By William McInerney
The New York Giants have been in the market for a complimentary running back since the offseason starter. They already have Paul Perkins, who is a very good back but isn't likely to carry the ball 20 times a game. Part of this stems from the fact there are very few true No. 1 backs in the NFL anymore. Teams like to keep backs fresh and take advantage of matchups by using a rotation of backs, or a 1-A back who carries the ball more frequently than other backs but still isn’t on the field for every snap.
I believe Perkins is a very good back who can be the 1-A runner for the Giants. However, the Giants would like to add another back that they can hand the ball too.
The running backs on the roster are not bad, but none of them really fit into what the Giants are looking for. They have Shane Vereen, who is a great pass catching third down back, but is not likely to carry the ball very often. Orleans Darkwa is a back who has some value but his running style makes him essentially a worse version of Perkins. When you’re looking for a complimentary back you want somebody who plays a different style from your 1-A.
Although there has been some talk on Adrian Peterson, that would be a mistake. Just keeping the issues to his on-field production, Peterson has his concerns. The first issue is the fact that, while in his prime he had plenty of power, as he has gotten older he has gotten somewhat away from that. He has gone to more of a shifty running style, and while that can work it is also the style Perkins uses.
Additionally, Peterson is coming off major injury, and was not effective in the few games he did play last year. While it is possible he bounces back, he is also 32, which is old for a running back. Additionally, it is somewhat less likely he can return to his prior form, as he has 14,606 combined career yards on his legs in just the NFL alone. Between his age, injury history, and style of running, he probably isn’t the best fit.
LeGarrette Blount, on the other hand, is two years younger with less yards on his legs (only 6,571 combined career yards). He is also much more of a power rusher, something the Giants have struggled to find since Brandon Jacobs. Blount could be the perfect short yardage back to compliment Perkins’ shifty running style and Vereen’s ability to contribute in the passing game. He is coming off a season in which he scored 18 touchdowns, and although that number is likely to drop, it shows again he can play a big role as a goal line back.
Ultimately, Peterson’s injury history and running style should scare the Giants off, while Blount has the ability and style to be a perfect fit in the Giants offense.