Six years ago, the New York Giants got the steal of the seventh round of the draft by selecting Marshall running back Ahmad Bradshaw 250th overall. Not many seventh-rounders pan out, and that year’s haul was no exception.
Twelve of the 45 picks in that round have never appeared in an NFL game and only 12 were still around in 2012. Bradshaw, with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and 5,319 yards from scrimmage in total and was instrumental in this year’s annual hot start (the Giants were 6–2), is easily the best of them.
Yet the Giants released him Wednesday fresh off his second 1,000-yard season. He was praised on his way out, as seems to be the custom after releasing good players.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” general manager Jerry Reese said, according to a report on the team’s website. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
“Ahmad Bradshaw has been an incredible part of two world championship teams here,” head coach Tom Coughlin said.
“[The second-quarter] play is going to be one of the least-talked about plays in his much-talked about and revered years here as a New York Giant.
“It could be the biggest play in the Super Bowl XLII win. This guy goes down in a pile and takes the ball away from a Patriot player who has it in his hands. It was an incredible play.”
The fumble recovery by Bradshaw helped preserve a close game and prevent a turnover in a game they went on to win. Such grit was common in Bradshaw’s play.
So why are the Giants releasing such a good running back? Simple. They’ve made a couple of other good finds in running backs Andre Brown and David Wilson and there’s no need to have such a surplus.
Brown’s story has been oft-told this past season. After being drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2009, he didn’t make the team. From 2009–11, he played for five different teams accumulating four carries for a grand total of -2 yards.
The Giants then reclaimed him and this past season he broke out with 71 yards on 13 carries against Tampa Bay in September, followed by 113 yards against Carolina the following week.
Wilson, the first round pick out of Virginia Tech in 2012, already looks like a game-breaker with his incredible speed and gives the Giants a good 1-2 punch, with Brown, for the foreseeable future. Each averaged at least five yards per carry in 2012.
Draft picks like these represent the Giants astute player evaluation and partially explain why the team has won two of the last six Super Bowls.
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