Inside Look at Running Backs
By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Paul Perkins (Drafted in the 5th round/2017 Draft): The former UCLA Bruin propelled him into a starter by the end of the season, replacing Rasheed Jennings. The Giants running game improved with Perkins as the featured back (112/456 yards for a 4.1 ypc) and are banking on Perkins to continue his development in 2017.
As a rookie he played in 14 regular-season games with one start (regular-season finale). He also started the playoff game. The second year back will not be asked to carry the load as a featured powered back. Perkins has excellent vision and quick feet; which translated hitting holes without hesitation. He plays bigger than expected, with a workman like mentality. Being able to catch out of the backfield makes him very valuable.
Shane Vereen (free agent signing/2015): Vereen’s 2016 was barred with two injuries (tricep) that landed him on Injured Reserved and limited him to only 5 games. The Giants are banking on Vereen to be completely recovered and produce like he did in 2015 when he had 59 receptions for 495 yards and 4 TD’s to go along with his 260 rushing yards (4.3 ypc).
The former Patriot is far from a power back and lacks size and power, however; he compensates that lack of size with elusiveness and extreme quickness. Another attribute he does well is pass protection for his size and if can stay on the field more than off (injuries), the Giants will have another weapon for opposing teams to worry about..
Wayne Gallman (Drafted in the 4th round/2017 Draft): Gallman may not stand out in one area, but he is a well-rounded in all areas (running, catching & blocking) with good size (6’1”, 215lbs), vision, and decent elusiveness and speed. He is not a power back as many have projected, but more of a slasher with cutback ability. Gallman is very competitive and runs hard on every play with an endless motor.
Orleans Darkwa (Free Agent signing in 2014): Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016 ( 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.. Darkwa has good size and overall athletic ability nnd is very physical, instinctive between-the-tackles runner. Darkwa needs to showcase his ability like he did in 2015 when he averaged 4.3 ypc.
Shaun Draughn (URFA signing in 2017): Draughn has spent time with the Redskins (2011), Kansas City Chiefs (2011–2012), Baltimore Ravens (2013), Indianapolis Colts (2013), Chicago Bears (2014), San Diego Chargers (2014), Cleveland Browns (2014–2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2016). In six seasons, Draughn has career totals of 225 carries for 723 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.
He also 80 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns. The journeyman has ordinary size, but he is a tough, hard-nosed cut-back runner who can move the chains in short yardage and catch the football. He is a good special teams player.
Jacob Huesman (Signed to Practice Squad in 2016): Huesman was a former quarterback and was converted to running back. Huesman played briefly with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. He has good size for a running back and was productive in college running with the football as a quarterback. Unless mass injuries hit the Giants backfield, Huesman will more than likely find himself back on the Practice Squad.
Khalid Abdullah (UDFA signing in 2017): Abdullah had a super career at James Madison with 3,678 rushing yards and 41 TD’s in 48 games. Also throw in his 42 receptions for 382 yards and 4 TD’s indicates Abdullah can hurt you in many ways. At 5’10/220 Abdullah has a low center of gravity; which enables him to change direction quickly.
One of the top RB in college football with defender misses throughout his career. GM Jerry Reese and Head Coach Ben McAdoo had Abdullah on their radar prior to the draft and actually had dinner with the RB. Despite looking solid during the OTA and having many of the Giants coaching staff love his attitude and his abilities. Abdullah would be a long shot in making the 53 man roster. However; stranger things have happened and it wouldn’t surprise me if Abdullah makes the decision a difficult one.
Final Thoughts: Injuries are part of the game, however; if the Giants can stay relatively healthy in their backfield, the Giants could have enough depth and talent to be more than respectable in the running game. Clearly, this will be a running game by committee and despite Perkins being tabbed as the early starter; he is certainly not going to be the workhorse. It’s going to be a numbers game during training camp as to how many RB’s the Giants keep on the 53 man roster. Many projected 53 man rosters have the Giants currently keeping 5 and that could be the case. However; others believe that it could end up being only 4. Either way, a lot can happen from now until opening day.