Jets fans and media were clamoring for a power back, an all-purpose running back, instead New York selected Elijah McGuire from Louisiana Lafayette in the sixth round. In truth, it is a solid selection.
McGuire is a playmaker. A four-year starter, he averaged 6.1 yards per rush and 10.7 yards per catch at UL Lafayette. He also dabbled in punt returns for three seasons, averaging 8.1 yards on 28 returns. At rookie mini-camp, the Jets are giving McGuire the opportunity to take on the full-time duties as punt returner.
What to expect: The Jets will look to utilize McGuire’s abilities early on in special teams. Given that he already has experience at punt returns, he has experience with the harder skill set. Picking up kick returning duties would be the easier of the two (you don’t have to look straight up and catch a ball falling nearly vertical downward) so McGuire could take on both roles. Given that both Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are dual threat running backs, McGuire shouldn’t see much time on offense outside of injury or a matchup John Morton would want to exploit.
Film: East-West Shrine Game, Boise State, Appalachian State
- Patient in the hole and looks for an opening. Will burst to daylight. Does get pulled down easily by d-lineman who can grab cloth or swipe a leg. More likely to make a man miss in space than break a tackle.
- Fierce ball carrier who initiates contact and finishes runs. Will lunge for the extra yard.
- Accelerates quickly out of breaks, separating from linebackers on checkdowns.
- Features a spin move with some effectiveness to break tackles and gain an extra yard.
- Aggressive blocker, strong chip, attacks incoming blitzers. Good form, hands placed inside the shoulder pads, sinks down and anchors.
It will be interesting to see how John Morton chooses to utilize McGuire on offense. At the moment he gets taken down too easily by contact, but in space McGuire makes plays. For now he seems like a potential impact player on special teams.