The New York Giants will enter training camp on July 21st with a stable of six running backs on the 90-man roster. The depth chart includes experienced power commodities in Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis, a pro-style rookie in Andre Williams and a still yet to be medically cleared David Wilson. It’s the two runners caught betwixt and between, however, that have peaked the curiosity of Giants RB coach Craig Johnson: 2nd year back Michael Cox and 2nd year UDFA Kendall Gaskins.
“Two guys you probably haven’t heard much about, Michael Cox, a second-year back that was a late draft choice last year, big, strong, physical, can make plays,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him and Kendall Gaskins, both of them, in pads.
“They’re young guys, they want to prove it. They’re hungry and they want to go after it. All the backs are pretty good size and pretty physical so I’m excited about the position.”
Cox was active during 11 of 16 games as a rookie, but he only took offensive snaps in three of them. Overall, he carried the rock 22 times for 43 yards, and took back 20 kickoffs at a clip of 21.8 per return. NJ.com reports that, according to the players, Cox “had one of the best, most consistent times during the team’s timed sprint workouts this offseason.” Watching him burst through the Lions special teams unit last season, it’s not hard to imagine why:
Gaskins, who profiles more as “hybrid” fullback type at 6’1 240, spent time on the Buffalo and Tennessee practice squads in 2013. He built sleeper appeal after scoring 34 career rushing touchdowns for D-1 FCS Richmond between 2009-2012. Gaskins ran a less than impressive 4.7 forty-yard dash at his Pro Day last year, but he did bench press 20 reps of 225 lbs and displayed vertical explosion. He’s a tough cookie to bring to the turf with a head of steam:
Both youngsters will have a long road to haul just to crack the Giants 53-man roster, but their purposeful running has them on the watch list. Two of the four RB’s in front of them are currently injured, and a third is a rookie who struggled with collegiate pass protection. In other words… stranger things have happened.