Yet beyond that, is the realization that the Giants seemed to have helped themselves not once, but twice with the single selection of running back David Wilson with the final pick of the opening round.
A speedy and dynamic player with big-play ability, Wilson not only broke out as a star back during a superb junior season at Virginia Tech last year, but he’s also a proven kick return threat that year in and year out, was often usually lacking in a big way with the Giants.
He can obviously help New York’s offense in that regard, setting up an already potent passing game with a shorter field via the return game.
And, when Wilson will be relegated to his primary duties in the backfield, he will possess the potential to further help quarterback Eli Manning and his dangerous core of receivers while complimenting fellow Virginia native running back Ahmad Bradshaw (perhaps the two being born and raised as well as playing college ball in the same state might even help a natural fostering of Bradshaw taking Wilson under his wing to help the rookie adjust to the NFL).
Wilson consistently produced in college whenever he was given the opportunity, especially as those chances increased each year. In far more limited action over his first two years at Virginia Tech, Wilson nonetheless posted impressive 5.5 and 5.7 yards-per-carry averages before enjoying a stellar 1,709-yard junior season while averaging a career-high 5.9 yards per carry.
That level of production was enough to impress Wilson’s new team, especially with the departure of former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs lost to NFC rival San Francisco this offseason and Bradshaw still battling a foot injury that made him miss significant time last season.
Thus, with other needs, especially along the offensive line, it made sound sense that the Giants’ latest draft pick bucks a trend as New York’s first running back selected higher than the fourth round since the Giants took Ron Dayne out of Wisconsin in 2000.
Of course, when considering that history and current needs, the Giants not only thought of their return game deficiencies, but also their inability to produce some breakaway capability from the running back position, at least until later in the season last year.
And, their 2012 first-round selection appears to fit the bill with that as well. Wilson had runs over 30 yards in nine different games last season, including a stretch of six such games in a row, all coming during the latter portion of the season.
Perhaps where Wilson is most valuable though is on first and second down, which is when he did most of his damage. Wilson rushed for 918 yards on first down and for 628 yards on second down last year. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry while totaling 936 yards on first down and at least six yards to go, and he had a notable six yards per carry while amassing 894 yards on first down and between eight and ten yards to go.
Those types of numbers should be of particular delight to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and quarterback Eli Manning.
Any time you can give a talented quarterback like Eli Manning second-and-short situations after good first-down runs, a world of likable options can open up for Gilbride, Manning, and Manning’s top-flight receiving corps (especially for wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz).
And, any time you can fill not just one need, but two, when you’re picking last in the first round as defending Super Bowl champions, you have to be excited.