Tim Sharp/Associated Press
To understand just how much of an upgrade Rashad Jennings is over the duo of David Wilson, who might not be ready for training camp as he continues to rehab from neck surgery, and Andre Brown, who will not be re-signed, let’s look at some data provided by the advanced statistical site NumberFire.
Using a metric called Net Expected Points (NEP), numberFire's J.J. Zachariason determined that in 2013, Wilson put forth the worst Rushing NEP season of any running back with no more than 50 carries since 2000 (1,139 instances).
Brown wasn’t much better. Zachariason reported that Brown’s NEP dipped by more than 24 points from his big 2012 season.
Jennings, meanwhile, had a NEP of 11.8, the eighth highest among running backs, and the sixth-best mark among the 35 running backs who had 150 or more carries.
As noted by Pro Football Focus, of Jennings' 733 rushing yards last season, 456 of them came after contact, a 2.8 yards-per-carry average. He also forced 16 missed tackles.
Jennings also brings to the Giants a receiving threat out of the backfield, which is something the team has lacked since the days of Ahmad Bradshaw.
Want even more reasons to like this signing? Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger reached out to Liberty football coach Frank Hickson, who coached Jennings when he was in college. Hickson praised his former student-athlete for his ability to get the tough yardage:
When you talk about the combination of the five qualities a running back has in order to be a complete running back, he has all five. We talked about that each and every day in our meeting room. Obviously, he can run the football but he's physical enough to execute all the important blocks in pass protect. He also has amazingly soft hands for a running back—he can be a force coming out of the backfield catching the ball.
Regardless of what happens with Wilson, it sounds as though Jennings is going to be the main man in the running game.
It also sounds like that if he stays healthy, he could provide the Giants with their most complete running back since Bradshaw.