Although the Giants have signed Rashad Jennings to presumably be their No. 1 running back, the rest of the depth at this position is far from being settled.
For starters, there’s the question regarding David Wilson and when (or if) he might be ready to return to the field.
Recently, head coach Tom Coughlin, in an interview with the team’s official website, said that he’s “counting” on Wilson for 2014, but he didn’t sound so sure when or if it would actually happen.
“All in due time with David,” Coughlin said, reiterating that he wouldn’t expose Wilson to the dangers of the game until he was convinced that Wilson is no longer in danger of reaggravating his surgically repaired neck.
“Just pray, you’re praying that he has a return to excellent health and that the doctors are totally convinced that he is recovered and ready to go. When that time comes, you’ll have another contributor who, if he gets a step, he’s gone,” Coughlin said.
Behind Jennings is Peyton Hillis, who last year fared well considering he came in cold off the couch and didn’t have the benefit of a full offseason with the team.
Hillis, who signed a two-year deal in March, also showed an ability to pass block and can probably play a little fullback in certain sets.
However, can Hillis, who in addition to not exactly being a speed-burner also missed the Week 16 game against the Lions due to a concussion, hold up to a full year’s worth of pounding?
Also on the depth chart is Michael Cox, last year’s seventh-round draft pick who started one game for the Giants after a rash of injuries affected the depth in front of him.
That Cox barely got an opportunity to carry the ball after making his lone start in Week 5 could be related to possible struggles to learn the pass-blocking part of the playbook.
If the Giants want a running back who is a good runner, who can catch balls out of the backfield, who can pass block and who has the durability to hold up to the violent nature that comes with playing the position, they might want to look at Washington’s Bishop Sankey (5’10”, 209 lbs).
While not possessing ideal size, Sankey has been the very picture of durable despite receiving over 650 touches in the final two years of his collegiate career.
Per NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang, Sankey “possesses subtle quickness as would-be tacklers arrive to slip and slide through contact and is too strong for arm tackles.”
He also does a good job to cover the ball with two hands to protect it from defenders trying to jar it free, something that is sure to please head coach Tom Coughlin, who all too often saw Wilson and Da’Rel Scott not employ that technique.
As a pass-blocker, Rang notes that Sankey shows “subtle power and quickness to quietly get the job despite less than ideal size [sic]. Quick to step up in pass protection, showing good technique to deflect, slide and anchor, as necessary, rather than slamming into bigger pass rushers.”
As an added benefit, Sankey has shown that he can be a receiver out of the backfield, having caught 67 passes over his three-year college career for 567 yards.
Based on his production, Sankey appears to be a nice fit for the Giants as a potential No. 2 back.
If the Giants are, as Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reported, “firmly committed to the running game,” it probably wouldn’t be surprising if they try to pick up a running back as soon as Day 2 of the draft.
Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.