David Wilson's rookie year can't be considered disappointing simply because he was so good on kickoff returns. Still, he was drafted 32nd overall in the 2012 draft by Big Blue to excel at running back, and his work there was spotty at best.
He did average five yards per carry, but most of his good performances came late in the season. Early in 2012, he was in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse due to the infamous fumble against the Cowboys on opening night. The few chances he received didn’t help him get out, as he averaged 2.3 yards per tote or less in seven of his first nine games where he received at least one carry.
It wasn’t until Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints where he started to get more of an opportunity and gain some momentum.
The starting running back role looks to be Wilson’s in 2013 with Bradshaw gone. Andre Brown will certainly get his share of work, especially around the goal line, but Wilson should average around 15 carries and 18-20 offensive touches per game.
His game-breaking speed and elusiveness excite Giants fans, but he needs to refine his game apart from these strengths if he wants to become a Pro Bowl-caliber breakout player.
For starters, his blocking needs to improve, though it looks like he is making strides in this area. The better he handles blitz pick-up, the more likely he is to be on the field, given how much of a premium Coughlin puts on this attribute.
In addition, he must become effective grinding out more runs in the four-to-six-yard range. He only averaged 2.7 yards per carry after contact last year, proving that he was not great running consistently between the tackles.
Along those same lines, he was too often a feast-or-famine player. A good example of this trait is the fact that Wilson accumulated 137 of his 358 yards on four runs. That means for his other 67 carries, he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry.
Despite these flaws, Wilson’s breakout potential is the best on New York. He has the opportunity, health and talent. A 1,000-yard season, several long touchdown runs and a high yards per carry are all possible for the second-year player.
All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required for premium stats) and Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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