David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, Da'Rel Scott, Michael Cox, Peyton Hillis, Andre Brown. six running backs, six different starters for the Giants in 2013. While the offensive line's blocking was truly offensive, the league-high turnover in the running back position absolutely contributed to the Giants' offensive woes.
Brandon Jacobs has retired, Scott was cut, re-signed, and IR'd, Peyton Hillis and Andre Brown are free agents, and David Wilson's future is uncertain thanks to a neck inujry.
Fixing the offensive line is priority no. 1 for the Giants, however the running back position needs to be addressed. While Wilson, Brown, and Hillis have all shown some positive things, the uncertainties around all of them are disturbing.
And while the Giants could certainly explore free agent additions such as Ben Tate or Toby Gerhart, the price of bringing in a vet might be prohibitive.
Mason made a name for himself in the last three games of the 2013 regular season and 2014 BCS game, earning himself a late Heisman Trophy push.
- Incredible conditioning. Carried the ball 75 times in two weeks, and ran as hard on the 75th carry as he did on the 1st.
- Stout build (5-foot-9, 205 pounds), powerful lower body, and good balance mean he can run through arm tackles, and finish runs strongly for good YAC.
- Patient yet decisive runner. "One Cut and Go" running style
- Good speed
- Strong down-field blocking when asked to do so.
- One speed runner who lacks that high gear to out-run defenses
- Rarely if ever asked to pass block
- Unknown ability as a receiver
- Production could be a result Auburn's unique offense, and dominant offensive linemen (Greg Robinson)
- Ball security could be an issue. Auburn had problems with fumbles through the first half of the season.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Tom Coughlin likes his running backs to be warriors, and I can't think of any better display of that than to carry the ball 46 times, against the No. 5 defense in the country. Oh, and he happened to break a record set by Bo Jackson on the way.
Mason is a no nonsense, one-cut runner with good speed, balance, vision, and agility. He is basically everything the Giants need in a running back. He has capable hands as either a receiver or a returner, but Auburn seldom used him as such. Mason's pass blocking is an unknown quantity because Auburn rarely if ever had him do it, but he is a capable down-field blocker.
Tre Mason vs Missouri (2013 SEC Championship) (via DCheeseB)
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in top 50
Mocking The Draft - 70
CBS Sports - 51
Draft Countdown - Not Ranked
Draft Tek - 60
Mason won me over big-time when he rushed for 468 yards on 75 carries (6.24 yards per carry) in two games, on two of the top 5 defenses in the country. Those two games happen to be the last two of Auburn's regular season. Yes, Auburn's "Run first, Run second, run some more, and then if there's 12 guys in the box, try to throw a pass or two" offense and Greg Robinson's dominating run blocking helped Mason on his way, but the way he finished the year off was nothing short of amazing.
That's because Mason reminds me of nobody so much as Ahmad Bradshaw. They have a similar build, incredible toughness and determination to fight through adversity, and a similar running style (though Mason is more decisive behind and to the line of scrimmage).
The only downside is that Mason might be gone before the Giants are ready to draft a running back. He is currently thought of as a second-round prospect, though an early run on QBs, the incredible depth of this draft, and the loss of positional value, could drop him down boards.