Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Giants may be 0-3 heading into their clash with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, but the G-men aren’t void of talent.
In fact, despite their recent struggles, the Giants are still an extremely talented team—especially on offense. This is still an offense that features a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Eli Manning, an explosive and athletic wideout in Victor Cruz and second year running back David Wilson, who has shown flashes of being a good runner.
Unfortunately for Wilson, he’s also had his struggles, so it could be easy to not take him seriously. He’s fumbled the ball three times in the last two seasons, and has only rushed for 75 yards on 25 carries so far this season.
With that said, I firmly believe Wilson is a player the Chiefs will have to keep an eye on this Sunday.
Yesterday, I took you through a general scouting report on the Giants as a whole, after watching their game against the Carolina Panthers. Today, let’s take an in-depth look at Wilson. I watched all 25 of his carries this season, courtesy of NFL Rewind, here’s what I came away with:
Giants vs. Cowboys
In the Giants’ first game of the season, Wilson rushed seven times for 19 yards. He also fumbled the ball twice. Wilson’s second fumble came on the Giants’ first drive of the second half, and he didn’t see the ball after that. The Giants lost this game 36-31.
While it would be easy to focus in on the two turnovers here, one of Wilson’s runs in the second quarter caught my attention more than the two fumbles.
The play was blocked extremely well up front, and it progressed to the point where the fullback was one-on-one with a linebacker, and all Wilson had to do was bounce it outside and pick up a good chunk of yards:
For some reason though, instead of bouncing outside to open space, you can clearly see that Wilson plants his foot in an effort to cut back. What he saw? I don’t know, but what I see is a bunch of defenders:
To finish the play off he decides to jump into the air, which was a bad decision and something that running backs are taught not to do unless diving over a pile on the goal line:
What could have been a pretty nice gain was turned into a two yard gain because of lack of vision and trust in the blocking scheme. I’d credit inexperience here, but all-in-all, this was just a bad run.
Giants vs. Broncos
The Giants lost “The Manning Bowl” 41-23. Peyton Manning threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Eli threw for 362 yards, but also tossed four interceptions. The subject of our scouting report, Wilson, carried the ball seven times for 17 yards.
While Wilson wasn’t statistically great, he did show some burst, and his vision was a lot better in game No. 2.
I take you to second and eight in the second quarter. The Giants have a trap play called, which means the left guard is going to pull to try to block the 3-technique. Wilson’s job is to read that block and cut off of it:
As opposed to the last play we highlighted, this time around Wilson gets into the hole and then uses his vision to follow the blocks and pick up more yards. Here you can see that he plants his foot to get outside of that trap block, and he has a nice wall to follow:
When it comes time to make contact, notice how low Wilson is running. He has his shoulders lowered and runs with a nice forward lean. From there, he runs his feet on contact and picks up extra yards after contact:
This was just a six yard gain in the second quarter, but you can see a bit of what Wilson brings to the table when he’s on.
Giants vs. Panthers
The Giants loss to Carolina was arguably the most embarrassing of the three. Manning was sacked seven times, and the offense didn’t put up a single point. Ironically enough, Wilson probably had his best game of the season, picking up 39 yards on 11 carries. His longest run was for 18 yards.
This is just a pretty good run from Wilson, and he displayed some of that tough running that I was talking about above.
Once again, we see another trap play from New York. Keep an eye out for the traps and counters this week, as the Giants will use them to try to slow down the Chiefs’ aggressive front seven. The trap can still work against a 3-4, it just hits a lot wider. A counter would work as well.
Once again, New York opens up a nice hole for Wilson and he’s able to sneak through it to the second level. Notice in the next set of pictures how he runs hard to break an arm tackle, keeps his balance—displaying good agility—and keeps running:
Again, notice the low pad level and forward lean. This is exactly what you want to see when you freeze the tape on a running back coming out of a hole:
At that point Wilson has to beat another defender, and instead of getting fancy with his footwork, once again he just lowers his shoulder and drives his feet:
Final point here, notice how many defenders it took to chase Wilson down:
Again, this is another run where Wilson displays speed, vision and power.
Wilson may not be the best running back in the league, and he certainly needs to work on some things, but as you can see above, he can also be a pretty tough runner. Kansas City will have to wrap him up, because he’s not afraid to lower the shoulder and drive, and he can be very explosive when he makes the correct reads and follows his blockers.
Stopping Wilson early will be the key, and the Chiefs would be smart to work a few strip drills this week. If they can cause him to turn the ball over early, the Chiefs can take Wilson right out of this game.