- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- David Wilson has already made a name for himself as a kick returner.
Now he's out to showcase what he can do as a running back.
Following the departure of Ahmad Bradshaw, Wilson is projected to be the Giants' starting running back this upcoming season. He's in a competition with Andre Brown, who most likely will serve as the change-of-pace and goal-line back.
"It's a great opportunity. I'm stepping in and trying to do all the right things I need to do to help this team win," Wilson said. "Whatever that may be, wherever I might be on the field, and how much I want to be on the field. I know what I got to do this training camp to get the maximum playing time I want."
The Giants have not officially designated Wilson as the starter, but it appears it's his job to lose. Wilson took first team reps during Saturday's practice, and the team invested a first-round pick in him in hope he'd claim the job one day. Wilson believes the competition will only help the two backs get better.
"Me and Dre, we're working together basically. We bring two different things and a lot of the same things," Wilson said.
"So when we out on the field we trying to make each other better so when we go out there on game day, the defense is not going to have to worry about just one of us, it's two of us."
Wilson enters training camp unproven as a running back after an up-and-down rookie season, although he described it as "pretty good." Wilson fumbled on just his second career rushing attempt, and the Giants lost their trust in him as Wilson didn't register double-digit carries until Week 14. He finished the year strong by tallying 247 yards and three rushing scores over the final four games.
As he struggled as a back Wilson excelled as a kick returner, averaging 26.9 yards per return. Wilson said Saturday he wants to continue to do kickoffs, although the Giants may not want their starting running back handling them.
One facet of Wilson's game that was heavily scrutinized last season was his pass protection, and he will have to prove he can keep quarterback Eli Manning upright. Bradshaw, now with the Colts, excelled at blocking.
"That's something I haven't been able to display because of limited time last year, and practice is not a lot of contact," Wilson said. "Ball security is very important.
They question me a little in that area due to my first fumble in the NFL. Just doing those things, pass protection, knowing my plays, knowing my assignments and limiting my mistakes overall will definitely give me more playing time."
Even if Wilson is the starter, the Giants will be using Brown plenty this season, as the team prefers to use a multiple-back system. Brown is optimistic about what a tandem of he and Wilson can deliver in 2013.
"The sky is the limit. It all starts with our attention to detail and our willingness to be a proven entity in this league," Brown said. "You're only going to get out what you put into it and I feel like we've put in a lot of work, extra film study, reading defenses, helping each other out. We know what we're capable of. We just really want to go out here and turn that question mark into an exclamation point."
1dBy Dan Graziano