The New York Giants received positive medical news on the recovery status of running back David Wilson. Wilson, who suffered a potentially devastating neck injury in the midst of an underwhelming 2013 season, reportedly received clearance to begin lifting weights and exercising and is expected to contribute to the Giants in their 2014 NFL campaign.
This news is encouraging for a Giants team depleted at the running back position. Both Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis are unrestricted free agents, and while it seems likely that New York re-signs one or both players, neither one of them provides a long-term solution to the position. Brown’s injury history is extensive, and the team cannot expect Hillis and his bruising style of football to withstand a 16-game season. A healthy Wilson adds depth and provides the Giants with some stability, albeit not that much.
A 2012 first-round draft pick, Wilson was expected to come in and dazzle with his elusiveness and breakneck speed. Instead, his first two years have been mired by difficulties holding onto the ball and struggles understanding the pass protection blocking schemes for his franchise quarterback Eli Manning. As a result, Wilson has spent a substantial portion of his first two professional years planted in head coach Tom Coughlin’s doghouse.
Assuming he is healthy and ready to contribute Week 1, Wilson’s 2014 season will be a defining one. On occasion Wilson has demonstrated the flashes of athletic brilliance that merited his first-round selection, but such moments have been peppered in between long stretches of inconsistency. Wilson’s injury only heightens such concerns. It seems rational to assume that the team is privately questioning whether the running back who supposedly once outran a rabbit will ever live up to his potential.
Using a day one or two pick to draft a running back or signing a high-profile free agent replacement would be a public admission from Giants general manger Jerry Reese that Wilson was a bust. It would reflect poorly on the Giants organization, and frankly, be a hasty move.
Wilson will most likely get one more chance. Reese, Coughlin and the entire Giants fanbase will be rooting for him to make the most of it.