How good can Wilson be?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, being the New York Giants' workhorse running back entails more than just running the ball.

Which is why the extremely talented second-year tailback, David Wilson, is not yet the guy in New York.

He still figures, unfortunately, to share meaningful carries with Andre Brown.

Wilson is by far the most talented back on the Giants' depth chart. He showed it in a number of ways last season - rushing for 5.0 yards-per-carry and averaging 26.9 yards per kickoff return, including a 97-yard touchdown against New Orleans.

However, running ability by itself doesn't earn him the workhorse role.

The primary running back role in a Coughlin offense must exhibit the ability to block for his not-very-mobile quarterback Eli Manning.

Gilbride says he has seen significant improvement since the start of last season, but in his own words "is still not 100 percent."

Which means the coach still doesn't completely trust him to protect his star quarterback.

And it includes running without dropping the ball, which got the then-rookie in trouble in last season's opener against hated rival Dallas. After fumbling in the first quarter, Wilson was banished to the bench and saw just 16 carries over the next nine games.

On the other hand, he didn't fumble the ball over the remaining 15 games of the season. Lesson learned.

If Wilson learns how to pick up the blitz as quickly as he learned how to stop fumbling, he could become the Giants' primary running back in his second season.

Coughlin's offense has been consistent in their dedication to the run, averaging 435 attempts per season on the ground or 44.1 percent of the time over the past four campaigns. If the carries are split 55/45 in favor of Wilson that would yield about 220 carries for Wilson, which could be worth close to 1,100 yards.

Still, at 5-foot-9, 205 lbs, Wilson will probably lose most of the short yardage and goal-line carries to the bigger Brown, who weighs in at 227 lbs and scored eight times last season from inside the 2-yard line.

Losing that many touchdowns would limit Wilson's fantasy value no matter how many total carries he accumulates.

Think of Wilson as a top-20 back with limited upside, but not a top-10 producer due to the touchdown cap.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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