It appears the Giants will need more from their rookie class than they did in last season’s championship run when injuries and incubation time prevented most of the first-year players in 2011 from making significant impacts. No such luck this time around — the Giants are asking for more from their rookie class.
First-round RB David Wilson has shed the fumbling and pass-protection issues (for a game, anyway) and is coming off a game in which he was the first NFL player to rush for 100 yards and return more than 200 yards worth of kickoffs, also scoring three TDs along the way. He’ll figure to be a key element on offense and special teams down the stretch, starting with Sunday at Atlanta if starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw can’t play. Bradshaw’s myriad injuries concern the Giants beyond this week, too.
Second-round WR Rueben Randle has been in and out of the mix this season. He played only one play on offense (none on special teams) in the Week 14 blowout of the Saints after playing 42 offensive snaps in Week 13 and 20 (including a TD catch) in Week 12. Randle has been used on punt returns, where he has been a bit shaky at times. Still, you figure they'll have to use him at some point more heavily as a receiver, especially with Victor Cruz getting beaten up and Hakeem Nicks battling through his own share of ailments.
Third-rounder Jayron Hosley is being asked to step up. After being replaced as the nickel corner by Antrel Rolle, a role Rolle prefers not to play typically, Hosley could start in place of an injured Prince Amukamara on Sunday. Either way, it’s likely the Giants will have to count on Hosley more than just on the core special teams and as a dime back.
It’s reminiscent a bit of 2007 when the Giants were playing a spate of rookies — CB Aaron Ross, WR Steve Smith, DT Jay Alford, LS Zak DeOssie, TE Kevin Boss, S Michael Johnson and Bradshaw — down the stretch. All seven draft picks were active in the Super Bowl against the Patriots that year, playing key roles. The Giants could find themselves in the same need of a boost from their rookies this season with the playoffs drawing near.