The Jets should give this rookie running back some playing time

New York Jets running back Israel Abanikanda (25) rushes with the ball in the second half. The Buccaneers defeat the Jets, 13-6, in a preseason NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Saturday
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NFL Season has proven to be an unexpected journey for the New York Jets. Initial expectations were high, only for Aaron Rodgers to suffer an injury after just four snaps in Week 1. Amidst the challenges, an intriguing aspect of the team lies in its running game.

Breece Hall has emerged as one of the most promising young running backs for the franchise since the days of Bilal Powell. However, the depth behind Hall has been a concern along with many other offensive issues this team has had. One depth piece behind Hall who is deserving of more playing time is Israel Abanikanda.

The Jets need to get Israel Abanikanda involved in the offense

Israel Abanikanda, a rookie running back drafted by the New York Jets in the 5th round at 143rd overall, was warmly received due to his impressive speed. He displayed considerable promise for the Jets during the preseason, showcasing glimpses of his potential. Unfortunately, a quad injury sidelined Abanikanda, causing him to miss the beginning of the season.

Since recovering from his injury, Abanikanda has remained inactive each week, a perplexing decision. Given Dalvin Cook’s noticeable decline and Michael Carter’s struggles in the offense, many are questioning why the Jets aren’t providing Abanikanda with an opportunity. Some argue that there might not be a spot for him on special teams, but it’s worth noting that running backs have had limited involvement in special teams play for the Jets this season.

It’s about time to assess Abanikanda’s potential as a suitable backup for Hall in the upcoming season. With Cook’s underperformance and Carter’s struggles, Abanikanda emerges as a noteworthy prospect.

As the Jets invested a draft pick in him, evaluating Abanikanda’s abilities becomes crucial. His performance could determine if he becomes a key player for the team, both in the present and future. A solid showing would alleviate one of the team’s needs to address in the offseason.

Michael Carter’s release paves the way for Abanikanda

The Jets released Michael Carter on Tuesday evening — one of the most surprising moves the Jets have made this year. He was considered an incredible locker room leader and had shown immense promise in previous seasons. Unfortunately, Carter’s performance this season has been disappointing, to say the least. His regression was evident, prompting the team’s decision to release him.

The Jets releasing Carter could signal an opportunity for Isreal Abanikanda on offense, and it’s long overdue. Carter’s decline is remarkable when reflecting on his promising rookie year. He was once viewed as the future of the backfield but found himself out of a job midway through this season. Carter will likely get picked up by another team, but this adds to a series of disappointments from Joe Douglas’s 2021 NFL Draft selections, contributing to a less-than-stellar draft record.

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