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Which Young Jet Does Bilal Powell Think Could Be a Hall of Famer?

RB Legend and Host Eric Allen Discuss a Variety of Topics on This Week's Official Jets Podcast


Fans will remember Bilal Powell as a very good running back who preferred to let his play do his talking.

All that has changed. Powell has hung up his pro pads and has made some natural progressions in his home state of Kentucky — into high school coaching, podcasting and sports talk radio.

And he's chatting up a storm.

"I wasn't a guy that talked much ... and now I do it for a living," Powell told Eric Allen on a recent episode of the Official Jets Podcast. "I'm talking to the cameras, doing interviews. I had a chance to go out to Las Vegas and I was on Radio Row. It's almost like I came full circle. Everybody's like, 'Man, I remember when you didn't even talk to the media, now you do it for a living.' I guess it was just a hidden talent that I didn't tap into until I retired."

One thing that hasn't changed for Powell is that he, like the members of Jets Nation who appreciated his multiple backfield skills during his 2011-19 career, all spent in green and white, is a fan of the team, and especially of what the '24 version of the Jets can be.

"Last year we were all excited about having Aaron coming in," Powell said of — who else? — QB Aaron Rodgers. "We all know when you're talking about a Super Bowl-contending team, you have to have a quarterback, but we brought that in. Then obviously the injuries started to happen, which everyone deals with.

"I think the biggest thing for the New York Jets is now to just make sure the pieces on the offensive side of the ball will complement the defense, because those guys are playing so well. Then you can talk about Super Bowl contending for the Jets."

Excited to See Breece Hall's Future Unfold
Being a high school assistant coach now — and an offensive coordinator, at that — Powell had some ideas of what the Jets need to step up in class on his side of the ball. Whatever else his old team does this offseason, he would like to see the additions of a new tackle, even two, plus a veteran wide receiver to provide leadership and take some heat off of now third-year WR Garrett Wilson, and a veteran backup QB.

One position Powell's not concerned about is the position he used to play. He likes what he's seen the past two seasons from Breece Hall.

"I like Breece. I like his game. He can do everything," Powell said. "I think he's a true three-down back, a guy you can line up outside, you can hand off to, he can run inside and outside, he can block, he can catch. But the most impressive thing for me is that Breece can create so many yards after contact, and that's what you need in the National Football League, because there's not going to be many times where you're just running through an open hole.

"I think he's one of the most explosive running backs when you get him to the second level. We can see this guy go the distance at any time, especially at his size, 220, 225, that's a big back that can get up to 20 miles an hour. And to see what he did coming off an ACL is very impressive and I'm excited to see what he has moving forward in his career."

Powell wasn't quite as big at 5-10, 204 as Hall is at 6-1, 220, but their explosive impacts on their offenses was similar. Hall has averaged 5.7 yards/touch, fourth-best among all backs with 300-plus touches in franchise history, while Powell's 5.0 average is 10th, and they're 1-2 in that category since 2011. Of the last four 75-yards-plus rushes, three have been recorded by Powell (in 2017) and Hall (two last season).

So Bilal knows what he's talking about when he says Hall's forward progress will be a touch-y kind of thing: "If you give Breece Hall the ball enough, he could be a future Hall of Famer."

Aaron Rodgers and Jets 'Could Get Scary'
Another HOFer-to-be that Powell would have liked to perform with is Rodgers. And among all the tangibles and intangibles that ARod brings to the table, Powell said one has to do with the chip that could be balanced on his and his teammates' shoulders.

"Honestly, I think he lives for this kind of doubt and everyone counting him out," Powell said of those inescapable facts that Rodgers is now 40 years old and will be stepping back under center a mere year after he tore his Achilles four snaps and four minutes of clock time into his opening-night Jets debut. "I think when you're talking about a healthy Aaron Rodgers with a good defense, that could get scary for the National Football League.

"People are trying to put that doubt on him because they're afraid the Jets will be a positive topic next year. Everyone wants to label the Jets in a negative bracket every time. I dealt with it in my nine years that I was there. And now being a fan coming up on four years that I'm retired, I'm still hearing 'same old Jets,' whereas the Rodgers story, if he stays healthy, he's scary and now you're going to have to be mentioning the Jets on the winning side of the bracket."

It is a fact of NFL life that many excellent and deserving players like Powell never reach the postseason. But he came close, in 2015, when he wanted to play so badly in the regular-season finale at Buffalo but was held out with a high ankle sprain from the week before. The Jets were eliminated from the AFC playoff picture in a flurry of fourth-quarter interceptions to the Bills.

2015 Never Far from Bilal's Mind
"I think about that season a lot, honestly," he said. "I think we were that team, if we got into the playoffs, no one wanted to play. We just had everything going in the right direction."

But time marches on and now No. 29's post-playing days are also gaining momentum. also moving incredibly well. He has his own Jets-oriented podcast called "In-Flight Snack" (with a hat tip to his first Jets HC, Rex Ryan) on the BLEAV network. He also has a morning-drive radio talk platform on Sports Talk 790 in Louisville. And he's a month into his next big football thing as offensive coordinator of St. Xavier High School, also in his Louisville hometown.

But while Powell has many endeavors in the Bluegrass State, he's still keeping his finger on the Jets' pulse back in his former home. His podcast depends on it and he sounds like he's a fan for life, and he's bullish on the '24 Jets. "Get those couple of pieces you need," he said, "and then let your play do the talking."

Eric and Bilal discussed many more subjects in their 45-minute sitdown, on such topics as Powell's 2011 NFL Combine experience, his memories of Rex Ryan and LaDainian Tomlinson, his offensive philosophy that he plans to implement at "St. X" and his views on the importance of the running back position in today's NFL. It's all there on this week's Official Jets Podcast.

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