With two games in the books for Big Blue, it’s time to take a look at how the rookies have performed in their first taste of real NFL action. As you’ll see the early returns are not great for the 2012 draft class, especially concerning the much-heralded first-year running back from Virginia Tech.
David Wilson, RB: D+
After a strong preseason, no one could have predicted the nightmare start Wilson has had to his NFL career. A lost fumble on his second carry in the league immediately put Wilson in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. He was given a chance to redeem himself on Sunday against Tampa Bay but promptly dropped a pass on the Giants fourth play of the game, deep in Bucs territory.
The rookie’s early-season mistakes clearly led to Andre Brown leapfrogging him into the lead back role when Ahmad Bradshaw went down with a neck injury early in the second quarter.
Wilson is pressing and not letting the game come to him. He is not running with the same patience and vision that he exhibited in the preseason. It is not the lack of production that has been alarming. Five carries is hardly a large enough sample to form any definitive opinion. It’s the fact that the first-round draft pick has looked overwhelmed by the NFL stage that is discouraging.
One bright spot, and the only reason Wilson didn’t warrant an F, has been his kickoff returns. He has netted a healthy 26.2 yards per return average and also passes the eye test. Wilson looks like he could break one for a touchdown on any given kickoff and probably will before the end of the season.
Overall, I think Wilson will get more comfortable and perform better as the season moves along. He has a ton of talent and a strong work ethic. He simply needs to take a deep breath, relax and not worry about making mistakes.
Jayron Hosley, CB: B
Even with all the injuries the Giants have at cornerback, it still says something that Hosley got the start Sunday. The rookie didn’t disappoint.
While veterans Corey Webster and Michael Coe where burned on several big plays, Hosley held his own and did not allow Tampa Bay to throw deep on him. The third-round draft pick also registered six tackles, including a potential touchdown-saving one on Arrelious Benn’s long kickoff return to start the second half.
It’s only one game, but Hosley looks to have all the makings of a quality NFL cornerback.
Reuben Randle, WR: D
Randle didn’t get an opportunity to play opening night against Dallas, but Sunday was a different story. When Domenik Hixon suffered a concussion late in the first quarter against Tampa Bay, Randle was given an opportunity, along with Ramses Barden, to contribute as the third wide receiver.
Somehow, in a game where Eli Manning threw for 510 yards, the rookie wideout not only didn’t get a reception—he wasn’t even targeted.
The Giants knew the talented but raw Randle would be a project coming into the season, and the first two games has proved them right. The LSU product did show some potential in the punt return game against the Bucs with two returns for 23 yards.
Markus Kuhn, DT: C
The seventh-round draft pick from NC State did well for himself by making the 53-man roster and has even registered two tackles in the early season.
The problem with Kuhn is that he is still very raw, but despite being a rookie, he is already 26 years old. It is hard to imagine that he’ll realize his potential while still in his prime.
Adrien Robinson, TE: Incomplete
Robinson barely played against the Cowboys and was inactive on Sunday. He has a ton of potential, but the emergence of Martellus Bennett through the first two games likely means that Robinson will be a non-factor in 2012.
Adewale Ojomo, DE: Incomplete
The rookie defensive end gets a pass since he has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury.