New York Giants News: The Rise, Fall and Rise Of Rookie RB David Wilson

 
on December 14 2012 11:15 AM

When the New York Giants drafted David Wilson with the final pick of the first round, they hoped they were getting a dynamic playmaker.

That's how it's turned out but the route there hasn't been straightforward. Week 14 will stand as Wilson's breakout moment.

He terrorised the New Orleans Saints in record-setting style. He set a Giants' franchise record for all-purpose yards with 327. Wilson also became the first player in NFL history to post over 200 return yards and 100 yards rushing in the same game.

The second part of that record will likely have pleased the Giants the most. They selected Wilson to boost a ground game that ranked last in the league in 2011.

However, things didn't go to plan as Wilson struggled to rebound from being benched in the season opener. His costly fumble against the Dallas Cowboys was instantly punished by head coach Tom Coughlin.

He benched Wilson straight away, leaving the rookie in tears on the sidelines. It was the low moment of Wilson's rookie campaign.

It was a surprising and sudden fall for a player who was lauded by Giants coaches in the offseason. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride heralded Wilson as the most "explosive" player he had ever coached.

However, it took just one game for Wilson to fall to third on the running back depth chart. Incumbent Ahmad Bradshaw and surprise contributor Andre Brown got the lion's share of the carries.

Wilson was left relegated to kick return duties. In a quirk of fate, special teams was the ideal place for Wilson to remind the Giants why they used a first round pick to select him.

Even though he was an exceptional returner at Virginia Tech, NFL teams weren't prepared for how dangerous Wilson is fielding kicks.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, Wilson the prolific kick returner announced himself to the rest of the league.

He averaged 36 yards on six kick returns, totalling 217 yards. Since then Wilson has punished every team foolish enough to even dare kicking him the ball.

He currently leads the league in kick return yards with 1,321 from 48 returns. His average is a stunning 27.5 yards.

What's most impressive is that Wilson has 35 returns of 20+ yards, including seven of 40 or more. They are both league leads, demonstrating what a dangerous big-play weapon Wilson is in the return game.

Against the Saints, he answered an interception return for a touchdown, with a 97-yard scoring run back. That's the kind of impact Wilson is having. He is swinging the momentum in games and helping always keep the Giants in touch.

Considering his issues with ball security in the running game, Wilson has not fumbled a single return. He is simply a different player once he takes a kickoff in his hands.

At least he was until Week 14. Prior to dismantling the Saints, Wilson had just 28 carries as a running back.

His 103 yards on the ground, showed the possibilities for Big Blue's rushing attack with Wilson carrying the ball. Showcasing his speed is the key and the Giants play calling against the Saints revealed how it can work.

Gilbride and Coughlin let Wilson run plenty of sweeps and quick toss plays on his 13 carries. That took him to the edges of the Saints 4-3 defense.

In the open filed Wilson's agility and quickness takes him past would-be tacklers in one on one situations. A player with Wilson's initial speed only needs a slight crease to get into the secondary.

The Giants power blocking provides those openings. Wilson can use the discipline and vision that helps him thrive as a returner, to improve as a featured back.

His three touchdown performance against the Saints proves Wilson has recovered from his early season fall. He is now a primary weapon, who can propel the defending Super Bowl champions back into title contention.

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