The New York Giants drafted running back David Wilson in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft hoping that he would inject some life into a running game that averaged a league-worst 3.5 yards per carry a season ago. Friday night against the Chicago Bears, Wilson showed the skills the Giants were looking.
Starting in place of Ahmad Bradshaw and playing most of the first half, Wilson carried five times for 49 yards, including runs of 15 and 20 yards. He had two pass receptions for 26 yards, including a 29-yard catch-and-run. Those are the kinds of plays the Giants drafted the 5-foot-9, 205-pound back to make.
"You see the potential. You see the playmaking ability. A couple of the big runs, he ran hard, and got outside, got a good chunk. He had the short pass thrown to him, he got down the sideline for a big gain. So, those are the things you’re looking for," said Giants quarterback Eli Manning following Friday's game. "He also had a catch on the second play of the game, he went the wrong way. So, there’s some good and bad, but you have to go with that. So, it’s still a process of just continuing to learn the ins and outs of the offense. He’s a young guy, we’ll go slowly with him, put him in certain situations, and see if he can do some good things for us."
Wilson showed his speed, obviously. He showed some power, finishing runs with authority and breaking some tackles. He also showed decisiveness, staying north and south in his runs, something that the Giants have been reminding him to do.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said simply that Wilson's performance "was a nice thing to see."
In reality, it might be much more than nice. As poor as the running game was a season ago, and as often as starter Ahmad Bradshaw has had trouble with his feet and ankles over the years, Wilson was hardly a luxury selection when the Giants took him with the final pick of the first round.
The Giants had only four runs of 20 or more yards a season ago, the fewest of any team in the NFL. They were one of only six teams not to have a run of at least 40 yards. Wilson has now carried 20 times this preseason for 118 yards, an averege of 5.9 yards per carry. He has two runs of at least 20 yards.
"He has some play-making ability, which was shown tonight and that’s something that we certainly can use," Coughlin said.
Yes, indeed they can.