When the New York Giants drafted Da’Rel Scott most people saw the move as nothing more than someone who could help the Giants on special teams. However, Scott had an impressive preseason last year and opened some eyes with some long runs, a 97-yard touchdown run against the Bears and a 65-yard fake punt scamper for a 65-yard touchdown against the Patriots. He didn’t see much action in the backfield during the regular season last year, posting only 16 yards rushing on 5 carries. However, he did see some action on special teams, averaging 24.4 yards per return on 14 kickoffs for 341 yards. This offseason he will be getting ready to move up the depth chart in hopes of splitting running back duties with Ahmad Bradshaw.
Starting running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, will get the bulk of the carries in this Giants offense. Last season, Bradshaw managed just 659 yards on 171 carries. His broken foot severely limited his effectiveness. However, Bradshaw received a shot of Mini IGNITE in his broken foot in effort to stimulate bone growth and bone healing around the screws in his foot. He hopes this procedure will have him back to 100% by the time the season rolls around. Behind Bradshaw the Giants running back depth consists of D.J. Ware, Andre Brown, and Da’Rel Scott. Former starting running back Brandon Jacobs was released after the season and the prospect of him returning for next year died away as Jacobs just signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
D.J. Ware was effective as a pass catcher out of the backfield last season but had limited success last year on the ground. He only carried the ball 46 times, which was a career high for him, but gained only 163 yards, a 3.5 average. Out of the backfield he caught 27 passes for 170 yards, a 6.3 yard average. The Giants like Ware and have increased his workload every year but it remains to be seen if he can be the type of back to be productive while giving Bradshaw a rest. He will definitely be a part of any rotation the Giants feature in 2012, especially on passing downs.
Andre Brown has not been able to stay healthy or impress the coaching staff much since he was drafted in 2009. Brown was let go by the Giants on Sept. 4, 2010 and was signed by the Broncos where he saw his only game action in his career, rushing for -1 yards on 2 carries. Brown rejoined the Giants prior to last season but remained on the Practice Squad throughout the season and the only noise he has made with the Giants so far is his “I got a Ring!” song that can be found on Youtube. Brown has decent size but is not exceptionally fast or extremely powerful. I don’t know if he could be productive over a full season, even if he shared the majority of the duties with other running backs.
This brings us to Da’Rel Scott. Scott was taken in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft with 221st overall pick. Scott’s speed reminds some of the way Ahamd Bradshaw was when he came into the league, both are 5-11 but Scott is a little bit bigger at 211 pounds compared to Bradshaw’s 195 lbs. Scott is also faster than Bradshaw. During the NFL Combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds. During the preseason, Scott showed he plays fast in pads as well. Given his size and speed, Scott should be given every chance to earn the back-up running back role behind Bradshaw. He is most effective when he runs between the tackles but he can fall in love with trying to run east-west, hoping to break open a big run. Despite his size he is pretty hard to bring down and can change direction with ease. His 97-yard TD scamper came between the tackles. He almost fell down in his own end-zone before finding the seam and exploiting it. Granted, this was against a Bears second or third team defense but it does show the kind of speed he has. Scott runs low to the ground, almost becoming invisible behind the offensive linemen and can explode once he sees the hole open up. This is exactly what the Giants need to compliment Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. Bradshaw has lost some of his explosiveness but Scott possesses as much or more explosiveness than Bradshaw ever had. Scott showed several times during his career at Maryland that he can be just as explosive catching balls out of the backfield which should bode well for the young man as he attempts to increase his role on the defending Super Bowl Champions.
If given the chance, I believe Da’Rel Scott will be able to give the Giants exactly what they need, an explosive change of pace back who will be able to spell Bradshaw and occasionally break a big run. Despite Scott’s upside, it would not surprise me if the Giants use a late-round pick on another running back, perhaps Temple’s Bernard Pierce or Miami’s Lamar Miller. However, I think any running back that is brought in will be to push D.J. Ware and Andre Brown as I think the Giants are expecting Scott to push Bradshaw and given his talent, there is no reason he shouldn’t be able to do just that.