Reconnaissance Jets full-back Nick Bawden

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The Jets recently added full-back Nick Bawden to their active roster after signing him to their practice squad in September. Today we break down Bawden in some detail.

Bawden, 25, is 6’2 ”, 245 pounds and was a 2018 San Diego State seventh-round pick. Prior to joining the Jets, Bawden had been limited to 10 NFL games during of its first three seasons. to injuries.

Background

Bawden was first drafted in San Diego state as a quarterback and even made two starts in his debut season, winning one. However, he only completed 13 of 38 assists and the team decided to convert him back at the end of his first season.

He saw some action in his new second-year full-back role, but didn’t have any offensive touches. However, he has played an important role in his last two seasons as Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny have had 2,000-yard seasons with Bawden in the lead. He also caught 30 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown over the two seasons.

Bawden was the only fullback selected in the 2018 draft as he traveled to the Lions. However, he missed his entire rookie season with an OTA injury. He played 10 games in 2019, capturing four assists for 17 yards, but still missed the entire season in 2020 with injury.

The Jets signed Bawden to their practice squad in September and raised him for two games in which he played 10 offensive snaps. He was signed to the active list last week.

Now let’s take a look at what Bawden brings to the table, broken down into categories.

Measurables / Athletics

At 6’2 “and 245, Bawden has a strong and powerful frame but lacks length. He was invited to the scout combine but did not work due to an injury.

On his pro day, Bawden ran a 4.72 in the 40-yard sprint and did a 109-inch wide jump. His agility numbers were okay, but he didn’t do a bench press or vertical.

Use

While Bawden has mostly lined up as a full back, he can also line up in the lunge, wide, narrow end, or as a halfback in full back sets.

As stated, he was a quarterback in high school and college, which could make him dangerous on gadget games.

Blocking execution

As noted, Bawden’s resume includes big numbers for the full-backs he was blocking with San Diego State for. Some images of him making solid lead blocks are impressive.

What emerges from his film is that he doesn’t just rush recklessly at his target. He will approach under control and engage cleanly with his block so that he can tilt the defender or gain a leverage advantage.


Although he did a solid job in college, Bawden fell poorly as a run blocker in his first season with the Lions. Pro Football Focus had him ranked last for all NFL full-backs. Nevertheless, he still had some impressive moments at this level.


He’s had eight offensive penalties during his college career, but hasn’t yet at the NFL level.

Blocking passes

Bawden has a lot of experience as a pass blocker. For example, he stayed in the block 135 times in his senior year. In two years as a starter, he’s only allowed three sacks and his pass-blocking efficiency numbers were solid, but he’s been beaten at times.


At the NFL level, he only stayed to block occasionally, without giving up sacks or pressure.

He has also shown an ability to contribute as a field blocker in the passing game on this game with the Jets.


Pass catch

Bawden has caught just four passes for 17 yards in his 10 games with the Lions, but the Jets have already unlocked untapped potential in last week’s game.


As you can see, it’s the same look he threw the block on for Elijah Moore above, just from the opposite side. He sets up the defender who expects him to block again.

Other than that, he really only caught short passes with the Lions and at San Diego State. He’s shown he can be a potential red zone threat on this game where he settles down again like he’s going to block and then changes direction to open up.


The Jets executed a play similar to this on the goal line in Bawden’s opener and the defensive lineman blatantly held it up even though officials didn’t call him. This shows that they see it as an option in these situations.

He mostly only caught short passes, so he didn’t have much luck showing good hands, but he didn’t drop any passes during his college career in the preseason. of the NFL or the regular season.

Running capacity

Bawden ran for 47 yards on 12 carries in college, but almost it was all over scrambles as he played for quarterback. He didn’t have a course designed as a quarterback and only carried the ball once for four yards out of the backfield. He fumbled once as a quarterback.

He can come up the field with a short pass and break a tackle or fall forward at the end of the run and has also shown unexpected abilities with the ball in his hands on this catch.


Special teams

Bawden has played several roles on special teams, including blocking returns and protecting punters, rushing punts and covering kicks. He made a few special teams tackles with the Lions, including that impressive kickoff hit.


He was effective as a blocker at times, but suffered an illegal blockage in the back in the Jets-Dolphins game, the second of his career. He also had two special teams penalties in college.

Instincts

As stated, Bawden is a patient lead blocker, who assesses his target and can switch between missions or adapt to the defender to change leverage.


However, sometimes he can be confused when the blockage he expects to do does not present itself immediately.


Attitude

After moving the position from quarterback to fullback after much deliberation, Bawden showed his determination to do this job for himself by learning a variety of roles, including on the other side of the ball.

The other challenge he had to face were all the injuries he tackled with tenacity and tenacity. Despite being described as calm and humble off the pitch, Bawden has seemingly accepted the aggressive nature of the position and worked hard to overpower it.

Injuries

Bawden’s knees have been a problem for him since entering the NFL. He tore up his ACL in the OTAs as a rookie, then was placed on the injured list with another knee injury the following November. His third season also saw him spend the year in the injured reserve with a knee injury sustained in camp.

In college, Bawden suffered a few injuries, catching passes with a cast in his hand. However, he was limited by foot and shoulder injuries at the end of his senior year.

Schema adjustment

The Jets offense clearly lacked a versatile Kyle Juszczyk-type full-back who was such a weapon for Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers, but you can already see the Jets trying to open their playbook and use the types of games that Juszczyk excelled in since Bawden was on the match day list.

Bawden was a teammate of Ty Johnson, Jarrad Davis and Josh Johnson with the Lions.

Conclusion

The Jets system needs a player like Bawden and can, at some point, target one in the draft or through free agency. However, based on what we’ve seen of him before, it’s worth taking a look at Bawden himself first, to see if he can be that guy.

If he manages to stay healthy, Bawden gives the Jets a dimension they felt they lacked in the first half of the year, but let’s see if he can continue to display the same level of efficiency as his charge goes. work increases.

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