Position series: Giants running backs

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
1:31
PM ET
Our position-by-position analysis of the NFC East's four teams stops to take a look this afternoon at the running backs on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

[+] EnlargeDavid Wilson
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesThe Giants hope David Wilson develops quickly so he can provide backup to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Projected starters: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, FB Henry Hynoski

Reserves: RB David Wilson, RB D.J. Ware, RB Da'Rel Scott, RB Andre Brown, FB Joe Martinek

Potential strength: When healthy, Bradshaw is a top-level back, capable of high-end production, as his 1,235 rushing yards in 2010 attest. He's also an asset in the screen passing game, as he's Eli Manning's favorite screen target. And he's as good at blitz pickup as any back in the league. Bradshaw is tough and strong and 26 years old and more than capable of handling the full-time responsibilities as long as the foot injuries that have plagued him over the past couple of years are behind him. And he says they are.

Potential weakness: The issue in New York is replacing Brandon Jacobs, who had 40 percent of the team's running-back touches last year and left via free agency for San Francisco. Jacobs may not have been the dominating force he used to be, but he's still far more experienced and accomplished than any of the non-Bradshaw backs the Giants have left on their roster. Guys like Scott and 2012 first-round pick David Wilson have plenty of speed and explosiveness. Ware and Brown have experience in the system. Out of that group must come at least one running back capable of spelling Bradshaw for a play or two here and there. And given Bradshaw's recent history with those feet, they likely need to find a back who can do even more than that. As of now, they don't have a clear option to replace what Jacobs gave them in terms of workload or production.

Keep an eye on: Wilson. The Giants' ideal situation would be for their first-round pick to develop quickly in their system and be able to function as the explosive change-of-pace to Bradshaw. Not that Bradshaw isn't explosive, but if they plan to use him as the horse -- the tough, between-the-tackles guy, it might make sense for his backup to be a big-play-potential back who operates well in space. Meaning, the Jacobs replacement doesn't have to run like Jacobs ran. One of the big questions of Giants training camp will be whether Wilson is a legitimate option for them right away, or if he's going to need more time before he's a factor.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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