BGA: Scouting Mossis Madu

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets made a couple of personnel moves yesterday, including the signing of former Bucs running back Mossis Madu. Jets fans might not know too much about Madu, so I’ve been looking at game footage to get some idea of what he brings to the table.

Madu is a 6-0, 197-pounder who saw action with the Bucs in 2011 after being signed as an undrafted free agent and spending time on their practice squad. He saw action on offense in five games, gaining 55 yards on 15 carries and catching 10 passes for 72 yards. He joins a Jets backfield that features a couple of injured players and one who is yet to report. There’s a more a detailed look at his performances with the Bucs after the jump.

Who is Mossis Madu?

The 25-year old Madu went to college at Oklahoma, where he played both as a wide receiver and a running back, as well as being a kick returner. He wasn’t invited to the 2011 scouting combine and ran a 4.61 forty at his pro day before eventually going undrafted.

Tampa Bay picked him up and put him on their practice squad, promoting him to the active roster in October. He played in nine games, contributing 127 yards from scrimmage, as noted above. He also made three special teams tackles and gave up a sack in pass protection. He was a teammate of current Jet Kellen Winslow Jr.

In 2012, he again attended camp with the Bucs and played for them in preseason, but had a disappointing lack of production gaining just 60 yards on 23 carries and four yards on four catches. He was released on cut-down day and was out of the league last year because he used up his practice squad eligibility by being active nine times in his rookie year.

Let’s look back at his performances with the Bucs.

2011 Preseason

In the first game, he didn’t get into the game until the fourth quarter, gaining just seven yards on five carries. He was caught in the backfield twice, including once on third and short. He didn’t feature on offense in the second game, but he flashed in the third game against Miami, contributing 26 yards on a 71-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, 19 of which came on a pass play on fourth and five where he broke a tackle down the field. The last preseason game saw him rush for 41 yards on eight carries and catch three passes for 20 yards. He had one run of 25 yards as he went off tackle and then avoided a linebacker at the second level and turned it up the seam and a 12 yard catch on an out pattern on a last-minute drive that fell short. He did also drop a pass though. Throughout the preseason, he hardly ever stayed in to block, but did make an effective cut block on a blitzer on one play.

Regular Season

Week 12 – Titans

Madu made his debut in week nine, but played on special teams only in his first four games, recording one tackle. In the Titans game, he got down the field well in kick coverage, but was caught out by a trick-play handoff from the return man to Tommie Campbell, who ran for a touchdown.

Week 13 – Panthers

Madu saw his first action on offense in this game, carrying eight times for 25 yards, with most of his playing time coming in garbage time. He had one first down run and another negated by a penalty, but was also stuffed on a short yardage play and was unable to find someone to block on a couple of plays where he stayed in to pass protect. He did show some shiftiness as a runner, although his longest run was only six yards. He added two special teams tackles.

Week 14 – Jags

Madu was only in for eight snaps here, seven of which were late in the game (a blowout loss). His only carry saw him gain six over the left side. On one play, he failed to react to a blitz by ex-Jet Drew Coleman who blew past him and knocked the ball loose from Josh Freeman, although Madu did show good hustle in getting the recovery. He also caught a three yard pass on a dump-off as Freeman went down.

Week 15 – Cowboys

Madu saw action on five snaps in the fourth quarter of this one. While he didn’t get to carry the ball, he did catch two passes. The first was a screen pass that saw him tripped by an ankle tackle in the backfield by Sean Lee, otherwise it could have gone for good yardage. The second was a nine yard checkdown on 2nd and 21.

Week 16 – Panthers

This was Madu’s most productive day, as he rushed for 20 yards on four carries and caught four passes for 42 yards. In contrast to most of the other games so far, he saw action throughout (20 snaps), rather than just in garbage time, following an early fumble by LaGarrette Blount. All four catches came on checkdowns underneath, with Madu slipping a tackle to gain 15 on one of them. He also had a 15 yard run on a draw play where he made the right read and was untouched up the middle and a short yardage conversion. There was also one play where he picked up a linebacker blitz off the edge and managed to sustain his block for a few seconds as his quarterback hesitated.

Week 17 – Falcons

In the final game of the year, Madu saw action on 11 snaps. His two carries netted just four yards, but he did catch three passes for 19 yards. Two of the catches were on dump-offs underneath and the other was in the flat. There was also a play where he should have chipped an edge rusher making an inside move following a play-fake, but didn’t, allowing him to beat the left tackle for a pressure.

The Bucs lost all nine games that Madu played in, including all five by 16 or more in the games where he featured on offense.

2012 Preseason

In the first game, Madu gained just five yards on seven touches, although he did gain three on a third and two play. The following week wasn’t much better, as he went 5-for-11 as a rusher and caught a six yard pass. He did have a couple of nice runs where he broke tackles for nine and eight yards respectively, but there was also a play where he couldn’t get to the edge and made an ill-advised attempt to reverse his field and got decked for a six yard loss. In week three, he had a nice 19-yard run (up the middle on a third-and-long draw play) but only got one other carry (for a one-yard gain). He got a final chance to make an impression in the last game, but gained just 22 yards on 12 touches. He had runs of nine and eight yards, but his other ten touches all went for three or less.

Conclusions

Madu showed some flashes over the last couple of years and it wasn’t all his fault that he wasn’t very productive. He’s not very big, but perhaps his biggest weakness was that sometimes he was slow to accelerate after receiving the hand-off or didn’t make a decisive enough cut. However, I’d imagine that these would have been things that he’s been focused on improving over the last year, along with his pass blocking which was spotty at best (albeit with not much of a sample size). It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s bulked up a bit too.

Madu does have good receiving skills and the open-field elusiveness that the Jets have placed a premium on this year. The Bucs have gone away from zone blocking over the last few years, so he might not be entirely familiar with the running schemes the Jets will employ, but Oklahoma do use zone blocking, so they won’t be completely alien to him.

It stands to reason that the Jets would add a running back with upside to the mix with Chris Ivory and Joe McKnight injured and Mike Goodson’s status up in the air. While those absences continue, Madu should get some chances to turn heads, although John Griffin and Chad Spann already have a head start on him. As ever, special teams could end up being the deciding factor if there is room for one of these three to make it. Madu isn’t eligible for the practice squad though, so his chances of being a long-term project are slim and he needs to make more of an immediate impact.

We’ll take a look at Erik Cook tomorrow…