- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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As we noted Wednesday afternoon, with the help of the team's official website, running back David Wilson was among the New York Giants practicing as OTAs began. Wilson was practicing at running back and on returns. He has not, as far as we know, been cleared for contact following last season's neck surgery, but these are non-contact practices, so he's good to go for now.
Assuming he is cleared for contact, it's easy to wonder where Wilson fits in the running back plans, as the Giants signed Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis in free agency and drafted 2013 NCAA rushing leader Andre Williams in the fourth round. But aside from the obvious point that last year revealed the importance of depth at this particular position for the Giants, Wilson would bring something none of those other guys can bring. Something I think could be very important in Ben McAdoo's new offense.
Not that Jennings can't catch the ball, but Wilson's special ability to break big plays is something that should matter to an offense based on speed and the ability of its playmakers to get the ball near the line of scrimmage and operate with it in their hands. Wilson averaged 5 yards per carry as a rookie, and while that fell off early last year prior to his neck injury, there were a lot of things going on there, including Tom Coughlin's benching of him following two Week 1 fumbles.
Assuming Wilson's psyche is healed from last September's rough treatment, and assuming he's now carrying the ball up high the way the coaches want him to, he's likely to get a chance to help. Yes, the Giants signed Jennings to be their featured back, but they're also just two years removed from drafting Wilson in the first round because they believed he had the ability to give their offense an element most offenses don't have at running back. If his neck is healed as well, he'll get a chance to show that, and he could have a major role in what they're doing on offense.