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Could Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary present too much value for the Giants to pass?

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Devin Singletary is almost impossible to bring down. Could that be what the Giants’ need in Saquon Barkley’s backup?

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants probably aren’t going to be drafting a running back in 2019, at least not highly. However, things might get more fluid later on in the draft. They might decide that a player presents too much value to pass up, even if the depth chart is crowded. They might also decide to fomrally move on from Paul Perkins and that Wayne Gallman Jr.’s one-cut, straight-ahead, linear running style isn’t a good fit with what their offensive line can do.

In that case, they could find themselves selecting a running back with one of their many day selections.

And if FAU’s Devin Singletary happens to slip in the draft, they might find themselves interested. Singletary doesn’t fit with the mantra of “big people beat little people,” but nobody ever told Singletary that he was little, either.

Measurables

Pros

  • Incredible contact balance.
  • Hard, physical, high effort runner.
  • Runs with a forward lean, maximizing yards per carry.
  • Bounces off shoulder checks and runs through arm tackles.
  • Very quick feet with great vision.
  • Very productive. 4,287 yards and 66 touchdowns in three seasons at FAU.
  • Capable of running in zone or man concepts.

Cons

  • Pass protection needs work.
  • High-milage running back. Averaged 238 carries per season in college.
  • Size will be a concern for some teams.
  • Rarely used as a receiver.
  • Good burst, but isn’t explosive or truly fast.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Devin Singletary is a mighty tricky eval — one of the toughest I’ve hit this season. You’d like to project him to a zone style of play at the next level for his foot speed, change of direction, and vision — but his lack of elite burst and NFL level long speed limit his role here. Again, he’s strong on power concepts — but his lack of elite burst and speed again give me a nagging doubt as to his NFL transition.

If Singletary had been more involved in the passing game for the Owls, then I’d feel better about him as a change-of-pace scatback in Year 1 — and if you’re comfortable projecting that role for him by working him out in the passing game, then go for it. But as it stands, Singletary just seems to be missing that ideal home run piece to his eval. His testing interests me tremendously.

Does He Fit The Giants?

If the Giants decide to find a new backup for Saquon Barkley, Singletary could be an intriguing option. He is a smaller, high-mileage running back on whom the FAU offense leaned over the last three years, but he consistently responded.

He is also fun, bordering on amazing, to watch.

Singletary’s balance through contact is, frankly, absurd and lends him the ability to disregard everything but solid form tackles despite being just 200 pounds. He has a variety of strategies to keep his feet, from sinking his hips and absorb arm tackles or shoulder blocks, spinning off of would-be tacklers, keeping a wide foot track and run through weak or off-target tackle attempts, or jump-cutting out of the way of players lunging at him. And when he takes solid contact, Singletary isn’t afraid to run behind his pads and keep his legs churning to pick up every inch he can before he is finally brought down.

He does a good job of varying his tempo to throw off defenders’ angles and shows a great burst through the hole, though he doesn’t seem to have much of a top gear beyond that.

His size will likely get him looked at as a third down back at the next level, but he should be able to contribute on all three downs. However, a team that primarily looks at their running backs as blockers in the passing game won’t like his pass protection. Singletary is a willing blocker, both for his quarterback and for his teammates on sweeps or screen plays. However, he isn’t very good at it. He doesn’t seem to bring that same fire, determination, and physicality as a blocker as he does as a runner -- though that might be more a function of not being sure of his technique. That being said, he is a capable receiver and could be viable in “scat” protection as a check-down option. He wasn’t often used as a receiver in FAU’s offense, but the traits are there for him to be a dangerous weapon in space in the passing game.

Where he falls in the draft is something of a mystery at this time. Teams could look at him as a small, small-school third down back with a lot of touches under his belt and drop him down draft boards. Or they could fall in love with his highlight-reel carries in which he weathers waves of defenders while refusing to be tackled -- not to mention the fact that he averaged 22 touchdowns a year.

If the value was right, Singletary would be a fit for the Giants offense and wouldn’t limit their play-calling. But whether or not the value is right on draft weekend remains to be seen.