The 2012 season has come and gone. Back in April, the New York Giants selected a draft class to help fill the gaps in the roster after losing some significant players like Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, and Jake Ballard. Some of the rookies have shown brilliance, while others have struggled. Overall though, every single one of these players has the ability to be on the roster and prove their worth.
It took a while for first-round pick David Wilson, the running back from Virginia Tech, to really find his place in the Giants offense. An opening night fumble against the Dallas Cowboys was no help and it landed Wilson to work strictly on kickoff returns with very few chances for snaps and carries. The Week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints changed that dramatically. Wilson ended the season with 358 yards on 71 carries and had no fumbles since that Week 1 incident. The future is very promising for this young man and the Giants' run game.
"Coaches get a little bit nervous when young players ... you put them in and they turn the ball over early in the game. He proved himself and got back in there and we think he's going to be a terrific player for us," said Giants' General Manager Jerry Reese. "He's a dynamic, really kind of world class athlete. We think he has a bright future for us."
Rueben Randle, the wide receiver from LSU also went through some questions this season, but it was mostly brought upon everyone by Cris Collinsworth who questioned Randle's work ethic. He and Wilson have shown in the last few weeks that the future is bright for the two young men. On Sunday against the Eagles, Randle ended his season with two touchdown catches on the day. Randle ended his season with 19 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Jayron Hosley flashed the ability in the preseason to possibly help the Giants' cornerbacks, but he's dealt with a lot of injuries. The third-round pick out of Virginia Tech had an up and down season. had flashed some moments of brilliance, but also had moments he wants to forget. Hosley's future with the Giants, though, does look good.
"You saw him return some punts in the preseason, but after he hurt his foot and had some injuries there, we took him off the punt return duties, but we think he's going to be a really good player for us," said Reese. "He has that 'moxy' about him that you like. He had some growing pains like all rookies do, but he flashed some things that we like from him as a third-round pick."
The Giants used their fourth pick on Adrien Robinson, a tight end out of Cincinnati. After losing Jake Ballard to the New England Patriots and Travis Beckum to another injury, the Giants were at the time seriously limited at tight end. However, they brought Martellus Bennett over from Dallas, who had a career year with the Giants. Robinson just never had the opportunity to suit up for games.
"We still have very high hopes for him," said Reese. "He's a big, talented guy that's fast and can run and can do all the things. It's unfortunate that we weren't able to get him the suit on Sundays and get him some experience playing in the National Football League. We hope he'll continue to develop ... have an off-season under his belt to go through. Hopefully he'll be able to help us moving forward as a tight end in our tight end stable."
The Giants used their next two picks on offensive tackles. Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants saw playing time in the preseason. McCants spent the season on the practice squad and Mosley on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury. With David Diehl's future likely up in the air, it could give Mosley and McCants an opportunity to try and prove they're worthy of a roster spot and give the team some depth.
Finally, the Giants used their seventh round pick on Markus Kuhn, the defensive tackle from North Carolina State. Kuhn had some significant playing time at tackle, and showed a lot of hope for his future. Unfortunately he tore his ACL against the Cincinnati Bengals and his season was cut short. Kuhn has the size and power to be a dominating defensive tackle for the Giants, as long as he comes back healthy next season.
"[Kuhn] came on and did some nice stuff for us and obviously hurt his knee, but we think he's going to be healthy and back ready to play and be a big imposing figure in the middle for us at our defensive tackle position," said Reese.
The Giants collected their undrafted free agents soon after the draft. Out of the entire group, there are two players who show some significant promise for their spots on the team for the future.
Will Hill, the safety from Florida, elected for the draft in 2011, but was not selected nor did any team sign him as an UDFA. He returned this season and had a tryout with the Giants, who eventually signed him. Hill had a very solid year in the secondary and special teams. So solid, he and Stevie Brown may have played Kenny Phillips out of a job in a Giants uniform. He made 38 tackles, had two forced fumbles, and had two passes defensed. When Hill made a play in the game, it was very noticeable. His size and stature is overwhelming against opposing teams, and when he makes a hit, it's a big one. Hill made a great impact on special teams earlier in the year, and continued that throughout the season. He showed his place on the roster after Phillips got hurt, giving Hill more playing time at safety. We'll be seeing a lot from Hill in his future in the NFL.
Adewale Ojomo had a terrific preseason, but barely saw the field during the regular season. He suffered a hamstring injury early in the season and spent most of the season on the inactive list, only seeing any real playing time against the Cleveland Browns in October. Those preseason games though showed a promising future and work ethic from the young defensive end. He's powerful and can put some great pressure on the quarterback. If he can stay healthy, we could be looking at a good future for Ojomo. With Osi Umenyiora likely gone next season, Ojomo's shot will come.
Overall, this Giants' rookie class is a special one. It took a while for some of the rookies to come around and show the team what they're capable of, but most have shown flashes of brilliance at some point this year. It will be interesting to see what they bring to the table next training camp.
--You can follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell