Would the New York Giants really draft a running back in the 2019 NFL draft? They just spent the second overall pick on Saquon Barkley, who earned the title of Offensive Rookie of The Year.
That being said, they could decide they want a runner who can make defenders miss to spell Barkley and keep their investment from being over-worked. If that is the case, they could look to select a running back to compete with (or replace) Wayne Gallman. In that event, could they look at Washington running back Myles Gaskin?
- Patient behind the line of scrimmage with a good burst through the hole.
- Quick feet and loose hips give him impressive change of direction ability.
- Able to get skinny running inside and has the speed to get the edge on off-tackle runs.
- Capable receiver out of the backfield or lined up as a receiver.
- Able to absorb reps - was a workhorse back for years at Washington.
- Good acceleration in the open field. Hits his top speed quickly to pick up chunk yardage.
- Consistently productive. Racked up at least 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns in each of his four years at Washington.
- Has a lot of touches under his belt (1,010 in four years).
- Size will concern some teams.
- Likely limited to a zone running scheme in the NFL.
- Missed the Senior Bowl with a shoulder injury.
Numbers of Note
Statistics from Dan Pizzuta
- Gaskin had just a 21.6 percent broken tackle rate, which was only 73rd among players with at least 100 carries in 2018, per Sports Info Solutions.
- His 26.3 percent first down rate was also well below those of the top backs in this class. He was also behind a below average run blocking offensive line, one that ranked 66th in Adjusted Line Yards, per Football Outsiders.
- Gaskin only had 21 receptions for 77 yards in 2018 and there were a lot of struggles in the screen game. Gaskin had eight receptions on screens for seven yards, however, per SIS those seven yards came with 53 yards after the catch and four broken tackles.
What They’re Saying
“Despite his smaller frame, Gaskin has been a highly productive back for the Huskies across four seasons and is the school’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer. While he’s proven capable of being the lead-back in college, his role in the NFL comes as a rotational player. Gaskin is a nuanced runner that combines his outstanding field vision with decisive running, elusive ability and contact balance to find production. He is a multifaceted back that should be able to factor into the mix early in his career. By year three, Gaskin is capable of being a regular and valuable contributor to the offense.”
- Joe Marino (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Myles Gaskin does fit what the Giants seem to want out of a running back. He has the ability to make defenders miss and create on his own as a running back, as well as the ability to line up in the slot or out wide as a receiver.
And while he doesn’t have anything like Saquon Barkley’s explosive athleticism and ability to turn slivers of daylight into highlight reel touchdowns, he is remarkably tough for defenders to bring down. His has good contact balance, quick feet, and “oily” hips. He shows the ability to use subtle fakes to set defenders up then make them whiff once they break down to tackle him. As a receiver, he should be able to execute the same plays as Barkley, moving around the offensive formation to force and exploit match-ups.
And given the amount of touches he has already accumulated, serving as a back-up to a player like Barkley isn’t a bad idea.
Of course, that’s if the Giants decide that they should spend a draft pick on him.
Wyane Gallman is a perfectly capable running back in his own right, and his direct, one-cut, no-nonsense running style is a good contrast to Barkley’s style. The Giants probably didn’t give Gallman (or fullback Eli Penny, for that matter) enough touches in 2018. Even if Gaskin is drafted on the third day, they might have trouble justifying it.