Mar 312016
 
Bill McGovern, Philadelphia Eagles (October 26, 2014)

Bill McGovern – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Q&As WITH DEFENSIVE AND SPECIAL TEAMS ASSISTANT COACHES…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following defensive and special teams assistant coaches are available at the team’s website:

  • Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (Video)
  • Defensive Line Coach Patrick Graham (Video)
  • Assistant Defensive Line Coach Jeff Zgonina (Video)
  • Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern (Video)
  • Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn (Video)
  • Assistant Special Teams Coach Dwayne Stukes (Video)

ARTICLES…

Mar 312016
 
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State Buckeyes (January 1, 2016)

Ezekiel Elliott – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.

WHERE THEY STAND

Over the past three years, the Jerry Reese regime has brought in 3 RBs to be a serious part of the rotation. 31 year old Rashad Jennings has been the group’s top option, averaging just over 4 yards per carry and adding a couple catches per game. Andre Willians is the lone draft pick of the trio and has been nothing worth discussing outside of a few solid preseason runs. Shane Vereen was signed last spring in an effort to enhance their pass catching out of the backfield. He was used sporadically and the scheme struggled to get him a consistent flow of touches. Orleans Darkwa showed off some young, fresh legs and ran hard when given the chance. He was the one back that has a sense of big play ability. NYG has struggled to piece together a strong rushing attack for years now. It’s partially a personnel issue and partially an OL issue.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – EZEKIEL ELLIOTT – 6’0/226 – OHIO STATE: 84

Third year junior. All American back that has rushed for 3,699 yards over the past two seasons combined, number one in the country. Elliott is a three down back with the body to take hits between the tackles and keep the chains moving, but also more than enough ability to break off the big runs. He has powerful acceleration and good-enough speed. He holds on to the ball and is a reliable, consistent rusher. His main issues revolve around a sense of self-entitlement, as he’s called out the coaching staff to the media following a loss. Elliott has some “all about me” in him. He will grade out above average-to-elite across the board physically, however. Definite long time starter potential. NYG will need to consider Elliott at #10 overall. He would be the second best skill position player (Manning not included) on this team right away. The notion that first round picks shouldn’t be 1st rounders is baseless. Elliott makes this offense more dangerous week 1 and there is no denying that. His running style is perfect for the NFL.

Upside Pro Comparison: Arian Foster – UFA

2 – KENNETH DIXON – 5’10/215 – LOUISIANA TECH: 80

Accomplished career. If it weren’t for Navy QB Keenan Reynolds, Dixon would have left college as the all time leader in TDs in FBS. Dixon is the best two way threat among the RBs in this class. He is an elite receiver out of the backfield with hands that are better than most of the WRs in this class, no exaggeration. He can even be split out wide and run routes like an accomplished pro WR. Dixon has Marshall Faulk in him. He is a hard nosed game that understands game situations and it shows every game. He can lower his shoulder and gain tough yards with a quick approach to the line. He can bounce things outside and play games with defenders in space. He understands the nuances of blocking and finding the blitzers. Dixon is a guy that wont need to come off the field. What’s not to like? He may have a hard time holding up in the league? He saw a lot of touches over his 4 year career in which he started from the beginning. He also has average top end speed. I care more about quickness and change of direction than I do straight line speed, but I have seen him get caught from behind a few times. Dixon is a starting back in the league and if he can stay healthy, could be an all purpose yard machine.

Upside Pro Comparison: Marshall Faulk – RET

3 – PAUL PERKINS – 5’10/208 – UCLA: 79

Fourth year junior. Team’s leading rusher in the 2014 and 2015 seasons respectively despite battling a nagging knee injury this past fall. Perkins may not have the body or running style to be an every down back, but his ability to make something out of nothing cannot go overlooked. He has the rare, hard to find ability to completely change direction while moving at full speed at anytime. His top end speed and lack of size may limit his touches week in, week out however he is a prime candidate for a committee approach. If he can find an offense that needs someone to offset a between the tackles, chain moving bruiser, Perkins will excel. I have a higher grade on Perkins than what I see out there. He has the kind of talent that can change how an offense approaches thing, which ended up happening at UCLA after 2013. Perkins may not have the ideal situation here in NY because of Vereen’s presence, but NYG hasn’t had a back that can move in and out of traffic like this since the early days of Tiki Barber. He may not be the ideal every down guy, but he is a dangerous playmaker that defenses are afraid to see with the ball in space.

Upside Pro Comparison: Lesean McCoy – BUF

4 – ALEX COLLINS – 5’10/217 – ARKANSAS: 76

Third year junior. SEC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All American in 2013. Has rushed for 1,000+ yards all three seasons respectively of his career. Collins has the goods. He is an explosive downhill runner that approaches the line with anger and aggression. Collins is tough to bring down on initial contact but he also has elite level footwork and balance that allow him to adjust at the last second in traffic. He can make defenders miss but also has the option to run them over at any point. His off-field maturity issues appear to be behind him now and his speed in space is average. One thing I’ve noticed inmy secondary review of him is how exposed his legs are to tacklers. He has a tendency to run high and he has a weird body shape. Very thin lower body, especially beneath his knees. He may be a guy that has a hard time staying healthy in the NFL. While I know it may seem I am over-analyzing to a fault, it’s a legit concern for me. All this in mind, I still think Collins can be a starter with big time upside, I’m just not as sure of him as I once was.

