Should the NY Giants consider bringing back running back Javon Leake?

Javon Leake (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
Javon Leake (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

Javon Leake was one of the more surprising NY Giants’ roster cuts this offseason; with the rushing attack floundering, should they bring him back?

Even though the NY Giants just added veteran running back Alfred Morris to their practice squad, the running back room is still in dire need of playmakers.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a unit that ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yards, yards-per-attempt, and rushing TD’s could use a boost, and even though Devonta Freeman should be able to help improve the unit once he gets up to speed the NY Giants should be looking for more long-term answers at the position.

Morris, Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman, and even Freeman don’t appear to have a future with the NY Giants past the 2020 season so it would behoove of management to find a running back that they can develop on the practice squad.

As terrific as Saquon Barkley is, he has been injury-prone so far during his young NFL career, and finding a young running back with the potential to step-in for Barkley should he ever go down again would be a very positive thing.

Although the team does have international prospect Sandro Platzgummer on its practice squad, he doesn’t count against the 16-man limit due to the NY Giants being randomly chosen at the division that gets an extra player to add to its practice squad through this NFL initiative.

I’ll admit I don’t know much about Plazgummer, but I can’t imagine he has much of a future in the NFL.

That makes me wonder if the NY Giants should consider bringing back 2020 UDFA out of Maryland, Javon Leake, who many had high hopes for heading into the season.

Leake was a priority UDFA signing for Big Blue and was given a 75K signing bonus – third-highest on the team – before being surprisingly cut near the end of training camp.

Leake was unfortunately stuck behind 2020 fourth-round draft pick Anthony McFarland Jr. at Maryland who wound up with the Pittsburgh Steelers and as a result, was never really able to show what he could do as an every-down ‘back.

McFarland was a 24/7 Sports Top-100 recruit and a very productive running back at Maryland, so Javon Leake was relegated to more of a change-of-pace running back and return specialist — two things he did extraordinarily well.

Leake only received 145 carries during his three years at Maryland but made the most out of them, rushing for 1,144 yards on a robust 7.9 yards-per-attempt. Pigeon-holed as a scatback, Leake actually possesses good size for a running back at 6’0”, 210-pounds and I would love to see if he could translate that size into a different type of running style in the NFL.

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He was also a dynamic kick returner with the Terps, making the First-Team All-Big-10 squad as a kick returner as a senior and totaling 1,445 return yards on a 24.5 average with 3 return TD’s in his career — 804 of those yards and 2 TD’s came during his junior season alone.

The NY Giants have used a mix of players to return kicks so far in 2020 and the results haven’t been pretty as the group has averaged just 18.8 yards-per-return on 6 attempts.

At the very least, Leake could give Big Blue a big boost as an explosive kick returner and it would seem to be worth giving him any looks Wayne Gallman would otherwise get as his career with the NY Giants seems all but over.

Could the NY Giants fit him onto their roster?

Right now, the NY Giants have just 14 players listed on their practice squad on the team’s official website. Alfred Morris is missing from that list and will be added at some point, but that should leave one spot open for Leake.

Even if the squad was full, you could make a sound argument that Leake would deserve a spot over numerous players on the practice squad, especially considering how awful the rushing attack and kick returning has been so far.

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I’m not sure what changed over the course of the offseason to see the NY Giants go from handing Leake the third-highest signing bonus of any UDFA to cutting him before the end of camp, but at this point, he simply can’t be any worse than the options Big Blue has trotted out so far.

I say give him another chance, especially since this rebuilding season is going downhill fast and the mani objective should be to try to uncover diamonds in the rough that could potentially be here for the long haul — Leake could very well fit that billing.