As Rookie Camp ended last weekend, two veterans made the biggest news as the Giants signed WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin and RB Corey Clement after tryouts during the camp.
The depth chart continues to improve on this year’s 90-Man roster.
A New Jersey native, Clement enters his fifth year in the NFL, spending his first four with the rival Philadelphia Eagles. Although he was never the lead RB for the Eagles, he had his moments of fame, particularly against the Giants. He scored a rushing touchdown in three of the six games he’s played against the Giants.
In his rookie season (2017), Clement played well in Super Bowl LII with 100 yards receiving including a 55-yard touchdown. He spent most of 2019 on injured reserve and was mostly a backup and non-factor in 2020. Clement joins a solid backfield that includes Saquon Barkley (returning from a season-ending ACL injury), free agent Devontae Booker, rookie draft pick Gary Brightwell, practice squad holdover Taquon Mizzell, European League exemption RB Sandro Platzgummer, and newly-signed Ryquell Armstead (claimed off waivers this week from Jacksonville).
To make room on the roster for Clement and Benjamin, the Giants waived QB Joe Webb and RB Jordan Chunn. The early outlook is Barkley and Booker will easily be depth chart #1 and #2, respectively. That will leave Clement, Armstead, and Brightwell battling for the last 1-2 spots on the 53-Man roster. Clement bid farewell to the Eagles’ fans two days ago in classy Instagram fashion.
Benjamin (6’5″ and 245lbs) joins the Giants as a TE after sitting out the last two years. He was a first-round pick in 2014 by then-Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman. After a 1,000 yard, 9 TD rookie season, Kelvin spent all of 2015 on injured reserve after tearing his ACL. He returned in 2016 with just about the same performance.
In 2017, after another good start and on pace for his second 1,000 yard season at the halfway point, the Panthers traded Benjamin to Buffalo for two 2018 draft picks. He never was the same player at Buffalo with his catch percentage dropping, but his weight increasing significantly in 2018. Part of the rap on Benjamin is he takes plays off and can be lazy to the ball at times.
Buffalo cut him in December 2018, and the Chiefs picked him up at the season’s end to fill roster slots due to other WR injuries.
The Giants are hoping for plays like this from Benjamin. Rest assured, if Joe Judge sees Benjamin take any plays off, he’ll be gone.
The interest by the Giants doesn’t appear to be bringing Benjamin in as a WR. They tried him out as a TE, and that’s where he’ll compete for a roster spot. He joins a very crowded TE room with Kyle Rudolph, Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, young wannabes Rysen John, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Cole Hikutini, and Nate Wieting. That’s nine players vying for four roster spots.
Benjamin is big enough to be a TE, but will he be the blocker Joe Judge demands in his TEs?
When you look at this 90-Man roster, you can now marvel at a depth of quality players at all the skill positions. Joe Judge will not be caught short at running back this year as the team was in 2020 after Saquon went down with his knee injury. Make no mistake, Wayne Gallman did a really nice job when called upon, but there was no long-run threat. Booker, Armstead, and Clement have that in their arsenal.
In addition, you can see the Giants are really focused on getting much better in the red zone. Adding tall, sure-handed receivers and tight ends like Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and maybe even Benjamin have to make the Giants better touchdown threats. Daniel Jones better be practicing the “high line drive” to the back of the end zone.
Big Play Threats: Check
Red Zone Targets: Check
Featured Image: YardBarker