5 – DANIEL LASCO – 6’0/209 – CALIFORNIA: 74

Fifth year senior. Battled an injury-riddled career but showed glimpses of being an effective, explosive inside runner. Lasco has an aggressive nature about him when running north/south. He has the ability to improve the physical side of an offense with his bruiser mentality and willingness to block pass rushers. Lasco has been battling lower body injuries over the past two years, mainly hip and ankle tweaks in 2015. If you watched him on the wrong week, you would have thought Lasco was a below-average back with average athletic ability. But make no mistake here, Lasco has elite explosion and open field speed. There are some backs that jump off the screen when it comes to their approach to the line. Lasco is one of those guys. He is a borderline reckless runner. He is the complete opposite of the back that you hate to watch tip toe to the line and show fear when approaching tacklers. Lasco is angry and aggressive with a developing skill set. The extras are that he blocks extremely well and he proved to be an effective special team defender.

Upside Pro Comparison – Donald Brown – NE

6 – DERRICK HENRY – 6’2/247 – ALABAMA: 74

Junior entry. 2015 Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker, and Maxwell Award winner respectively. Set the all time single season SEC rushing and TD records. Elite production after an elite High School career. Henry was a man among boys most weeks throughout his entire career. He has a rare size and speed combination. His foot speed while moving downhill and in to the open field is very good. He has the speed to make big plays and the power to move the chains throughout an entire game. His struggles come from overly long legs and maybe too much height. Defenders get a ton of big hits on his lower half and will likely fight nagging injuries throughout his whole career. His lateral quickness and ability to cut in and out of lanes is also very limited. That’s the thing that deters me from making him a 1st or 2nd rounder. Backs that can change direction always make me look in another direction. One could make the argument that Henry could be a part of an elite rotation for sure. He can be a 10-15 carry per game guy that will get more in weeks where a team needs to grind out the clock in the second half. I’m just not confident he will stay healthy and I think there are power backs that can be just as effective but can also do more with the ball in their hands laterally. He will be a role player at the next level but in a committee approach, he can be an important piece.

Upside Pro Comparison – Latavius Murray – OAK

7 – DEVONTAE BOOKER – 5’11/219 – UTAH: 74

Spent two years at Utah following a two year stint at American River Junior College. Booker played a part time role in his first three games for Utah, but quickly took over the offense and performed his way to two straight First Team All Pac 12 seasons. Booker is an every down threat with his ability to dominate between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield, and pick up pass rushers and at the very least get in their way. He lacks the star-caliber speed and agility and he won’t be a big time power back, but he has stating potential because he is very good at everything a back needs to be good at. There are issues with his ball security and toughness to break tackles, two things that are major parts of the grading process for me. The offensive system at Utah was set up for well for Booker as well, so I’m not sure this kid would have been that productive in every situation. He is a risk but one with big potential dividends.

Upside Pro Comparison – Lamar Miller – HOU

8 – DEANDRE WASHINGTON – 5’8/204 – TEXAS TECH: 73

Fifth year senior that tore his ACL in late November of 2011, forcing him to miss the 2012 season. Scat back type that can be a playmaker in the right role. Can be a dangerous third down back that will create a lot by himself in space. Team player that will run hard, block hard, and make things happen. Washington was one of my favorite players to watch this past season. He is all out, all the time. He’s the guy that you forget about his size when watching him. He won’t ever be a move-the-chains rusher or a guy that gets 15-20 carries per game, but his impact can be there weekly. Very quick and savvy. Tougher to bring down than you would think. Lacks star power but can fill a role for a team looking for an offset to a big power back.

Upside Pro Comparison – Giovani Bernard – CIN

9 – JONATHAN WILLIAMS – 5’11/220 – ARKANSAS: 73

Fourth year senior entry that missed his final season because of a foot injury. Williams was part of a lethal two back attack that ranked among the nation’s leaders in yards. His bruiser approach is best suited for north/south running. He can be a hard guy to bring down initially especially if he can learn how to run with a lower pad level. Once in the open field, Williams has shown the ability to make things happen on his own as well. He has an upside of being versatile rushing threat and pass blocker, but most likely of backup caliber. Don’t sleep on his potential to be THE guy in a backfield. If it weren’t for the injury, Williams could have easily been a top 5 guy on this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team took a flier on him much earlier in the draft than where I have him pegged.

Upside Pro Comparison – Marion Barber III – RET

10 – CJ PROSISE – 6’0/220 – NOTRE DAME: 73

Fourth year junior. Made the move to RB in 2015 after spending two years as a wide receiver and top special teams defender. Prosise has the triangle numbers and hustle-approach that coaches will want to work with. Just one year’s worth of carries will make him attractive as well considering he’ll have taken a much lesser beating than most college running backs. All in all, he lacks the vision, natural feel, and quick twitch of a difference maker. He is a developmental back that can excel as a special teams gunner early in his career while he tries to figure out the position. I don’t think we are looking at elite upside but there are tools here that NFL coaches like to work with.

Upside Pro Comparison – Rashad Jennings – NYG

11 – TRA CARSON – 5’11/227 – TEXAS A& M: 72

Fifth year senior. Started off at Oregon and was the Ducks’ fourth leading rusher in 2011. Transferred to the Aggies in 2012 and ended up as the team’s leading rusher in 2014 and 2015. Carson appears to be a short yardage specialist in the NFL. He runs behind his pads and can carry defenders downfield consistently. He is very consistent at breaking through initial contact with defenders and falling forward. You can call him one dimensional but I think with these rotations becoming a team by team thing almost, there is value with him. While he lacks dynamic speed and agility, he can carve himself a role somewhere.

