David Wilson’s Medical Clearance Gives New York Giants Roster Flexibility
Last season was a lost year for the New York Giants and their 2013 first-round pick, running back David Wilson. Wilson had all of the responsibilities placed on his shoulders with Andre Brown going down in the preseason, and he struggled to get going; he was benched after fumbling twice in Week 1. That was not even the low-light for Wilson, as he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5. The neck injury clouded his playing future, but on Monday he and the Giants received some positive news as he was cleared for everything and will be joining the team to participate in training camp starting Tuesday.
With Wilson being cleared, the Giants are in much better shape in the backfield. Unlike last season when Brown’s injury placed all the responsibility on Wilson, there are many options at running back this season to handle the ball. Newly signed Rashad Jennings will have the first shot at lead back duties, with Peyton Hillis providing veteran insurance behind the both of them. Do not forget also 2014 fourth-round selection Andre Williams, who looks like an early-down banger the Giants can employ right from the start.
Getting Wilson back into the fold will bring an added dimension to the Giants offense. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo should be able to put the speed and quickness of the elusive Wilson to good use in his quick-hitting offense. Getting Wilson into space where he is most effective will put a strain on opposing defenses. Wilson should line up all around the formation as the Giants look to get the ball into his hands as much as possible without him taking the pounding that a lead back takes between the tackles.
Where Wilson will also help the Giants is on special teams. With so many options in the backfield, the Giants can be comfortable deploying Wilson as a return man on kickoffs. As a rookie Wilson excelled in this role, averaging 26.9 yards per return with one touchdown. It is a place the Giants could use a spark this season, as they ranked 27th in the NFL in 2013 with 21.2 yards per return.
Wilson’s return will be met with open arms by the Giants. With him being cleared, the Giants now have a ton of flexibility with what they can do with the rest of the roster. With yet another capable option in the return game, the Giants may be able to keep a younger player such as safety Nat Berhe or linebacker Dan Fox instead of a return specialist such as Trindon Holliday.
With Wilson back in the fold, the Giants should be confident that their backfield and return games with both bounce back strongly in 2014. Wilson knows as well as anyone that he has not performed up to what he is capable of, and he will be eager to show the Giants and their fans what he is really made of. Expect a bounce-back season from Wilson as he will not have pressure of carrying an entire backfield or return unit by himself.