Will the Jets Say Goodbye to Running Back Israel Abanikanda?

Key Takeaways:

– The New York Jets may be considering a trade involving running back Israel Abanikanda.
– Abanikanda had a disappointing rookie season in 2023.
– The Jets have added two more running backs to their roster in the 2024 NFL Draft.
– Breece Hall, a standout performer, is the clear lead in the Jets’ backfield.

The New York Jets added Israel Abanikanda, a promising running back, to their team in 2023. However, recent developments suggest they might already be willing to part ways with the young player after a less-than-stellar debut season. Trade discussions around Abanikanda could heat up owing to a suddenly crowded running back position in the upcoming season.

Anthony DiBona, an analyst with Pro Football Network, recently detailed the most likely trade candidates for each NFL team, and he suggests Abanikanda could be the one hitting the road for the Jets.

Solidifying the New York Jets Backfield

“The New York Jets have invested significantly in their backfield,” explains DiBona. Breece Hall has demonstrated exceptional skills as the team’s lead running back. Additionally, the recent 2024 NFL Draft saw the inclusion of two fresh running backs. Given these circumstances, Abanikanda might be the one to make way in 2024, despite this merely being his second NFL season.

Analyzing Abanikanda’s Rocky Rookie Season

Looking back, Abanikanda’s first year with the NFL can only be classified as disappointing. Expectations were fairly high for the player who was a fifth-round pick from Pittsburgh in the 2023 draft. His college career stood out, with him racking up 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 6 yards per carry in his final season.

In one spectacular game against Virginia Tech, he set a school record by achieving a whopping 320 rushing yards, while also securing six touchdowns. However, he couldn’t mirror this success in his NFL rookie season. Initially sidelined due to a thigh injury, Abanikanda didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 11 against the Buffalo Bills and finished the year with a mere 70 rushing yards on 22 carries.

The Competition in the Jets’ Backfield

The Jets’ running back lineup is brimming with formidable talent, which may push Abanikanda to the sidelines. Breece Hall is leading the backfield, averaging 4.8 yards per carry with 1,457 yards and nine touchdowns over two seasons.

Two new running backs, fresh from the 2024 draft, are also set to challenge for positions behind Hall. Fourth-round pick Braelon Allen from Wisconsin has shown potential star quality and at 235 pounds, could prove to be a valuable asset in short-yardage power plays.

In the subsequent round, the Jets recruited Isaiah Davis from South Dakota State. With his unique stature of 6 feet and 218 pounds, Davis averaged an impressive 6.7 yards per carry during his college tenure. His vision on the field and ability to adapt are qualities that could see him thrive in the NFL.

With these new additions to the team and an underwhelming performance in his debut season, Abanikanda faces a daunting task. He has a mountain to climb if he wishes to secure a spot on the Jets’ final 53-man roster for the upcoming season after the training camp. Overall, considering the Jets’ strategic efforts in bolstering their backfield, it remains to be seen how Abanikanda will fare in this competitive environment, whether it leads to a trade or a surprising reversal of fortunes.


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