As we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90 men who will make up the roster when the New York Giants open training camp this summer, let's look at a young running back who made a good impression in roughly half a season with the Giants a year ago. That would be Orleans Darkwa.
2014 Season in Review
An undrafted free agent out of Tulane, Darkwa starred during the preseason and made the Miami Dolphins 53-man roster. There was little playing time, though, as he carried just four times for two yards and caught three passes before being dropped to the Miami practice squad.
The Giants picked him up when Michael Cox went on IR with a broken leg. Injuries that hobbled starter Rashad Jennings and ended the season of reserve Peyton Hillis also left a role for the 23-year-old. He played in six games with the Giants, carrying the ball five times for 21 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and catching two passes for 17 yards.
The Giants were impressed by Darkwa's ability to learn, to catch the ball, and to be a useful player on special teams.
2015 Season Outlook
The Giants did not draft a running back. They did, however, make a big move at the position by signing free agent Shane Vereen to be their pass-catching, change-of-pace back. Cox and Chris Ogbannaya are gone, leaving Darkwa to compete with undrafted free agents Akeem Hunt (Purdue) and Kenneth Harper (Temple) for the fourth running back spot. If, that is, the Giants ultimately keep four running backs.
Darkwa's varied skill set, special teams ability and the positive impression he made on the coaching staff a season ago should give him a significant edge over Hunt and Harper heading into the preseason.