Michael Cox was nearly Mr. Irrelevant. He was selected 253rd overall and was the last pick of the New York Giants in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Needless to say, he faced an uphill battle — especially as he entered camp behind David Wilson, Andre Brown, Ryan Torain and Da'Rel Scott on the depth chart.
But Cox was not deterred. The Michigan to UMass transfer entered camp determined to earn his way onto the roster, even if it meant doing so as something other than a running back. And while an injury to Andre Brown (leg) may result in Cox seeing meaningful carries, it was his preseason performances on special teams — both as a kick returner and a gunner — that ultimately won him a spot on the 53-man roster.
“He has demonstrated outstanding ability as a kick returner,” Head coach Tom Coughlin said via Giants.com. “We put him at gunner and he was a good gunner. You send him down on kickoffs and he did a nice job with that. He has shown endurance and power and strength and the attitude anywhere you put him. We preach it all the time. You make the team because of your contributions on special teams. You have a great chance. That’s what he did.”
Cox returned seven preseason kickoffs for 205 yards (20.3 yard per return) and, as Coughlin alluded to, excelled as a gunner. He also carried the ball 18 times for 32 yards (2.0 ypc) and hauled in three passes for 49 yards. And while his yards per carry are far from impressive, he did it behind a depleted offensive line and without a true fullback.
Prior to declaring for the draft, Cox rushed for 715 yards and five touchdowns on 198 carries (3.61 ypc) in his final year at UMass.
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