Trader Mike was at it again Saturday afternoon, trading up for a USC Trojan for the second-straight year.
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum opened up Day 3 of the NFL Draft by trading up to the 112th pick in the fourth-round, selecting dynamic running back Joe McKnight from USC. In exchange for the pick, the Jets sent the Carolina Panthers their own fourth-round pick (124) and their sixth-round selection (198).
The six-foot, 190 pound McKnight, considered by many to be a “Reggie Bush clone”, enjoyed a successful three-year career in Los Angeles, but never quite lived up to the sky-high expectations put forth by the fans and media.
McKnight is the prototypical, two-way threat out of the backfield, possessing an ability to thrive in both the ground and receiving game. He boasts elite speed and explosion with an innate ability to make plays in the open field. Many experts and league GMs believed that McKnight had the freak athleticism to succeed at the pro level and would be worth a late-round gamble.
In 2009, McKnight rushed for a career-best, 1014 yards on 164 attempts with 8 TD. He was also a viable threat in the Trojan’s passing game, hauling in 22 receptions for 146 yards.
McKnight posted a 40 time of 4.47 at the 2010 Scouting Combine, fifth-best among running backs, as well as a vertical jump of 36.5 inches, eighth-best.
The Jets’ decision to trade up and nab McKnight at 112 indicates that Leon Washington’s days could be numbered in Florham. The 27-year-old Washington, coming off of a career threatening leg injury, agreed to his one-year contract tender earlier this month.
With Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and now McKnight at the running back position, Washington appears to be the odd man out. The team will most likely look to trade the fifth-year veteran before training camp. If Washington is not traded, it is almost certain that he will not be re-signed to a long-term deal, following the 2010 season.