Apr 302008
 

Sinorice Moss Vows to “Shock the World”:  With the Giants drafting WR Mario Manningham in the third round of the draft on Sunday, WR Sinorice Moss says he realizes that he has to step it up.  Moss was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants.  In two seasons, he has accrued only 26 catches.

“I need to wake some people up,” said Moss.  “That’s what I really need to do.  I’ve been on the shelf.  So I’m ready to come out here and shock the world.  That’s what I plan to do.”

“I know what I can do and I know what I bring to this team, so there’s no pressure on me at all,” said Moss.  “I’m just looking forward to coming out here, getting the opportunity to make some plays and come out here and shock the world.  That’s my thing.”

“It is going to be a lot of fun going out there and just making plays,” said Moss.  “Giving the fans what they want to see is what it is going to be about and just helping this team reach back to what we reached last year.  It is a whole new season, so we can’t worry about what happened last year.  We have to look forward to this year and take care of business.  Take it one day at a time and take it one day at a time.”

Publicly, the Giants say they have not given up on Moss.  “We are not giving up on Sinorice Moss,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on Sunday after the Giants drafted Manningham.  “I think he is going to come in and have a big year for us because, again, last year to me with Sinorice Moss was like a rookie season for him because he missed most of the time his rookie season with injuries.  So Sinorice has got something to prove.  And I love players coming in that have something to prove.  So he definitely has something to prove and I think he will do.  We are definitely not giving up on Sinorice Moss.”

“(The Giants) know what I am capable of doing,” said Moss.  “They see me do it every day in practice, so it is just about getting into the games and having the opportunity to do the same thing that I do in practice in the games so everybody else can see it.”

“I’m not rushing anything.  I’m just being patient,” said Moss.  “Some people come into this league expecting to be this big star when you first come into the league.  It takes time.  It takes patience.  So for me being a patient guy and continuing to work hard, and never put myself down, it’s going to happen.  It’s going to come.”

“I’m going into my third year and I’m trying to come out here and help this team the best I can – whether it’s returning punts or catching footballs and catching touchdowns for this team,” said Moss.

Moss said he was glad the Giants drafted Manningham.  “It’s good for us to have a guy like that – a great talent, good hands,” said Moss.  “I didn’t expect him to be there that late, but it was a big plus for us to have another young guy coming in.  You talk about looking toward the future with this organization, I think that’s a big plus for us.”

“They didn’t even mention anything to me about this guy since they drafted him,” said Moss.  “That’s not a concern to me.  I know what I bring to this team and I know what I can do for this organization.  I’m not worried about them drafted another guy.  I’m happy they drafted another guy because it’s good toward our future.  You never know what can happen, so drafting this guy is good for us.”

“I mean, I’m thinking so far ahead, but I just think it’s a big plus for this organization to draft that guy there, have Steve last year and myself the year before that,” said Moss.  “It’s just big for this organization.  I’m not taking anything away from Plax and Amani because these guys are great athletes and they showed us the ropes.  I just think it’s big.”

Giants Sign Three More Rookie Free Agents:  In addition to the nine players we mentioned yesterday, the Giants have reportedly signed three more undrafted rookie free agents:

  • DT Eric Butler, Washburn
  • DT Josh Muse, Louisiana Tech
  • P/K Owen Tolson, Army

As we said yesterday, none of these signings have been officially confirmed.  We will provide scouting reports on these three players later this morning in the 2008 NFL Draft Review and Rookie Free Agent Signings section of the website.

Butler Intends to Sign His Tender Soon:  The deadline for restricted free agent S James Butler to sign a tender offer with another team passed on April 18.  Butler said he plans to sign his 1-year, $1.47 million tender from the Giants soon.

Giants Visit White House and Walter Reed Today:  The Giants will be honored by President Bush in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House today at 3:20PM.  Former Giants S Gibril Wilson and LB Kawika Mitchell are expected to attend.  TE Jeremy Shockey is not expected to do so.

The team will first travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Notes and Quotes:  QB Eli Manning on TE Jeremy Shockey remaining with the Giants:  “I was happy.  He’s a tremendous player and we can improve our game together and we need to do that and we are going to work at that and make sure that we’re playing our best level of football.”

The Giants have a new slogan for 2008.  Each player has been issued a t-shirt with the slogan “It’s a whole new season” printed on it.

Apr 292008
 

New York Giants Sign Undrafted Rookie Free Agents:  General Manager Jerry Reese said on WFAN yesterday that the Giants have signed 12 undrafted rookie free agents, but he did not announce who those players are.  Various media reports say the Giants have signed the following undrafted rookie free agents.  However, it is important to note that (1) none of these signings have been officially announced, and (2) many players are often invited to attend the rookie mini-camp but are then NOT offered contracts.  The Giants rookie mini-camp will be held May 9-10.

  • WR D.J. Hall, Alabama
  • OG Glenn Bujnoch, Cincinnati
  • OG/OC Andrew Bain, Miami
  • OT Dylan Thiry, Northwestern
  • OT Carnell Stewart, LSU
  • DE Wallace Gilberry, Alabama
  • DE Antonio Reynolds, Tennessee
  • DT Nate Robinson, Akron
  • SS Nehemiah Warrick, Michigan State

Scouting reports on each of these players is available in the 2008 NFL Draft Review and Rookie Free Agent Signings section of the website.

