The New York Giants have added yet another running back into the fold behind starter Saquon Barkley. Just two days after inking former Eagle Corey Clement to a contract, the team has now brought in ex-Jaguar Ryquell Armstead.
The team claimed the 24-year-old off of waivers on Tuesday, one day after he was cut by Jacksonville. Armstead finishes his Jaguars career with 108 rushing yards on 35 carries in 16 games (one start) — all of which came in his rookie season. He also flashed as an outlet receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 14 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Born in Bridgeton, NJ, Armstead played his high school ball at Millville Senior High School (NJ), before taking his talents to close-by Temple University. A two-year starter for the Owls, Armstead finished his collegiate career with 2,812 rushing yards and 34 rushing touchdowns, each of which rank within the top-four all-time in program history.
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Armstead Was Rumored to Be in Line for Starting Job Last Season
A fifth-round pick by the Jags in 2019, Armstead is coming off a lost season in 2020. According to ESPN, some within the Jacksonville organization viewed Armstead as the heir apparent at running back after dealing away Leonard Fournette. Instead, the former first-team All-AAC selection went on to miss the entirety of last year after an extreme battle with COVID-19.
Insider Adam Schefter detailed Armstead’s multiple stints on the reserve/COVID-19 list during a column back in October of 2020, which included being hospitalized twice due to health complications:
Armstead has been hospitalized twice and has suffered from a variety of complications connected to the virus, including significant respiratory issues, and has been hit harder than some expected.
Jacksonville placed Armstead on the reserve/COVID-19 list twice this season — the second time coming during the first week in September, when head coach Doug Marrone said he couldn’t ‘put an exact timetable’ on Armstead’s recovery but noted that ‘he’ll be out a while.’
Of course in Armstead’s absence, undrafted free agent James Robinson shined, finishing second amongst all NFL rookies with 1,070 rushing yards. To further crowd the backfield in Jacksonville, the team opted to use one of their two first-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft on the ever-electric Travis Etienne, out of Clemson. Add in the presence of receiving back Dare Ogunbowale, as well as the off-season signing of former 1,000-yard rusher Carlos Hyde, and the team no longer had any need for Armstead — a player they appeared ready to hand their backfield over to less than 12 months ago.
Overview of Big Blue’s Backfield
Armstead is just the latest addition to a revamped backfield in East Rutherford. The team has gone out of their way to rework the depth chart behind starter Saquon Barkley this offseason. Wayne Gallman, Devonta Freeman, Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis — the team’s four leading rushers at the position in 2020 — are no longer with the team. In their place, the Giants went and signed veteran Devontae Booker and used a sixth-round pick on Arizona’s Gary Brightwell to go along with the aforementioned signing of Corey Clement.
More than likely it will be Booker who will man the majority of snaps behind Barkley this coming season. However, it’s become ever-so apparent in recent days that the team is not yet content with the position behind Booker.
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