New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Running Back

by Contributor Sy’56

Current RBs on Giants Roster:

David Wilson – 21 Years Old – Signed Through 2015

Andre Brown – 26 Years Old – Signed Through 2013

Da’Rel Scott – 24 Years Old – Signed Through 2014

Ryan Torain – 26 Years Old – Signed Though 2013

Where They Stand:

Running Back is arguably the position with the most turnover season to season across the league.  There will be a new look to the Giants rushing attack in 2012.  2012 1st Round Pick David Wilson is the main man now that Ahmad Bradshaw was cut to clear up cap space.  Wilson is the most explosive back the Giants have had, possibly ever.  He can handle running between the tackles as well.  He is very strong, very tough, and he can break tackles.  He has all the makings of a legit every down back as long as he continues to progress as a pass blocker and holds on to the football.  His backup, Andre Brown, has had issues staying on the field because of injuries.  He’s performed well in some key spots though.  He could be a great short yardage back with his quickness to the line and strong presence between the tackles.  Da’Rel Scott and Ryan Torain have value on special teams, but neither are guys that will be depended on for large roles in 2013.  This is a young, economic group that fits in well with what the Giants like to do on offense.

Top 10 Grades:

Eddie Lacy – Alabama: 80

Giovani Bernard – North Carolina : 78

Andre Ellington – Clemson: 78

Le’Veon Bell – Michigan State: 78

Montee Ball – Wisconsin: 78

Stepfan Taylor – Stanford: 75

Joseph Randle – Oklahoma State: 74

Kenjon Barner – Oregon: 73

Christine Michael – Texas A&M: 72

Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina: 72

Early Round Target (1st-2nd):

Eddie Lacy – Alabama

Big and physical.  Delivers the helmet-jolting blow to defenders when running downhill.  Incredible strength, especially in the lower half.  Can break tackles in traffic and in space.  Uses a spin move to gain extra yards.  Shows surprising agility considering how much girth he has to his lower half.  Has runway speed when healthy.  Good receiver, dependable underneath.  Willing and violent blocker.  Gets dinged up frequently because of his running style.  Not an elite athlete.  Will not be a big time playmaker that creates by himself.

The Giants will not consider a running back early.  They like what is on the current roster.  However, if the value were to present itself in round 2 with Lacy available, there should at least be a discussion.  He is not on the same level as Trent Richardson, but he is better than Mark Ingram.  Lacy looks like an in-between-the-tackle bruiser at first glance.  But when he’s healthy, he has shown some great ability in space to be elusive and run away from defenders.  I don’t think Lacy is an every down type guy, but that’s becoming less and less important in today’s NFL.  I think he is a sure bet to be a good, dependable player that can do a lot of different things for an offense.

Mid Round Target (3rd-5th):

Montee Ball – Wisconsin

Excellent burst.  Gets to the point of attack in a blink.  Great vision.  Can see the holes before the exist.  Reads the defensive front seven well.  Can fit in to tight windows.  Very balanced.  Maintains power and presence throughout the entire play.  Falls forward consistently, always picking up that extra yard or two.  Smart and willing blocker.  Protects the ball.  Not much of a receiver.  Won’t be an every down back.  Doesn’t break off the big runs.  Long speed isn’t there.  Ton of carries in college.

The game tape on Ball is impressive.  That is what I base his evaluation on, not the sexy record breaking stats.  Ball used to be a heavy, in between the tackle runner that was dependable in short yardage.  Prior to 2011 however, he lost some weight and took the nation by storm.  I really like his quickness to the line.  Short yardage backs need to be physical, need to have a certain amount of power.  But what a lot of them lack is the explosion to the line.  Ball combines that with excellent vision.  He is a smart, competitive player that will be dependable.  He won’t be a star, but the mid round value would be excellent.

Late Round/Undrafted Target (6th-UDFA):

Spencer Ware – LSU

Quick to the line.  Quick decision maker.  Great reaction time.  Can play against speed, can play against power.  Inflicts pain on potential tacklers.  Runs very low and very strong.  Just a hard guy to bring down on initial contact.  Angry player that runs with attitude.  Won’t excel outside the tackles.  Struggles to see lanes when running with any lateral direction.  Limited role at the next level.  Couple of off-field issues that need to be checked out.  Playing time dwindled as his career progressed at LSU.

I’ve spoken about Ware a couple times over the past few weeks.  He is a back that has limited talent but a style of running that translates well to the NFL.  He is very thick, very powerful.  Ware will break a lot of tackles in traffic.  His combination of lower body strength and straight ahead explosion could make him a special short yardage player.  He reminds me of a young Marion Barber III.  The late round value here would be great.  He could compete for the spot behind Wilson right away.

The Plan:

Day three (rounds 5-7) is going to be a prime opportunity for the Giants to add a very good running back to their depth chart.  There is space for a new kid on the roster.  A lot of their current players at the position are unproven and/or banged up.  This offense has and will continue to revolve around the passing game, but running backs are still an important piece to the puzzle.  Adding a back that can catch the ball out of the backfield could be a good way to approach it as well, although the pass protection skills need to be there.  There is not a sense of urgency here.  If the value matches their slot late in the draft, go for it.  If not, wait until the undrafted free agency period is under way.