City Sports Report

What Does The New York Giants Backfield Look Like Without David Wilson?

David Wilson retires

David Wilson was selected by the Giants in the first round in 2012 (32nd overall) with the expectation that he would add a dynamic weapon to their backfield. After all, the speedster from Virginia Tech had dominated the ACC the previous year, amassing 1730 yards his last season on his way to being named ACC Offensive Player of the Year. But his career did not get off to the way he wanted. Fumbling issues drew the ire of head coach Tom Coughlin and Wilson was relegated to kickoff return duty. But this season was supposed to be his year. After being out since Week 5 of the 2013 season due to what was determined to be spinal stenosis (and also spinal fusion surgery), Wilson finally was going to get the chance to be one of the main cogs in the running back rotation. But that dream was short-lived for the young speedster. A stinger he received in practice this preseason has doctors advising Wilson that he should not play football again or risk severe damage. He was waived by the Giants with the injury designation and now his career is officially over. With the loss of Wilson, the Giants now face an even more uncertain situation in their backfield. But there are some very viable options available for Big Blue.

Rashad Jennings is working on his third team in three years with the Giants. He was the backup to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville and then was an afterthought when he signed in Oakland in 2013. But with the injury to starter Darren McFadden last season, the addition of Jennings was a blessing in disguise for Oakland. The power back (6’1”, 231 pounds) from the Liberty University finally got a chance to own the backfield for once and he amassed 733 yards and six touchdowns in only eight starts for the Raiders. Those numbers caught the attention of the Giants, who brought him in on a four-year, $14 million deal ($3 million guaranteed). Jennings does not have blazing speed for a running back (4.6 40 time), but what he does have is power, vision and speed. And with that combination of talents, you can be for sure he can fit the new West Coast offense the Giants have brought in. But Jennings is not the only one that has a chance to make some things happen.

Rookie running back Andre Williams was thought of as a plodding guy with stone hands when he was preparing for the NFL draft. Despite being the 2013 Doak Walker award winner (award for Nation’s best running back), he slid to the fourth round, where the Giants selected him. So far, the returns have been good through one game versus the Buffalo Bills. Williams showed power, running behind his pads. But what he also showed was a burst that most did not think was there when evaluating him. He finished the preseason game with seven attempts for 48 yards, including the 21 yard run that showed off his sneaky speed. Of course the reality of the situation is he just ran well in the Hall Of Fame game that amounts to nothing in regards to season stats. The real test for him will come when the regular season arrives. And also the question still remains in regards to what his hands look like, since he was thought to not have the best set of hands coming out of college.

Another option the Giants have at running back is Peyton Willis. The great thing about him is he has been a feature back before for a full season. The veteran running back was a huge hit in the 2010 season with the Cleveland Browns. He amassed 1,177 yards while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. With his size (6’2”, 244 pounds) he would make opposing defenders bounce off of him. And to go along with his size, he also has hands to catch passes out of the backfield. Hillis is more ideal for the screen because of his ability to catch, redirect and get momentum rolling downfield. But the downside to Hillis is he has not been the same back he was in 2010. What the Giants are hoping for is a glimpse of what they saw from him in 2010 in a more limited role. If he is able to provide that for the Giants, then he could be an option that could be help out Williams and Jennings.

The Giants are definitely equipped with some nice size running backs that can fit the West Coast Offense. They can all run with power and are solid players and at least two of the three have reliable hands out of the backfield. But neither of these three will provide the homerun threat that Wilson provides. The show must go on and it will with Williams, Jennings and Hillis. But the loss of Wilson will be evident throughout the season. I feel sad his dream was taken away from him, but Wilson said it best after hearing the news: “Don’t feel sad for me. I lived my dream,”

For more sports talk, feel free to contact me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>