Ever since the Giants selected David Wilson in the NFL draft folks have been dropping Bradshaw down their RB ranks, some even went out of their way to trade him for whatever they could get. This is a big mistake in my opinion. I’m obviously pro Bradshaw, but lets take a closer look at this situation to see why I think Bradshaw has just as much value now as he had before the NFL draft.

Bradshaw has actually always been more suited for a 50-60% workload, any more than that and I think his wheels will start to fall off due to his feet problems. Bradshaw is a very underrated runner, he is slippery and hard to bring down. He’s already showed what he can do with 50% of the workload last year when Jacobs was in town stealing goal-line work, his value was a strong RB2. It’s still TBD who will get those goal-line carries moving forward, but it can’t be any worse for Bradshaw than it was with the linebacker Jacobs in town. I think his projected value is flat moving forward over the next couple of years, but he has more upside if he ends up getting the short yardage work. He’s a great buy-low right now as a lot of owners are overreacting to the Wilson addition.

The main argument I keep hearing is that the Giants drafted him in the first round for a reason. I think a lot of folks tend to overestimate the immediate impact of a rookie taken in the 1st. A lot of well respected industry experts kept saying the same thing about Mark Ingram last year, and also with Donald Brown a few years ago. We all know how they fared in their rookie years.

Running back by committee (RBBC) is the direction of the NFL these days, so why wouldn’t the Giants want to have two studs?!? Jacobs left and the Super Bowl Champions are solid at a lot of other positions, so this was a luxury pick for them. My predictions are based on Bradshaw staying healthy of course, but it does make sense for them to draft a stud who can produce should Bradshaw have more issues with his feet. In the end they fill the other half of their RBBC with a guy who is a great insurance policy who can also produce should he be asked to carry the full load.

Art Stapleton talked with Bradshaw about his feet:
Bradshaw told him, “My feet are perfect.” Art stated he’s running on the treadmill, and that he says he hasn’t felt this good in 8 years.

If Bradshaw remains healthy, he should retain the lead running back role for 2 maybe 3 seasons as Wilson gradually builds his production, the Giants typically don’t hand over starting roles to rookies.

GM Jerry Reese recently commented on the RB situation:

We’ve got Bradshaw and he’s going to be the lead dog for us, but we wanted to get another running back at some point, and Wilson was the top player on our board.

The Giants rushing attack was pretty bad last season averaging 3.5 yards per carry, but historically it has been good enough to support two backs. The running game has nowhere to go but up from last year. However the Giants passing game is the best it has been in many years, so that can diminish the overall production from the running game. But, I have a feeling that the defenses will gear up to try and to stop the passing game moving forward leaving the running lanes wide open for lots of big plays. They’ll also be in scoring position quite a bit and someone will be collecting those TD’s from the recently departed Jacobs.

Giant’s Rushing Totals from ’08 to ’11:
2011 – 411 rushing plays / 3.5 yards per rush / 1,427 yards / 17 rushing TD’s (Jacob’s 7 TD’s)
2010 – 480 rushing plays / 4.6 yards per rush / 2,200 yards / 17 rushing TD’s (Jacob’s 9 TD’s)
2009 – 443 rushing plays / 4.1 yards per rush / 1,837 yards / 14 rushing TD’s (Jacob’s 5 TD’s)
2008 – 502 rushing plays / 5.0 yards per rush / 2,518 yards / 19 rushing TD’s (Jacob’s 15 TD’s)

How can you not be pulling for Bradshaw. The guy is so brave playing through pain when at all possible. He was also one of a few 7th round picks to become relevant in the NFL, and he even got his extension last off-season which resulted in his much deserved big payday. His next project is taking Wilson under his wings as his mentor.

I plan on using him as my project. He’s a very talented running back and he’s from Virginia. Two Virginia guys in this running back corps is going to be dangerous. I expect to use him as my project to get him better, to get him smarter and just to mature him a little bit, just to help him understand the NFL.

There are a lot of reasons to believe in and root for Bradshaw, but this has still been a very controversial topic in our forums with our great members. You can read more here.