With the additions of Thomas Rawls and Isaiah Crowell to a position group already featuring Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, the Jets have put together a versatile running back room with an interesting amount of potential. Let’s dive into some of their career numbers.
(Numbers are since 2014; Isaiah Crowell’s first season and including the entire careers of Rawls and McGuire.)
Boom/Bust: Boom plays
How often do you create the big play? Let’s call a big run a 20+ yard attempt. Here is how the Jets’ group fares.
3 of the 4 check in significantly above average. The lone exception is McGuire, with only one 20+ yard run on his 88 rookie year attempts. Powell’s rate is the highest among players with at least the same amount of carries since 2014. Rawls has only 2 big runs over the last two seasons, a ghastly 1.2% rate. His big rookie year of 2015 is where the chunk runs came. He had 7 big runs that year, converting to a robust 4.7% rate that helped him lead the league in yards per carry at 5.6.
Boom/Bust: Bust plays
Let’s look at the bust rate of the Jets running backs. I’m defining that as a run for 2 yards or less that does not result in a first down.
All of the Jets backs struggle to avoid stuffs. McGuire had a particularly very rough time avoiding stuffs in his rookie year. Rawls was even worse in 2017 at 56.9%. Crowell owns the highest stuff rate among the top 25 backs in carries since 2014.
Let’s look at overall ball security, including touches in the passing game. We’re going to look at all fumbles, not only the ones that are lost.
The ball security numbers are very promising. Rawls only has two career fumbles with no more than one in any given season. Crowell only has 3 fumbles since 2015; his 0.44% rate in that time is the lowest among backs with at least 500 touches. McGuire is the exception, as his 2 fumbles in limited playing time gives him an inflated rate. Hopefully for him, that is just an example of small sample size inflation and not a representation of his true fumble tendency. If upheld, that is not an acceptable rate.
Is the player converting in power situations? Let’s look and 3rd and 4th down conversions with 2 yards or fewer to go.
All four backs check in below average in converting the defined situation. McGuire only got 3 of those attempts in all of 2017. Bilal Powell only converted 4 of 8. In addition, Matt Forte went 0 for 1 – is lack of success in this category on the O-Line more so than the backs? It’s possible.
Receiving Yards Per Target
Elijah McGuire showed a lot of promise as a receiver out of the backfield in his limited opportunities as a rookie. McGuire leads the crew with a 6.8 yards per target rate, which ranked 18th among the 66 RBs with at least 25 targets in 2017. McGuire’s 38.4% target/first down ratio placed him 3rd among that same group in 2017.
Powell has been wildly inconsistent with his year-to-year receiving production. In both 2015 and 2016, he compiled 388 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, before plummeting to 170 yards and no touchdowns in 2017 as his target total was cut in half from 74 to 33. His yards per target has never been extraordinary, ranging from 6.16 in 2015 to 5.15 in 2017. This is largely due to a very low career yards per reception rate of 7.5, which might be the fault of usage rather than player effectiveness.
Crowell only has one career receiving touchdown and a career average of only 2.0 targets per game. That average has risen to 3.0 over the past two seasons, but in 2017 his 4.33 yards per target was fifth worst among RBs with 25+ targets. Rawls has very little career receiving work, with only 31 career catches on 41 targets for 266 yards and one touchdown.
Say you can only have one of these backs on your team for the next 2 years (for the same price). Who are you choosing?
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