Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Giants Preseason: J.D. Walton Anxious For Return to Game Action

J.D. Walton, starting Center?

One of the many unfamiliar faces along the New York Giants offensive line belongs to free agent addition J.D. Walton. The 27-year old Oklahoma native hasn’t played in an NFL game since week 4 of 2012, but nonetheless, he’s slated to be the Giants starting center come opening Monday night.

Walton’s track record isn’t too cozy. After two tumultuous seasons in Denver to begin his career, Walton finally looked to be getting on track in 2012. Through 3+ games he’d earn a 5.1 Pro Football Focus overall rating, a stark contrast from his -28.0 (dead last among C) in a full 2011 season. Then, in week four versus Oakland, Walton suffered a catastrophic broken ankle.

As if the injury itself wasn’t rough enough, Walton suffered a setback during rehabilitation that cost him the entirety of 2013. In speaking with the media today, Walton emphasized just how foreign the whole ‘injury thing’ was to him:

Walton has been taking first team reps working the exchange with Eli Manning, and he’s currently operating at 100% health. But this doesn’t mean he’s without concerns heading onto the field Sunday night. All athletes have internal doubts, especially players that haven’t participated in the weekly battles for almost two years:

Jitters will pass with exposure to gridiron action and NFL level contact. However, the real question is: how much “game” does J.D. Walton have left? Once upon a time he was the first center selected (pick 80) in the 2010 NFL Draft. The truth is… 2010 really isn’t too far in the rear-view mirror, but in football, four years might as well be forever. While the Giants will surely try to utilize his mobility in the screen game, whether Walton can handle the physical pounding will be determined in time… specifically, five preseason games.

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Tags: Hall Of Fame Game J.D. Walton New York Giants

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