Giants select Eric Gray: 5 things to know
The New York Giants selected Oklahoma running back Eric Gray with the 172nd pick of the 2023 NFL draft.
Gray was the Giants’ first selection on Day 3. They did not have a fourth-round pick, having traded it away on Friday to secure wide receiver Jalin Hyatt in Round 3.
Here are five things to know about Gray.
Gray was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 4, 1999 and attended Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis. He was named Tennessee Mr. Football as a sophomore after racking up after rushing for 2,251 yards and 38 touchdowns.
University of Tennessee
Gray played his first two collegiate seasons at Tennessee where he was part of a running back-by-committee approach. As a freshman he was named MVP of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Indiana after recording a game-high 120 all-purpose yards, scoring the game-winning touchdown, and recovering an onside kick.
In 22 games for the Vols, Gray averaged 5.1 yards per rush (1,311 yards on 258 carries) and amassed 369 yards receiving on 43 catches.
Gray played under former Giant assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt in Tennessee and was also a teammate of Jalin Hyatt, the Giants’ third-round pick this year.
On to Oklahoma
Gray transferred to Oklahoma in 2021 where he was part of another shared backfield but exploded in his senior season as the featured back with 1,366 yards rushing on 213 carries (a 6.4 average) with 11 touchdowns. His 1,366 rushing yards are the ninth-highest in school history.
Gray earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition from Pro Football Focus in 2022 and was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection by league coaches and the AP. He was also named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
Off the field
The Giants love high-character guys and Gray is certainly one of them. He was one of three recipients of the program’s coveted Don Key Award, which is presented for excellence on and off the field in 2022.
From his OU Bio: “Gray served as a middle school math tutor and raised money for Touchdowns Against Cancer (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital initiative) … held a 3.5 GPA in high school … majored in kinesiology at Tennessee … graduated from OU in August 2022 with a degree in multidisciplinary studies.”
What Gray brings to the Giants
With the uncertainty of Saquon Barkley’s future, the Giants want to beef up the running back room. Gray is compact (5-foot-9 and 210 pounds) and has a well-rounded game. He will join Barkley, Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, and Jashaun Corbin in the Giants’ backfield.
Gray is known for his sure hands (no fumbles in college) and can also contribute as a returner on special teams.