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Better or worse? New York Giants running back position

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There appears to be better depth behind Saquon Barkley

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The New York Giants have Saquon Barkley. As long as he is healthy the team is in good/great/extraordinary hands at the running back position.

We know that. The point of our position-by-position preview exercise, though, is to discuss whether or not the Giants are better at whatever position we are focused on. So, are they better at running back in 2020?

Key losses: Buck Allen
Key additions: Dion Lewis

Why the Giants might be better

If Barkley is healthier in 2020 than he was in 2019 the Giants will be better at running back. It’s really that simple, and I could probably stop writing now. Barkley was transcendent as a rookie in 2018, gaining 2,028 yards from scrimmage to lead the league and become just the third rookie to crack the 2,000-yard barrier. He was good in 2019, but the year was much more of a grind as he missed three games with a high ankle sprain and played several others at less than 100 percent.

There are, though, a couple of other reasons to feel good about the Giants’ running backs.

Dion Lewis, a nine-year veteran signed as a free agent, gives the Giants something they did not have when Barkley — and then Wayne Gallman — went down to injuries a year ago. An accomplished, solid backup. Lewis has averaged 4.3 yards on 538 career carries, and has 172 receptions. He also has the trust of coach Joe Judge. having played three seasons for him with the New England Patriots.

Gallman and Jon Hilliman, who backed up Barkley a year ago, are back again. That’s fine, though whether either or both can make the roster is debatable. My latest roster prediction includes neither player. Undrafted free agent Javon Leake, who has big-play ability as a runner and kickoff returner, may prove to be an upgrade as the team’s third back.

Why the Giants might be worse

Barkley could be injured again, or miss time due to illness with COVID-19 a fact of every day life right now. Lewis, 30 in September, could hit that wall all older NFL running backs eventually smack into. Gallman, Hilliman and Leake, if called upon, could have recurrences of the ball security issues they have displayed in the past.

Final thoughts

As I said at the beginning, this comes down to Barkley. Is he healthy enough to show us the 2018 version of himself, or does he have to grind through another difficult season?

Poll

Are the Giants better or worse at running back than they were in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Better
    (695 votes)
  • 0%
    Worse
    (8 votes)
  • 15%
    The same
    (130 votes)
833 votes total Vote Now