Article on WR Mario Manningham:  Former Coach Lloyd Carr Says Mario Manningham is Giant Bargain by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Editorial on TE Jeremy Shockey:  No Giant Shock-er by Paul Schwartz  of The New York Post

Apr 272008
 

New York Giants 2008 NFL Draft – Day Two Now Complete:  The Giants took the following players today in the second and final day of the 2008 NFL Draft:

  • 3rd Round – WR Mario Manningham, University of Michigan
  • 4th Round – LB Bryan Kehl, Brigham Young University
  • 5th Round – LB Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt University
  • 6th Round – QB Andre’ Woodson, University of Kentucky
  • 6th Round – DE Robert Henderson, University of Southern Mississippi

The Giants traded up seven spots in the fourth round with the Steelers to select Kehl.  The Giants gave Pittsburgh their fourth- and one of their three sixth-round picks in this draft to do so.

For a scouting report on all of these players as well as media Q&A transcripts with General Manager Jerry Reese, Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, Head Coach Tom Coughlin, and the players, see the 2008 NFL Draft Review section of the website.

Coughlin Comments on Strahan and Kiwanuka:  After the draft, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked about the status of DE Michael Strahan and LB/DE Mathias Kiwanuka.

“No, (we don’t know if Strahan has decided to retire),” said Coughlin.  “Well (we would like to know) as soon as possible, but I would like to think that I will be able to speak with Michael here.  Whether or not he has come to a decision completely yet we will try to start that dialogue now.”

“As of right now (Kiwanuka) would remain at linebacker,” said Coughlin.

Giants Not Likely to Take Five Quarterbacks Into Camp:  With the drafting of QB Andre’ Woodson, the Giants currently have five quarterbacks on the roster.  Eli Manning, David Carr, Anthony Wright, and Jared Lorenzen are the others.

“I doubt that we bring five quarterbacks to training camp,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.  “So the competition will start quickly.”

Article on Giants’ President/CEO John Mara and the 2007 Giants:  Deja Blue All Over Again by Mike Lupica of The Daily News

Apr 262008
 

New York Giants Draft Kenny Phillips and Terrell Thomas:  Without moving up or down in the draft, the Giants selected safety Kenny Phillips (Miami) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (USC) in the first and second rounds respectively of the 2008 NFL Draft.

For a scouting report on both players as well as media Q&A transcripts with General Manager Jerry Reese, Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, Head Coach Tom Coughlin, and Phillips, see the 2008 NFL Draft Review section of the website.

TE Jeremy Shockey Remains a New York Giant:  Despite media reports and internet rumors to the contrary, TE Jeremy Shockey was not traded to another team today.  Interestingly, General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin  did not address the media until after the New Orleans Saints had made their second-round selection.  That pick was rumored to be a part of any trade package that would be necessary to obtain Shockey.

The Daily News‘ Giants’ Blog is reporting that the trade to New Orleans did not occur because the Saints never came close to meeting the Giants’ trade demands.  An NFL source told The Daily News that the Giants would not lower their demands.  The Blog now says the Giants were serious about not wanting to trade Shockey, but were willing to listen to offers.  The Daily News says the Saints offered their second-round pick in the 2008 Draft and either a sixth-round pick in the 2008 Draft or a fifth-round pick in the 2009 Draft.

“Jeremy Shockey is our starting tight end,” said Reese.  “And I’m going to leave it at that.  Let’s talk about the draft pick.  There is really nothing to talk about.  Jeremy Shockey is our starting tight end, and really that is the end of the story.  Anybody want to talk about the draft pick?”

“Jeremy Shockey is our starting tight end and that is the way it is,” said Coughlin.  “Despite all that has been said and what have you, as I stand here right now, he is our starting tight end.”

When Coughlin was asked if Shockey was close to being traded, Coughlin responded, “I don’t know that.  There has been a lot of talk, very little activity.”

Coughlin was then asked if a trade possibility was dead.  “There is so much that goes on with regard to the draft in terms of picks and players that you learn over the years that the discussions come and go,” said Coughlin.  “Whether there is any seriousness to them that is probably for someone else to say.  These conversations are made all the time.  The phone does ring.  This has been reported in the paper.  There have been comments about it and I don’t really have anything else to say other than the fact that Jeremy Shockey, while a New York Giant, while playing in our program, has worked very hard.  He has done a good job in mentoring, if you will, a lot of these young guys that had to come through and play for us this year, and he has outstanding ability, as you all know, and there is no change in that status as of right now.”

Apr 262008
 

Jeremy Shockey May Be Traded Today:  According to ESPN, the Giants and Saints continue to talk regarding a trade that would send disgruntled TE Jeremy Shockey for the New Orleans Saints.  The deal supposedly has hit a snag however because the Giants want a second-round draft pick while the Saints are offering a third-round draft pick.  ESPN is reporting that the Giants have given Shockey a physical and will provide the details of that physical to the Saints if he cannot make it to New Orleans in time to have one.  ESPN is reporting that the Saints very much want Shockey so a deal is likely to be finalized today.

