The New York Jets and general manager Mike Maccagnan continued their free agency splash on Friday announcing the signing of former Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls.
We've signed RB @TRawls810!
— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 30, 2018
Rawls comes to the Jets as the fourth running back on the current roster. Surrounding him in the backfield is Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, and Isaiah Crowell, who was inked to a deal only a short time ago.
Who Is Thomas Rawls?
Rawls was an undrafted rookie sensation for the Seahawks back in 2015. He broke onto the scene posting four touchdowns on 830 rushing yards. His yards per attempt may have been the most shocking, however, as he averaged nearly 5.6.
Unfortunately, Rawls broke his ankle in December of that year, and continued to battle injuries into 2016. However, the young and versatile back didn’t allow the plague to slow him down. Rawls set a Seahawks playoff record with 161 yards in Seattle’s 26-6 wild card win over the Detroit Lions in 2016-17.
Rawls’ success took a halt last year, however. He fell out of favor in a crowded Seattle backfield, which included several healthy scratches on gameday. Rawls also did not score a single touchdown and averaged just 2.7 yards per carry (down from the already low 3.2 from 2016). Not to mention he was virtually excluded in the passing game entirely.
Following the disappointing season, Seattle did not tender him. Rawls then became an unrestricted free agent.
Despite coming off a dud of a season, Rawls will look to return to his previous dominant ways in the green and white.
The 24-year-old back is an interesting add to a team that seemingly has their backfield situation already on lock. While it is no guarantee he’ll make the 53-man roster, Rawls brings a variety of versatility that the Jets have been unable to expedite in previous years.
His speed and quickness is the most intruiging factor. Rawls has proved he has desired foot quickness and hip fluidity. Most evident in his rookie season, he also maintains above-average vision and a feel for the changing shape of running lanes.
Rawls’ surprising power is another testament to the signing. His playstyle has prescribed power beyond his size. It was to no avail that his strong legs led to outstanding balance at and beyond contact during his glory days in Seattle.
The Jets could certainly use a back like this to open up the passing game even more. Combining this type of versatility with the hard-hitting abilities of Crowell and catching vision of Powell, the Jets may be able to disguise their offense in a number of ways.
However, it remains to be seen if that will be the case. The running back positional battle may be one of the most intruiging watches during OTA’s and Training Camp this summer.