John Fennelly, Lead WriterLast season saw the Giants suffer the almost unthinkable when they ran out of running backs. Andre Brown (leg) missed half the season, David Wilson (neck) was lost after five games and FB Henry Hynoski (shoulder) never played a snap.
They were left with rookie Michael Cox and Da’rel Scott to carry the load. Scott stayed true form, blowing out his hamstring and was subsequently waived. Reese reached out to Brandon Jacobs and veteran Peyton Hillis to fill the void until Brown returned. He also found former Jet Jon Conner on the open market to replace Hynoski.
That wasn’t going to cut it for 2014. Brown was left to find another team (he signed with Houston), Jacobs retired and Hillis was resigned. Wilson is still seeking clearance from doctors and may not get in in time for the upcoming season.
They got a big boost this offseason when GM Jerry Reese signed Raiders’ free agent RB Rashad Jennings, a big, versatile back much in the mold of what the Packers use in their offense. The Giants’ new OC, Ben McAdoo, was hired off the Packers’ staff this past winter.
With the draft approaching, Reese has to safeguard himself against a repeat of ’13. Wilson may not be cleared, but even if he is, the Giants may not have a role in the offense. So Reese will try to find another RB in the draft next weekend.
Since the Giants probably won’t be looking at RBs until the fourth round or so, we’ve compiled a short list of names they could possibly be interested in:
Isaiah Crowell (5’11”, 224), Alabama State – Quickly climbing up the charts as the draft nears. He has the talent to be a solid back in the NFL, but teams are leery of his spotty off-field behavior (failed drug test, felony weapons charge). He needs to go to a team with an established coach such as the Patriots, Giants, Packers, Chiefs, Bengals or Steelers.
Charles Sims (6’0″, 214), West Virginia – Has visited with several teams, including the Redskins, and is being compared to the Bears’ Matt Forte. Sims is a very well-rounded player who can fit in many offenses as well as contribute on specials.
Terrance West (5’9″, 225), Towson – Anyone who runs for 2,509 yards and scores 42 TDs in 16 games has got be taken seriously. West drew over 20 NFL scouts to his pro day and none of them walked away disappointed.
Jerrick McKinnon (5’9, 209), Georgia Southern – An incredibly physically-gifted former QB that blew everyone away at the Combine and Senior Bowl. Walter Football is calling McKinnon as this year’s Alfred Morris or Zac Stacy. Certain to be drafted by someone.
Alfred Blue (6″2″, 223), LSU – Unless the Giants jump at his backfield mate Jeremy Hill on Friday night, Blue could be a nice late-round pick. He’s big and versatile and could be an emerging player once he gets to the NFL.
Raijun Neal (5’11”, 212), Tennessee – Was very productive in 2013. Had 1,124 on the ground with 12 TDs and averaged 5.2 YPC. He also had 30 receptions. Was very impressive in workouts and is being mocked as a 5-6 round sleeper.