Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New York Giants Draft Preview: Running Back

This is the second installment in the series of posts breaking down the Giants position by position for the upcoming NFL Draft.  The next position up is Running Back.

At Running Back, the Giants depth chart currently includes Ahmad Bradshaw, D.J. Ware, Da’Rel Scott, Andre Brown and Henry Hynoski.

Last season the running game for the Giants was non-existent, finishing with 1,427 yards, which was the least in the NFL.  The outlook for the Giants running game is murky currently with Brandon Jacobs leaving in free agency and Andre Brown being suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season.  It also does not help that Bradshaw received an injection to help the healing process of the fracture he has in his ankle.  Bradshaw says he is capable of a bigger work load with Jacobs leaving town, but it is one thing to say something; showing it is a whole different case.  Bradshaw has surgically repaired feet and ankles and can break down at any second. 

Ware got sporadic playing time last season, seeing his most action in garbage time.  Ware was also seen a lot for draw plays and on screen passes. 

Scott was a burner at Maryland University and has shown that speed in the action he has gotten in pre-season games.  The coaching staff though does not have trust in him, something he will have to earn if he wants to get some serious playing time that means something in the regular season.  Scott making the team was impressive enough as a 7th round pick.  Without much of an off-season to work on his game because of the lockout I give Scott kudos for making the team at all and being talked about now.  He will be given all the opportunities to make a positive impression on the coaching staff this time around. 

The Giants drafted Brown in the 4th round out of North Carolina State in the 2009 NFL Draft.  The Giants like the skills Brown brings to the table, but will be without him for the first four games of the season as he serves his suspension because he violated the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. 

Hynoski was a nice surprise for the Giants last season.  He was yet another shrewd move by GM Jerry Reese, adding Hynoski as an undrafted free agent during the off-season.  Hynoski should only improve as a blocker going into his second season.  What the real surprise was the hands he has coming out of the backfield.  As the season wore on, Hynoski showed good hands coming out of the backfield as a safety option for Eli Manning.

Running Back is an interesting position for the Giants heading into the draft.  They need to prepare themselves in case Ware and Scott are not ready or capable of increased roles in the offense.  They could, at the very least, take a running back to groom, much like the same situation they can have at Quarterback.  Bradshaw is a huge injury risk as well, so they need to protect themselves in case an injury occurs to their starting running back.  Tom Coughlin likes the speed and power combo Bradshaw and Jacobs provides, but there are not many running backs that are 6’4 and 265 pounds like Jacobs available. 

The last time the Giants selected a running back in the draft was last year, 2011, when they selected Scott in the 7th round.  Do not be surprised if the Giants snag a running back this year as well.  It is not the Giants M.O. to spend high picks on running backs, (Ron Dayne was selected in the first round by the Giants in 2000.  Since then, they have not selected a running back higher than the 4th round) instead finding gems later in the draft like Bradshaw (7th round pick) and Jacobs (4th round pick). 

Some names to keep an eye on are David Wilson of Virginia Tech and Lamichael James of Oregon.  Both are explosive runners who could be available when the Giants turn to pick comes around in the 2nd round.  The Giants strategy is usually to take the best player available, but this is definitely a need position for them this season.  With so much uncertainty surrounding the backfield, I would put the necessity of adding a running back at 9 on a scale of 1-10 for the Giants. 

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