Ahmad Bradshaw says he feels better than ever. D.J. Ware is ready to take on a more prominent role. Da'Rel Scott says he is more prepared for his big opportunity.
The defending Super Bowl champion Giants already have lost Brandon Jacobs, released and then signed by the 49ers. If he makes the team, Andre Brown, a practice-squad player in 2011, will miss the first four games because of a suspension. Bradshaw is chronically injured. Ware's window is closing. The unproven Scott has five NFL carries.
All of which makes running back a high priority for the Giants. But just how high? First-round high?
The Giants haven't picked a running back in the first round since 2000, when they selected Ron Dayne. Jacobs and Brown were fourth-round picks, the earliest they've taken a running back since Dayne.
This year, they may get their chance if Boise State's Doug Martin still is available at the end of the first round. Or they could wait until later in the weekend and find a player such as Robert Turbin of Utah State or Cyrus Gray of Texas A & M.
If the Giants do not draft a running back, they still can add a veteran in free agency before the start of training camp.
General manager Jerry Reese dismissed concerns about Bradshaw's health, even though he missed four games in 2011 with a recurrence of a stress fracture in his foot.
"He's had problems," Reese said, "but he always seems to get out there and play. Hopefully, he'll be able to stay more healthy than he's been in the past. Usually in a big game, he always plays and he always plays tough."
At least one person thinks the Giants already have enough in house to replace Jacobs and improve the running game. That's Scott, a seventh-round pick last year. He made some explosive plays in preseason but was the seldom-used fourth option in the regular season. He said he sees himself as a "home run hitter" to complement Bradshaw's power, which is odd because Bradshaw's quickness used to complement Jacobs' strength.
Scott said he won't be watching this weekend to see if the Giants take another running back to add to the group.
"Obviously, we have to wait for the draft [to see] whether or not they trust us or not," Scott said of the current group of running backs. "I guess we'll see what happens if they do draft another running back. If they don't, they feel like us four can get the job done.
"Hopefully, they're confident in me and they don't need a back, but we'll see what happens."