However, The Daily News is reporting that the Saints have offered the Giants their second-round pick but the Giants wanted more, asking for the second-round pick plus safety Roman Harper.  The Saints supposedly have declined and countered with another lower-round draft pick, possibly a fifth-rounder, in addition to the second-rounder.  According to The Daily News, the Saints appear to be the only serious contender for Shockey’s services.

Newsday is reporting that a League source told the paper that there is a “good chance” that Shockey will be traded today.  While the Saints are the leading contender, the paper says the Falcons could also enter the mix.

CBS Sportsline.com reports “League sources indicated the Giants are maneuvering to trade the tight end by this weekend’s draft, with the Giants talking to Seattle and New Orleans” and “talks have been on-going for some time with both teams, but sources indicated a deal could be consummated Saturday if the Giants want to move up in the second round.  In fact, one source said he thought the team might already have a deal in place.”

ProFootballWeekly.com is reporting that a deal may already be in place with the Saints for their second-round pick and other picks.

Stay tuned!!!

Michael Strahan Talks:  DE Michael Strahan was asked about whether or not he will return to the Giants in 2008 on Thursday night. “I don’t know if I’m going to quit,” said Strahan.  “I would love to retire, but that’s what you’d miss.  It’s so much fun to play and be around the guys, I would miss that part.  But at the same time, I would not miss being sore every morning.”

Giants Will Visit White House and Walter Reed on Wednesday:  The Giants will visit the White House on Wednesday.  The team is scheduled to meet with President Bush at 3:20PM.  Before the ceremony, players, coaches and other members of the organization will travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Quotes:  DE Osi Umenyiora on TE Jeremy Shockey possibly being traded:  “I don’t know why that’s even a discussion.  Jeremy Shockey is one of the greatest tight ends in the league today.  I think he should be back.”

Umenyiora on the Giants in 2008:  “We’re hungry, man.  Even though we won the Super Bowl, nobody’s really giving us respect like we won it.  I do a lot of reading, and it’s like we lucked out and won it.”

Apr 262008
 
New York Giants 2008 NFL Mock Draft – Day One

by KWALL for BigBlueInteractive.com

I’m really floored by the Shockey trade. I thought he’d retire as a Giant and eventually go to the Hall of Fame.  He’ll be missed but I guess nobody, outside of Eli, is untouchable on the team.  I’m not happy to see him go but it’s really hard to question anything the Giants front office does at this point.  We just won the Super Bowl.  And the team did it without Shockey.  Even before the broken leg he lacked the explosiveness of his younger days with the team.  He also comes with a high salary.  With Shockey gone, TE has jumped to the top of the list of needs for the 08 draft.  I’d rank it right there with safety.

If we picked up the #40 pick and more for Shockey I’m sure Reese will do something positive with it.  The good news is this draft seems to have a lot of talent in round 2.  We enter the draft with basically 3 round 2 picks.  This is the area to find low priced starters.  If we pick up a couple of guys who can start and produce over the next few years the Giants will be in good shape to extend some of the top young players already on the roster such as Snee or Jacobs.

In the off season, the Giants let a good young player go in Gibril Wilson.  They didn’t want to overpay for this above average starter at $30+ million with $15+ mil guaranteed.  They didn’t even want to franchise him (over $4 million for one year).  Although it left a big hole at S it made a lot of financial sense.

The Giants pick in round one has a lot of value.  It’s the last pick that locks up a rookie for 5 years.  Starting with pick #32 in round 2 the rookies get 4 year deals.  If we draft a winner with this pick we’re getting outstanding value.  Just recently we’ve seen a lot of talk in the media about Miami S Kenny Phillips as the guy at #31.  A few others have mentioned the Arkansas State S Tyrell Johnson.  Let’s say we go with one of them.  The savings over the Wilson deal is remarkable.  Last years last pick in round one signed a 5 year deal at slightly over $10 million with only $5 million guaranteed.  That’s less than 1/3 of the deal Wilson signed with Oakland.  That’s the kind of 5 year deal we’re looking at with our pick.  In today’s NFL market that could be a bargain if Reese picks the right man.  There certainly is some risk these players will fall short of Wilson talent.  On the other side, there’s a strong possibility they’ll become better NFL players.  I’m thinking we go safety in round 1.

With Shockey gone, TE is the other position of need.  This draft doesn’t have a first round talent at TE.  It does have several round 2 talents and at #40 we could have our pick of any TE in the draft.  TE with this pick makes a lot of sense.

Here is a list of potential targets for the Giants on day one.

Picks 31-62

S Kenny Phillips – Good athlete for the position.  Should be a solid NFL starter.
S Tyrell Johnson – Very fast S with tackling skills.  More upside than Phillips
CB Antoine Cason – Will probably start in the NFL early.  Could be a low priced starting CB for the Gianst for 5 years.
CB Antwaun Molden – One of my favorites in the draft.  Can also play S.
RB/KR Chris Johnson – Most explosive player in the draft.  Would give us a Reggie Bush type weapon with better speed and return skills.
WR Limas Sweed – Big target with WR #1 skills.
WR Desean Jackson – Explosive type Reese likes.  And a premier return guy.
WR Avery – A true burner with the best 3 cone (6.30) in years.
WR Andre Caldwell – Good size and 4.3 speed.  Could be the best WR in the class.
WR Jordy Nelson – Tough guy who could work the middle for Eli and get YAC.
WR Eddie Royal – Very fast WR and a top punt returner.
TE Dustin Keller – Undersized but he could be Eli’s Dallas Clark.
TE Martellus Bennett – Perhaps the best 2 way TE in this draft
TE Kellen Davis – Another talented 2 way TE.  Most upside of any TE in the draft.
LB Dan Connor – Versatile LB.  Would start early at OLB.  Eventually could take over for Pierce.
LB Tavares Gooden – Another LB with the ability to play inside or out but better overall athletic ability than Connor.

