EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 30: Wayne Gallman #22 of the New York Giants scores a fourth quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Fourth-year running back Wayne Gallman is one of several backs who will compete to be Saquon Barkley’s primary backup.

Jason Leach

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman is one of many players who will look to prove to new head coach Joe Judge that they deserve a roster spot once training camp opens.

Former general manager Jerry Reese selected Gallman in the fourth round of the 2017 draft (No. 140 overall). He appeared in 13 games during his rookie season, serving primarily as the backup to Giants 2017 rushing leader Orleans Darkwa. Gallman gained 476 yards on 111 carries and caught 34 passes for 193 yards and one score through the air.

That offseason, some felt Gallman may be the lead back in 2018 with the Giants not showing interest in re-signing Darkwa. Nonetheless, all of that changed on draft day when the Giants took Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick.

Although he never admitted this publicly, as a competitor, you know Gallman was disappointed he didn’t earn the opportunity to be the lead back.

In his second season, his production dipped in almost every facet. His total number of carries dropped from 111 to 51 and his yards-per-carry mark dropped from 4.3 to 3.5. He additionally caught just 14 passes for 89 yards. Everybody knew Gallman’s playing time would decrease dramatically with the addition of Barkley, but he and the Giants were hoping he would be more effective when he stepped onto the field.

The 2019 season brought more of the same for Gallman. Despite starting two games last year due to Barkley’s high ankle sprain, it was another unproductive campaign for the former Clemson Tiger. He finished the year with just 29 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns along with 11 receptions for 102 yards and one score through the air.

Gallman is one of the few players remaining from the Reese era, which shows the Giants brass believes in his potential. But when the training camp period commences, he’ll need to be productive, or else he may see even less playing time in 2020.

The Giants recently added free-agent running back Dion Lewis, a versatile back who will certainly be used in third-down situations and also come in whenever Barkley needs rest. Lewis is accustomed to backing up a workhorse running back as well. He did so last season with the Tennessee Titans, who employed league rushing champ Derrick Henry.

In addition to Lewis, Jonathan Hilliman will also be competing with Gallman for playing time in the Giants backfield.

When you’re a running back and Barkley is your teammate, you need to make the most of your limited opportunities. Gallman is a talented player, but he’s been unproductive the last two seasons, and now that position group is becoming crowded.

Judge likes competition and has said repeatedly that he wants versatile and physical players. Gallman possesses those attributes, but unlike the previous two seasons, he’s not a lock to make the final roster.

The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract. If he wants the Giants or another team to sign him next offseason, he must produce immediately.

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