The New York Giants padded their backfield this offseason, using free agency and the NFL Draft to add some much-needed depth. With the new additions to the running back position, second-year back Michael Cox‘s place on the team is now in jeopardy.
New York will most likely carry four running backs on their final roster. Rashad Jennings was signed to be the team’s starter, David Wilson is guaranteed a spot and fourth-round pick Andre Williams will likely take a spot. That leaves one spot left for either Cox or Peyton Hillis.
The Giants drafted Cox out of UMass in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. He returned kicks for the Giants in his rookie year and turned in a decent season. Cox averaged 21.8 yards per return, which ranked 19th in the NFL. He showed an explosive side at times but was ultimately a serious step down from Wilson the year before.
Cox didn’t get a whole lot of time in New York’s backfield during his rookie season but did see some action due to a series of injuries. For the season, Cox carried the ball 22 times for 43 yards. He also caught three passes for 12 yards.
Although Cox wasn’t expected to be a real impact player this early, he didn’t exactly play well enough to secure a spot in the future. If it does end up coming down to Hillis and Cox, Hillis seems like the more logical choice.
Hillis is an experienced player who offers powerful downhill running and very solid pass-blocking. The Giants know exactly the kind of production they can expect from Hillis, while Cox remains a bit of a question mark.
The Giants could always carry five running backs on the roster but that would take away from another position. Cox’s chance to make the roster doesn’t seem great but he is far from out of it. He is a young player who needs another opportunity to show New York what he is capable of. It all starts with a great performance in training camp.