Here’s the way I see it:

31.  We need a safety and the chance of getting a starter type after the top 2-3 prospects in this draft is very slim.  Giants go with Kenny Phillips or Tyrell Johnson.  One of these guys keeps Sammy Knight in a backup role.  Wild card could be Molden.  Molden can play CB and S.  With the success of Bradshaw and Boss, Reese is not afraid to draft another athletic small school player.  The Giants pick the S with the upside in Tyrell Johnson in round 1.

40.  We could have the choice of any TE in the draft.  However, there’s a good chance one goes off the board to Atlanta at pick #39.  Let’s assume there all there.  Keller isn’t what they’re looking for because of his size.  Kellen Davis and Bennett are exactly what they’re looking for.  I’m going to assume Molden is still there and they go with the speedy and versatile DB.

63.  Eddie Royal return skills would offer a boost to ST.  LB Gooden gives us depth and speed at all LB positions.  TE Davis could get some consideration.  The pick is Gooden.

Giants day one is all about defense and speed.

S Tyrell Johnson
CB Antwaun Molden
LB Tavares Gooden

Apr 252008
 
New York Giants 2008 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive and Offensive Tackles

by KWALL for BigBlueInteractive.com

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

This draft has 2 premier prospects at DT.  Both will be picked in the top 10.  There is a big drop in talent, consistency, and potential after Ellis and Dorsey.  Maybe one more first round talent in the group in Balmer (Mike Mayock loves him).  The small school kid from Eastern Michigan could jump ahead of Balmer to #3 at the position.  The NFL saw what a massive impact Tuck had with the Giants in 07.  Jason Jones is a carbon copy of Tuck in many ways.  Jones could be a first rounder.

Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan
(6’5”, 272lbs, 40: 4.76, 20: 2.73, 10: 1.59, Bench: 18, Vert: 25.5”, Broad: 10’3”, SS: 4.32, 3 Cone: 7.29)
Very similar body/athletic ability/game with Giants’ Justin Tuck.  A few starts at TE as a freshman for Eastern Michigan.  Moved to DE after year 1.  Played DT in 07 and consistently played on the other side of the line of scrimmage.  Played big vs the top teams on the schedule.  One of the most impressive players at the all star games.  Flashed quickness, short area change of direction, and several inside pass rush moves at Sr Bowl.  He’s got the long arms (36”) NFL scouts want in a pass rushing prospect.  Teams will look at him as a Tuck type inside pass rusher.  He’s going to be drafted very high.  Could go as high as late round 1.

Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina
(6’5”, 308lbs, 40: 5.29, 20: 3.04, 10: 1.71, Bench: 33, Vert: 29”, SS: 4.82, 3 Cone: 7.65)
Injured in 06 with very little production.  According to his HC Davis he went from undrafted FA type to possible first round pick in one year.  Mixed reviews on this player.  Mayock had him in this overall top 20 for the past few months.  Others are concerned about only one year of production and think he plays too high and could struggle in the NFL.  Ideal size.  He can handle 2 gap work in the NFL.  Average burst off the line will limit his pass rush ability in the NFL.  Jaguars at #26 could be in the market for a DT to replace Stroud.

Trevor Laws, Notre Dame
(6’1”, 304lbs, 40: 5.09, 20: 2.90, 10: 1.72, Bench: 35, Vert 30.5”, Broad:8’7”, SS: 4.49, 3 Cone: 7.37)
One of the only bright spots on the Notre Dame team in 07.  100+ tackles in 07.  Plays hard but he’s more than just a blue collar hustler.  A lot like the Eagles DT Mike Patterson (round 1 in 05).  Laws is very strong.  Excellent hand work.  Stays low.  Plays with leverage and quickness.  Explosive off the ball and quickly changes directions.  Surprised a lot of people at the Sr Bowl practices.  All over the field in the Sr Bowl game (6 tackles, sack, fumble recovery).  I love top wrestlers at DT.  Laws was an All-American wrestler.  He’s going to step in and immediately help as a rookie.   Mid to late round 2.

Dre Moore, Maryland
(6’4”, 305lbs, 40: 4.84, 20: 2.70, 10: 1.62, Bench: 31,Vert: 28”, Broad: 8’9”, SS: 4.55, 3 Cone: 7.73)
Late bloomer.  Only 1 year of high school ball.  One of the top athletes in the draft.  Also a weight room guy.  Inconsistent play early in his career.  Really came on in 07.  Has the body to carry more weight.  Controls blockers with strength and bulk.  Powerful on the bull rush.  Despite elite timed speed doesn’t always show an elite burst off the ball.  Very few pass rush moves.  Good chance he’ll go to a 3-4 team and play DE.  Round 2.

