The New York Jets have to develop a complementary tailback to spell starter Shonn Greene, who has had a solid time-sharing partner (first Thomas Jones and then Tomlinson) all three seasons in the league.
With little experience behind Greene on the roster, the choices almost certainly come down to a pair of former fourth-round draft choices, Joe McKnight (2010) and Bilal Powell (2011).
Early word is that Powell, a onetime Louisville standout who was the 126th overall pick last year, is the early leader in the competition to see who wins the spot as Greene's caddie. Powell, who rushed for 1,405 yards and 11 scores at Louisville in 2010, appears to be the stronger and more physical inside runner early in camp, and, while he appeared in just two games and registered only 21 yards on 13 carries as a rookie, at least to this point has reinforced the notion that he can be a steady, No. 2 guy.
The Jets actually began to suspect that last season, despite his scant opportunities. McKnight is the shiftier of the two, and has demonstrated the kind of wiggle that might be expected from a guy who's been used in the return game, but will have to display more toughness.
No matter who wins the No. 2 spot, the New York coaches are still concerned about locating a reliable third-down back. Powell and McKnight both have deficiencies as pass protection and blitz pickup blockers.