Giants' backfield picture more focused now

Posted April 27, 2012 @ 8:40 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The Giants’ drafting of first-round pick RB David Wilson from Virginia Tech makes their backfield picture — as well as perhaps their special teams — a little clearer.

The free-agent loss of Brandon Jacobs, flawed as he might have been, opened up an important job in the RB rotation, although Wilson is by no means a Jacobs doppelganger. In an interview with WFAN radio, Wilson described himself as a hybrid of the Ravens’ Ray Rice and the Texans’ Arian Foster, but we hear some Giants people see a little Tiki Barber in Wilson, too.

Like Barber, Wilson enters the NFL with the reputation as a fumbler (nine lost in 499 college touches on offense), but head coach Tom Coughlin personally worked with Barber on the way he handled the ball well into his career and appeared to curb the bad habit significantly.

The move to draft Wilson might actually have been made less with Jacobs in mind and more with projected starter Ahmad Bradshaw, whose chronic foot problems have worried the Giants. Although Bradshaw says he hopes to be ready by training camp after having bone-marrow injections to speed up the healing process, the Giants knew they needed more depth and insurance at the position.

Also on the roster are RBs D.J. Ware, Da’Rel Scott and Andre Brown, although Brown was suspended this offseason for the first four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Ware, who carved out a role as the No. 3 and occasional red-zone back last season, would figure to be next in line, although Scott’s raw speed intrigues the team. He, too, though, must show better ball security to keep his job.

Wilson is a slightly larger version of Scott, with similarly excellent speed. They could end up battling for kick-return duties in training camp, and if Scott is the loser, the 2011 seventh-round pick is in no way guaranteed a roster spot after minimal production as a rookie.

One other big hurdle Wilson will have to overcome on offense is his pass-protection ability if he wants to earn reps on third downs.