Pat Sims, Auburn
(6’2”, 310lbs, 40: 5.06, 20: 2.91, 10: 1.68, Bench: 20, Vert: 27”)
Early entry after MVP performance in Auburn’s bowl win over Clemson.  At combine he had a sloppy body but he had a good workout for a 310lb DT.  Some negative comments from NFL people on his work ethic and attitude.  Tested positive for marijuana at Auburn.   Late round 2.

Andre Fluellen, Florida State
(6’2”, 296lbs, Bench: 28)
Proday ran in 5.0 range and a 4.45 short shuttle.  Several injuries in college.  Athletic one gapper.  Very disruptive.   Can get in the backfield.  Will struggle to hold ground.  A mid round prospect.  Solid rotational guy who can come in and give you some pass rush from the DT position.  Round 3-4.

Marcus Harrison, Arkansas
(6’3”, 317lbs, 40: 5.06, 20: 2.90, 10: 1.71, Bench: 26)
Big DT with the strength to hold his ground vs double teams.  Versatile DL prospect.  Also played some DE at Arkansas.  Gets a push up the middle and knocks down passes.  Tossed around some of the OL at the SR Bowl.  Had knee problems in 06 and 07.  Some off the field stuff will drop him.  Arrested on a drug charge in 07.  His effort on the field has been up and down.   Round 3-4.

Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa State
(6’3”, 315lbs, 40: 5.20, 20: 2.96, 10: 1.74, Bench: 35, Vert: 28, Broad: 8’10”, SS: 5.00, 3 Cone: 8.05)
Huge and very strong.  Plays hard.  Will make his money occupying blockers.  Tough against the run.  Can’t get there vs the pass.  Will go to a 3-4 team to play the nose.  Rd 4.

Eric Foster, Rutgers
(6’2”, 277lbs, no Combine workout)
An undersized pass rushing DT prospect.  Very explosive and he can chase down plays.  Rob Rang from NFL Draftscout compares him to Rod Coleman.  Rang said there’s a place for Foster in the NFL as a situational pass rush guy from the inside.  Played some DE at the Texas Nation All Star game.  I don’t believe he has the speed to pressure from the edge in the NFL.  Very athletic player.  Injured at proday.  Couldn’t run.   I believe Foster would have run in the 4.8 range.  Late round pick.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

This is one of the better positions in the draft.  Top heavy with possibly five first rounders and 10 guys drafted at the position on day one.  Long went to Miami at #1.  Albert will probably go to KC at #5.  Clady is in the top 20.  Giants are very strong along the OL.  Diehl held up fine at LT.  Whimper and Koets give us a couple of athletic young players for depth.  I wouldn’t expect an OL in this draft for the Giants.  At the bottom of round 1 the Giants may consider the following three players:

Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
(6’6”, 314lbs, 40: 5.14, 20: 3.00, 10: 1.75, Bench: 24, Vert: 23”, Broad: 8;6”, SS: 4.82, 3 Cone: 7.60)
Massive player.  Very long arms (35+”) with the biggest hands (11+”) in the draft.   Played LT last year for BC and more than held his own against a long list of NFL caliber talent at DE.   Virginia Tech DE Ellis was one player who gave Cherilus a lot of trouble.  The pressure from Ellis was one of the reasons VT kept BC QB Ryan in check for most of the game.  At the SR Bowl he struggled with speed (Avril from Purdue) in the one on ones.  Most likely a RT in the NFL.  Steelers need OL help.  He could go to PIT in round 1.  Giants had a private workout with Cherilus.   Late round 1.

Sam Baker, USC
(6’5”, 309lbs, no Combine workout)  (Pro Day: 40: 5.50, Bench: 29, Vert: 28.5”, Broad: 9’, SS: 4.92)
Experienced player.  4 years starter.  40+ starts for USC.  Despite shorter than ideal arms (32”) and small hands (81/4”) he’s an excellent pass protector.  Rarely allowed pressure in college.  Some of the best feet at OL in the draft.  Quick set and he keeps his balance.  Easily slides and stays in front of speed.  Not overpowering in the run game.  Probably more of a round 2 player but could sneak into bottom of round 1.

Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
(6’6”, 322lbs, 40: 5.55, 20: 3.10, 10: 1.83, Bench: 27, Vert: 22.5”)
A mauler type who could drop to the out of round 1 because of his problems in pass protection.  He gave up 8.5 sacks in 07.  Not the type of athlete the NFL usually drafts in round 1 at LT.  He could struggle in space in the NFL.  Best position is probably RT.  Late round 1/early 2.

Apr 252008
 

More on Jeremy Shockey:  According to today’s Star-Ledger, “multiple, unspecified teams” have made trade offers for disgruntled TE Jeremy Shockey, but the trade proposals “haven’t been good enough for the Giants to even consider trading Shockey.”  One source told the paper that the Giants are seeking a first-round pick in return for the tight end.  Another unidentified team source told the paper that the Giants are not convinced Shockey will hold out if a trade or a new role on offense is not presented, even though Shockey apparently threatened to do so.

Newsday is reporting that most inquiries for Shockey “have been cursory and short-lived” according to one source.  The paper says the Saints have only offered their second-round pick in the upcoming draft for the tight end.

