The Giants’ re-signing of Orleans Darkwa to a modest one-year deal this spring was a blip on the radar compared to the splashes Jerry Reese made with Brandon Marshall’s free-agent acquisition and a blockbuster contract extension for Jason Pierre-Paul.
But Darkwa, 25, now is splitting first-team reps with presumed starting running back Paul Perkins and seeing even more work than usual with Shane Vereen hobbled and unavailable. And with Rashad Jennings gone and veteran Shaun Draughn (foot) also not practicing, Darkwa quietly seems to be challenging for a feature role.
“I’ve said this for years now: At the end of the day, my mentality is to want to be the starter on this team and be an impact player on the offense,” Darkwa said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s not gonna change. That chip on the shoulder is not gonna go anywhere. So I’ve just got to prepare myself like that and keep getting better.”
Darkwa, a fan favorite the Giants signed off Miami’s practice squad in 2014, has shown flashes of production as a runner in the two-and-a-half seasons and 33 regular season appearances.
He has averaged 4.01 yards on 71 carries as a Giant (285 yards) and scored four touchdowns. That included 10 carries, 53 yards and a TD in Week 3 against Washington last season, and 12 carries, 48 yards and the Giants’ lone TD in Week 4 in Minnesota.