Getty Georgia running back James Cook speaking to the media at the 2022 NFL Combine.
The New York Jets clinched gold in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft last year.
Unexpectedly, Michael Carter was sitting there at the No. 107 overall pick and was the team pick. He proved to be an absolute steal as he led Gang Green in the race.
Now the Verdiblancos are looking for the yin to their yang in the 2022 NFL draft and they may have found it.
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Some really good genes
One of the most popular running backs in the pre-draft cycle has been Georgia’s James Cook.
According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, his official visiting list includes “nearly half the league’s teams on their travel schedule” ahead of the draft.
While the Jets won’t be using a “top 30 visit” on the talented playmaker, Pauline says they “have shown a lot of interest” in Cook.
James is the younger brother of two-time All-Pro running back Dalvin Cook, who plays for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL.
In a talented Georgia backfield, Cook’s younger brother had to wait his turn, but in the end, his patience paid off in a big way.
Last season ended up being a career year for James in every major statistical category:
113 attempts 728 rushing yards 11 total touchdowns The secret ingredient PlayVideoVideo related to jets has shown ‘a lot of interest’ in 2 times bro of all pros2022-04-13T06:00:18-04:00
When it comes to helping Zach Wilson take the next step, most people have talked about adding a No. 1 wide receiver or better protection up front, but the real secret is the running game.
The Jets need a complement to Carter, and most people have assumed that player will be more of a power-style running back. Though Cook brings a change-of-pace style to the field at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds.
That style would fit right into this wide zone scheme that Mike LaFleur runs with the Greens and Whites.
Cook brings a nice element of speed (4.42 40-yard rush at NFL combine) to the table. The other thing that he really likes is his prowess in the receiving game.
If Wilson can rely on a consistent running game, then defenses will have to commit more players inside the box. When that happens, every Jets wide receiver will face favorable one-on-one matchups on the outside that they can take advantage of.
The last time the Verdiblancos committed to a ground-and-pound philosophy they went to back-to-back conference title games.
A balanced approach is a necessary ingredient for any successful attack. That’s especially true when you’re operating with a young and relatively inexperienced quarterback.
Deep down, the Jets want to be a team that can run whenever they want. For obvious reasons, they couldn’t execute that game plan consistently last year, but with renewed commitment and new star power, the sky’s the limit for this running game.
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