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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Draft positional preview: Running back

By Ohm Youngmisuk

This is the second installment in a position-by-position analysis of the Giants as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Running back.

Depth chart: David Wilson, Andre Brown (restricted free agent tender), Henry Hynoski, Da’Rel Scott, Ryan Torain.

The departed: Ahmad Bradshaw (released, free agent), Kregg Lumpkin (free agent).

Scouting report: The Giants are prepared to start the Wilson era after releasing Bradshaw in the offseason to create cap space. Wilson projects as the starter but Brown, who will be coming back from a broken leg injury, should have the opportunity to compete with Wilson and share carries.

Wilson says he is ready to carry the load but Tom Coughlin likes to have a two-back attack so a timeshare seems likely with the hot hand getting the edge. The other thing to keep an eye on is whether the coaches trust Wilson enough to protect Eli Manning and stay on the field for multiple downs.

Hynoski quietly shined at fullback. The Giants are looking to see who can fill their third running back spot. Scott and Torain will get a crack but the team also took a look at free agent Tim Hightower and could continue to scour free agency for another veteran back.

The last time: The Giants drafted Wilson in the first round in 2012.

Potential targets: If the Giants are worried about Brown’s future –- he is expected to be fully recovered from his leg injury but will play this season on a one-year tender deal barring an extension –- they could take a look at some running backs in the mid-to-late rounds. They drafted Brown in the fourth round back in 2009 despite already having Brandon Jacobs and Bradshaw.

One Giants source likened Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell to Brown –- a back with size (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) who can run with power and catch out of the backfield. Bell has good athleticism and can be elusive but lacks breakaway speed. It also remains to be seen how good the back can be at pass protection.

With Wilson and Brown, the Giants also would be a team in position to wait for a potential prospect like Marcus Lattimore to recover if Jerry Reese felt the South Carolina running back was the best player available on his board at a certain point midway or late in the draft and was worth the risk.

The Giants, though, have drafted running backs late. They found Bradshaw and Scott in the seventh round and perhaps a back like Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet, whom the Giants have taken a look at, could be an option late. A running back who could return kickoffs also might have appeal since Wilson’s work load is going to increase this season.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 5.

Tell us how you feel about the running back situation entering the draft.