Eric Gray provides more options in the Giants backfield with or without Saquon Barkley

Brian Daboll could not answer Saturday if he plans to lighten Saquon Barkley’s workload this season with a two-quarterback rotation. He doesn’t know if Barkley will be on the field in training camp as his feud with the team drags on.

“Well, it depends on what we have here in August,” Daboll said before the second practice of rookie minicamp. “We’re moving around, seeing what we have in terms of the number of players and how much – it’s a completely different team. We’ll see how it goes once we get here and compete with pads in training camp and preseason games.”

Oklahoma’s fifth-round selection of rookie Eric Gray in April’s NFL draft adds an interesting element to that of Daboll and Joe Schoen. roster construction for this fallhowever.

The running back depth chart now includes veterans Barkley, Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell, Gray and second-year pro Jashaun Corbin. Over, Sophomore Wan’Dale Robinson is a former running back whose skill set makes him a dual threat in the backfield and outfield.

Breida (point guard), Brightwell (kick returner), Corbin (returner), Gray (punt returner) and Robinson (returner) all have special team value and potential as well.

It should create healthy competition for roster spots and playing time. And it shouldn’t be ignored that players like Robinson and Gray — both recruited by Schoen — come with the versatile skill set that Daboll seems to prefer.

“[At] running back, there are certain guys that have different skill sets: running backs, running backs in terms of just handling the ball,” Daboll said. “I like to use guys who can do both phases.”

Barkley is one more player the Giants need to compete at the highest level this season, so the pressure is on Schoen to do something. Gray even argued Saturday that the value of a linebacker is higher in the modern NFL.

“I think it’s a very valuable position,” he said. “You look at the game today, you just look at the different running backs around the league and think about how important they are to the offense. They must learn protection; they have to learn the passing game. They have to know what everybody’s doing, so in my opinion it’s a very valuable position that can make a lot of money.”

Oddly, despite his apparent fit with the Giants, Gray’s selection elicited an unusually unenthusiastic reaction from Daboll on draft weekend that was captured by national television cameras. The seemingly sour coach even appeared to get some reassurance from assistant GM Brandon Brown.

Daboll’s reaction was said to be unrelated to the player or the pick. He joked in the room of scouts and personnel directors about how they all stand and cheer for every pick, so they should do the same for every first fall fall.

At the same time, Daboll focused one of his first comments about Gray’s selection on disagreements between scouts and coaches.

“Look, what I tell Joe and the scouts is find good players,” he said, when asked if it was important to him to draft a running back who could catch. “You don’t always agree, whether it’s scout to scout, coach to scout, coach to coach. But you sit down and talk about these players. I’m excited for all these players. I think there were a lot of good discussions and I think you just find good players. And then, I’ll say this until I finish training, is to pick good players and find a way to use them.”

Regardless, Gray profiled during this weekend’s rookie minicamp as a quick, strong-bodied player who could be an early weapon in this scheme. With or without Barkley, his addition makes this season’s roster construction and personnel usage more intriguing.


Daboll said Saturday that high draft picks like cornerback Deonte Banks and Hyatt didn’t get 7-on-7 reps Friday because “they’ve been on the road quite a bit, they’ve had a lot of visits. One of the main things is just [to] get out of here safe and sound.” But the Giants’ rookie class and staff were among the most injured in the NFL last season, using the same retreat approach. Daboll assured players like Banks and Hyatt “have plenty of time to get a lot of reps here in the next, say, couple of weeks.” We’ll see how many they actually get during OTAs leading up to mandatory minicamp in June.


The Giants re-signed situational pass rusher Oshane Ximines to a one-year deal this week and waived two veterans: guard Solomon Kindley and safety Terrell Burgess, who was waived with an injury. Ximines, 26, fell out of favor with the previous coaching staff due to repeated and costly mental errors.

But he regained some confidence last season under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who gave Ximines another chance to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. Ximines’ biggest play last season was Aaron Rodgers’ fumble to seal the Giants’ season-opening win over the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Stadium in London.

Four of the Giants’ rookies have signed their contracts so far: fifth-rounder RB Eric Gray, sixth-rounder CB Tre Hawkins III, seventh-rounder DT Jordon Riley and seventh-rounder Gervarrius Owens. That leaves the top three picks unsigned: CB Deonte Banks, C John Michael Schmitz and Hyatt.


GM Joe Schoen continued to change his scouting department after the second draft. Pro scout Steven Price is not returning after two seasons, and area scout DJ Boisture has parted ways with the club after nine years, according to Inside the League. The Giants announced changes and promotions in the scouting department without mentioning Price or Boisture. Marcus Cooper will be a national scout. Blaise Bell will be a researcher in the area. Marquis Pendleton will be a pro scout. And Justin Markus will become the team’s scout at the BLESTO scouting combine … The Giants schedule indicates Daboll is not allowing reporters into his first OTA practice. The team’s next scheduled media availability is at OTA practice no. 3 on May 25.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *