Paul Perkins might be the number one running back on the New York Giants depth chart, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the team’s workhorse.
Since the New York Giants coaching staff likes all of their running backs and what each one of them brings to the table, we’re likely to see the same strategy the organization has used over the past few seasons—running back by committee.
Only once last season did a Giants running back carry the ball 20 times or more, and you can expect the same this season.
Paul Perkins is the starter, so he figures to get around 15 touches a game. But Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen and rookie Wayne Gallman will get their share of touches as well. In the fourth quarter, expect the Giants to keep whoever has been the most productive in the game.
Barring injury, expect Perkins to be the Giants leading rusher. But with the depth at his position, he may not become the first Giants running back since Ahmad Bradshaw (2012) to rush for 1,000 yards.
As far as specialty roles are concerned, Vereen will continue to play the role of third-down back. With opposing teams looking to take away the Giants’ wide receivers, expect Vereen to have around 50 receptions for the season.
As far as the goal-line duties go, Darkwa seems to be the man for the job—especially with what we’ve seen during training camp and each preseason game. He scored on a one-yard run against the Jets and has been getting the goal-line touches for most of the summer. At 219 pounds, he is the heaviest of the backs on the roster, so it makes sense that he does the dirty work inside the one-yard line.
Lastly, the Giants believe Gallman—their 2017 fourth-round selection out of Clemson University—can do a little bit of everything, especially when running in between the tackles. As long as he doesn’t get beat on his blitz pickups, there’s a chance his role will increase as the season goes on.
The Giants may not have a superstar back on their roster like some teams, but they do have several talented players that can each do a little bit of everything.
If the line can open holes, the Giants ground attack will be much better this season than the one that finished 29th last year.