It's been an interesting week for the Giants on the running back front.
Former Giant Brandon Jacobs signed with the 49ers earlier this week and then came news on Friday that the Giants will lose backup running back Andre Brown for the first four games.
Brown was suspended by the NFL for violating league policy on performance enhancing substances. The suspension, which will be without pay for the team’s first four games of the regular season, comes at a time when the Giants already had some uncertainty surrounding their backfield.
After Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants have D.J. Ware, Da’Rel Scott and Brown on the roster. Brown was going to have a chance to compete with the others to replace Jacobs. But now the Giants will likely have to draft a running back or sign one on the cheap in free agency.
Ware and Scott will still likely have a shot to be the backup running back. But the Giants pretty much have to add another running back given Bradshaw’s history of foot injuries and Tom Coughlin's preference for using a rotation of backs. He said in February that he would like to stick to the formula he had with Bradshaw and Jacobs.
Ware has largely been the third running back on the team and used primarily out of the backfield to catch passes or on screens. This will be his shot to prove he can be the backup. The fan favorite is Scott, the speedy seventh-round pick out of Maryland last year. A full offseason of coaching will help Scott, who has good size and tantalizing speed. Scott was hurt by last year's lockout which kept him from working with coaches. It remains to be seen whether the Giants coaching staff will trust Scott with significant carries.
The team likes Brown, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2009 and spent all of last season on the practice squad. He may be best known to fans as the Giant who started the popular “I Got A Ring!” celebration on the Giants' plane trip home after the Super Bowl.
There are still some veteran running backs available in free agency. But my guess is the Giants will be looking for a back in April's draft. The Giants select 32nd overall in the first round. I still think they will pick the best player available and then look for a running back later in the draft.
After Alabama's Trent Richardson, who is expected to go high in the draft, the top running backs likely to follow include Miami's Lamar Miller, Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Boise State's Doug Martin and Oregon's Lamichael James.