A hand injury to New York Giants starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw has opened up first-team reps in practice this week, and those first-team reps have been going to 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson. To this point, Wilson had been buried behind D.J. Ware and Andre Brown on the Giants' depth chart, but a first-round pick is a first-round pick for a reason, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the plan all along has been to get Wilson work with the first-team offense.
"I was nervous a little bit when they first told me I was going to go with the ones," Wilson said, according to the daily quotes e-mailed by the team's media relations department. "It had to sink in, and I got out in practice yesterday and you could tell I was a little bit jittery and nervous. I settled in and now I'm just looking forward to the game."
Coughlin said Wilson probably would not start this weekend's preseason game but would get plenty of reps in it. Wilson is happy for whatever first-team work he gets.
"I mean, I'm in there with Eli [Manning] and those guys," Wilson said. "You want to go out there and show what you can do, and hopefully you can get more reps with Eli and be getting more plays with the ones."
It's going to take a Bradshaw injury for Wilson or Ware or anyone else to get reps with the ones, but that's what has happened, and it's a reminder that Bradshaw hasn't been the most durable back in the league over the past couple of years. Bradshaw's hope, and the Giants' preference, is that he is the lead back this year and Wilson, Ware and the rest of the backs on the roster are there to spell him when he needs a break. But if there's to be a significant 2012 role for Wilson, this week is his first chance to claim it.
The Giants love the way he runs. They like his speed and his ability to generate explosive offensive plays. In many ways, he's much more a change of pace from Bradshaw than Bradshaw ever was from Brandon Jacobs, since those two are both power runners. What Wilson has to show in order to keep his significant reps is improvement in his blocking and blitz pickup and command of the Giants' playbook. If he doesn't have that stuff down now, two weeks before the start of his first NFL season, that's fine. The Giants are happy to work with and develop their talented young players and wait until they're ready before using them in games. But if Wilson is capable of developing quickly and playing a significant number of snaps for the Giants this year, they'd like to at least give him the chance to show that. And that's why he's been running with the first team this week.