Some rookies come into the NFL wide-eyed and not really knowing what to expect. That should not be the case for New York Giants’ fifth-round pick Eric Gray.
For the past two seasons, Gray worked at Oklahoma under the tutelage of DeMarco Murray, a three-time Pro Bowl running back. After a seven-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans that saw him gain more than 1,000 yards rushing three times, Murray is now Oklahoma’s running backs coach.
“DeMarco was a big important piece for me and kind of the reason I went to Oklahoma. I feel like him playing the game at a high level, he could teach me a lot about being a pro in this league, what it takes to be a pro, what I need to do to get better to get to this level,” Gray said during the Giants’ recently concluded rookie mini-camp. “The most important thing I took from him is just being a pro every single day, no matter what’s going on. Everybody has something going on, and you have to be on your P’s and Q’s every single day.”
Gray was a fifth-round pick, the 11th running back taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. He isn’t concerned being a Day 3 pick.
“I don’t look at it that way. I’m just looking at my opportunity here. My opportunity,” Gray said. “I’m here now. First day, second day, third day, that’s all out of the window. I’m here now. I got a chance to be in a special place like this, so I’m happy about it.”
Gray admitted he did take time during the rookie mini-camp to appreciate where he was.
“It’s been a lot of emotions, like yesterday being on an NFL field, and I was walking on, like, ‘Wow, the Giants really…like I’m really in the NFL now,’” he said. “It’s been unbelievable. You think about, for me, coming all the way from little league to now, it’s flown by, and it’s a blessing to be here.”
Gray was an effective runner and receiver in college, and has an opportunity to earn a role in the Giants’ backfield rotation. He will also be in the mix for both punt and kickoff return duties.
Gray’s speed (4.62 40-yard dash) is not elite for the running back position, but his overall Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 6.56 is higher than the 6.07 former Giants star running back Tiki Barber scored coming out of Virginia.
Gray believes his skills will translate to the NFL.
“I think football is football in my opinion,” he said. “I think you go out there, you work hard, you do what it takes on and off the field, and you let your body take over when you get out there.”