Giants’ second-year RB could play larger role in 2024

New York Giants running back Eric Gray (20) carries the ball as Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Roby (33) and linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) pursue during the second half at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There is a strong likelihood that New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley will play elsewhere next season. As a result, the Giants could ask for Eric Gray to play a larger role in 2024.

Eric Gray saw limited usage in his rookie season

Gray saw limited playing time as a rookie in 2023, only getting 17 rushing attempts in 13 games. The majority of his playing time came on special teams, where he played 26% of the snaps and returned seven punts and four kickoffs. He was rarely utilized in the passing game, only catching six passes for 22 yards last season.

The Giants used the end of last season to get a good look at Gray

The Giants increased Gray’s offensive workload towards the end of the 2023 season. They made him the primary backup to Barkley for the last few games of the season as they wanted to get a good look at him ahead of the offseason.

With the Giants’ primary offensive areas to address being offensive line and wide receiver, it’s less likely that they look to sign a veteran free-agent running back with whatever money to spend if Barkley does not return. Several teams like to utilize a “running back by committee” scheme, where they mix and match their options and split carries with multiple backs as opposed to using one main rusher — something which the Giants could formally adopt in 2024.

Gray could be the primary rusher in a more pass-heavy offense next season

The Giants need to have a clearer emphasis on improving the passing offense in 2024. Their passing attack struggled tremendously in 2023 and was one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the NFL. For Gray, that would make him, in theory, the primary running back, and he could be in line to have a larger role in their running game.

The fifth-round draft selection showed a lot of potential during his time at Tennessee and Oklahoma, and next season could be his first real opportunity to showcase what he can do at the professional level.

Follow this writer on X: @DylanBacker_

Mentioned in this article:

More about: