayne on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    In a League where more and more teams are playing the 34 and LBs are 6’4′ and 265, RBs that weigh 205LBs aren’t going to get too far…They are what you would call scatbacks today. Unless Powell beefs up, he’s no more than another McKnight. Just a little slower. Heavy lifting has to be done by Greene with the other guys in relief. Question is, can Greene handle it. The answer has been no so far. At this point I think Jets want the offense going forward to run more thru MS……..If they can find a way to keep their 2 main target or keep one and bring, Plax(LOL) in.

  34. By IRA on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, I can’t blame you i feel the same too but will not let this take away the enjoyment i get from following this sport until it gets too rich for my pockets.
    So Edwards’ case has been pushed up to 7/22. Wonder how this is really going to all play out? Maybe he ends up back with the Jets if this is still unsettled come mid to late August. Nobody is going to give him a long term deal until this is resolved one way or the other.
    Imagine Plax is coming out in June and Edwards could be going in come sometime this fall if he is found guilty. You can’t make this up.

  35. By wayne on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Staying off topic, soon as I saw that Islander signing, first thing I thought, ” wow, that was a pretty big commitment for what could be a one hit wonder”. It’s not like he was just out of juniors, he’s been around awhile…..For the kid’s sake, I hope it’s a sign of things to come. Not because I care for the Islanders(I don’t)…….I ROOT FOR PLAYERS, I DON’T ENVY THEM FOR THEIR GOOD FORTUNE. Go Rangers!!!

  36. By uncle joe on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    Edwards’ flight was delayed and he missed his court appearence( if I had a court date on Monday I would have taken a flight that had me home SUNDAY,just saying)it’s postponed till June. His Lawyer said that they might be able to settle before then. Can’t see any team offering him THE MOON with the chance that he might be suspended.

  37. By uncle joe on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    I think this lockout helps us the most,our 1st two draft picks are D-linemen who along with RBs are the quickest positions to start plus they will probably rotate anyway. Our FAs have no time to shop themselves and once this season gets started most teams will have there alternate plans in place already.One year tenders for everyone!

  38. By GaryC on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    wayne, grabner was never giving chance by I believe the florida panthers,the islanders give him a chance and he shows his loyalty by signing with them.He also is still I believe in his early 20’s.If you find that kind of loyalty in football wake me up.Jet Fan tom64,yes edwards did miss his court date but I feel the minute he signs with jets all will be forgotton,sometimes management and fans waste to much time on these characters and other good players fall through the cracks.can someone tell me if any 49’ers from their super bowl teams were ever in the courts like these guys are.

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