As the New York Giants sat patiently at the 32nd slot in the first round and some players fell further and further there was a lot of anticipation with Giants fans as they awaited their chance to see who the defending Super Bowl Champions would select. The news broke on Twitter a moment before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strode to the podium to announce the last pick of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The New York Giants selected David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech.
Like most Giants fans I was puzzled at first. Virtually nobody thought the Giants would select a running back earlier than round two. They hadn’t used a first round pick on a running back since 2000 when they selected Ron Dayne. However, there were only three elite running backs in this draft and two of them, Trent Richardson of Alabama and Doug Martin of Boise State, were already taken. The Giants had a big hole at running back after cutting Brandon Jacobs after failing to reach an agreement with him on a restructured contract. That hole needed filling.
David Wilson is, in my opinion, the second best running back in the draft behind Richardson. Wilson is an outstanding runner with speed and some power. According to STATS, he gained 990 of his 1,709 yards last year after contact. That is the kind of runner Wilson is, his legs never stop moving and he will get an extra yard or two if he can.
Wilson doesn’t have the size that Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw has as he stands only 5-10, 205 pounds, but he is elusive and can make defenders miss and those that don’t will have trouble bringing him down.
The Giants needed a running back. Ahmad Bradshaw’s feet are always an issue of concern and can cause him to miss games. D.J. Ware has never had experience as an every down back and has not shown much in limited action when running the football. Da’Rel Scott is a player the Giants like but outside of a couple of preseason games he has no experience in the NFL. Andre Brown was never considered an option as an every down back and will miss the first four games of the 2012 season because of violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy.
The Giants biggest need was at running back. Last season they were last in the NFL in rushing, a combination of poor run blocking and inefficient running. The Giants, if they hope to be successful next season, will have to reestablish some semblance of a running game to take some of the pressure off of the passing attack. Adding Wilson to the Giants backfield instantly upgrades this department.
While some Giants fans were scratching their heads over this selection, it fills an area of need and gives the Giants one of the best running backs in the draft. In Wilson they got a guy who can run for daylight and break the big run and will perform very well in short yardage situations. His only detractor is he does not perform well in blocking assignments, choosing to cut block instead of stand up and disrupt blitzers and is slow to find his man. That is coachable. Wilson will become the New York Giants next starting running back and he will be a star in the NFL.