Giants find Brandon Jacobs' replacement

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
11:18
PM ET


NEW YORK -- Man, did the New York Giants have some options with the final pick in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night. Wide receivers, offensive linemen and pass rushers still abound. They very well could have traded back into the early part of the second round, picked up an extra pick and still taken someone very useful, such as wide receiver Stephen Hill or tackle Cordy Glenn or even a pass rusher like Courtney Upshaw.

Wilson
Wilson
But the Giants, before they went on their magical run and won the Super Bowl, were the No. 32 ranked rush offense in the NFL in 2011. And that 32nd-ranked rush offense lost to free agency a back -- Brandon Jacobs -- who accounted for about 40 percent of their carries. So, while the Giants aren't a draft-for-need kind of team, it makes a lot of sense that they decided to take a running back.

The Giants selected Virginia Tech's David Wilson to be Jacobs' replacement, but don't expect a running back like Jacobs. Wilson is a little guy -- about 5-foot-9, 206 pounds -- whose scouting report says he has outstanding top-end speed but still needs to work on his inside running and his initial burst. He's every-down capable, having racked up 334 touches last year with the Hokies, and that matters, since Ahmad Bradshaw always seems to be battling those foot injuries. And he's an outstanding athlete who qualified for the NCAA championships in the triple jump in 2010.

My guess is that the Giants were looking at Boise State running back Doug Martin, and the Buccaneers traded up into the back end of the first round and took Martin one pick before the Giants' turn. But it's entirely possible, knowing the Giants, that Wilson was the guy on whom they had their eye all along. The Giants like to bring guys into their system and develop them under their coaching staff and among their veteran players. So if Martin isn't an impact guy right away in 2012 -- if he's merely in the mix of Bradshaw backups with guys like Da'Rel Scott and D.J. Ware -- that doesn't mean he doesn't have big-time potential down the road.

Ultimately, this is more of a "need" pick than the Giants tend to make in the draft, but if they thought someone like Hill or Glenn or Upshaw or Stanford tight end Coby Fleener was well ahead of Wilson in terms of value, I'm sure they would have taken him. The Giants clearly think highly of Wilson.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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