Corey Clement has lived the life of an NFL backup. Some fleeting opportunities, even a flash of glory, but lots of sitting and watching others play his position. Now, he seeks to kick-start his career with the New York Giants.
Let’s take a closer look at Clement as we continuing profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.
Position: Running back
Career to date
Clement was a star at Wisconsin, gaining 1,375 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns as a senior. In what turned out to be fairly accurate scouting report, here is what Bucky’s 5th Quarter, SB Nation’s Wisconsin web site, wrote about Clement before the 2017 nFL Draft:
Strengths: Looks the part. Clement is rocked up, with a cut upper body and thick lower half. Has experience in an NFL-style run game. Shows solid foot quickness, especially in the hole. Has shown the ability to break tackles and bounce off of arm tackles. Exhibits good hands, effortlessly catches the ball. Is creative after the catch, hard to bring down. Has return experience.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have above average speed. Gets caught from behind on longer runs. Has shown propensity to fumble. Was taken out of the game in pass protection situations. Off-field issues in 2015. Lacks a standout trait. Struggles to create more than what is blocked up for him. Can be a bit stiff athletically. Isn’t very explosive.
Summary: Clement was a very productive back over his four seasons in Madison. While he doesn’t have the featured athleticism that some of this predecessors had, he was a threat out of the backfield for the Badgers, and shows some versatility to have the potential to be a third-down back, which would help out his case a lot. Has return experience and will need to excel on special teams to help cement his spot on an NFL roster. Should have a nice NFL career as a rotational back.
Clement was a hero of Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII victory with four receptions for 100 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown. In truth, though, he never established himself as more than a bit player in the Eagles’ backfield rotation.
As a rookie in 2017, he gained a career-best 321 yards on 74 carries (4.3 yards per rushing attempt) and scored 4 touchdowns. He was pre-empted as the backup, though, by a midseason trade for Jay Ajayi.
In 2018, Clement watched Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood get most of the work after Ajayi went on IR after just four games.
In 2019, Clement did not earn a single carry in four games before landing on iR.
Last season, Clement carried only 21 times as Miles Sanders and Boston Scott were Philadelphia’s primary running backs.
We have, at times, seen the pass protection issues. He has also fumbled 6 times in 200 touches, once every 33.3 times he has had the ball. booker has 8 fumbles in 504 touches, once every 63.0 times he has had the ball. Barkley has 1 fumble in 646 touches. Armstead did not have a fumble in 49 2019 touches.
Clement has also dealt with season-ending injuries, a shoulder in 2018 and a knee injury that limited him to four games in 2019.
5 questions with Bleeding Green Nation
Brandon Lee Gowton of BGN gives us the lowdown on Clement’s time with the Eagles and what he might be able to do for the Giants.
Ed: Why did the Eagles move on from Clement?
BLG: Clement failed to build on the promise he showed as a rookie. Injuries seemingly sapped the potential that once had people excited about his outlook. After logging 4.3 yards per rushing attempt and 12.3 yards per reception over 16 games in 2017, Clement dropped to just 3.75 and 8, respectively, in his last 30 games. The Eagles gave him plenty of time to rebound to form and he just never did. Any small chance of him returning was wiped out with Philly bringing back Jordan Howard, drafting Kenny Gainwell, and claiming Kerryon Johnson off waivers.
Ed: How would you describe his career in Philly?
BLG: Well, no one will be forgetting about how he led the Eagles in receiving during Super Bowl LII with four catches for 100 yards and one fantastic touchdown reception. But it’s disappointing that that ended up being his peak. It felt like Clement could be a nice piece for years to come and such an outcome didn’t come close to materializing.
Ed: How much can he contribute in the pass game, both as a receiver and a blocker?
The book on Clement coming out of Wisconsin was that he wasn’t a natural third down back. He only had 29 receptions in college for 279 yards. Upon arriving to Philly, though, former Eagles running back Duce Staley challenged Clement to lose weight and hone his skills. Sure enough, Clement put the work in and became a valuable role player as both a pass-catcher and blocker as a rookie.Now, can he still be a valuable contributor? I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. Maybe being further removed from injury and going to a new system will help him. It’s just been so long since we’ve seen it, though. He might just be done.
Ed: Will you be surprised if he is a useful player for the Giants?
BLG: Depends on the definition of useful. I’ll be shocked if he’s a major contributor. It’s not unthinkable that he could regain form as a decent committee back. Though, again, I do really wonder if he just might be done after the injuries he dealt with in both college and the NFL. For his sake, I hope he has something left in the tank.
Clement is part of a suddenly crowded Giants backfield behind Saquon Barkley. The Giants have veteran backs Devontae Booker, Clement and Ryquell Armstead. They drafted Gary Brightwell in the sixth round. They also have fullbacks Elijhaa Penny and Cullen Gillaspia.
Booker figures to be safe based how aggressively the Giants pursued him in free agency, quickly signing him to a two-year, $5.5 million contract with $2 million guaranteed.
There does not figure to be room on the 53-man roster for all three of Brightwell, Armstead and Clement.
There are going to be a lot of factors involved in whether or not Clement makes the 53-man roster. Barkley’s health. Armstead’s recovery from a season lost to COVID-19. Brightwell’s readiness. Clement’s ball security.
Right now, with no practice access to see what players look like or how they are being utilized, I would guess that Clement makes the team. His role, though, would be a small one behind Barkley, Booker and possibly even Armstead. If Brightwell and Armstead both impress this summer, Clement could be the odd man out.