3. RB Javon Leake
The NY Giants signed Javon Leake as an undrafted free agent following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. A large reason for his signing was what he could potentially provide Big Blue in the return game.
At the University of Maryland, Leake had 59 career kick returns for 1,445 yards and three return touchdowns. He averaged 24.5 return yards per kickoff, with a high of 26.8 yards last season with the Terps.
While he was not used regularly at running back, he showed the ability to break off runs for big plays rushing 145 times for 1,144 yards and 17 touchdowns in his collegiate career. With an average of 7.9 yards per carry, Leake exhibited the potential to take it to the house every time he touched the ball.
Leake is not a legitimate threat to take over as an every-down running back, as he struggles to pound the ball up the gut.
However, he has incredible acceleration, especially to the outside, and has the breakaway speed to make defenses pay if he gets to the second level. In addition, he could be an option in the passing game, as he has solid receiving skills and is a threat if he can break free from the initial tackler.
Leake showed impressed head coach Joe Judge in the first scrimmage who said of Leake “He’s a guy that’s really coming on right now. He went out there and just played some ball and made some plays for us”. In addition, Judge has expressed that he is impressed with Leake’s ability to take coaching instruction and apply it to the game.
Obviously, barring something catastrophic, Saquon Barkley will get the bulk of the carries for the Giants, with Dion Lewis being his primary backup. Wayne Gallman is currently slotted as the third running back for the NY Giants.
However, a strong preseason could see Leake supplant Gallman. Given Gallman’s issues with injury last season, the fact that he is a draft pick from the previous general manager, and what Leake could potentially offer the Giants on special teams, it would not be a surprise to see Leake get the nod for a roster spot over Gallman with continued success in camp.
Chances he makes the final roster: 50%