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Giants sign Elijhaa Penny | 5 things to know about new FB


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By Matt Lombardo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Giants signed fullback Elijhaa Penny off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad on Monday, after a disastrous performance by the offense on Sunday night that saw quarterback Eli Manning sacked six times, and hit eight times, as the offense struggled to pick up the Dallas Cowboys' blitzes.

Penny's signing was first reported by Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

During one tough series early in the second half, Giants' fullback Shane Smith allowed two pressures by struggling to pick up the blitzes in pass-protection.

Given how frequently the Giants deploy a fullback, and the fact that Manning has been sacked eight times through the first two games, it isn't a surprise to see Penny added.

Here's a look at five things to know about the newest Giants' fullback:

1) Size

Penny checks in at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, giving him prototypical size to be featured as a lead-blocker in the running game, and especially in pass-protection.

2) Former Undrafted Rookie Free Agent ... With NFL playing experience

Penny was signed by the Arizona Cardinals, after going undrafted in 2016 before going on to appear in 16 games last season.

Rushing for his first career touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12, before finishing the season with 31 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

Penny was targeted six times in the passing game, logging four catches for 38 yards.

3) A stout blocker

While it's entirely possible that Penny could see carries with the Giants, rookie Saquon Barkley is the bell-cow of the running game, and a focal point of the offense.

According to Pro Football Focus, Penny's strong-suit was as a blocker, which is likely what put him on the Giants' radar in the first place.

Last season, Penny graded out with a 75.7 pass-blocking grade and a 67.0 run-blocking grade in 2017.

4) Penny played halfback in college

The Cardinals ultimately moved Penny to fullback, but he was a productive halfback in college during his career at Idaho and Cerritos College.

After transferring from Cerritos to Idaho, Penny saw a steady workload as a focal point of the Vandals' offense, while posting 1,748 yards and 22 touchdowns in 14 games.

5) What's next?

Once the Giants officially announce Penny's signing, they will have to make a corresponding move. It is entirely possible that the team uses Penny to fill the roster spot vacated by center Jon Halapio, who was lost for the season with a broken ankle, but more likely that fullback Shane Smith will be released.

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