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Giants Give David Wilson His Shot to Impress

First-round pick gets his shot with the first team this week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Wilson gets his chance to make a mark on the offense.

    There's a new face in the backfield with the Giants' first team this week.

    First-round pick David Wilson has been getting his first run with the starters, something that should happen on Friday night against the Bears in the team's third preseason game as well.

    Wilson has had some good moments in the first two weeks, but they've come against the future unemployed and are therefore about as predictive as judging a book by its cover.

    Wilson is getting the look now because it is the dress rehearsal weekend when teams take a look at the players who will actually be contributors to the team this season instead of forcing their fans to pay full freight for the right to watch the next generation of nightclub bouncers run around in uniforms they'll never wear in a meaningful moment.

    It also helps that Ahmad Bradshaw bruised his hand, a minor injury that nonetheless reminds everyone that Bradshaw doesn't have a history of staying healthy for an entire season.

    Beyond any practical concerns, there's also the need to get a return on the first-round investment made on Wilson. Jerry Reese's decision to select Wilson was a bit of a head-scratcher, so it would be helpful if it resulted in benefits for the team.

    It's not that he was a bad pick or a blown pick, just that in today's NFL it is much easier to find running backs late in the draft or on the open market than it is to find players at other positions. As such, spending a first-round pick on one has to pay off or it is a massive, massive failure to allocate resources properly.

    On paper, Wilson has a chance to do that by offering the Giants something they haven't had at running back in recent years. Wilson looks like a home run hitter capable of taking a handoff or screen pass and turning it into a long gain or touchdown.

    His detractors point out that those big hits might come amid a run of touches that result in negative yardage or no gain, but that's not really something that should bother anyone who has watched the Giants offense in action.

    Eli Manning can always move the ball through the air and Bradshaw is there to do the grunt work offensively, so why not have a player who can turn a game on a dime in the backfield?

    It doesn't bother anyone that Victor Cruz still drops more passes than you'd like to see from a professional wide receiver because he might take a ball 80 yards if he does hold onto it. The same principle applies to Wilson, especially when he's only in a change of pace role that need not be part of the offense if Wilson isn't changing the pace that day.

    D.J. Ware isn't having a bad camp, but if Ware had something that really interested the Giants then they wouldn't have sat there and watched Brandon Jacobs run from sideline to sideline or throw his helmet at fans for the last couple of years.

    The only reasons to play him over Wilson would be veteran favoritism and pass blocking concerns. The former is silly and the latter can only happen if Wilson's given a chance to block guys actually trying to hurt Manning.

    He'll get that chance on Friday and he should be getting plenty more if it isn't a disaster.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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