The New York Jets have had a roller coaster history in professional football that has included the highest of highs and some pretty long lows too. Along the way, some great players have suited up in the green and white. Who have been the franchise’s best rookie running backs though?
#5 – 1981 – Freeman McNeil
Longtime Jets running back Freeman McNeil got his start as a rookie in 1981 for the team. That season saw him get 137 carries for 623 yards and two touchdown though he would start just six games.
#4 – 2006 – Leon Washington
Leon Washington saw time catching balls out of the backfield and playing on special teams, but he also found the time during his rookie season to carry the ball 151 times for 650 yards and four touchdowns.
#3 – 1976 – Clark Gaines
In 1976, a 22 year old Clark Gaines rushed the ball 157 times for 724 yards and three touchdowns.
#2 – 1971 – John Riggins
Though he would become much more famous for his exploits in a Washington Redskins uniform, John Riggins got his start for the Jets in 1971 where as a rookie he started every game and carried the ball 180 times for 769 yards and one touchdown.
#1 – 1964 – Matt Snell
In the early days of the New York Jets, a star player was needed and Matt Snell was that guy. He came on in 1964 as a rookie and carried the ball 215 times for 948 yards and five touchdowns.