Articles

Coaches Corner: Spotlighting the Running Back Position

By Michael Stewart/@TheTruthNYG

This is part 3 in this series as we spotlight the running backs for the Giants for 2021. This season hopes to be a productive one for the Giants running game with the return of Saquon Barkley and some new faces. GM Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the running back position in both free agency and in the draft. Let’s take a look at the projected starter and the rest of the candidates looking to win a spot by opening day.

Starter

  • Saquon Barkley: If Barkley is physically able to play on opening day, there will be no doubt who the starting running back will be. However; if Barkley’s availability is delayed, then the Giants will have a running attack by committee like they did in 2020 when Barkley was lost for the season with an injury.

Backup Roles

  • DeVontae Booker: Oddly enough, Booker was the first free agent signing by the Giants in the off season. Booker is a duel threat with the ball and I expect the Giants to utilize him more at the start of the season as Barkley gets more into game shape in a two back set.
  • Corey Clements: Clements is the latest free agent signing by the Giants as he provides versatility in both the running and passing game. Clements was one of the key offensive players during the Eagles Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.   
  • Ryquell Armstead: The Giants recently claimed Armstead off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Armstead missed the 2020 season due to complications related to COVID-19, so it will be interesting to see how much opportunity he will get to make the final roster.

On the Outside looking in

  • Gary Brightwell: Brightwell was one of the Giants 6th round picks and Brightwell has a lot of intangibles that are in his favor on making the final cuts as he can run, catch and play on special teams. As of now, Brightwell appears to be more of a special team’s candidate to make the roster.
  • Eli Penny: Penny could be a cap casualty before training camp starts based on the four I have making the roster; Unless Penny plays above his ability in training camp, I just don’t see him making the roster or excepting a spot on the practice squad.
  • Taquan Mizzell: Mizzell would need to perform at a very high level in training camp to even be considered to make the roster. He’s a practice squad candidate or a could be waived.
  • Sandro Platzgummer: Platsgummer is on the exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list; which can only be granted by Commissioner Roger Goodell under unusual circumstances as Platzgummer is on the international player pathway program. So I’m banking on him remaining on this list for 2021.
  • Cullen Gillaspia: Gillaspia only chance of making the final cuts will be on special teams as he really doesn’t offer much offensively aside from blocking

The abundance of running backs added to the roster before training camp could suggest that the Giants are unsure if Saquon Barkley will be ready by opening day. I highly doubt Barkley will see a lot of snaps during the pre-season games even if he’s deemed healthy. The mixture of running backs currently on the roster gives the Giants options and also diversity as each player adds a different element to the Giants running game.