Can David Wilson Shoulder the Load for 2013 Season in New York?

Mike CorasanitiContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2013

David Wilson showed a lot of promise in his rookie season in New York.
David Wilson showed a lot of promise in his rookie season in New York.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Last Wednesday saw the end of the road for running back Ahmad Bradshaw with the New York Giants, putting the pressure on nobody more than 21-year-old David Wilson.

Wilson, who just completed a choppy, yet promising rookie season out of Virginia Tech, will presumably be taking the lead role for the Giants in 2013 at running back with Andre Brown helping out behind him.

If anything, critics have a lot to say against Wilson in terms of consistency. The rookie fumbled in his NFL debut against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 5, a death sentence for anyone looking to earn a spot on the Giants roster. But luckily for him, and now the future of the team, Tom Coughlin refused to give up on the back just yet.

Wilson now famously exploded against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 9, returning a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown en route to a 327-total-yard performance for the day. The Giants were less than admirable in their last three games of 2012, but Wilson remained solid enough to solidify some future in New York.

But what seemed like the future is now a very real present for Wilson, who has been presented with the daunting task of replacing one of the team’s most important leaders in Bradshaw as well as one of their best players since their 2007 Super Bowl run.

Fortunately for the Giants, Wilson is more than ready to fill in the hole Bradshaw’s absence has left.

Granted, Wilson has a smaller than desirable sample size to work with. He essentially saw action in all 16 games last season but was not consistently looked to until his coming out party against the Saints.

But his sample size is still a pretty attractive one. Unlike a lot of rookies who may show flashes of brilliance clouded by a season of growing pains, Wilson worked out his kinks as quickly as possible and showed rapid and solid improvement the rest of the way.

What’s more, signs point to Wilson embracing a leadership role probably sooner than later.

At the beginning of his rookie season, Wilson let Jenny Vrentas at The Star-Ledger know some lofty, almost unrealistic goals for his first year. Notably among those goals were to average five yards per carry and not allow any fumbles. Excluding his debut against Dallas, it’s pretty impressive that a kid right out of college can set and accomplish goals that some star players would never even dream of.

Again, right now we only have a small sample size to work with. And after starting or at least seeing a lot more action in 16 games, it’s a little ridiculous to think that some of his self-set precedents are obtainable.

But at the very least, New York could be in a much worse position heading into the bulk of their offseason. They lost a staple in their offensive scheme and a lifeline in their locker room, but they're gaining an unselfish, promising running back who has the makings of a breakout player in 2013.

Wilson may not be Bradshaw or even Brandon Jacobs right away next season, but he’s shown that he is ready to be the No. 1 back for the Giants in both 2013 and years to come.