Kevin Gilbride has coached plenty of dynamic athletes during his five-year tenure as the Giants’ offensive coordinator. Still, he believes a new addition to the team might be the most explosive player he’s seen in a Giants uniform.
And he's a guy who can’t even legally have a beer – until midnight, that is.
David Wilson, who turns 21 tomorrow, has made an impression on his teammates and coaches with his speed and quickness in minicamp this week.
“I don’t know if we’ve had a guy as explosive, regardless of position, here,” Gilbride said. “David, to me, looks like a darting, explosive, water bug kind of guy.”
Wilson’s skill set has already made him a candidate for returning kicks, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. He’ll be among a pool of players who return kicks in training camp and the preseason.
As for his role with the offense, Eli Manning said Wilson still has a steep learning curve to overcome before he can be a weapon for the Giants.
“Obviously, he has the ability to run the ball and make big plays,” Manning said. “But unless he understands a lot of our checks and protections, until you have a great grasp of that, you’re not going to be able to get on the field.”
Gilbride said he has already seen Wilson working hard in minicamp to improve his mental game.
“There’s a lot of learning going on and you can see the smoke coming out of his ears and the eyes going around different directions, like ‘whoa,’” Gilbride said.
Wilson said he has made a point of asking questions of the veteran running backs on the roster.
“Everybody’s been helping me out and when I ask questions they’ve got answers for me,” Wilson said. “What they teach me I try to catch on as fast as possible, but still a lot I’ve gotta learn.”
One of Wilson’s self-proclaimed mentors is Ahmad Bradshaw, who echoed Manning’s sentiment about the importance of improving mentally.
“He’s all you can ask for in a back, besides his size, and his speed makes up for his size,” Bradshaw said. “All you can do is add a little bit more to it, to his brain, to his thoughts, to help him out learning, different things in that nature. I think mentally is where he needs a little help, you know, learning the playbook.”
Wilson has over a month to study the playbook before training camp gets underway on July 26 in Albany. He might have to wait another day to hit the books, as his friend and college teammate Jayron Hosley said that he and Wilson would find a way to celebrate his birthday. While Wilson insisted that 21 is just another age to him, Hosley felt otherwise:
“It’s about time.”