During OTA sessions, McKnight told GreenAndWhiteReport.com that his fitness, which was an issue during rookie mini-camp, is vastly improved. McKnight will be called upon to fill the void of the now recently departed Leon Washington, who was dealt to Seattle for the draft pick. McKnight signed a contract with the team last week.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com continues its look at the 2010 Jets' draft class with another interview with Daniel Mogollon, president of NFLDraftBible.com and College Football Insiders founder. Mogollon is a frequent interview voice during draft season, lending his expertise as a college football talent evaluator. This is part one of the analytical interview with Mogollon as we break down former USC and now New York Jets' running back Joe McKnight.
And for more in-depth analysis of the draft league-wide and a look ahead to the 2011 NFL Draft, check out www.NFLDraftBible.com ! Look for part two of the interview this holiday weekend.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: Are you concerned that Joe McKnight may be too much of a finesse runner?
DM: Not that much. The Jets drafted McKnight to be a third-down/change-of-pace back so I don't believe that's a major issue. They have their lunch pail/between the tackles guy in Shonn Greene, who is expected to carry the load. McKnight's role is to replace Leon Washington, who himself was a finesse runner.
If Joe can make plays on the perimeter, catch some balls coming out of the backfield, and contribute on special teams New York will be happy with their pick. The most important role for McKnight is probably as a pass catcher. Remember, Mark Sanchez is still a work in progress as a quarterback and despite the fact that they added Santonio Holmes I'm sure they would love to get a bigger contribution from their running backs in the passing game.
Greene, Washington and Thomas Jones combined for 25 receptions last year, so there is a void there.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: Can McKnight be as good as Leon Washington?
DM: Not right away, probably not. That doesn't mean the potential isn't there, but Washington was a highly-productive Pro Bowl player when healthy. Washington was a dynamic return man - a difference maker. I don't see that from McKnight. Interestingly, Washington would be a nice role model because he became a very solid pro after a somewhat disappointing college career and a fourth round selection by the Jets.
Sounds a lot like McKnight, doesn't it?
The one area where Joe can surpass Leon is as a runner. He has better size, with excellent quickness, speed, and the ability to make would-be tacklers miss in the open field.
GreenAndWhiteReport.com: Is durability a concern?
DM: Considering he is replacing Washington, who is coming off a serious leg injury, and that he'll be part of a three-headed backfield, not that much. That doesn't mean I wouldn't mind seeing him bulk up a bit and get stronger, as well as fight through some dings. But since he's going to be sharing carries with not only Green, but LaDainian Tomlinson as well, I don't see McKnight wearing down.
He had over 150 carries last year at USC so he should be able to handle the workload the Jets will throw at him. Did he suffer from the injury bug as a Trojan? Yes, but for the most part it was minor stuff.
Make sure to check out www.nfldraftbible.com for regular analysis and breaking news on the NFL, college football and the draft.