Nine of the Top 10 rushing teams in the NFL made the playoffs last season. All but one of the 12 playoff teams finished in the Top 15. And the playoffs were littered with star running backs, too, like Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, and super-rookies like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara.
If only the Giants had a running back like that.
Then again, maybe they do.
Rashad Jennings, the former Giants running back and Dancing with the Stars champion, thinks the Giants have a couple of good ones on their roster already in his former teammates Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa. He heaped praise on both of them, during a promotional appearance for 1-800-Flowers on Wednesday morning in Times Square.
And he believes both should be a big part of the Giants as the franchise tries to rebuild.
"Oh yes, 100 percent yes," Jennings said. "They do, and I believe they should continue to have a future there."
Neither of them have a secure future under the new Giants regime of GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur. Both of them were key players in a Giants rushing attack that ranked just 26th overall in the NFL with 96.8 rushing yards per game. And that's been an ongoing problem. The Giants have ranked in the top half of the league in rushing only once (2012) in the last seven years.
It should help that Gettleman has made rebuilding the offensive line a priority for the Giants. But they still need a running back to carry the load. They have offseason options -- like taking Penn State's Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the draft, or maybe signing a player like Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, or Jerick McKinnon in free agency (assuming Bell is far out of their price range).
Any of them would seem like an upgrade over Perkins and Darkwa. Perkins, 23, is coming off a dismal season in which he began as the Opening Day starter, then injured his ribs after four miserable games (32 carries, 62 yards) and never reclaimed his job again. In fact, he barely played the rest of the way and finished with just 41 carries for 90 yards. Meanwhile, Darkwa had far better numbers -- 751 yards and five touchdowns on 171 carries. But the 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent who has said he wants to test the market. There's no guarantee he will re-sign.
But Jennings, who was handing out red roses from 1-800-Flowers to random people in the middle of New York City on Valentine's Day -- "spreading a little love," as he said -- thinks the Giants should keep both of them. He insisted it's far too early to give up on either one yet.
"Darkwa has come with me every offseason to train," Jennings said. "I know what kind of work he's willing to put in. I've seen him grow as an athlete. He was a guy that was always pulling me (aside) and saying 'Teach me. Teach me the game.' … Darkwa has the skillset. He's very durable. He's very hard to bring to the ground. He has a stature about him.
"And Perk, he's swifty. He's very swifty. He's a young player and he has a lot that he wants to grow and learn, and I think he has the intangibles to do that."
And if they grow, and the Giants can fix their offensive line, Jennings still sees tons of potential in their offense. And he believes that their turnaround from a 3-13 mess to a playoff contender could be very quick.
"The pieces are there," Jennings said. "The pieces to the puzzle are there, absolutely. It's just a matter of putting it all together at the right time. I know for a fact -- because I know the players and I know the organization -- that Giants fans are not going to see that type of season again."