Gray is the Giants’ fourth selection of the draft after they traded out of the fourth round. Obviously he’s no Saquon Barkley, but Gray will provide some depth in the backfield with Barkley still without a long-term contract. He also brings some receiving upside, with 99 catches for 827 yards in his college career.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic had Gray ranked as the 11th-best running back in the draft class. Here was his analysis:
A two-year starter at Oklahoma, Gray was the lead back in offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby’s up-tempo, RPO-based scheme. After teasing his talented skill set at Tennessee and first season at Oklahoma, he put together a career year as a senior, leading the Big 12 in rushing yards per carry (6.4) and ranking second in rushing yards per game (113.7). Gray is quick to gather, plant and burst with the explosive cutting skills to shake defenders and pick up chunk yardage (his 44 carries of 10-plus yards in 2022 ranked No. 7 in the FBS). Although he isn’t an inside grinder, he stays behind his pads with the low center of gravity and pacing that help him pinball off contact.
Overall, Gray has only average speed and run power, but he is a balanced, agile runner with darting quickness and steady pass-catching skills. His play style is similar to Clyde Edwards-Helaire and he should be a productive change of pace/passing-down back in the NFL.
BBV’s Nick Falato is already on Twitter with some instant analysis and film review of Gray:
Great vision by Eric Gray to find the cut-back lane after pressing the LOS— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) April 29, 2023
Lowers his shoulder through a defensive back and makes Brents miss... an impressive ability to run through contact, come to balance, and then make a pursuing def miss.
He's not very fast, but he's quick pic.twitter.com/BzJdouHvIF
What others are saying
Analysts so far have strong praise for the Giants’ fifth-round pick.
CBS Sports gave the pick a ‘B+’:
Versatile weapon at RB. Deceptive elusiveness. Quickness is more impressive than his speed. Hard-to-disrupt equilibrium. Nice time to get depth behind Saquon Barkley.
DraftKings gives the Giants an ‘A’:
Gray has nice burst and acceleration and can make defenders miss in the open field. He can also be productive in the passing game. His inconsistencies could be helped with more decisiveness.
The 33rd Team was slightly more pessimistic with a ‘B-’:
Gray provides depth behind Saquon Barkley. He is a solid three-down running back prospect with adequate tools and instincts. He is a tough, decisive runner who lacks juice when he hits the second level.
Giants round-by-round draft selections
Round 1 (No. 24 from Jacksonville) — Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Round 2 (No. 57) — John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Round 3 (No. 73 from Los Angeles Rams) — Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Round 5 (No. 172) — Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma
Round 6 (No. 209) —
Round 7 (No. 243) —
Round 7 (No. 254) —
Other BBV platforms
Odds: DraftKings Sportsbook
What grade would you give the Giants’ fifth-round selection of Oklahoma RB Eric Gray?
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