David Wilson came to the New York Giants with some high hopes surrounding him. He was expected to help ignite a Giants rushing attack that ranked last in the NFL last season in yards per game. Those expectations were tempered a little bit after he was put in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse following a costly fumble in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
However, slowly, Wilson began to see more and more playing time due to a combination of injuries in the Giants backfield and Wilson’s performance. One of the things that helped Wilson’s cause was his performance on kickoff returns.
Wilson returned 57 kickoffs for 1,533 yards and a touchdown. He led the NFL in kick return yards despite finishing tenth overall in returns and also placed tenth with a 26.9 yard average. His game against the New Orleans Saints is arguably the best game any Giants kick returner has ever had, setting team records for most yards on kickoff returns with 227, including one for a touchdown. He averaged 56.75 yards per return on his four kickoffs as the Giants always seemed to be starting on the Saints’ side of the field.
Every time Wilson touched the ball he seemed like he was a threat to go the distance. It was easy to see why Jerry Reese liked Wilson enough to use the team’s first-round pick on him this past April. He had seven returns that went for 40 yards or more.
For his efforts, Wilson earned second-team Associated Press All-Pro honors, the only Giants player to be named to the All-Pro team which is voted on by 50 members of the media. The Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones was named to the first-team.
The only other Giants to receive votes were guard Chris Snee (two votes) and safety Stevie Brown (six votes).
Obviously, the Giants hope Wilson does his damage as a running back moving forward and he did show the coaching staff what he has to offer. After a slow start, Wilson finished the year strong. Against the Saints he carried the ball 13 times for 100 yards, a 7.7 yard average, and two touchdowns. For the year, Wilson averaged 5.0 yards-per-carry on 71 carries for a total of 358 yards and four touchdowns.
Most of Wilson’s work at running back came in the last four weeks of the season. Prior to the Giants’ last four games, Wilson carried the football only 28 times. In the last four weeks he carried the ball 43 times for 247 yards, a healthy average of 5.7 yards per carry.
Even if Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown are brought back next season the Giants have to be excited to see what Wilson can do with the football. If his last four games are any indication he might be poised to make a name for himself.