Osi Umenyiora Says He Will Not Hold Out:  DE Osi Umenyiora says he is not thrilled with his current contract, but he also says he will not hold out in an effort to obtain a new one.

“Right now it’s not the time for me to try to do anything crazy like that,” said Umenyiora.  “I’m not going to say I wasn’t thinking about it.  I mean, come on, you see what’s going on out there (with escalating salaries), but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.  I’m happy to be here.  I want to be here.  I don’t want to seem disrespectful.  I don’t want to do anything crazy.  I’m cool…Of course I’d like to get paid more, no question.  But I’m OK.”

Umenyiora signed a 6-year, $41 million contract extension in December 2005 that currently keeps him under contract through the 2012 season.  He says he has not approached the Giants about renegotiating his contract nor does he intend to do so in the near future.  “The Giants are a first-class organization,” said Umenyiora.  “When it’s time to do the right thing, they will do the right thing.  Right now, I’m just going to go out and try to earn what they’ve paid me already.”

Quotes:  DE Osi Umenyiora on DE Michael Strahan:  “I talked to him after the season and I thought he was going to retire.  I talked to him a month ago and I thought he was coming back.  And then I talked to him maybe a week ago and I thought he was going to retire.  It just changes day to day with Michael.”

Apr 242008
 
New York Giants 2008 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

by KWALL for BigBlueInteractive.com

Most draft publications will tell you the Giants really need some LB help from this draft.  We’ve got two wild cards who will determine just how high the LB position is on the need list for the Giants.  The first one is Wilkinson.  If the Giants feel he is ready for full time duty than LB isn’t nearly the need you hear about from the national media.  The other guy is 2nd year player Rory Johnson.  I actually had Johnson going to the Giants in round 4 of my BigBlueInteractive.com mock last year.  Very fast player on the collegiate level.  Off the field issue dropped him from mid round to undrafted FA.  He could be a surprise player at the LB position for the Giants in 08.  If Johnson can play, we’re fine at OLB.  MLB could probably use some late round depth and speed.

The top two LBs in this draft will be long gone before the Giants pick.  Rivers was a guy I wanted to see on the Giants but he’s out of reach.  Mayo’s workouts have probably pushed him into the top 20.  That leaves us with a of couple of options at #31.

Two possible targets for Giants at #31:

Quentin Groves, Auburn
(6’3”, 259lbs, 40: 4.53, 20: 2.62, 10: 1.57, Bench: 30, Vert: 29.5”, Broad: 10;, SS: 4.42, 3 Cone: 7.30)
If his health checks out, this is my #1 defensive guy I’d like to see the Giants draft in round 1.  Athleticism and pass rush skills compare to Dallas Pro Bowl LB DeMarcus Ware.  If he’s in that league, I’m sure Spags will get him on the field often and allow him to use his speed to get to the QB.  The addition of a guy like Groves would take our defense to another level.  Groves played DE at Auburn and was often times an unblockable force.  He had close to 15 QB pressures in one game vs South Florida.  He’s could be the most explosive front 7 prospect in this draft.  He won with speed at Auburn.  He does a nice job of staying low while turning the corner put heat on the QB.  His game will work in the NFL.  In the right situation he’ll be a consistent 10 sack guy.  He played some LB at Auburn.  He’s athletic enough to make the move to 4-3 OLB in the NFL.  He can move in space.  Most likely a 3-4 team will draft him as a rush OLB.  He had a toe injury which limited him in 07.  Also had heart surgery which may drop him out of the picture at #31.  He’s a top 15 talent.

Dan Connor, Penn State
(6’2”, 231lbs, no Combine workout) (Pro Day: 40: 4.67, Vert: 35”, SS: 4.25, 3 Cone: 6.78)
Early in the predraft process, we saw this name mentioned a lot as the pick for the Giants in round 1.  Connor gets criticized for his perceived lack of athletic ability but that’s not an accurate knock.  He’s a very good athlete for the LB position.  He can move and he’s very good in space.  Versatile player.  Very smart.  Hard working and a guy scouts say has top notch instincts.  Played OLB early at Penn State.  Moved to inside in 07.  Highly productive at both positions.  And he can handle both in the NFL.  This pick would make a lot of sense for the Giants.  Connor could step in and start early at OLB.  He can spell Pierce in some coverage situations.  Eventually he could be the successor to Pierce at ILB.  A scout for an AFC team said Connor is “really, really instinctive, and if you play him on the weak side of a 4-3 he’s going to be pretty good…He’s really instinctive, probably the most instinctive ‘backer in this draft…He’s not as fast as the (Posluszny) kid last year but he’s close, and might be a better overall football player.”  Mike Mayock also raved about his instincts and ability to quickly read a play.  Mayock said Connor gets to the ball fast and “rarely takes a misstep”.  I actually think he’s faster and smoother than Posluszny.  Poz was a very good mid 2nd round pick for the Bills last year.  Connor will go earlier. Late round 1/early 2.

