The New York Giants continue to do their due diligence as they prepare for the possibility of life without Saquon Barkley. With nine picks in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft, the club has been looking at running backs, presumably to take over the starting role as rumors swirl of Barkley’s possible departure.
While reports indicate they’ve made their admiration of Georgia running back James Cook known, the team is additionally looking to the FCS for options. The Draft Network’s Justin Melo reports the team has scheduled a private workout with South Dakota State standout senior Pierre Strong Jr. later this month.
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The dual-threat running back had a stellar NFL combine, impressing with his vertical and long jumps while running the fastest 40-yard dash at this year’s event, clocking in at 4.37 seconds.
Strong Jr., 23, had an impressive career with the Jackrabbits, winning the Mountain Valley Football Conference (MVFC) Freshman of the Year Award in 2018, as well as being named to the All-MVFC team three times and earning FCS All-American honors in 2021. His performance at the aforementioned combine has drawn wide interest and the Giants seem to be atop that list, having scheduled a private workout with the prospect.
Giants Also Eyeing Quarterback Prospect
It appears the Giants may not only be preparing for life without Barkley. While starting quarterback Daniel Jones appears a lock to be the starter for the upcoming season, the club has been showing plenty of interest in North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.
Having already sent scouts to watch Howell at North Carolina’s pro day last month, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported the team will also host Howell for a workout in East Rutherford.
The 21-year-old Tar Heel was named ACC Rookie of the Year back in 2019, also earning Second-Team All-ACC honors back in 2020. If the Giants are keen on drafting him, however, they seem to be facing stiff competition. Howell has already met with the Steelers and has scheduled visits with the Panthers, Colts, and Falcons. With Jones and newly-signed free agent Tyrod Taylor poised to be one and two on the depth chart respectively, Howell would be the third-string quarterback for this season.
Rumors have already been swirling, however, that Jones may not be a lock to remain the team’s starter beyond this season. The Giants could very well be planning to draft his successor this year, rather than wait until 2023.
Former Giants Running Back Dies At 52
Gary Brown, who played for the Giants in the final two seasons of his eight-year career passed away on Sunday, April 10 after battling cancer.
Following his retirement in 1999, Brown went on to have a lengthy coaching career. He enjoyed multiple stints as running backs coach, both in college with the likes of Rutgers and Wisconsin, as well as in the NFL with the Cowboys and Browns.
In his 1998 season with the Giants, he ran for a career-best 1,063 yards, playing a full 16 games while starting 11. Brown was in hospice care and had been suffering from “significant” health issues since 2019. His last season in coaching came in 2021 with the Wisconsin Badgers.