The New York Giants struggled to run the football effectively in 2013 due to the instability of their offensive line up front and their running backs being hit quite hard by the injury bug.
RB David Wilson, in particular, missed the majority of the 2013 season after suffering a neck injury against the Philadelphia Eagles during their Week 5 meeting. Wilson underwent neck surgery in January and has yet to be officially cleared for contact, but the former first-round draft pick will likely play for New York this season.
Wilson, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound runner, has perhaps some of the most explosive moves we have yet to see. Wilson ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Combine, which also consisted of a 1.53 second 10-yard split, two phenomenal numbers for a back.
Wilson has yet to live up to the hype coming out of Virginia Tech as a first-round draft pick. He was seen as the 2012 class’ most explosive runner, and possessed some of the best upside as a No. 1 back due to his ability to score anytime he touched the football.
In his rookie season, Wilson put together a stellar campaign, rushing for 358 yards on 71 carries and four touchdowns in just two starts while playing in all 16 games. In his second season, however, Wilson was limited to just five games (four starts), in which he rushed for just 146 yards on 44 carries and one touchdown while losing two crucial fumbles as well.
Wilson needs to become a much better runner overall. His vision needs to become much better in terms of seeing the hole develop, and he must become a much more patient runner. He also must learn how to properly secure the football, something former New York running back Tiki Barber had to do early on in his career.
Once cleared, Wilson will compete for playing time with a cluster of runners from Peyton Hillis to rookie Andre Williams, to veteran Rashad Jennings and youngster Michael Cox. Wilson should have no trouble running away with the job, but his neck must be able to handle the load.
My best guess is that New York will look to use a combination of Wilson and Jennings this season while they begin to usher Williams in as the team’s future No. 1 back.