Round 2 Players:

Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech
(6’2”, 232lbs, 40: 4.67, 20: 2.70, 10: 1.56, Vert: 30”, Broad: 9’2”, SS: 4.47)
Impressed me all year making plays for a tough Virginia Tech defense.  This is a guy who can cover a lot of ground.  Excellent range.  Adibi is smooth and fluid.  He flashed to the ball for VT.  He’s got the overall athletic ability to stick with NFL backs and TEs in coverage.  And he has extremely long arms.  Longest arms of any back 7 player in the draft.  His size/bulk was the big question.  Played as an undersized (220lbs) but fast LB in college.  Could he add some weight/strength and keep the explosive speed?  Can he hold up at the point of attack in the NFL?  These are the questions that will push him into round 2.  Back in January, I thought he could be first round material.  His combine was a bit disappointing.  I expected him to crack 4.50.  He added 10+lbs before combine and ran 4.6+.  Now everybody dropped him out of the top 50.  Very talented player.  Giants may have a similar talent already on the roster in 2nd year player Rory Johnson.  If he’s there at the bottom of round 2 he’s a good pick for a team looking for a rangy coverage LB with some blitz ability.  Mid to late round 2.

Tavares Gooden, Miami
(6’1”, 234lbs, 40: 4.62, 20: 2.62, 10: 1.50, Bench: 22, Vert: 35”, Broad: 9’10”)
This is another guy, like Connor, who would step in and give us depth at both OLB and ILB.  Although the Miami defense got ripped often in 07, they still had plenty of NFL talent on the field.  In my opinion, it was Gooden who seemed to stand out the most on that D (not the higher rated prospects Phillips or Campbell).  Makes plays all over the field(100+ tackles).  Very fast in pursuit.  Skill set to be a very good coverage LB as well as an effective blitzer.  Worked hard in the weight room at Miami (squats 550+).  Durability is a concern.  Several injuries limited his playing time at Miami.  Hip injury caused him to leave Senior Bowl early.  Improved vertical to 39.5” and was timed in the 4.50 range at his proday.  If his health isn’t a factor, I believe he’ll be the best Miami player in the NFL out of this draft.  Outstanding draft value.  Last round 2/early3.

Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
(6’, 246lbs, 40: 4.79, 20: 2.73, 10: 1.59, Bench: 23, Vert 24.5”, Broad: 8’9”, SS: 4.59, 3 Cone: 7.69)
Tough inside LB prospect.  Lacks the elite measurables but not the production.  Always around the ball and making plays.  Only 1 year starter.  His head coach Stoops called Lofton the “best defensive player he ever had”.  Despite below average workout, he looks like a mid to late 2nd round guy.  “He doesn’t run that well, and he’s not the greatest athlete, but he’s one of those guys, when you turn the tape on he’s making all the plays,” said the scouting director for an AFC team.  “It’s almost like (University of Miami’s) Jon Beason was last year.  He didn’t run that great but he just seems to be the guy making all the plays.  I don’t think he’s going to go in the first round or anything, but he’s that kind of guy you can get somewhere in the second round, maybe early in the third that is going to surprise some people.”

Marcus Howard, Georgia
(6’1” 237lbs, 40:4.45, 20:2.52, 10:1.46, Bench: 27”, Vert: 34.5”)
Moved from LB to  DE last year for Georgia.  At his size look for him to move back to LB in the NFL.  Howard was a one man wrecking crew against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.  He really rocked QB Brennan and got the pass rusher trifecta on one play (sack, FF, TD).  Finished the game with 3 sacks, 2 FF, and a TD.  Killer first step and closing burst to the QB.  Probably a 3-4 rush LB in the NFL.  However, any team can find a place for this guy as a situational pass rusher.  He’ll help your coverage units as well.  I think the 3-4 teams will jockey to get him in round 2 or 3.  If he’s there in round 3 he should get some consideration from the Giants.

Erin Henderson, Maryland
(6’3”, 244lbs, 40: 4.73, 20: 2.72 10: 1.59, Bench: 23, Vert: 31”, Broad: 9’5”, SS: 4.50, 3 Cone: 7.16)
Brother is Vikings LB EJ Henderson.  EJ was a big play machine and one of the best college LBs I saw over the past 10 years.  Erin plays faster than EJ in pursuit but a step down from his bother’s rare instincts and toughness.  Initially recruited to Maryland to play QB.  Moved to LB in year 1.  Torn ACL in 05.  Sprained the same knee in 07.  Despite injury, Henderson averaged 11+ tackles/game in 07.  Solid all around LB.  Plays faster than that combine time.  Chases hard.  Sideline to sideline player.  Injuries/durability have dropped him in this draft.  NFL Advisory board gave him a 3rd round grade.  If he stays healthy, he could be a long time starter and one of the top picks in the late round 2/early 3 range.

Phillip Wheeler, Georgia Tech
(6’2”, 248lbs, 40: 4.76, 20: 2.71, 10: 1.56, Bench: 24, Vert: 31, Broad: 9’10”, SS: 4.29, 3 Cone: 7.11)
Add Wheeler’s name to the list of versatile OLB/ILB prospects.  Only average combine workout for the position but an athletic LB on the field.  I watched him during the Sr Bowl telecasts.  He’s got a thick body but he can move.  He’s got a burst especially when he steps up to fill the lane.  Very good blitzer in college (15 sacks the past 2 yrs).  Interesting note: When asked which college player hit him the hardest?  He said Brandon Jacobs.

