The New York Giants need help at running back. Brandon Jacobs retired, Andre Brown is a free agent and David Wilson’s return remains in question following a career-threatening neck injury suffered midway through the 2013 season.
The team’s rushing attack was not particularly promising either. They averaged just 83.2 yards per game—good enough for only 29th in the NFL.
The Giants must make changes throughout their roster this offseason, but the running back position is near the top of their priority list. Fortunately, there are some talented prospects in the 2013 NFL draft class and many, uncharacteristically, should be available in middle rounds after the G-Men have already addressed their most pressing needs.
Here are cover32’s top 10 running back prospects in this year’s draft, per Buck Stanton:
1. Tre Mason, Auburn
2. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
3. Jeremy Hill, LSU
4. Charles Sims, West Virginia
5. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
6. De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
7. Marion Grace, Arizona State
8. Devonta Freeman, Florida State
9. Bishop Sankey, Washington
10. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Of those players, here are what I believe to be the Giants’ best fits in their new offense (which remains mostly unknown):
The Ohio State production packs a lot of punch when the football is in his hands, but he also boasts some elite speed that makes him a major threat. Many thing his ground-and-pound style isn’t a good fit in today’s NFL, but if anyone watched the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks this season, they know that simply is not true.
How Hyde will fit into the Giants’ new offense is unknown at this time, but he looks like the type of running back prospect a head ball coach like Tom Coughlin would love to have. Hard working and determined, Hyde fights for every yard and never quits. The lack of mileage on his legs is also a positive.
Coupled with Wilson—assuming Wilson can ever play again—Hyde would provide a nice change of pace. Neither man appears to be an every-down back, but together, they could wreak havoc on opposing defenses with pleasure.
Like Hyde, Carey is a power runner with the ability to make great plays with his legs. His speed leaves something to be desired, but his adeptness as a pass protector is something the Giants desperately need—and really lacked in 2013.
Carey could be a late first-rounder, so he may be out of the Giants’ reach. But if he’s available in the second round, and the G-Men like him, don’t be surprised if the Arizona Wildcat comes off the board at the 48th pick.
There’s a lot that’s unknown about the Giants’ offense, but it is expected to be a high-powered aerial assault in the mold of the Green Bay Packers’ offense. Expected to use some version of the West Coast Offense, the Giants are going to need a running back with good hands to contribute out of the backfield often.
Marion Grice is that guy. Not only is he a solid ball carrier—he ran for 996 yards and five yards per carry as a senior—he is a very dependable receiver out of the backfield. He caught 50 passes for the Sun Devils this year, taking six in for the touchdown.
Oh, and much to the enjoyment of Coughlin I’m sure, he is an intelligent pass blocker, excelling in picking up the blitz.