Will The Jets’ Bilal Powell Take Another Step Forward Or Is He A Bust In Waiting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The New York Jets’ offense is among the worst in the NFL, with little to no hope across the board.  The quarterback situation may place them #32 in the league, as they either use the veteran (as well as aging and underwhelming) Josh McCown or the unproven (and potentially limited upside) youngsters in Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg.  You can easily argue that there isn’t a Top 50 wide receiver on the roster (especially after the recent injury to their “top” option), and the tight ends are hardly difference makers.  There is one potential bright spot, though, and no it’s not the veteran Matt Forte (who we all know isn’t the future for the team)…

Welcome to the party Bilal Powell, who has the potential to be among the better running backs in the game.  He’s not a new name, as he was a fourth round pick all the way back in 2011, but until now he’s been viewed more as a complimentary piece.  Entering 2017, with the Jets already having an eye towards 2018 and beyond, the 28-year old should finally get an opportunity to produce.

Powell has consistently proven to be a force in the passing game, especially over the past two seasons:

  • 2015 – 47 receptions (64 targets), 388 yards, 2 TD
  • 2016 – 58 receptions (74 targets), 388 yards, 2 TD

Considering the receiving group, and the need for a safety net, would it be a surprise if Powell sets a new career high in both receptions and receiving yards in ’17?

Then there’s his ability on the ground, having averaged 5.5 yards per carry in ’16 (131 yards for 722 yards).  Listed at 5’10” and 204 lbs., he likely will not operate near the goal line and that is going to help to limit his value.  He’s never rushed for more than 4 TD in a season and only twice has had more than 1 TD.  That’s a definite knock, and puts him closer to #20 on the list as opposed to a RB1.

That said, especially in PPR formats, he’s going to be a name to target.  How often do we really expect the Jets to have a lead and be looking to pound the football on the ground?  Instead they will be down big, early and often, and therefore passing in an effort to catch up/keep up.  That plays right into the wheelhouse of Powell.

While there’s one obvious concern, there’s also a lot to like.  Draft him with confidence as a RB2, put don’t reach quite too far to acquire him.

Source – ESPN

Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings:

Draft Day Decision: Is Kareem Hunt An Easy Selection At His Current ADP?
Setting The Draft Day Priority Of The Current Quarterback Competitions

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