The New York Giants will have a different rotation of backup running backs in 2021. The team moved on from Wayne Gallman after his best season by letting him walk in free agency, and most of the other names that manned the running back spot last season have been replaced. This should, hopefully, be a change for the better.
The team’s rushing performance left much to be desired last year, without Barkley. The Giants’ top weapon is expected to return for the start of the season, but if Barkley isn’t healthy for week one, this year’s lineup of backups may have more potential. The Giants have a number of names signed to the position, but three stand out in specific.
The number one name that the Giants signed to serve a backup role. Essentially, Booker is the player that the front office is betting will outperform Gallman. Gallman had his best season last year and the Giants still let him walk away to San Francisco, instead preferring this signing.
Statistically, Booker was a worse player last season compared to the one he’s replacing. However, he was only able to start in one game with the Raiders and also had less carries. It looks like his performance would have been on par with or exceeded Gallman if he’d had more time on the field.
Notably, Booker had 612 yards and 4 touchdowns as a rookie with the Denver Broncos. Just like the Giants signed John Ross at receiver, it seems like they’re betting on the player’s previous potential with this addition.
Whether that’s a good idea or not when the Giants had a chance to bring back a more proven player that had experience in their organization already remains to be seen.
Corey Clement is the other new veteran addition and previously played within the division for the Eagles. This season, he’ll be making the swap to their rivals and comes off a season where he didn’t get to do much. He had 75 yards on only 21 attempts over 15 games, and his longest rush was only 7 yards.
However, he posted 321 and 259 yards during his first two seasons in the league before ending up on the injured reserve in 2019. This injury would be part of the reason why he had a limited number of rushes in 2020.
That’s not to say Clement doesn’t add anything. He may very well get on the field more in 2021 and had more special teams snaps than offensive ones. As Joe Judge comes from a special teams background, it’s very possible that Judge himself pushed for this signing due to Clement’s ability to help out both in the offense and in that area.
As part of a larger rotation, it looks like Clement is a promising new addition.
Gary Brightwell is the rookie of the bunch, and could be another late round success story after the Giants selected him in the sixth round. He was a one year starter in three seasons with the Arizona Wildcats, and he has a reputation as a physical player who works well in zone running schemes.
Despite this skill in tight areas, though, one shouldn’t expect Brightwell to take the backup job by storm this season. Based on his college performances and the combine, most scouts only give him an average rating when it comes to his physical skills such as raw speed and agility.
You can expect Brightwell to have to spend some time getting used to the faster pace of the NFL and the more physical opposition, but we may see him get into the rotation more on special teams which would still be a successful season for a late round draft pick such as him.