2017 New York Giants position previews: Running Backs

After learning the ropes as a rookie, Paul Perkins looks primed to take over as the Giants featured running back in 2017.

2017 New York Giants position previews: Running Backs
Paul Perkins will enter the season as the Giants starting running back. Photo: (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Paul Perkins enters the season as the lead back

Last season, Paul Perkins was just a fifth-round pick by the New York Giants out of UCLA. He played occasionally as the teams backup running back behind Rashad Jennings, who is no longer with the team. This year the story is much different. With Jennings and the Giants going their separate ways, Perkins will now be the workhorse for the Giants entering training camp. 

Perkins should prove to be an effective back for the Giants' offense. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America
Perkins should prove to be an effective back for the Giants' offense. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

In his rookie campaign, the 22-year old rushed 112 times for 456 yards. In addition, Perkins showed his versatility adding 15 catches for 162 yards. His best game came in his lone start of the season in week 17 against the Washington Redskins. In that game, he carried the rock 21 times for 102 yards.  

In the past few seasons, the Giants running game has been notorious for its inconsistency from week-to-week. After starting to get hot at the end of 2016, Perkins will hope to carry his skills over to 2017 and add some relief to Eli Manning and help carry this Giants offense. 

Shane Vereen, Wayne Gallman look to contribute as well

While Perkins has been tabbed by coach Ben McAdoo to be the team's featured back, that doesn't mean there won't be playing time for others, primarily Shane Vereen and rookie Wayne Gallman.  Vereen, who missed much of last season while twice dealing with a torn triceps muscle, will likely be the third-down back while Gallman, a fourth round pick from Clemson, will compete with Orleans Darkwa and Shaun Draughn for playing time, although the Giants sound excited about Gallman's potential. 

Vereen played in just five games last season due to injury. When healthy, Vereen has proven to be one of the league's best running backs out of the backfield. 

Gallman led Clemson's rushing attack last season. Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America

As for Gallman, he comes to the Giants out of Clemson where he helped them win a National Championship last season. Gallman has a bruising style of running and in his final season at Clemson, he finished with 1,133 yards on 232 carries and 17 touchdowns. He also proved to be a decent pass-catcher as he added 20 catches for 152 yards. Gallman will be a nice addition to a very diverse Giants backfield. 

If the Giants are intent on making a return to the playoffs, they will need all their backs to contribute and help take pressure off Eli Manning. If they can do that, the Giants should be in good shape offensively heading into 2017.