This is part one of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise.
While assessing this position for every team we’ll look at who’s been carrying the load for the team and which back up has also been a contributor for the team and determine if drafting a runner is in cards for them in the 2008 draft. The series will also provide unanswered questions for each franchise.
We start in the NFC East. This division sent three teams to the playoffs in 2007, and with a 10-6 record. the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Giants were true road warriors, winning 11 road games in their championship season. The Giants as a team averaged 134 rushing yards per game.
Brandon Jacobs 6’4” 264 lbs. 202 Att. 1,009 Yards 5.0 YPC 4 TDs
(Post-Season 62 Att. 197 Yards 3.2 YPC 3 TDs)
Derrick Ward 5’11” 228lbs. 125 Att. 602 Yards 4.8 YPC 3 TDs
Ahmad Bradshaw 5’9” 198 lbs. 23 Att. 190 Yards 8.3 YPC 1 TD
(Post-Season 48 Att. 208 Yards 4.3 YPC 1 TD)
Reuben Droughns 5’11” 220 lbs. 85 Att. 275 Yards 3.2 YPC 6 TDs
The question before the 2007 season was: Could new starter Brandon Jacobs replace the Tiki Barber Legend? After watching the Giants running game during this past season, the answer is an emphatic yes!
Brandon Jacobs is 25 years old, and an absolute nightmare to have to match up with in the hole for anyone. Barring injury, he will be a factor in the Giants running game for quite some time.
Ahmad Bradshaw, the second-year player from Marshall, showed that he can be an effective change-of-pace back for the Giants, allowing them to spell Jacobs when needed. Derrick Ward was recently re-signed and will continue to contribute when called upon. Reuben Droughns, at 29 years old, is the oldest at the position and may be the odd man out.
I don’t see the Giants drafting a running back unless the Giants find another late round gem they feel can come in and contribute. The Giants running game is alive and well and will continue to do damage in 2008.
The unanswered question for the Giants: Will second-year SS Michael Johnson develop quicker under the tutelage of Sammy Knight? The addition of Knight tells me that the Giants aren’t ready to hand the job to Michael Johnson just yet. Knight is entering his twelfth season in the NFL but the Giants noticed his durability, leadership and smarts.