Commentary

Giants RB Wilson setting lofty goals

All eyes will be on Big Blue's first-round draft pick during preseason opener

Updated: August 10, 2012, 10:35 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At some point after the New York Giants' preseason opener against the Jaguars, David Wilson will do something he does every year.

The rookie running back will create a sheet with all his goals for the upcoming season.

"The goals in there will be not easy to obtain," Wilson said.

Last year's goal sheet contained some pretty challenging targets such as 100 yards and a rushing touchdown each game, All-ACC and All-American honors.

Wilson says he hit on most of his goals after earning second-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year honors.

"I'd say 80 percent," said Wilson, who rushed for 100 yards or more in eight of his 12 games last season. "To have one of the top performances at the [scouting] combine was a goal and be taken in the first round was a goal and I obtained both of those. So I expect a lot out of myself."

Friday, Wilson makes his Giants debut and all eyes will be on Jerry Reese's first-round pick. It remains to be seen how many carries he will get against Jacksonville, but the rookie has impressed the Giants with explosive quickness and elusive moves.

The Giants, though, will be keeping a closer eye on how he reacts to defenses and his blocking - a must if Wilson is going to win the backup job to Ahmad Bradshaw.

"He's got some speed, he's got some off-tackle ability, and he has that second gear," running backs coach Jerald Ingram said of Wilson. "Where does he fit? Where is he within the learning curve of the NFL right now? That's the hardest thing for a rookie right now, especially as a running back, to fit in, and how much can he digest?

[+] EnlargeDavid Wilson
Mark L. Baer/US PresswireGiants coaches are already raving about Wilson's speed and explosiveness.

"How much has he grown?" Ingram continued. "Can he protect the great quarterback who we have? That's the No. 1 thing that he has to do is protect the great quarterback."

Bradshaw is the undisputed starter and has looked healthy and fast in camp. After him, the Giants have given carries to D.J. Ware, Andre Brown and then Wilson. Backup running back Da'Rel Scott has been nursing a thigh injury. Running back/fullback Joe Martinek has been receiving carries as well.

It is possible that Ware could fill the third-down role for the Giants until Wilson shows he is ready to handle those kinds of responsibilities and protect Eli Manning.

"That's not something I'm really worried about because I'm definitely capable of doing that," Wilson said of blocking in a story on Giants.com. "Just stick your face in there and don't let the guy get to your guy. That's something I'm definitely capable of and I'm not really stressing over."

As for which running back gains Brandon Jacobs' carries while spelling Bradshaw, the Giants will want to see how the preseason games shake out. Brown could be that guy as Ingram has praised Brown's combination of speed and power.

"We want to find out who's going to be that banger at the line of scrimmage," Ingram said. "Andre Brown, who's an every-down kind of guy, extremely athletic, can change direction, has good lateral speed, can get in and out of a hole, can catch the ball extremely well, has the size to pick up 240-, 250-pound linebackers.

"We think he's a lot further than he's ever been," Ingram added. "He's the one question mark we're looking forward to finding out."

But Wilson ultimately is the guy the Giants drafted to become Bradshaw's backup and eventual successor in future years. Wilson's speed and playmaking potential will be hard to keep off the field. Head coach Tom Coughlin said he is hoping to see Wilson's "big-play ability" against Jacksonville.

But Bradshaw and the Giants also want to see Wilson stay healthy. Bradshaw recently said he has advised Wilson to do less dancing.

"He's still young," Bradshaw said. "He kind of does his own thing: juking and doing a lot of different things, putting a lot of torque on his ankles and knees. So we're trying to teach him how to be a professional and hold back on some of those things.

"Coming in, I had Brandon and Derrick Ward, who also taught me the same things," he continued. "He's quicker than most, so you don't know when to stop him and you don't know when to tell him to keep going. He's so fast, but all I can do is just help him in different situations ... just trying to lengthen his career."

Bradshaw is trying to teach Wilson how to approach different blocks and defensive looks to benefit the rookie and the Giants in the long run.

Ingram said the team is trying to figure out how to best utilize Wilson and what he is ready for.

"He is going to be an integral part of what we do this year, somehow, someway," Ingram said. "It may not be an awful lot, because we know that the defense gets paid too. We're going to have enough of something that he is going to be a contributor who they have to at least try to defend. He does have that exceptional kind of speed that you're looking for."

Wilson has heard how the Giants have raved about his speed and explosiveness this offseason. He plans on proving that the Giants were right to take him with the final pick in the first round.

Perhaps that might show up on his goal sheet.

"I haven't played a game or done any NFL competition other than practice," Wilson said. "So you can be a star at practice but until you step on the game field and make impacts on the game, I'm just waiting for that opportunity."

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
Follow him on Twitter »  Ohm's chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

  • The Final Round
    Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan will do battle one more time on Sunday.
  • Change Of Address?
    The Nets and Kings are engaged in trade talks involving Deron Williams.
  • Afternoon Despair
    The Knicks led after three quarters on Saturday, but couldn't finish off the Suns.
  • Thirsty For More
    Jason Pierre-Paul has six sacks the past three weeks. Can he keep it up?
  • Mr. Irrelevant
    Brian Cashman's big trade Friday is latest sign A-Rod won't play much in 2015.

ALSO SEE

MORE NFL HEADLINES