According to multiple reports, the New York Giants worked out several veteran runningbacks today. Among those runningbacks were former Giants D.J. Ware, Jeremy Wright, & Ryan Torain. Peyton Hillis was also brought in.
According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, all the try-outs are staying overnight for physicals tomorrow, so it’s hard to tell who is the favorite to get signed:
Don’t get too excited about which RBs are staying overnight after today’s workouts. It sounds like all 5 are staying overnight …
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) October 15, 2013
Here’s a breakdown of the four runningbacks we know tried out today (it seems as if there might be a fifth try-out, but I have not seen it posted anywhere who it was).
D.J. Ware – Ware was on the Giants for all or part of five seasons (’07-’11). Ironically, it was Da’Rel Scott who beat him out of a roster spot last season, which caused him to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a Giant, Ware had 81 carries for 324 yards (4 yards per carry) and 37 receptions for 252 yards). He was mainly a special teams player until really grabbing the third down back role during 2011. He mostly was utilized in pass protection and for third and long draw plays (a Kevin Gilbride favorite). He is nothing special, but is a solid third down back who already knows the Giants offense and roster. He has also been seen actively campaigning for this job on Twitter for a couple of weeks now.
Ryan Torain - Torain played two games for Denver (’08), eighteen in Washington (’11 & ’12), and two games for the Giants last season. His best year was in ’10 when he carried the ball 164 times for 742 yards (4.5 ypc). He also added 18 receptions that season. He was one of the last Giants cuts this season, so his familiarity with this team should give him a leg up, but he’s nothing special.
- Jeremy Wright - Wright is the one young guy that the Giants brought in. He was signed by them as an undrafted free agent in May, but did not stick with the team very long. Wright is 5’11, 205 and is known for his speed. He also returned kicks for Louisville. Wright could be a candidate for the practice squad spot the Giants opened today, but I wouldn’t expect him to be the one to take Scott’s spot.
Peyton Hillis - Hillis has been in the league for all or parts of the last six seasons. He has spent time in Denver (’08 & ’09), Cleveland (’10 & ’11), Kansas City (’12), and Tampa Bay (this season). He’s probably the most well-known, and accomplished, of the backs brought in. His career year was in ’10 when he broke out with 270 carries for 1177 yards (4.4 ypc) and 11 touchdowns. He also was very effective in the passing game, catching 61 passes for 477 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Browns refused to sign him to a long-term deal after his breakout year, and his numbers trailed off afterwards due to injuries which are a result of his tough running style. Although he has looked like a shell of his former self, Hillis is still only 27 and might have the most upside of any of the runningbacks. Hillis could also help out the terrible Giants screen game. Usually, I would think Hillis would have a disadvantage to the other tryouts because the Giants usually like to bring back former guys who know the system. However, it’s important to note Hillis spent this training camp with Tampa Bay whose offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan, came from the Giants and uses a similar system to Gilbride.
Overall, I don’t believe any of these runningbacks are going to come in here and light it up. I think Hillis might have the highest upside, but Ware is my current favorite to make the team. A lot of it might come down to the physicals tomorrow, as Hillis has had many injury issues the past couple of seasons. Ware has been out of football for a year, so they have to be sure he’s in game shape. Ryan Torain should be in the best shape of all the veterans, but the Giants had a long look at him during pre-season and clearly weren’t enamored with what they saw. No matter how you cut it, none of these guys are going to swoop in and save the Giants from their pitiful 0-6 start.