Upside Pro Comparison – Joique Bell – DET

12 – JORDAN HOWARD – 6’0/230 – INDIANA: 72

Third year junior. Played 2013 and 2014 seasons at UAB prior to the program shutting down. Set the single season rushing record there in 2014 (1,587 yards). First Team All Big 10 in 2015 Howard appears to be a short yardage specialist when looking at his body type and ability to deliver blows to defenders. He has more breakaway ability than you think if he reaches the second and third level of the defense. His struggles revolve around initial contact with the ball if his running lane isn’t there. He takes too long to locate or anticipate running lanes. His power can be used in short yardage situations but when considering his running style in combination with a lack of receiving and blocking skills, his role in the NFL will be tough to create. For a guy this thick,, you would think he has a more physical side to him. I have heard some off-field concerns about him as well. Lacks the versatility and specialty of one aspect to the position. Guys like that are a risk but Howard is a guy that some people really like. High ceiling, low floor.

Upside Pro Comparison – Terrence West – BAL

13 – KENYAN DRAKE – 6’0/210 – ALABAMA: 72

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team.

Upside Pro Comparison – Reggie Bush – UFA

14 – KELVIN TAYLOR – 5’10/207 – FLORIDA: 70

Third year junior. Son of former NFL Running Back Fred Taylor, 16th on the all time NFL rushing list. Somewhat of a surprise early declaration here considering Taylor never quite had a breakout season. His tools are limited when looking at his triangle numbers and there isn’t anything that overly stands out about his game. He can be a productive runner in a zone scheme with his easy cut and go ability, but a lack of size and top end speed could make him disappear in to the pack of running backs in this class. The relation to his father is something scouts and GMs alike take very seriously. He is a feel-runner in that the anticipation and reactions make him play faster than he times. There is a shot his best football is way ahead of him.

Upside Pro Comparison – James White – NE

15 – PEYTON BARBER – 5’10/228 – AUBURN: 69

Third year sophomore entry that surprised many with his early declaration. There are family financial issues he is chasing after. Barber has an ideal running back body. He has a very thick lower half and understands how to win the leverage battle to take advantage of it. He shows jump cut ability and can really explode when moving downhill. He may be restricted to inside running in the league but he can be a very effective short yardage specialist.

Upside Pro Comparison – Alfred Morris – DAL

THE REST (16-25)

16 – JOSH FERGUSON – ILLINOIS – 5’9/198: 68
16 – DEVON JOHNSON – 6’0/238: 68
17 – TYLER ERVIN – 5’10/192 – SAN JOSE STATE: 68
28 – KEITH MARSHALL – 5’11/219 – GEORGIA: 66
19 – KEENAN REYNOLDS – 5’11/205 – NAVY: 68
20 – JORDAN CANZERI – 5’9/192 – IOWA: 67
21 – MARSHAUN COPRICH – 5’8/207 – ILLINOIS STATE: 66
22 – JHURREL PRESSLEY – 5’10/203 – NEW MEXICO: 66
23 – DWAYNE WASHINGTON – 6’2/226 – WASHINGTON: 66
24 – AARON GREEN – 5’11/202 – TCU: 63
25 – WENDELL SMALLWOOD – 5’10/208: 63

NYG APPROACH

To start off, I am in the camp that believes NYG needs a massive upgrade at RB. Just as I am against the general flow when it comes to LBs still being very important in the 4-3 defense, I believe a special talent in RB should not be passed on if you can grab one. This really is a one-back class. Ezekiel Elliott is the only one worth considering in the top 25-30 picks. With NYG sitting at #10, I think they need to at the very least consider him a strong option. The issue is, Reese has spent a draft pick and two straight years of free agency money on the position. Is he too proud to admit those assets simply aren’t enough and he needs to use another prime pick on the group? Or will he understand this may very well be his last shot and bringing in a day one starter and potential game-changer could literally save his job? Elliott is NFL-ready for all three downs. He is better than any NYG running back and I don’t care what Vereen did with the Patriots years ago, I don’t care what Jennings did late in the year, and I don’t care what Williams looked like during preseason. The decision whether or not to draft Elliott at #10 should have nothing to do with them. If you’re asking me, he is on a very short list of guys I am considering at that pick. After him, I think NYG can find a value after round 3 or 4. There are a lot of RBs graded very closely and some of them will slip. But then you are bringing in another “eh” back. There are some names in here with interesting upside (Lasco/Collins/Booker to name a few) that would be nice to have on the bottom of the depth chart. I understand “you can get good RBs late in the draft” but look around, there are a lot of VERY GOOD running backs taken in the 1st. And there are a lot of VERY GOOD players at other positions taken late in the draft. Going in with certain “rules” for specific positions will limit a team from getting to the next level.

Mar 312016
 
Adam Henry, LSU Tigers (September 14, 2013)

Adam Henry – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Q&As WITH NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSIVE ASSISTANT COACHES…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following assistant coaches are available at the team’s website:

  • Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan (Video)
  • Quarterbacks Coach Frank Cignetti, Jr. (Video)
  • Wide Receivers Coach Adam Henry (Video)
  • Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari (Video)

ARTICLES…

Mar 302016
 
Jerraud Powers, Arizona Cardinals (November 15, 2015)

Jerraud Powers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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CORNERBACK JERRAUD POWERS VISITING GIANTS…
ESPN and The NFL Network report that unrestricted free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers (Arizona Cardinals) will visit the New York Giants on Thursday.

