Saquon Barkley is obviously cemented atop the New York Giants running back depth chart. However, over the past few seasons, Big Blue has frequently shuffled the bodies behind arguably the most talented player in all of football. Names such as Jonathan Stewart, Jon Hilliman and Buck Allen are some of the first to come to mind.
This offseason was no different. New York opted not to re-up Allen’s contract following an underwhelming 10 weeks with the team. While Barkley’s primary backup for the majority of the past two years, Wayne Gallman, is a serious cut candidate following the addition of former Tennessee Titans scat-back Dion Lewis.
Lewis gives the Giants a proven commodity behind Barkley who can positively impact the game, both through the air and on the ground. However, that may not be enough to land him the RB2 gig according to one personnel executive.
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Can Javon Leake Beat Out Dion Lewis for Giants RB2 Gig?
A quick glimpse of their take on New York’s running back position, and you can see why.
[Dion] Lewis provides a change of pace in a niche role the Giants didn’t have last season. He “might have something left” despite being 29 years old. The undrafted rookie [Javon] Leake has a chance to beat him out.
Leake is an extremely intriguing player with plenty of tread left on the tires. He received just 155 offensive touches during his three-year run at Maryland. According to The Draft Network, Leake “may be a much better pro than college player,” with “big potential payoff as a spot player.”
Since 2017, there haven’t been many running backs that deserve the tag “home-run threat” quite like Leake. Over his college career, Leake scored an average of one rushing touchdown for every 8.5 carries he received.
Last season marked the first year that Maryland truly gave Leake an extended look in the backfield. The running back made the most of the added opportunity, leading his team in rushing with 736 yards, while averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per carry.
With that said, Leake will likely need to prove his worth on special teams before challenging Lewis for the RB2 role in New York, something he’s certainly capable of.
The Next Tevin Coleman?
Don’t let Leake, who DraftWire pegged “a Tevin Coleman clone,” and his poor 4.65 40-yard dash at this year’s combine fool you, the man is electric. While he was listed as a running back for the Terps, it was on special teams where he earned his fictional money.
Over his final two years at Maryland, Leake averaged 25.5 yards per kickoff return, including three touchdowns.
The Giants UDFA is hoping that he can bring that same game-changing ability to the NFL.
“I talked to a lot of coaches at the combine, and all of them said the same thing, which is special teams,” Leake told DraftWire. “They were telling me how guys in the league last a long time playing special teams, stuff like that.”
“Knowing the team player I am, I’ll play kick returner, running back, gunner,” Leake added. “I like doing stuff. I’m just learning. As a rookie, I don’t expect to start. I just expect to learn.”