Training Camp Roster Preview: Eli Penney
The Giants signed Eli Penney, a versatile running back who also has experience as a lead blocker and receiver out of the backfield, after two disastrous weeks from incumbent Shane Smith to start the 2018 season. In just his second NFL season, Penny carried the ball seven times as a Giant, but two of those seven carries went for first downs, and 15 of his 25 rushing yards came after contact.
As a receiver, Penny caught eight out of nine passes for 50 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per catch.
Pat Shurmur has a history of carrying fullbacks on his rosters, a role that Penny can fill in addition to special teams. But the big question is why--every year the fullback's snaps and production seem to dwindle. And with the Giants using 12-personnel (35%) almost as much as they used 11-personnel (38%) last season, carrying a fullback continues to look like a luxury.
With that said, the Giants added Rod Smith int he off-season. Smith has experience as a fullback and is a little more seasoned as a running back, so if Penny is to stick around for another year, he'll probably have to beat out Smith for a place on the running back depth chart.