The 28-year old Powers was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in March 2013. In seven NFL seasons, Powers has played in 87 regular-season games with 82 starts. In 2015, he started all 13 regular-season games he played in, and finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack, nine pass defenses, and one interception. Powers has 11 career interceptions.

The 5’10”, 187-pound Powers lacks ideal size and top-end speed, but he is he is a very quick, experienced, smart, and steady corner who plays well in the slot position. Powers has had some durability issues although he has only missed three regular-season games in the last three seasons.

While Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins form a very strong starting duo at cornerback, the Giants have little quality depth at the position. Prince Amukamara signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. The other cornerbacks on the roster include Trevin Wade, Tramain Jacobs, and Leon McFadden. Trumaine McBride and Jayron Hosley are unrestricted free agents who may not be re-signed.

Mar 292016
 
Jasper Brinkley, New York Giants (November 15, 2015)

Jasper Brinkley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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JASPER BRINKLEY RE-SIGNING OFFICIAL…
Although it had been originally announced on March 18th, the re-signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley was made official on Tuesday. Jasper signed a 1-year contract.

The Giants originally signed Brinkley in September 2015 after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He played in 15 games, starting nine at middle linebacker, and finished the season with 67 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 forced fumbles. Brinkley was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Since that time, he has spent time with the Vikings (2009-12, 2014), Cardinals (2013), and Cowboys (2015). Brinkley has played in 94 regular-season games with 42 starts. He missed the 2011 season due to hip surgery.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Brinkley said. “I had a good season last year. Just given the opportunities I had, and given the guys that are here and the mentality the coaches have, there’s definitely a winning mentality here, and I want to be a part of that.

“I came here week one and my head was spinning. There was smoke coming out of my ears. I leaned on (Jon) Beason and Mark Herzlich. Those guys helped me a lot. I owe a great deal to those guys…I was tested last year, and being patient paid off for me in the end. When you’re number’s called, you have to be able to go out there and perform, and I feel I did that.”

Brinkley noted the Giants’ free agent acquisitions on defense, including defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

“I can see we made great strides this offseason,” Brinkley said. “We brought some top-tier quality players in here on the defensive side of the ball. That’s going to take us a long way. I’m excited to get back out on the green grass with those guys.”

Brinkley will have to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot with newcomer Keenan Robinson.

“There’s always competition,” Brinkley said. “Nothing has ever been given to me. I have to earn it. Keenan is going to give great competition.”

The video of an exclusive Giants.com interview with Brinkley is available at the team’s website.

ARTICLES…

Mar 292016
 
Jake Coker, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 11, 2016)

Jake Coker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.

WHERE THEY STAND

Eli Manning is signed through 2018, when he will be 38 years old. Fortunately the hire of former Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach will keep Manning in the same system. Arguably he looks more comfortable in this attack than any other scheme he’s played in since being with NYG. Backup Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen any legit time since being traded up for 2013. He is a free agent next year and some are expecting the league to be somewhat aggressive with him on the market.

TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – JARED GOFF – 6’4/215 – California: 86

Third year junior. Two time team captain. Semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award in 2015. Has started all 38 possible games over his three year career. Goff has been re-writing the California record book since the day he stepped on campus. He checks off almost every box on the list when it comes ability, leadership, and off-field behavior. He has elite-level accuracy and touch in addition to consistent lower body mechanics and release points. Goff is as poised and as tough as it gets. His only main drawback a lack of bulk. He will need to gain weight and strength to ensure he can bounce back from the increasing physical nature of the game. There is a sense of smoothness, toughness, and patience here that is tough to find wrapped up in to one QB. While the frame concerns me like it did with Sam Bradford a few years ago, I think Goff will be able to handle the hits and stay on track. All in all, Goff will be one of the class’ elite prospects and very possibly the first quarterback taken.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers – GB

2 – CARSON WENTZ – 6’5/237 – North Dakota State: 82

2 year starter at the FCS level. Missed 2 months in 2015 with a broken wrist. So we are talking about a guy with a lack of starting experience in general, and that experience being at a lower level of college football. There are a ton of pro-ready and attractive traits to his game, but he may be more developmental than most think. Wentz is a tremendous athlete. Tough kid. Takes over a room the second he walks in and has a passion for the game. Very clean off the field. Wentz plays almost too confident. He forces throws and lowers his shoulder when he probably shouldn’t. He may learn the hard way that his approach in the NFL will need to change. I think most people will like Wentz more because of what the end-upside is. I fear it a little because there is a lot more that needs to happen progression wise than Goff. Still a very good grade here but not as high as Goff.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill – MIA

3 – DAK PRESCOTT – 6’2/226 – MISSISSIPPI STATE: 78

2 time All-SEC QB that turned the Mississippi State program essentially all by himself. Prescott has a running back build with a strong torso and overly thick legs. When the team needed tough yards between the tackle, he got them. When the team needed big plays downfield, he threw them. Prescott is much more than a running QB. Very quick release and puts all the zip one needs on the ball. He makes players around him better. Good student of the game with leadership qualities. Prescott’s main negatives revolve around footwork mechanics that ultimately lead to inconsistent accuracy. He misses really easy throws too often. He may have a hard time adjusting to NFL schemes as well, both as leader of the offense and reader of the defense. If he cleans that up he can be a quality starter. I’ve always seen some Donovan McNabb in him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Donovan McNabb – PHI

4 – PAXTON LYNCH – 6’7/244 – MEMPHIS: 75

Three year starter that surprised some when he declared a year early. He hadn’t exactly had a big time career but the tools are intriguing and borderline rare for the position. It’s hard to find QBs this big with this kind of athletic ability. Lynch had a stretch through the 2015 season where everyone was trying to label him a potential number one pick. I never saw it. He came down to earth late in the year with poor performances where the pressure got put on and he lost track of simple reads and mechanics. Negatives aside, Lynch is intriguing when you look at him as a developmental prospect. He can rifle the ball. He can run. He can break tackles and stand strong in the pocket. Lynch understands ball protection and has the proper blend of aggression and patience. I think he can be a quick thinker but there is more development and learning that needs to be done here than any other QB in this class. He is a guy that likely needs 2+ years on the bench. But there are tools here that none of these guys will ever have.

Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Flacco – BAL

5 – CHRISTIAN HACKENBURG – 6’4/223 – PENN STATE: 74

Third year junior. Started all 38 games of his career. Arrived to Penn State with huge expectations and hype but he never quite reached the level many were thinking he would. Hackbenberg checks off most of the initial boxes. Good height, weight, and speed. Tremendous work ethic. Great genetics. The mechanics and arm strength look elite during workouts. However his career was very underwhelming for a variety of reasons. He was sacked over 100 times in his three years, underwent a coaching change that did not suit his abilities, and lacked true star power around him. There are whispers that he is a “me” guy. He throws others under the bus when things go south, which you never want to hear. Hackenberg has the talent to succeed in the NFL and his learning curve won’t be as steep as some others. The questions with him revolve around confidence, leadership qualities, and a consistent approach. Three essentials of being an NFL QB.

Upside Pro Comparison – Mark Sanchez – DEN

6 – CODY KESSLER – 6’1/220 – USC: 74

Coming in to the year, I had Kessler near the top of my QB ratings. I kept seeing Drew Brees when watching him in 2014. He is consistently accurate all over the field. Short, medium, deep, left, right…he can put the ball where it needs to be. Very controlled passer. One of the few prospects that came from a pro style offense. Has patience and assertion. Very protective of the ball. In his 3 years as the starter, he threw 88 TDs and 19 INTs. Kessler has a feel in the pocket that is hard to find. His lack of height doesn’t appear to be the issue that some make it out to be. He naturally moves in and out of pockets to find his throwing lanes. Very smart kid, too. I watched a lot of Kessler in 2015 and had to keep my bias aside. I just didn’t see the difference maker in him this year. He was bailed out by some big time plays from his supporting cast. He wasn’t making things happen the way I want a college prospect to. Personally I would love to draft this kid and feel good about my backup, but I’m not sure I would draft him expecting starter upside.

Upside Pro Comparison – Brian Hoyer – HOU

7 – JAKE COKER – 6’5/236 – ALABAMA: 71

Started off at Florida State, sitting behind EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston, both 1st round picks. In his one year as starter for the Crimson Tide, he steadily improved as thr weeks went by and won the National Championship. If there is one late round QB that I think comes out of nowhere and ends up a top 10 NFL QB, it’s Coker. I think there is still a good amount of the unknown with him. Really good deep ball thrower. Really good size and room for more bulk. Tough and smart. He looked nervous and uneasy during the beginning of the season but he has a different look about himself towards the end of the year when the pressure was really on. If Coker had another year of eligibility, I think he’d be in contention for 1st round talk in 2017. He isn’t overly impressive when it comes to arm strength and athletic ability. He may never be a dominant guy but NYG fans, I see some Manning in him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eli Manning – NYG

8 – CONNOR COOK – 6’4/217 – MICHIGAN STATE: 70

Big 10 QB of the Year in 2015. Three year starter that set several school records. Came in to 2015 as a candidate for being the top QB of the class. If you watch the right tape, you can certainly see why. Cook has a smooth, quick release with plenty of zip Easy flick of the wrist and he can send the ball 50 yards downfield. Protected the ball very well throughout his whole career. Pure pocket passer with good feel in and out of pressure. Cook had a somewhat rough season though, and each time I watched him there were a few things missing. I question his toughness. I question his ability to process information with the blitz bearing down on him. He wasn’t voted team captain and honestly, that is a big deal to me. The QB is almost always a team captain. What gives there? I don’t have all the necessary information with him to fully evaluate who he is off the field but I’ve always hated how he carried himself on the sidelines. You can piece together a few things and come up with the assumption he probably isn’t the guy you want playing the most important and influential position on the field. Talented? Yes. But not enough so to look past the other stuff.

Upside Pro Comparison – Nick Foles – LA

9 – BRANDON ALLEN – 6’1/217 – ARKANSAS: 69

Three year starter. Was an after thought in the scouting community until 2015. He kept getting better and better against some really tough situations. Allen is as tough as they come. A pure gamer. He got the most out of himself and the players around him. Very smart and aware. Plays fast and will hit his target more often than not. Allen has less than ideal size, strength, and athletic ability. Some wonder if his performance was a direct result of no pressure being put on him. He had a very solid offensive line and a running game that opponents were constantly focusing on. That could very well be the case. I wouldn’t mind having a guy like Allen back my QB up though. You know he is going to be ready if his number is called and he won’t back away from the challenge. You can’t say that about everyone. Allen probably doesn’t have starter upside but that doesn’t mean he can’t be drafted.

