Running back David Wilson was the last pick of the first round of the 2012 NFL draft by the then-defending champion New York Giants. He came into the league as a highly touted, physically gifted runner out of Virginia Tech.
But his transition to the NFL didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked. After losing a fumble on his second professional carry in the team’s opening game against the Dallas Cowboys, Wilson found himself firmly in head coach Tom Coughlin‘s doghouse.
And it turned out getting out of that residence was harder than it would have seemed for a player that was worth a first round pick just months before. Wilson spent the vast majority of his rookie season on the bench, but when he did get the opportunity to play, he showed he has real talent.
Wilson broke out in a big way against the New Orleans Saints in week 14. He set a Giants’ team record with 327 total yards, including 227 yards returning kicks, 100 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. That otherworldly performance alone puts to rest any doubts that Wilson has the talent to be an impact player in the NFL.
And apparently the Giants got the memo too. Instead of cementing Wilson on the bench for another year, they let veteran Ahmad Bradshaw leave in free agency. That clears the depth chart of all impediments except for Andre Brown, who’s shown glimpses, but not the same kind of upside that Wilson has.
2012 was a year of highs and lows for Wilson. His dominant performance against the Saints was one of the best the league saw last year, but in many ways his year was defined by that one fumble in week one that kept him off the field for most of the season.
As it turned out, that was the only time Wilson put the ball on the ground all year long. 2013 will be the year that he gets the chance to show the world whether he was worth a first round pick after all.
Look for Wilson to build on that late season success he had last year and have a breakout year in 2013.