One question going into the 2015 season is who will be the starting running back for the New York Giants. The Giants need to get more out of their running game, their ground attack ranked 23rd overall in the NFL this past season.
Andre Williams led the Giants in carries in his rookie season with 217. Williams averaged only 3.3 yards per carry and had 721 yards to his name. Rashad Jennings had an injury riddled 2014 season, and he had 167 carries. Jennings averaged 3.8 yards per carry and had 639 yards.
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Neither running back has shown to be all that great. It is important to note that the offensive line’s poor performance had a hand in the lack of production from the running game. The one area that Jennings has outshined Williams in is as a receiving option out of the backfield. Jennings had 30 receptions for 226 yards.
In Ben McAdoo’s west coast offense the running back needs to be a viable option in the passing game. Therefore the preliminary edge goes to Jennings to be the starter. The Giants understand however that in today’s NFL you need to lean on two or more running backs. It would not be surprising to see the Giants add another running back to their roster, most likely through the 2015 NFL Draft.
Williams and Jennings are not workhorses. Neither back is a superstar that demands 25 touches a game for the Giants to win. They are role players. Williams is dangerous in the open field. Jennings is a veteran who understands pass protection as well as how to impact the game as a receiver out of the backfield. The Giants need to bring in a running back that can grind out the tough yards.
There are many options for running backs in the draft. Running backs generally start going off the board in the second round. The Giants have bigger needs in the first two rounds. Here are three running backs the Giants could realistically draft in the 3rd round that would fit their needs.
- Duke Johnson (Miami): Johnson is a physical runner with vision and an elusiveness that make him a flashy playmaker.
- Josh Robinson (Mississippi State): Robinson is a bowling ball; he is hard to bring down. This is a physical runner that can get the tough yards inside.
- David Cobb (Minnesota): Cobb is a downhill runner with a low center of gravity and a pretty tough stiff arm. Cobb is also very good as a receiver out of the backfield.
The Giants need to get more out of their running game no matter who Eli Manning hands the football off to. Jennings is a better and more dynamic running back than Williams and therefore will likely be the starter. Make no mistake however this will be a running back by committee kind of an arrangement.