Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 11/15/14

It was a disappointing rookie season in 2011 for New York Jets running back Bilal Powell. As a fourth round selection, there was a hope he could make some type of impact or impression when given the opportunity. In the pre-season he failed to impress with 28 carries for 62 yards, burying himself on the depth chart behind Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight. About halfway through the season he received an enormous chance when Tomlinson was inactive for the Jets/Broncos week 11 match-up and Greene left in the first quarter with an injury. Powell received 7 carries but only ended with 11 yards and fumbled the ball into the end-zone, where he was luckily bailed out by Matt Slauson.

Prior to camp many (including myself) thought Powell would be the odd man out on the running back depth chart. The Jets drafted Terrance Ganaway in the 6th round this year and his bruising style and familiarity with the option seemed to make him a more natural fit behind Shonn Greene, while Joe McKnight handled the third down duties. However, Powell has responded by turning heads early in camp with both his quickness and ability to catch the football. He has been impressive enough that running back coach Anthony Lynn has declared the third down back job wide open between Powell and McKnight.

Lynn prefaced this competition a few months ago by classifying Powell as a “B” back in the Jets system, same as McKnight. Greene and Ganaway are “A” backs. As you could surmise, “A” backs are power, inside runners while “B” backs provide more outside speed.

Powell isn’t going to keep McKnight off the roster because of McKnight’s special teams value. He was one of the league’s top returners last season but that doesn’t mean the Jets can’t keep both and either stash Ganaway on the practice squad or just carry five running backs (fullback John Conner being the fifth) and part ways with H-Back Josh Baker.

With a strong pre-season, Powell could upset McKnight and steal his third down role. Both players were fourth round picks. Both players are nearly identical in size (same weight and McKnight is an inch taller). McKnight is faster, or was at least a full tenth of a second faster in his forty coming out of college and is a good enough receiver to be split out. Powell did have 18 receptions his senior year of college and three receiving touchdowns. He will need to demonstrate his hands at the NFL level to give McKnight a true run for his money.

It is obviously too early to make any kind of judgement about Powell’s long term potential. He has strung together five good practices but has shown enough tenacity in blocking drills and enough speed to catch people’s attention. Powell should receive substantial work in the Jets first and second pre-season game and with strong outings could receive extended work with the first unit in the crucial third pre-season game.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Angels, Rangers talking Josh Hamilton trade

Roger Goodell calls both Los Angeles stadium plans 'viable'

Crabtree on joining Raiders: 'Ain't got nothing to lose'

Report: Hardy gets in 'verbal altercation' with teammate

NFL exec compares Jameis Winson to JaMarcus Russell

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chris Sale wanted to fight Yordano Ventura

NFL does not care about Rams' future in St. Louis

Eagles VP Ed Marynowitz says he's not Chip Kelly's 'yes man'

Jonathan Papelbon wants out of Philadelphia

Is Le'Veon Bell's knee finally close to healing?

Tony Romo: We’re going to win a Super Bowl next year

Steve Carell, Emma Stone cast in Bobby Riggs-Billie Jean King movie

Calipari’s new project: Create virtual reality experience for fans

Maurice Jones-Drew will retire with the Jaguars on Tuesday

Ovechkin jokes about taking a chair from Nassau Coliseum

Uniform colors have already been picked for Vegas NHL team

Golden State: Not losing to New Orleans, but still snoozing

Ventura, Royals need to simmer down before someone gets hurt

The Mets and their weak opponents

Report: Gronk dating former Patriots cheerleader

Nothing gleams like late-round draft gold

The Ultimate All-Living MLB Team

Dubs wanted to gain momentum for Game 4 ... then won

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: Perception vs. reality

Report: Gronk dating former Patriots cheerleader

NFL exec compares Jameis Winson to JaMarcus Russell

NFL does not care about Rams' future in St. Louis

Nothing gleams like late-round draft gold

The Ultimate All-Living MLB Team

Dubs wanted to gain momentum for Game 4 ... then won

Teams who need to ace the NFL Draft

10 bold predictions for the NFL Draft

Ten things you need to know about Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

Dikembe in 2001: Who want to go to LA with me?

The closer role is slowly dying

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.