Giants general manager Jerry Reese admits there were several options available when the Giants selected with the 32nd and final pick in the first round. But Reese says the defending Super Bowl champions got a player that was their second highest rated running back on their board behind Alabama's Trent Richardson and a prospect that filled a need as well.
"There were still several players on the board that we liked but David was the best value because he was the highest player there at the time, and it was a little bit of a need pick for us as well," Reese said. "You like to get a combination of both things."
The Giants needed another running back after releasing Brandon Jacobs, who signed with San Francisco in free agency. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Wilson not only brings production with 1,709 yards rushing and nine touchdowns last season for the Hokies, but he offers "big-play" ability and can be a huge boost to the Giants' kickoff return game as well according to head coach Tom Coughlin.
He can catch the ball out of the backfield and is a threat on kickoff returns. In addition, he is pretty acrobatic as well. In a video he posted on YouTube a few days ago, Wilson did 21 backflips in a row. The last time the Giants selected an acrobatic player known for his backflips, they did pretty well with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who did 14 flips in one video while at South Florida.
"Yeah, I put up a video a couple days ago and now we are on the same team," Wilson said laughingly in a conference call with reporters. "When I was making the video, I knew I was stirring up something. Maybe we [he and Pierre-Paul] can get to the bottom of this."
This is the first running back the Giants have selected with a first-round pick since drafting Ron Dayne from Wisconsin in 2000 with the 11th overall pick. Wilson should immediately come in and compete with D.J. Ware, Da'Rel Scott and Andre Brown for the backup running back spot.
The Giants rushed for only 1,427 yards last season. Wilson should help in that area while also providing insurance and depth in case Ahmad Bradshaw's surgically-repaired feet and ankles act up.
Bradshaw missed four games last season after suffering a stress fracture related to a screw that had been placed in his right foot from surgery in 2010. He played in the final nine games, including the postseason, with the fracture.
Wilson said he has played in a dual-back system his entire career. He carried the ball 290 times last season but only had 113 carries in 2010. He has 1,324 kickoff return yards in his three years at Virginia Tech with two return touchdowns. The junior caught 22 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and had 2,253 all-purpose yards last season.
Wilson did fumble the ball seven times, losing four of them last year. But Coughlin has been pretty good at helping running backs fix that problem.
"Needs some work in some of the other areas — pass protection and that kind of thing, as do a lot of these young guys," Coughlin said. "And also the question comes up about ball security and we'll remind him of that right away."
They like Wilson's home-run ability with runs of 51, 68 and 57 yards long in the past three seasons and a 92-yard kickoff return in 2010. That was one of the reasons why the Giants drafted Wilson ahead of other prospects like Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn, Alabama defensive end Courtney Upshaw and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill among others.
"This young man was attractive to us for many reasons; obviously the speed, you got a 4.4 running back," Coughlin said. "He is the kind of guy that we felt could add very much to our present situation in terms of the big-play potential. He is one of those guys that has the speed and maneuverability to make the big play and that is what was very important to us at this time."