The running back position was a constant thorn in the New York Giants’ side this season. The Giants entered training camp with the hopes that David Wilson and Andre Brown would more than replace the productivity of Ahmad Bradshaw. However, Brown got hurt in the preseason and Wilson lost two fumbles in the opening game against the Dallas Cowboys. To compound matters, the Giants’ offensive line was far from consistent, especially in the run game and Wilson was never able to establish himself before going down with an injury himself.
The Giants had six different running backs carry the ball for them in 2013 with Andre Brown, who missed the first eight games, leading the team with 139 carries for 492 yards. To put that in perspective, Brown’s 492 yards were the lowest by the team’s leading rusher since 1999 when Joe Montgomery led the team with 348 yards on 115 attempts.
The Giants were forced to depend on Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis, two guys signed off of the street, and Michael Cox, the second to last pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, for significant playing time in the backfield.
Brown is scheduled to be a free agent but there is mutual interest in a return but his injury history has to be a major red flag. Wilson’s NFL career might be over because of a spinal injury. Jacobs is not a real option and Hillis isn’t either although one could be brought back to provide depth. Simply put, the Giants need a running back.
Free agency isn’t exactly brimming with possibilities. Rashad Jennings, Ben Tate and Toby Gerhart might be the best available free agents and none of them really instill a ton of confidence although Tate has the best track record. There is also Maurice Jones-Drew but he looks cooked and is only a name at this point.
The Giants will need to address the running back situation once again. Maybe they sign Brown. Maybe Wilson’s health won’t be an issue for next year. However, the Giants can’t afford to enter 2014 with running back questions like they did in 2013. Whether the Giants choose free agency or the NFL Draft they will need to bring in some fresh blood.