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Giants running backs

Can Gray surpass Singletary?

There's a story out of Giants OTAs that running back Eric Gray (pictured) is getting some first-team opportunities. Last year's fifth-round pick is a guy who caught my attention last spring, not because of anything specific I saw but for his future potential. The Giants weren't likely to retain Saquon Barkley, and in fact they didn't.

But Gray didn't do much with his very few opportunities last season. He carried 17 times for just 48 yards (2.8 per attempt). He caught 6 of the 7 passes thrown his way, but did little with them (22 yards). The Giants signed Devin Singletary in free agency, and then drafted Purdue's Tyrone Tracy in the fifth round. In a world where people are always trying to be ahead of the curve, I'm seeing Tracy, rather than Gray, being drafted as the favorite to be the No. 2. I've got Gray collecting dust on my dynasty roster, but there isn't great reason to think he'll be worth the investment.

I'd like to say that the fact he only has to beat out Singletary -- now reasonably a journeyman, after the Bills and Texans said goodbye the past two offseasons -- is a strong point in his favor. But it's possible I underestimate Singletary some. He was pretty good the second half of last season.

Early last year, the Texans were using more of a Dameon Pierce-Singletary tandem. But they scrapped that the second half of the season. In the final nine games, Singletary averaged 93 run-receiving yards. Among all running backs to play at least 6 games the second half of the season, only seven were better than he was in that regard.

RUNNING BACKS, SECOND HALF OF 2023
PlayerGRunNoRecTotTDPPR
Christian McCaffrey, S.F.8100.94.434.0134.91.023.9
Kyren Williams, LAR6114.73.216.8131.51.424.7
James Cook, Buff.877.02.829.3106.30.516.4
James Conner, Ari.884.52.416.9101.40.917.8
Breece Hall, NYJ955.75.943.699.20.720.0
Rachaad White, T.B.968.03.430.098.00.717.2
Bijan Robinson, Atl.857.43.836.393.60.616.9
Devin Singletary, Hou.976.62.316.893.30.414.3
Aaron Jones, G.B.676.72.714.391.00.011.8
Brian Robinson, Was.647.73.738.586.20.314.3
Joe Mixon, Cin.960.43.124.284.71.017.8
Najee Harris, Pitt.972.61.67.780.20.713.6
Chuba Hubbard, Car.963.82.215.479.20.412.8
Saquon Barkley, NYG857.52.421.378.80.915.8
Jahmyr Gibbs (C), Det.960.72.716.877.41.016.4
Alvin Kamara, N.O.749.74.627.777.40.515.5
Jaylen Warren (C), Pitt.957.93.617.975.80.313.1
David Montgomery, Det.970.01.15.775.70.813.6
Kenneth Walker, Sea.753.32.021.174.40.412.0
Tony Pollard, Dall.959.02.913.472.40.412.8
Raheem Mostert, Mia.667.81.04.071.81.316.2
Travis Etienne, Jac.947.23.423.370.60.413.2
D'Andre Swift, Phil.762.11.36.969.00.39.9
Derrick Henry, Ten.962.91.15.468.30.913.3
DeVon Achane (C), Mia.748.62.618.667.10.612.7
Austin Ekeler, LAC940.33.726.266.60.211.7
Jerome Ford, Cle.943.12.720.063.10.612.3
Javonte Williams, Den.946.33.316.763.00.512.5
Tyjae Spears (C), Ten.926.33.329.055.30.210.2
Tyler Allgeier (C), Atl.839.00.914.653.60.37.7
Gus Edwards, Balt.841.50.89.150.60.810.3
Roschon Johnson (C), Chi.825.42.416.541.90.17.3
Zach Charbonnet (C), Sea.726.42.715.341.70.06.9
Samaje Perine (C), Den.915.03.124.939.90.17.8
Justice Hill (C), Balt.817.01.617.434.40.15.8
Kenneth Gainwell (C), Phil.718.12.115.633.70.05.5
Miles Sanders (C), Car.922.61.05.728.20.03.8
Latavius Murray (C), Buff.721.90.95.727.60.35.3
Kareem Hunt (C), Cle.923.91.02.926.80.46.3
Jaleel McLaughlin (C), Den.915.82.110.626.30.04.7
Dameon Pierce (C), Hou.712.70.62.415.10.33.8

I don't want this to be construed as me being a fan of Singletary. I think he's a pretty ordinary talent, and the fact that Gray is getting some first-team work, and that they spent a draft pick on Tracy (fifth round, granted) is a sign that he doesn't have an iron grip on the starting job. New York desperately needs a running back to step up and take some pressure off Daniel Jones, and maybe it will be one of the youngsters.

But Singletary being replaced in both Buffalo and Houston the past two years doesn't mean he can't play. Much as we all want a shiny new guy to step up and win the starting job, it won't necessarily happen. Singletary is a capable veteran who the Giants have committed over $6 million to for 2024. Like it or not, a last-round investment or dynasty roster spot on either Gray or Tracy is just a flier, not a particularly strong likelihood of panning out. Seems to be a pretty good chance that Singletary turns out to be a value -- a boring one, but a value nonetheless -- in any league where people are writing him off.

--Andy Richardson

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