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New York Giants May Look to Address Running Back Situation Through NFL Draft

March 23rd, 2012 at 10:32 AM
By Chester Baker

The New York Giants need to address the running game this offseason now that they have released Brandon Jacobs. Free agency is a place where New York may look to fill this void, while the NFL Draft is another option for Big Blue, and the Giants could use one of their selections in April to pick up another player to carry the ball.

There are currently four running backs on the roster, with Ahmad Bradshaw poised to reassume the starting role next year. But after Bradshaw, there is not much else on the depth chart. The only one of the other three backs that saw substantial playing time was D.J. Ware.

Ware saw action in all of the Giants' regular season and postseason games. The fifth year back averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, and did not find the end zone throughout the year. Many of the screens that were designed for Ware by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride did not work well for the Giants. Ware saw a significant drop in his average receiving yards per catch, netting just 6.3 yards compared to 9.6 in 2010.

The only running back that Mel Kiper Jr. deems worthy of a first round pick is Alabama’s Trent Richardson, who he has being drafted fifth overall. Lamar Miller, Doug Martin, Lamichael James and David Wilson round out Kiper’s top-five backs. If Richardson is the only back taken in the opening round, New York should have a slew of running backs to choose from in the later rounds if they want to pick up a back.

There are more crucial needs to address than the running game, despite how consistently bad it was last season. The Giants need to draft a linebacker, especially now that Jonathan Goff has been allowed to test the free agency market. Another wide receiver could also be added if New York does not think they have any viable options for the third receiver.

However, Jerry Reese tends to take the best player available rather than addressing the biggest need. For instance, Reese selected Jason Pierre-Paul when the Giants already had Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora at defensive end. So, if any of the top-five backs are available when the Giants select 32nd, Reese may take him. Running back David Wilson out of Virginia Tech seems the most likely of the premier prospects to still be available that late in the first round, garnering a ranking of 47th best player from Kiper. even has the Giants selecting Miller in the first round. If New York waits until the later rounds to grab a back, here are three viable options for the Giants.

Tauren Poole, Tennessee

Poole was a 1000 yard rusher in his junior season for the Vols, but there was a steep decline in production last season, netting only 693 yards. He could be someone that slips underneath the radar, and a steal for the Giants in the fifth or sixth round. Of course, this pick would be based mostly on potential and the glimpses of the player that Poole showed in 2009. If the Giants select Poole this late in the draft, there would be a tremendous upside without much risk. New York has had success with drafting running backs very late in the draft, as they took Bradshaw in the seventh round.

Chris Rainey, Florida

If the Giants are looking for a back that they can flank out as a wide receiver and design screens for, then Rainey is their guy. He ran a blistering 4.37 40-yard-dash at the combine, and played multiple positions for the Gators last season. The Florida product rushed for 861 yards while also catching 31 passes for over 300 yards, totaling five touchdowns on the season. Rainey is also a viable punt returner, something New York is always on the lookout for. Big Blue ranked 29th in average punt return yards and 21st in average kick return yards in 2011. Mel Kiper Jr. has Rainey tabbed as the ninth best back in the draft.

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati

Reese would have a hard time going against his tendency to choose the best available player if Isaiah Pead is still available in the third round. Scouts Inc. has him listed as the sixth best running back in the draft and for good reason. The Bearcat rushed for just under 1300 yards last year, and has a pension for getting into the end zone, finding the promise land 13 times on the ground. Pead could be utilized as a goal line back or third down back, similar to the way Jacobs was early on. New York will need to replace Jacobs’ presence in the red zone, in which they ranked ninth in scoring percentage in 2011.

Once April hits, New York will need to make a tough decision on which running back to take if they do not address the need in free agency. It will be hard for the Giants to repeat as Super Bowl champions if they rank last in rushing yards again next season.

Chester Baker is a student at Fordham University in Pennsylvania and an acting intern at Sports Media 101. The views and opinions expressed by Chester may not be those of Giants 101.


Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Chris Rainey, D.J. Ware, Football, Isaiah Pead, Jerry Reese, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tauren Poole, Trent Richardson

56 Responses to “New York Giants May Look to Address Running Back Situation Through NFL Draft”

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  1.  The Original G Man says:

    Greg Cosell says Trent Richardson is the best prospect in the entire draft. Says he’s the best running back to come along since Adrian Peterson.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    I think whoever we draft should be capable of being a #1 NFL RB. I see a RB like Rainey and no doubt he would add something to our RB group but he’s a Sprools type at best. Which is a very good player but with Bradshaw’s history of injuries we need to draft a possible everydown RB. I can even see us drafting 2 RBs. If that’s the case then we could draft a Rainey type player and add someone else.

    The mid round guy I like is Turbin from Utah St. He has durability concerns but the size and upside to be a #1 RB.

