This is the second installment in a position-by-position analysis of the Jets as they prepare for the draft:
Position: Running back
Departures: Shonn Greene (Titans).
Total salary-cap charge (Positional rank): $4.08 million (7th)
Scouting report: Barring a late addition of significance, the Jets will go into the season without a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 1994. The plodding, but moderately productive Greene is gone, changing the dynamic of the position. The Jets wanted to improve the overall speed of the position, and they did that by signing Goodson, a career tease. He has home-run ability as a runner and receiver, but he lacks consistency and comes with durability questions. The Jets believe he has untapped potential, and the plan is to pair him with the steady, if not flashy Powell.
Critics will say the Jets have three third-down backs -- Goodson, Powell and McKnight -- but no every-down ballcarriers. Clearly, this will be a committee approach. They're interested in trading for the Saints' Chris Ivory, a thumper in the Greene mold. Also remember the change in scheme. New OC Marty Mornhinweg, installing the West Coast offense, wants versatile runners who can catch the ball. If you're a four-hole runner with stone hands, a la Greene, you don't belong here.
The last time: The Jets used a sixth-round pick last year on Terrance Ganaway, but he was cut in the preseason.
Potential targets: Food for thought: In six drafts as a member of the Seahawks' front office, GM John Idzik never saw his team draft a running back earlier than the fourth round. If the Jets land Ivory, they won't feel any urgency to draft a back. The top RB is Eddie Lacy (Alabama), a nice blend of power and elusiveness. He's projected as a late first/early second rounder, although there are some minor questions about his focus and dedication. Montee Ball (Wisconsin) was a tremendously productive back, but there are some concerns with his explosiveness -- or lack thereof. I'd be surprised if the Jets considered him in Round 2. The player to watch is Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State), whom they worked out privately and brought to New Jersey for a top-30 visit. He's a shade over 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, more power than speed, but the Jets could use some size now that Greene is gone. Bell led the nation with 921 yards after contact last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They also visited with Christine Michael (Texas A&M), regarded as an underachiever.
Need Factor (scale of t to 10): 7