Running backs Corey Clement and Ryquell Armstead are the two newest Giants running backs on the roster, Clement a veteran tryout who impressed enough to earn a training camp invitation and Armstead a waiver wire pickup.
Neither is guaranteed a spot on the 53-man-roster--that will be determined this summer. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one might crack that list.
Behind a rehabbing Saquon Barkley, there’s Devontae Booker and sixth-round pick Gary Brightwell. With Barkley possibly not being 100%--again, we won't know what until the summer progresses--there could be room for another back, and that could come down to either Clement or Armstead.
Armstead lost his entire 2020 season to COVID-19. Clement was rehabbing a shoulder injury through the beginning of the 2020 off-season but ended up getting on the field in time for the 2020 season for 108 offensive snaps, and 265 special teams snaps. Special teams could very well be the way Clement makes this roster.
Nevertheless, we should illuminate Clement’s skill set on offense, as if we learned nothing else last year, one can never have too many running backs. And if Barkley is limited in any way--again, we won't know that for several months--then Clement, if he makes the roster, will probably be the third back behind Booker.
What are the pros and cons of Clement's game? Let's break it down.
The Good: Pass Protection
Clement has been on the field for 439 passing attempts throughout his career, and he’s blocked 76 times. In those 76 attempts, he’s surrendered one sack and eight pressures.
For reference, Barkley has blocked 176 times, surrendered six sacks and 14 pressures. Devontae Booker has 153 pass-blocking snaps with the same stats as Barkley (6 sacks surrendered, 14 pressures given up).
There’s a reason why this isn’t under “great.” Clement is a solid pass blocker, but he will have some mistakes, but this play isn’t one of them.
Clement looks to his left to see if any outside blitzers are coming, but he notices the A-gap blitz and quickly attacks in front of Carson Wentz (11).
The A-Gap is sugared before the snap by No. 54, and he doesn’t back off; I like how Clement gets low, initiates the contact, absorbs, and doesn’t give much space to the free Blitzer.
Clement comes off the play-action right here and quickly recollects himself to find No. 53 in the hole. Since it’s a designed rollout to the right, Clement angles his body in that direction and attacks the midline of the Blitzer.
He gets pushed back a bit, but he is able to anchor down enough until help comes against the linebacker who had a lot of momentum coming downhill.
Two blitzers come through the B-gap, which is the responsibility of Clement; he does a good job eliminating the most dangerous man (the inside path). He shows enough strength to slow the linebacker down. It might not be the prettiest play, but it gets the job done.
Clement squares up in the B-Gap against one of the more physical safeties in the league, at the time, in Landon Collins (21). The running back squared Collins up well, kept a low base, got his hands inside, absorbed the contact, and shocked the safety a bit.
Collins's power was enough to force Clement to lose his anchor leg, yet Clement’s pop was enough to not allow Collins to juke inside.
This blitz pickup against Collins doesn’t look as good, but I appreciate aspects of the play.
Clement is waiting to see if Alec Ogletree (52) or Lorenzo Carter (59) to the right, with the center sliding to the left side to attack B.J. Hill (95) as the 1-Technique.
Clement looks and sees both players drop to coverage which means there's a 2v2 matchup on the right side. Clement quickly processes the information and then sees the creeper on the far side; Landon Collins comes screaming downhill along with B.J. Goodson (93).
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Clement notices the creepers and gets over to the opposite B-Gap to deliver just enough of a hit on Collins; he doesn’t frame it perfectly, but it does prevent Wentz from getting obliterated by Collins.
MORE " GOOD, GREAT & UGLY" BREAKDOWNS
The Great: Super Bowl Performance
Corey Clement was a rookie in 2017 when the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and he happened to play a large part in the Eagles' only Super Bowl victory.
A lot of this was due to his receiving ability, which is something that he does well. As a running back, Clement could have better vision, to be honest, but he does well in space with blockers in front of him, and, as we’ll see below, he came up big in clutch situations for the Eagles.
In his career, Clement has only 47 catches for 479 yards and three touchdowns. His ability as a pass blocker and his receiving skills were a bit underutilized in Philadelphia because Doug Pederson had a penchant for using at least three backs in a game.
Pederson calls a beautiful play to occupy the safety just long enough to allow Clement deep leverage. The running back does such a good job keeping the cornerback on his toes and exploding inside of his leverage.
Clement then shows excellent concentration ability through tight double cover traffic to make a toe-tapping, crucial touchdown on a 3rd-and-6 play in the third quarter.
Clement uses solid evasiveness to elude several Patriots defenders on this wheel route misjudged by the covering defender. The stiff arm is also strong and very much effective as he’s able to pick up several more yards the 4th-and-1 touchdown now known as the “Philly Special.”
This was a 2nd-and-4 play that set up the first points for the Eagles. A simple dump-off pass to Clement, who makes a man miss and then finishes strong to fall forward.
The Eagles don’t punch this one into the end zone, but they get some points on the board (the first points of Super Bowl LII). The undrafted rookie performed excellently for the Eagles in this game.
The Ugly: Full-time Ability
Clement has some juice as a runner, and he certainly has the desired size that Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman covet. However, Clement doesn’t have game-changing speed, his burst is adequate at best, and his vision isn’t great either.
Unlike Devontae Booker, I question Clement’s ability to be an effective full-time back who can handle double-digit carries and keep the chains moving.
I like what he offers in passing situations, and I appreciate his special teams value, but the Giants can find a better in between the tackles runner.
There’s a reason he went undrafted, starting with a horrendous combine and his lack of third down work at Wisconsin. Philadelphia showed that he has value on third down, that’s been reflected in this article, but his lack of upside is still an issue.
A 4.68 is the timed 40-yard-dash that he ran at the combine; I think he plays a bit faster than that, but not much. He isn’t a burner, he does run low to the ground, but I also feel he could do a better job with his contact balance.
Clement averages 4.1 yards per carry, which is a solid average. But it hasn’t been as productive in the last few seasons, and he also hasn’t had a missed tackle forced since 2018.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Clement make this roster and be the backup behind Booker and Barkley, but it wouldn’t be due to early-down rushing work. Instead, it would be due to special teams and what he can offer in pass protection.