The Jets have several running backs with names that hard-core football fans instantly will recognize: Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, Thomas Rawls. The team’s running backs coach thinks another running back on the depth chart may become a household name.
Stump Mitchell believes Elijah McGuire could perform like one specific Hall of Famer.
“He has the skill set to be a LaDainian Tomlinson, if he was given that opportunity,” Mitchell said recently, via the New York Post. “That’s not what presents itself to him at this point in time. The skill set, he can do it all. He can catch, he can run as a running back, and he can run routes as a receiver. He just happens to be here, and I’m glad we got him.”
And Mitchell knows a thing or two about spotting running back talent before everyone else does.
“I told David Johnson the same thing,” Mitchell said.
McGuire, a sixth-round pick in 2017, played college football at Louisiana-Lafayette. He had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons there, adding a high of 468 receiving yards in 2014. For the Jets, McGuire had 315 rushing yards as a rookie, with an average of 3.6 yards.
The guy who ultimately determines whether and to what extent McGuire will receive enough opportunities to thrive downplayed the comparison to L.T., with a very simple but important message.
“[H]e doesn’t have to live up to being LaDainian,” coach Todd Bowles said. “He has to live up to being Eli.”
To do that, he’ll have to first successfully compete with the likes of Crowell, Powell, and Rawls.