  3.  f0xlin says:


    Not sure if it was mentioned but Pope was at Stanford’s Pro Day

    “Meanwhile, near Manningham’s new team today, Stanford tight end Coby Fleener was running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
    Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope was there for a first-hand look at Fleener, who might be available when the Giants are on the clock with the final pick in the first round of next month’s NFL Draft.”

  4.  GIANTT says:

    If the running back is BPA , I can see 4th maybe 3rd round but Reese goes for longer average shelf life as a major component of his draft decisions .I think that Running backs have the shortest average NFL career or close to it so thats why they dont get drafted high or are even undrafted in the Giants scheme of things .
    Do I understand his philosophy completely – heck no cos that would make me smarter than most of those GMs already there . But I cant argue with it because the Giants won the Super Bowl with this philosophy and have been a better than average team for quite a while . And for those of you who scoff at such a low level
    goal .There are 10 or 12 teams who would love to be described as average

    •  GOAT56 says:

      It’s about value. I agree I highly doubt their would be a RB we value enough to draft at 32. But starting with our pick at 63 I think a RB is really in play. We could easily have our first or second rated RB available at 63.

  5.  GIANTT says:

    Is there anyone else at Stanford that might warrant Giants interest ? Im thinking maybe O line

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Yes, as a later round selection the WR kid who had the concussion issues. He ran sub 4.4 at the combine and was a quality target for Luck when healthy. Their OL guys are not suppose to make it to our slot but if one does I’m sure we did take a look.

  6.  Krow says:

    Yeah, I think this article is right on the money. While a 2nd round selection wouldn’t totally amaze me I think a mid-rounder is more likely.

  7. Robert Hodgesrlhjr says:


    rlhjr says:
    March 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM
    Trust me I “GET” each point of view being aired. And I am not opposed to Reese’s draft M.O. My only point is he has not shown that “finding” talented backers is his thing. Although I have to point our Williams is promising.

    It seems the SAM position is particularly troublesome to him. I will also say that finding a kid who is truly special is not easy to do drafting either at or near the bottom on day one.

    Finally, I really think the priority is running back. Followed by linebacker then offensive line. It would amount to a panic move to go high for a wide out, when number one Reese drafted Jernigan and Barden. Number two he has Hixson.

    Better to sure up your running game, invest in the protection of Eli as well as the running game. Strengthen your defense in the middle and on the edges.
    Everything else can be dealt with in the lower rounds, or with maybe one more free agent. I do think another pass rusher will be drafted. Only this time he will be able to accomplish that task while standing up.

    That said, most likely not the first round. The track record is clear. And if not, you can always remember ROCKY THOMPSON. It’s not a reach to think second.
    Zach Brown is impressive on paper. But he would be no doubt just as if not more lost than Greg Jones was in his first season. Burflict (had he not lost number one HIS MIND and number two HIS WAY TO THE GYM) would have been ideal. But he would not have been selected at position 32.

    So once again, the best defender will be taken by the Giants on day one.
    And no, it will not be RONELL LEWIS who I would love in round four.
    So just by the very nature of Reese’s draft M.O. we wont know unitl the Giants go on the clock at slot 32 who they will pick. Because, THEY (The Giants) wont know either.

    •  Samardzija says:

      Question. How would we utilize Ronell Lewis?

      • Robert Hodgesrlhjr says:


        SAM and DE. I’d blitz him either standing up or hand down. I feel he is what Reese thought Sintim was. At worse, he would be the best special team player on the team.

        The kid played every D line position plus LB in school. Hard nosed, and he just smokes people. He’s not out of control mentaly or physically. He’s not a ESPN top ten hitter or a cheap shot artis. He just slams people. And he does it in space.

        I have no idea how his interview went, but if he can learn coverage on the pro level, he would be outstanding.

  8.  The Original G Man says:

    The aforementioned Greg Cosell reviewed film on 5 games for RG-III and Andrew Luck and he has RG-III ahead of Luck:

    “The bottom line in my 5 game film evaluation: Griffin is a superior arm talent and natural passer than Luck. Will he be a better NFL quarterback? We’ll find out soon enough.”

    •  Samardzija says:

      Agree with superior arm talent. Too bad theres a lot more required to be a great QB otherwise Jeff George would be the GOAT

      •  jfunk says:

        Uhhh…Jeff George IS the GOAT. The rest of the league just couldn’t handle his awesomeness. :-P

  9.  jfunk says:

    Did the Giants have nobody at Baylor’s Pro Day?

    Either guy could still theoretically still wind up in Washington, I’d think the Giants would take the opportunity to see both guys up close with their own eyes one last time.

  10.  jfunk says:

    By the way, nice article Mr. Baker.

    I like these articles this time of year (and the ensuing discussion) because I don’t follow college ball, so everything I know about the draft comes from the articles I read between now and then.

    One thing I would like is a little more detail about what type of runner each of these guys is. What type of offense were they in and what types of runs did they gain most of their production on?

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