Upside Pro Comparison – Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ

10 – JEFF DRISKEL – 6’4/234 – LOUISIANA TECH

You can look at Driskel one of two ways. Classic overhyped high school recruit that failed to use his tools to mold himself in to a quality football player or a guy that just got the raw end of the deal at Florida. I go back and forth with him. Driskel has an impressive physical package. He’s big, strong, and fast. He is a power player one drive and a finesse guy on the next. I think he can wear several hats. The broken leg and unstable coaching staff at Florida really hurt his chances at progressing there. Playing for Louisiana Tech may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. I know guys that think he is a top 5 QB in this class. He does have the upside to be called that. His issues revolve around touch and accuracy. He struggles to complete the tough throws. He is often a step behind or in front of his target, both physically and mentally. I think he is a guy worth trying to develop. He has talent that some guys on this list will never have.

Upside Pro Comparison – Blake Bortles – JAC

BEST OF THE REST (11-15)

11 – CARDALE JONES – 6’5/253 – OHIO STATE: 69
12 – JACOBY BRISSETT – 6’4/231 – NC STATE: 66
13 – JOEL STAVE – 6’5/236 – WISCONSIN: 65
14 – NATE SUDFELD – 6’6/234 – INDIANA – 64
15 – VERNON ADAMS – 5’11/200 – OREGON – 63

NYG APPROACH

The next NYG draft pick QB is coming. Maybe not this year but if not, it will be in 2017. Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen the field, obviously a good thing., but after what will be 4 seasons in the league and demand for his services, I expect him to be playing elsewhere next year. I am always a supporter of the notion that Manning needs a very capable backup. Not because he has an injury tendency, but because he is approaching his upper 30s and this team needs to be ready for when he’s done and/or when he gets hurt. Not having a quality backup has ruined so many teams with otherwise solid rosters. The draft is the best way to do it for financial reasoning. There is chatter among some that they will use a top 100 pick on one if the value presents itself. I don’t think so. If Nassib is gone at this time next year, I could see it being the case. But as long as he is here, NYG will only consider the position late if a value drops. I think the team will like Coker and Driskel.

Mar 292016
 
Will Tye, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

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TIGHT END WILL TYE SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants tight end Will Tye has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

Forced into service due to injuries to other players, Tye was a pleasant surprise in 2015. He played in 13 games with seven starts, and finished the season with 42 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Tye was voted to the Pro Football Writers NFL All-Rookie Team. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in early October 2015.

PATRICK ROBINSON SIGNS WITH COLTS…
Unrestricted free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson (San Diego Chargers) has reportedly signed a 3-year, $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants were supposedly interested in Robinson’s services.

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN PUGH…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

https://twitter.com/BigDame900/status/713096747082457088?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

Mar 232016
 
Rueben Randle, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

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Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Rueben Randle has signed a 1-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. NJ.com is reporting that the deal is worth $1.025 million with potential to earn more through incentives. The NFL Network says the deal could be worth more than $3 million and includes $500,000 in guaranteed money.

Randle had recently visited the Los Angeles Rams, but he did not receive a contract offer from the Rams.

Randle, a 2nd round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, remains a frustrating performer. With Victor Cruz unable to play in 2015, the Giants needed consistent productivity from Randle and did not get it. Indeed, despite starting all 16 games, his numbers dropped from 71 catches for 938 yards in 2014 to 57 catches for 797 yards in 2015. He did increase his touchdown total from three to eight.

Randle is the third free agent to leave the Giants this month, joining cornerback Prince Amukamara (Jaguars) and defensive end Robert Ayers (Buccaneers). For a complete list of remaining unsigned unrestricted free agents, see the Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Mar 232016
 
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (February 24, 2016)

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MORE FROM BEN MCADOO AT NFL SPRING MEETINGS…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo answered questions from the press on Wednesday at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments (video is available at Giants.com):

