Andre Brown was enjoying his finest season in his fourth year in the NFL. Brown, the New York Giants’ fourth round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, had bounced around the league before coming back to the Giants and earning the role of Ahmad Bradshaw’s backup.
Brown suffered a fractured fibula in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers, ending what had become a very nice season for the soon-to-be 26-year-old running back. Brown’s loss means the Giants will have to find someone to help fill-in the void.
Enter David Wilson, the Giants’ first-round selection in this year’s NFL draft. Wilson has been pining for more playing time and now might finally get his chance. Wilson has been relegated to special teams and only minor roles in the offense, a result, coaches say, of Wilson’s difficulty in pass protection. Now, Wilson will need to get his game together because there is a very good chance that he might be seeing those carries Brown had been.
Right now, the only other running back on the roster is Da’Rel Scott, a speedy back whom the Giants selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. However, Scott is on injured reserve meaning even if Wilson becomes the second back they will likely add someone.
Wilson has shown that he might be ready to shoulder more of the load as far as protecting the football and using his speed to make something happen. However, running backs must learn how to pick up the blitz or their quarterback might find himself picking himself up off the turf more than he might appreciate. Wilson will need to show the coaching staff that he has what it takes to be that guy, to be an every down running back.
After Brown left the game, Wilson carried the ball six times for 13 yards, a paltry 2.2 average. Of course, at the time, the Giants were just trying to run down the clock and the Packers were playing the run. However, Wilson will need to show he can also break free, like he did against the Cleveland Browns when he scampered for a 40-yard touchdown. Moving forward, it will be imperative for Wilson to adapt to Kevin Gilbride’s offense and show he can excel running the football as well as watch Eli Manning’s back in pass protection.
Of course, the Giants could also just use Ahmad Bradshaw more but with Bradshaw’s health it is likely the Giants will want to keep him as fresh as possible down the stretch which would mean sharing carries.
The Giants also worked out several running backs last week including Joseph Addai, Ryan Torain, and Mewelde Moore. The Giants could sign one of them just in case Wilson really falters next week. Even if he doesn’t, given Bradshaw’s health history, the Giants are one play away from having Wilson and Scott as their two running backs.
Look for the Giants to add some depth at running back this week while finally giving Wilson his shot at being Bradshaw’s main backup.