Giants rookie running back could carve out a big role on offense

new york giants, eric gray

The New York Giants selected running back Eric Gray in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. With Saquon Barkley’s contract situation still unresolved, there is uncertainty regarding the superstar’s future with the team. Though he is on the franchise tag and expected to play for the Giants in 2023, Barkley’s long-term future is still uncertain.

With Gray added to the mix, New York’s running back room has improved depth. Gray has the potential to carve out a big role in the Giants’ offense in 2023 as the team’s RB2.

Why Eric Gray could have a big role with the Giants

The Giants selected Gray in the fifth round of the draft despite his fourth-round draft projection by Lance Zierlein of Gray rushed for 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final season at Oklahoma. He has all the traits of a starting running back at the next level and could be an excellent second option in New York’s backfield.

Decisive, creative runner with the size and skill set for three-down consideration on the pro level. Gray won’t be a home run hitter in the open field, but his short-area burst and oily hips open access to the entire field, with cuts coming suddenly and at unpredictable angles. He’s a less powerful finisher than his size might indicate and needs to keep from spilling runs wide unnecessarily. He is a reliable threat out of the backfield with soft hands and a willingness to block. Gray has the potential to find work quickly as a three-down backup with future starter potential.

Lance Zierlein of on Eric Gray

Saquon Barkley was on the field for 854 total snaps in 2022. The Giants seldom gave Barkley a second to breathe due to their lack of depth at the position. With Gray backing up Barkley, New York can feel much more confident with a second rusher in the backfield.

In addition to being a solid runner behind Barkley, Gray can contribute as a pass-catcher in the Giants’ offense. He totaled 827 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns during his four-year collegiate career.

The Giants have one of the best running backs in the NFL with Saquon Barkley. However, Barkley alone should not carry the team’s rushing attack. Eric Gray could potentially help New York form a one-two punch on offense and carve himself out a solid role in the offense.

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