After some additional confirmation, we now know that New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain just before halftime in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Barkley could, reportedly, be out anywhere from four to eight weeks. With third year pro Wayne Gallman as the only other healthy running back on the Giants’ roster, they will have to make a move to fill out their depth chart while Barkley recovers. Which moves might the Giants make to give them options at running back?
1) Jon Hilliman
Promoting Hilliman from the practice squad is, honestly, the most likely move for the Giants. The Giants really liked Hilliman for the work he showed as an undrafted rookie throughout camp and the preseason. He doesn’t have the shiftiness of Barkley or the recently waived Paul Perkins, but he knows the playbook and was consistently able to make positive yardage.
This move is even more likely if the Giants only expect Barkley to be gone for a month or so. If they expect him to be gone longer, perhaps putting him on the IR with a designation to return, the calculus could change and they might look to a veteran option.
2) Christine Michael
Michael has never truly lived up to his athletic potential. An Scouting Combine phenom back in the 2013 NFL Draft, Michael is strong, agile, and explosively agile. But the production has never measured up to Michael’s considerable upside. But beggers can’t choosers at this point in the calendar. The Giants are unlikely to find a player with more athletic upside than Michael.
3) C.J. Anderson
A former undrafted free agent, Anderson has been a productive running back in the NFL, having a 1,000-yard season as recently as 2017. Anderson began the 2019 season with the Detroit Lions, but was waived just this past week as a corresponding roster move when Detroit picked up Paul Perkins off of waivers. Anderson would likely be able to come in and be productive, and this would have a very “circle of life” feel to it.
4) Javorius Allen
Also known as “Buck,” Allen is a former fourth-round draft pick who is coming off a bad year with the Baltimore Ravens, but offers upside as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield. He had been with the New Orleans Saints over the summer but was released with an injury settlement before the preseason. If he is healthy he could be worth a look.
5) Akeem Hunt
Why don’t we finish with a homecoming story. Hunt originally came in to the league as an undrafted free agent signed by the Giants in 2015. He flashed in his first training camp and preseason, showing impressive burst in space as a running back, pass catcher, and as a returner. Hunt could offer the speed, agility, and playmaking ability that Gallman lacks, as well as some upside on special teams.