Giants draft preview: RB

This is the fourth installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.

Position: Running back

Depth chart: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, D.J. Ware, Madison Hedgecock, Martell Mallett and Charles Scott.

Not under contract: Bradshaw.

Scouting report: There’s some uncertainty surrounding the running back position with Bradshaw set to become either a restricted or unrestricted free agent depending on what the new CBA will be. Then there’s Jacobs, who is still under contract for another two seasons. Bradshaw has wondered if the Giants can afford to keep both running backs. Ware re-signed but will the coaching staff trust him with the third-down role? Hedgecock may have to battle tight end Bear Pascoe for the fullback job since Pascoe shined once Hedgecock was injured. Mallett and Scott are reserve/future players.

The Last Time: The Giants drafted a RB last in 2009 when they took Andre Brown in the fourth round out of NC State.

Potential targets: The Giants are expected to re-sign Bradshaw. But because free agency likely will come after the draft, the Giants might want to protect themselves in case they are unable to re-sign Bradshaw by taking a running back in the draft. Alabama’s Mark Ingram is the best running back and there’s a chance he could slip past Miami at 15 and be there at 19 when the Giants pick. Ingram’s knee issues could scare off teams, though, but he could be the best talent available if he falls to 19. NFL draft expert Todd McShay has the Giants going for a running back in the second round. In his latest mock draft, he has the Giants drafting Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams. In his previous mock, he had the Giants taking Illinois’ Mikel Leshoure in the second round. Connecticut’s Jordan Todman is a running back that could go in the third or fourth round. Reese found Bradshaw in the seventh round so he could wait until deep in the draft for a running back if he passes on one early.

Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 6.

Tomorrow: OL.