The New York Giants running back room is filled to the brim with veteran running backs and young studs. Undrafted Javon Leake is one of them.
Leake enters a tough situation as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland. He has a lot of competition at his position and has the disadvantage of no preseason games. Thank you, NFLPA.
He has a lot of talent and the Giants’ would be remiss if they missed out on this undrafted gem. Here are two ways he can impact the New York Giants this upcoming season.
How Javon Leake Can Impact the New York Giants
A Viable Third-String Back
Saquon Barkley is your number one running back going into training camp Tuesday and the regular season, barring any injury.
Dion Lewis is slated to be the number two because of his familiarity with head coach Joe Judge and his veteran resume.
This leaves the number three spot open. Other than fullbacks George Aston and Elijhaa Penny, here are the Giants’ options: Javon Leake, Wayne Gallman, Sandro Plutzgummer, and Jonathan Hilliman.
He does not have Barkley dynamics, but he had over seven yards per carry. In his freshman season, he had 11, his sophomore season he had 9.1 and 7.2 his junior season at Maryland.
Though Gallman had more yards at Clemson, Leake had more yards per carry.
Mind you, Leake did not go to a college like Alabama or Ohio State and was not the number one running back in college. But when he got the chance, he burst.
Gallman fell out of favor last season after suffering a concussion against the Minnesota Vikings and his rushing yards have decreased since 2017. Hilliman did not do well in his opportunities replacing Gallman and Barkley against the Vikings and the New England Patriots.
Not just the yards per carry in college, but what makes Leake special as well, is his ability to return kicks.
Ever since the departure of Dwayne Harris, the Giants have run through several options at kick returner. Hunter Sharp, Kalif Raymond, Stacy Coley, Kaelin Clay, Corey Coleman, Darius Slayton, Corey Ballentine, and Jabrill Peppers.
Though the Giants were 10th in the league with yards per kick return with 23.5, they went through multiple returners.
Undrafted free agent Javon Leake, at Maryland, had three kick return touchdowns during his tenure and averaged 24.5 yards per kick. The Giants have not had a kick return touchdown in over four years. Wouldn’t it be great to have one again soon?
Leake does not have to be the lead kick returner going into 2020, but it would be nice for the Giants’ staff to recognize his talent on special teams. They have had trouble with depth in the past at that position.
Gallman, Hilliman, and Plutzgummer do not have kick return ability like Leake has, which makes him a valuable gem to think about keeping on the roster this summer.