One of the rarest happenings in all of the NFL is to seeing a seventh round pick make the final 53-man opening day roster. Even more rare is to see that player become a starter for his team come week one of the regular season. Yet, Tommy Bohanon, the New York Jets final selection in this past April's draft is on the verge of completing both feats.
Bohanon impressed the Jets coaching staff in their preseason game against the Lions. The Wake Forest alum saw himself on the field for a majority of the game and has since been practicing with the first team during training camp. Bohanon is expected to fill in the role left by Lex Hilliard, who was recently placed on injured reserve after a shoulder injury that will require surgery to repair. Hilliard, who was the starting fullback at the end of last year, is expected to be out all season.
"It's definitely unfortunate that it happened and that Lex got injured," Bohanon said. "I guess it just makes me focus in more and know all the ins and outs of everything I have to be able to do and just make sure I can do everything that's expected of me."
While starting an unproven rookie may seem like a risky move by Rex Ryan, he along with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg have shown great confidence in the Demon Deacon, playing him at the position in most of the two preseason games that they have played so far. Bohanon has the added benefit of playing in a spread offense during his time at the ACC school and brings many of his skills from college onto the professional gridiron.
"Wake (Forest) is primarily a spread offense, so I was getting out on routes and stuff like that a lot," said Bohanon. "Here, I'm doing a lot more lead blocking and I'm able to run the ball a little bit more here. I'm still getting out on routes and catching the ball out of the backfield as well."
Bohanon could be of great help to the anemic passing attack of Gang Green. He is accustomed to catching balls out of the backfield and could add a new weapon to the passing game. He has exceptional hands that he feels could be a great asset to the Jets.
"I think that definitely helps me because I definitely pride myself on my hands and being able to catch the ball," Bohanon added. "I've kind of adjusted to the speed of the game, to where there were no real surprises once we got into the game."