  • On the offseason strength and conditioning program: “We’re making some renovations in the weight room. We wanted to be a little more forward thinking down there. I hired Aaron Wellman, who’s a guy – he and I go back a long ways. Open it up a little bit down there, do a little bit more movement-based, little more stick and move, so to speak, like you play the game. It’s going to reflect the way we practice, as well, with that mentality. We want to hit the ground running. When we step into the weight room, when we step onto the field, treat it all the same that way.”
  • On reducing injuries: “When you look at injuries, I don’t think you can just point your finger at one area. I think it’s something that we’re going to take a look at a variety of areas – whether it’s the way we practice, it’s how we practice, the intensities and the loads that we use there, the duration of practices. Again, take a look at the weight room as well, nutrition will play a factor. Sleep is huge, and probably the best tool for recovery. So we’re going to take a look at everything, (including) scheduling. Everything is a factor…First things first, in the season we’re going to give players Monday off. We’ll bring guys in on Tuesday to keep things a little more consistent that way, to give them an opportunity to get their rest. Because the NFL schedule now, on Sunday’s you play at a variety of different times. We’re on the East Coast, we’re not centrally located, so flying in and out, you get back at different times on Sundays if you do have a later game. We’ll take a look at that. We’ll vary the times that we’re on the field. Our end time will always be the same, what time we hit the field will be a reflection of the load of that day or the workload that we’re going to have that day. Just things like that.”
  • On convincing DE Olivier Vernon to come to the Giants: “We felt like we were recruiting in college again. We had everybody in the room passing the phone around, and just letting him know what we think of him. For me, it was simple. Going into the game on Monday night (vs. Miami last December) when we came down here to play, he was one of the most disruptive players I saw on film last year. We wanted him to be a part of it. QB rating differential is big in the game today, and the more you can impact the quarterback from a defensive standpoint, from that defensive end standpoint, from his blindside, the tougher it makes it on the opponent. We feel that he’s going to make a big impact for us, obviously.”
  • On QB Eli Manning: “Eli, I still think his best football is in front of him. I still think he’s going to take another jump. He really bought into the system and likes the controls that he has there. The fundamental part of things was probably the toughest thing for him to get used to, but he’s bought into the footwork and the training. Having another year under his belt with the reads is going to clean things up for him. He knows what he likes now, and it’s natural for him. He’s not thinking as much as he was the first year, and even toward the early part of the last year. It comes a little more naturally for him. Eli puts a lot of time and effort into making sure he’s prepared and ready to go. He did some things last year that changed up his upper body routine, the way he trained his upper body, the way he warmed up his upper body, and the way he cooled it down. It made an impact, it was noticeable. I think that he finished last year stronger than he did at any point in time in ’14. That was encouraging. I’m sure he’s out there right now working to get better.”
  • On what he wants Manning to work on: “Before he left, he and I had a conversation about some different things that we liked, that we didn’t like, and what we can make better. Eli’s a pro. He’s no spring chicken, so he knows what he needs to do to get ready. The only thing I ask him not to do is don’t mess with that throwing motion, because his throwing motion is pretty flawless. But anything else, anything he can do to get better and get stronger and stay healthy, we’re all for it and we’ll support it.”
  • On Manning’s durability: “Let’s knock on wood on that one. He is a durable guy. He’s a tough guy. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that, and that factors in that as well. He plays through a lot. We need to do a good job of keeping him upright. To be able to push the ball down the field a little more, it takes a little longer to do that, so we would like to do that, so we need to keep him upright. We are throwing the ball down the field because we have some guys who can make plays down the field for us. Again, he’s in the office every day in the season. He’s in there every day. He’s like a coach on Tuesday’s in the past, and I assume he’ll be that way on Monday this year. The way he prepares, the way he takes care of his body. He’s a tough, gritty guy that he probably doesn’t get enough credit for.”
  • On whether WR Odell Beckham, Jr. should have been ejected from last year’s game against the Carolina Panthers: “That’s an interesting question. There are some things that I would have liked to have done different in that game. I look in the mirror first, and I feel that I could have helped that situation better…Odell and I have talked. A few weeks ago we sat down, we were talking about things; not football, just about life in general. I’m excited for Odell going into his third year. He really has an opportunity to put himself in that upper tier of player. He’s had some great production. And I also look forward to him growing into a leader. I feel that he can do that for our organization and for our team.”
  • On whether he has concerns about Tom Coughlin’s occasional visits to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center: “No, I don’t have those concerns. As long as Tom’s around, we want to welcome him and use him as a resource. We welcome him…Tom’s a phenomenal resource and was a mentor of mine. Anytime I can use him, I’m going to use him.”
  • On who will be the team’s play caller: “Am I going to call plays? There’s a possibility…I love calling plays…I think as an offensive play caller, you’re part of game management right from jump street; it’s a natural part of things. When defensive coaches get an opportunity to be coaches, it’s a little different. I think they may have to spend a little more time preparing themselves for the game management part of things. Being in the same room as the quarterback for years, I think that part of it comes natural. As far as who’s going to call plays for us this year, that hasn’t been determined. You’ll know the first Sunday of the season…I’m not willing to disclose. It’s a competitive advantage or disadvantage.”
  • On the team’s late-game time-management issues: “We’re going to have a game management team, so to speak. We’re going to meet, as we iron it out, it’s either going to be on Saturday mornings or Friday afternoons, depending on the schedule, and make sure we’re on the same page going into the game, and we’re seeing the same things as the game develops…It’s like anything else. It starts with communication first. We need to have open lines of communication. We need to be on the same page, especially at the end of games. You want to end each half with the ball. So the more we can be on the same page, have open lines of communication and have guys being willing to speak up at the end of games to make sure that gets done, it’s important.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “He came in and signed, sat down across the desk from me, and I really liked the look in his eye. It seems like he’s motivated, he has a chip on his shoulder, he’s going to have his legs underneath him. He’s going to have an offseason and a training camp under his belt. What he went through last year, for him to jump in and be as disruptive as he was says a lot about him. As far as the hand goes, we know he’s going to be a disruptive player. He’s going to get used to playing his hand in the condition that it is. Like I said before, I liked the look in his eye. He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder. He’s going to have an opportunity to train with his hand being in that condition, which will give him an opportunity to experiment and see how he can play with it and what’s best to put on it.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “What we need to do with Victor is we need to be smart. I think his knee feels pretty good and he’s just rehabbing the calf and when he’s ready to go we’ll put him out there. But it’s a little early to tell right now.”
  • On the Giants’ running backs: “Looks a lot, at this point, like we left it last year. Rashad (Jennings) took the bull by the horns, and that was great to see at the end of the year. Shane (Vereen) was a good addition; (he was) second on the team in receiving, played about 38 percent of the snaps. So that part was encouraging. A lot of guys are giving up on Andre (Williams). Don’t give up on Andre. He’s going into his third year and he’ll continue to grow. No one is going to outwork him. And then Orleans (Darkwa) is a guy who is a natural runner. He’s a good special teams player for us, he’s a core guy. He’s going to be in the mix as well.”
  • On the right side of the offensive line: “John Jerry is a battler now. He’s going to go out there, he’s going to give you what he has, and he’s going to fight you. We like John Jerry. Marshall Newhouse was a guy that we brought in for depth reasons. He stepped up when he had his opportunity and he played well for us. We’re glad to have Marshall back. He’s a smart guy who’s played a lot of football and he has some flexibility there. He’s just not a right tackle, he can play on the left side and he can play inside as well. At one point in time in Green Bay he had the ball in his hand a little bit just learning to snap, so he does have some flexibility for a veteran, which is nice to have.”
  • On Justin Pugh playing left guard: “I like having Justin at left guard. I think having that interior side of the pocket on the left side nice and solid for a right-handed quarterback is pretty important. We’re going to look at things and if we need to make adjustments we’ll make adjustments, but you’d hate to keep moving Justin. Give him a chance to grow at one spot.”
  • On offensive lineman Bobby Hart: “He’s a young guy who is developing and he has some flexibility, which is nice. He’s a player who likes to play football, he gets ball, so that gives him an opportunity to be flexible. He’s done a lot of work on himself physically to get in good condition. He’s a guy who has some opportunity for growth.”
  • On who might step up at safety: “(Nat) Berhe is definitely one of them. (Bennett) Jackson is one of them. There are a lot of guys who can factor in there. (Mykkele) Thompson. We’re going to get them healthy and get them out there and let them compete for it. We need to get them in and take a look at them, but to a certain degree they’ll each be able to contribute (in the spring workouts).
  • On young players who may surprise: “Guys going from their first year to their second year can make a jump, but also guys going from their second year to their third year like Andre Williams is a guy who can make a jump for us. Geremy Davis is a guy on the offensive side of the ball that I know it’s important to him. He works his tail off and I’m sure he’s out there right now working his tail off to get better and can help us and make a jump on special teams as well. On the defensive side Jay Bromley is a guy who can make a jump for us.”
  • On unrestricted free agent PK Josh Brown: “We’re looking at all our options. Being an offensive coach the last couple years, Josh has been great, he’s been money, he’s been accurate. We definitely value that part of his game…You look at everything that’s available and you make your decisions from there. It’s not a one guy thing, it’s, ‘Here’s what’s out there, here’s what’s available,’ and you take a look at everything and you weigh your options.”
  • On the new rule that spots the ball at the 25-yard line after a touchback on a kickoff: “Touchbacks at the 25, I think it’s probably good for safety reasons, because the kickoff is a play that, even taking the wedge out of things, there are some big collisions right there. But I think it would encourage returners to stay in the end zone maybe a little bit more.  I like the kickoff as a part of the game, but with that being said, we do have to take the injury part of things into consideration. Maybe I like it a little more, because we have Dwayne Harris and he’s an exciting player back there for us. Shane Vereen does a nice job as well. We’ve been pretty good in the return game…I think it would make the end of games interesting. If it’s a two-score game and you score, on the kickoff do you use a mortar kick, what type of kick do you use to give you a chance to get the ball back? I think it would make an impact.”
  • On the NFC East: “I think the division is getting better, and I think it’s getting more competitive. You see the turnaround that Washington made last year, they’re going to be a formidable opponent. Obviously Dallas, when they get their quarterback (Tony Romo) back, is a pretty darn good football team and has a good roster. Philadelphia, that’s a team right there that we’ve struggled with and we need to play better against.”
  • On whether he’s started working on the logistics for the Giants’ trip to London: “Absolutely. The week I got the job. We’re still finalizing some things. Look forward to the trip, should be a great experience for the organization, for the players. It will be great for our game.”