Day 2:

Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky
(6’, 227lbs, 40: 4.51, 20: 2.58, 10: 1.50, Vert: 30”, SS: 4.25, 3 Cone: 7.15)
Tackling machine the past 2 years.  Led the SEC in tackles.  Averaged over 11 tackles a game since 06.  Very athletic but also very small.  At his size getting off blocks could be an issue in the NFL.  Viewed as a Michael Boulaware tweener typre at SS/OLB.  Mike.Singletary loved him as a LB at the Sr Bowl.  He impressed with his play in space during the week of Senior Bowl practices.  The guy can flat out run.  Look for Woodard to go in the mid rounds to the Colts or Bucs in late round 3.

Bryan Kehl, BYU
(6’2”, 242lbs, 40: 4.67, 20: 2.65, 10: 1.55, Bench: 26, Broad: 10’, SS: 4.23, 3 Cone: 6.88)
Older player at 24.  Smart.  Athletic.  Some talk he could move to SS in the NFL.  Plays hard.  Strong and a good hitter. Coaches love him.  Glowing reports on his game prep and hard work off the field.  Outside of his impressive week at the Shrine, not a guy you heard about leading up to the draft but Kehl is a very solid mid round OLB prospect.  Rd 3-4.

Shawn Crable, Michigan
(6’5”, 245lbs, 40: 4.61, 20: 2.70, 10: 1.56, Bench: 29, Vert: 28”, SS: 4.55, 3 Cone: 7.29)
Great athlete.  Parade All American in HS.  Highly recruited as a LB and TE.  Ran track (10.7 in 100).  Very tall LB with excellent straight line speed.  Ran down a lot of players in pursuit.  Gets in the backfield and makes plays.  Set a team record for tackles for loss in 07.  However, his lateral agility and COD skills aren’t what you’re looking for in and NFL LB.  He has trouble covering in space.  Sr Bowl didn’t helo him.  His lack of coverage skills were exposed.  I think his best position could be 4-3 pass rushing DE.  He’s a force when moving forward.  Rd 3.

Ben Moffitt, South Florida
(6’1”, 234lbs, Bench: 23, Vert: 32.5”, SS: 4.21, 3 Cone: 6.75)
2nd fastest 3 Cone at combine for his position.  Ran in 4.5s at proday with a 37.5” vert.  4 year starter.  Lacks bulk and it could be a problem moving up to the NFL.  Although he showed solid pass coverage skills for Soth Florida he struggled to match up with some RBs/TEs at the Sr Bowl.  Rd 5.

Thomas Williams, USC
(6’1”, 238lbs, 40: 4.86, 20: 2.81, 10: 1.56, Bench: 26)
Plenty of NFL potential despite being a backup in 07 at USC.  Excellent coverage guy for your special teams.  Versatile. Played all 3 LB positions.  Shows better field speed than that combine 40.  Based on the way he chases I really expected better 40 times.  Impressed at All star games.  Rd 5.

Ali Highsmith, LSU
(5’11”, 230lbs, 40: 4.95, 20: 2.76, 10: 1.59, Vert: 26.5”, SS: 4.29, 3 Cone: 7.40)
Very small but a guy who played very fast in the tough SEC.  This guy closed on McFadden over 40 yards in the open field.  That’s speed.  I’m not sure what happened at the combine.  His slow times were astounding.  He added some weight but that shouldn’t take a guy who plays like he runs a 4.4 up to a 4.9+.  Maybe he was injured.  He sure ran like a guy with an injured leg.  The workout was awful.  Nobody dropped further since football season ended.  Highsmith ran better at proday.  His size is also a major negative.  He looked tiny standing next to the other LBs at the SR Bowl.  Probably round 5 or later.

Jordan Dizon, Colorado
(6’, 229lbs, 40: 4.71, 20: 2.70, 10: 1.59, Vert: 30.5”, Broad: 9’10”, SS: 4.35, 3 Cone: 7.01)
Outstanding college player.  4 year starter.  Close to 300 tackles over the past 2 seasons.  Undersized.  Another guy like Highsmith who looked very small at the Sr Bowl.  At his size, he needed a better workout top move into the top 3-4 rounds.  Despite the production he’s going late.  Rd 6-7.

Brandon Renkart, Rutgers
(6’2”, 236lbs, no Combine)
Former HS option QB.  Walk-on safety at Rutgers.  Smart kid (Engineering honors).  Bulked up to move to LB and kept the speed.  Plays hard.  The kid can cover.  He would man up in the slot on occasion.  Good tackler.  Not strong at the point of attack.  He had a private workout for the Giants in April.  Proday: 40: 4.59, Vert: 36”, Broad: 10’1”, SS:4.10, 3 Cone: 6.70.  Late rounds/FA.

Jameel McClain, Syracuse
(6’1”, 249lbs, 40: 4.74, 20: 2.75, 10: 1.56, Bench: 24, Vert: 26”, SS: 4.31, 3 Cone: 7.12)
Played DE in 06 with 9.5 sacks.  Moved to LB for Syracuse in 07.  A tough run stuffer with plenty of bulk.  Probably a late round pick to play inside in a 3-4.  Rd 6-7