Heading into training camp, many were quick to anoint Bilal Powell as another busted draft pick from Mike Tannenbaum and the New York Jets front office. Bilal Powell had a very limited role last season and with Terrance Ganaway being drafted, many assumed Powell was on his way out. Instead, Bilal Powell was one of the most impressive players throughout training camp and has secured the third down running back job for Tony Sparano and the Jets offense.
Bilal Powell was selected by the New York Jets in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the third straight year the Jets selected a running back during the NFL Draft. The selection of Terrance Ganaway this year made it four straight NFL Drafts with the Jets taking a running back. Bilal Powell hit his stride this preseason and wrested the third-down running back job from Joe McKnight. Heading into training camp, most had already ceded the role to Joe McKnight because of his big play ability.
Being a third-down running back involves much more than just being able to catch passes out of the backfield. Especially for the Jets, pass protection is paramount. Joe McKnight has never been an especially physical player, and it's safe to say the Bilal Powell is better in pass protection.
Joe McKnight will still get touches on offense as the Jets need some homerun threats. Expect him to catch some screens and be split out from time to time when healthy. Joe McKnight is still dealing with a hamstring injury at this point.
It's been a very positive week for the Jets 2011 NFL Draft picks. Kenrick Ellis has impressed this preseason and could start on Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills and now Bilal Powell has carved out a niche in the offense. If Muhammad Wilkerson can raise his game this season, all of a sudden all the naysayers complaining about the Jets' 2011 NFL Draft haul will be silenced. This is proof once again that draft picks can't be judged after just one season.
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