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR CRUZ…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Victor Cruz is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Mar 222016
 
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

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BEN MCADOO DISCUSSES FREE AGENTS, JPP, AND CRUZ…
Michael Eisen of Giants.com caught up with New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments:

  • On DE Olivier Vernon: “OV is a guy that’s very disruptive. He jumped off the film when we played them, when we had to go down there on Monday night. There were some concerns going into that game because of how disruptive he’s been. He’s someone that’s going to have be accounted for.”
  • On DT Harrison “Damon’s a guy that is a handful in the run game and can push the pocket inside-out in the pass game, and is going to create some problems for quarterbacks there. He’s hard to keep blocked for long periods of time, and is going to make you better on first down and second down, obviously, but then on third down, too, for as well as he does on first and second down at stopping the run.”
  • On CB Janoris Jenkins: “Jackrabbit, as we call Janoris, he’s a guy that is a very talented, instinctive player. He’ll take some shots on the ball, make some plays for you there, and we do like that. He’s a talented guy.”
  • On LB Keenan Robinson: “Keenan, we’re looking forward to getting up to speed and having him with a rebound year.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “Sitting down with JPP the other day, you could tell he’s got a great look in his eye and he’s motivated and he’s hungry. Being able to train for an entire offseason and get out there for the offseason and for camp, he’ll be full-go, he’ll be disruptive, and we look forward and we’re glad we have him back.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “We sat down the other day. I mentioned to him when he went to Cincinnati last year in training camp to practice against them, it was probably the most I’ve been excited about our offense in two years in that practice. He was out there playing well, he looked good, was moving around well. He wasn’t 100 percent, but he was out there with Odell (Beckham Jr.). We had some guys out there playing who were healthy and executing. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we had them on the field together. Glad to have Victor back. He’s motivated and there’s nothing like a motivated player who’s been counted out by a lot of people in a lot of regards. We look forward to the impact he can make.”
  • On improving as a team: “It’s no secret how you build a good team. You have to have a quarterback, which we do. On both sides of the ball upfront, you have to be physical, and we have to have guys that play to our identity – sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise. We’re getting there. We have to develop some young guys as well. All the answers aren’t in free agency. We added some nice pieces there, but we have some young players on the roster now we have to develop, and do our due diligence in the draft as well.”

ARTICLES…