Former Louisville running back Bilal Powell is looking to be a contributor in his second season in the NFL. As a rookie for the New York Jets in 2011, Powell was active for just two games. He carried the ball just 13 times for 21 yards. According to Jenny Ventras of the Star Ledger and John Clayton of ESPN, Powell has a serious shot at becoming the Jets full-time third down back.
Powell was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2011 draft after a sensational senior season with the Cards, totaling 229 carries for 1,405 yards, a 6.1 yards per carry average, and 11 touchdowns.
With Ladanian Tomlinson retiring, Powell has a great opportunity to move up in the depth chart. According to Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn, Powell has made the most of the opportunity. “Powell is among the Jets’ top three backs right now,” Lynn tells the Star Ledger. “With LT and Shonn and Joe, there really wasn’t a lot of space on the runway for him (last year),” Lynn said. “So he sat back and watched and developed. And now it’s his time to come out.”
Shonn Greene will be the primary ball carrier for the Jets this season, but Powell isn’t too far behind, according to Lynn. “He’s competing for the third-down job,” Lynn said, “and he’s competing to go in and work behind Shonn.”
Joe McKnight is the other running back on the depth chart for New York. He received more carries than Powell in 2011, but Bilal has reportedly looked much better than McKnight in training camp.