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Giants 2021 roster profile: FB Elijhaa Penny faces challenge for his job

Can penny’s versatility land him another season on the 53-man roster?

NFL: SEP 20 Giants at Bears
Elijhaa Penny
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Elijhaa Penny has been with the New York Giants for three seasons, and in the NFL for four. That’s an eternity in a league where many teams don’t even carry fullbacks, and where only 22 are even under contract on 90-man rosters entering training camp.

Can Penny, who has a challenger this summer in former Houston Texans fullback Cullen Gillaspia, earn another season with the Giants?

Let’s take a look as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 234
Age: Turns 28 during training camp
Position: Fullback
Experience: 4

Career to date

Penny is not your classic, road-plowing fullback. He has been a decent run blocker, but his calling card for the Giants has actually been his versatility. He has carried the ball 59 times for 203 yards (3.4 yards per carry), sometimes filling in as the running back in single-back formations. He has never been a focal point as a receiver, but does have 16 receptions. He appears to be a good, if under-utilized, pass blocker.

Penny is also a core special teams player, having played more than 200 special teams snaps in three of his four NFL seasons.

2021 outlook

Gillaspia, 26, is intriguing. He was a core special teamer in his two seasons with the Texans, but played only 20 offensive snaps. Penny provides more experience, and more versatility.

The one thing to consider is that Penny played a career-low 73 offensive snaps (7 percent) a season ago with Jason Garrett calling the plays. If the decision regarding which fullback to keep is about who is the better offensive player, that is clearly Penny. If the Giants really are not going to use a fullback on offense, and consider Gillaspia an upgrade on special teams, that might be bad news for Penny.