May 022017
 
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New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2017 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
1 23 23 TE Evan Engram (Video)
2 23 55 DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Video)
3 23 87 QB Davis Webb (Video)
4 34 140 RB Wayne Gallman (Video)
5 23 167 DE Avery Moss (Video)
6 16 200 OL Bisnowaty (Video)
7 23 241 Traded

2017 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – TE Evan Engram, 6’3”, 234lbs, 4.40, University of Mississippi
Evan Engram, Mississippi Rebels (September 17, 2016)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Engram was a four-year starter at the University of Mississippi. He’s not built like a traditional tight end, more like an H-Back/wide receiver ‘tweener. The strength of Engram’s game is catching the football. He creates mismatches because of his combination of size and athletic ability. Engram is quick and fast. He runs good routes and is a natural pass receiver with a good catch radius. Engram is a vertical threat down the seam of a defense. He also runs well after the catch. Engram is committed to the game and a hard worker. While Engram works hard at his blocking, he lacks the frame to ever be a significant factor as an in-line blocking tight end.

SY’56’s Take: “During the grading process, I thought there was a legit shot Engram would finish atop (the tight end) list. He was close and to be honest, these two (David Njoku and Engram) may be back to back on the overall big board. If Njoku is gone and Engram ends up being the pick, I wouldn’t be disappointed one bit. Engram is essentially a top tier speed WR that weighs 234 pounds. While he is a notch or two below as a blocker from most of these guys, he still got the job done in the SEC against linebackers consistently. In terms of what his role would be long term, think of how the Redskins use Jordan Reed. He has that kind of ability, if not more.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Evan Engram, tight end, H-back, Ole Miss. We think that this guy can be a dynamic weapon in our offense. Obviously he has great speed for the position – we think that he can be a matchup nightmare for teams trying to cover him with linebackers and safeties, so he was a guy that we liked a lot. Our coaches liked him a lot and it seems like they can use him in our offense in a lot of different ways and we think that with this addition as a fast receiver down the middle along with some of the other receivers we have, that we can help the offense out some. I will take any questions.

Q: Did you try and trade up for O.J. Howard?

A: No.

Q: Did you try and trade up for anybody?

A: I am not going to talk about – do you want to talk about our pick or not? We are not talking about who we tried to trade up for.

Q: Did you value his big play ability over a tight end that was maybe more well-rounded as a blocker?

A: I don’t think that any of the tight ends block that great in this draft. Most tight ends in these receiving offenses in college these days are not true to what we call, wide, wide type receivers, end of the line guys. Most of these guys are H-back types and we think that he is a tough, hardnosed, H-back type blocker, yeah.

Q: What is his comparison to a Reed or Gronkowski

A: Well, we see him as a weapon. You guys can talk to our coaches. I think Ben will come in here and see you guys a little bit later, but we see him as a weapon and we will take all of the weapons that we can get.

Q: How do you make sense of his skillset when he doesn’t have the blocking aspect?

A: Like I just said, I think that the tight ends that come out of the offenses nowadays, these college offenses, these guys are more H-back type players. He is not a traditional end of the line tight end, but we think that he can do things in the blocking game. He is big, he is fast, he has big hands, he is smart, he will help you on special teams – he is a well-rounded, versatile football player.

Q: You added Brandon Marshall. This guy is similar in size, right?

A: I don’t think Brandon is – what does Brandon weigh? Brandon is a big man, I can tell you that. But this guy, we are calling him a tight end. You guys can call him an H-back, call him whatever you want to call him.

Q: Do you see him as a guy that is going to be in the slot?

A: You guys can talk to Ben about that. We see him as a guy that can line up anywhere at any of the receiver positions, tight end, in the slot, outside – he can line up anywhere.

Q: How do you think the first round played out?

A: Well, it played out just like most first rounds. This draft was a little different because we thought that guys would come off of the board all over the place and it did that. There were a lot of uncertainties about a lot of players with respect to some off the field issues, some injury issues, different issues like most drafts have, but I don’t think that anyone was surprised about anything that happened.

Q: In the media and mock drafts, Engram was a guy that people saw as a second rounder or late first. What do you think was the difference between what you guys saw in him compared to the mock drafts?

A: Well, we liked him because, again, we feel like he is a weapon in the offense. We think that this guy can be a weapon and he is versatile and you can use him in a lot of different ways and our coaches are extremely excited about getting a guy like this in our offense.

Q: Reuben Foster was on the board. Is that a guy that you didn’t target because of his off the field issues?

A: Well, we had (Engram) in a good spot and we picked him and I am not at liberty to talk about what we have working right now. (Foster) is still on the board.

Q: With the receivers that you have, does that help your offensive linemen because you have quick guys that can get open faster?

A: We hope so. We hope that everyone we pick can help our offense in some kind of way, so we feel that this guy can come in and again, you play two-high safety in this league and if you have a guy who can stretch the defense down the middle, we think that is a tremendous weapon for the offense.

Q: You struggled to score points last year. How important was it to get an offensive weapon in this draft early on?

A: Yeah, we are just trying to help the offense any way we can and help our team anyway we can, so that is important for us, just to get a good football player and we think that we got a tremendous football player.

Q: Was this just not a year that you felt an offensive lineman in the first round was going to work?

A: There are some offensive linemen that we think are good football players, but we stay true to our board and we picked the best player that was up there.

Q: How do you think that Evan Engram fits in with your current set of tight ends?

A: That is a good question for Coach McAdoo. We think that he is just a dynamic football player who will help our team. You guys can talk to Coach McAdoo about how they plan on using him, but he has a skillset that you can use him in a lot of different ways and I am sure that coaches will be creative in using him that way.

Q: Do you think he is a guy that will open up the red zone?

A: I think that he opens up a lot of things. We just feel like – Jordan Reed is a good example of a tight end that is hard to handle, one of those undersized tight ends that is hard to handle for linebackers and safeties and this guy is probably cut in that same kind of cloth and this guy is really fast. This is a fast, receiving tight end.

Q: You mentioned the two-high safety look as something that you struggled against last year. Is this pick kind of a response to that?

A: Again, we think he will help us. That is for sure. We think that if you can stretch that two-high safety look with speed down the middle and you have speed on the outside, I think that helps us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: Was he your top tight end on your board?

A: Maybe.

Q: The way you guys viewed him, was it a situation where you walked in this morning and you thought there would be a pretty good chance that Engram would end up being your guy?

A: We talk about a lot of different scenarios, a lot of different players being in position to take at 23 and he was one of those guys.

Q: Very few tight ends combine blocking and receiving, how do you differentiate between guys who are primarily pass catchers at that position? What separates one ahead of another?

A: Well you have to see their skillset, their speed, their hands, their body control, their routes, their feel for the game, so those are the things you look for in a receiving tight end. Evan lines up a bunch of different places; they used him a lot of different ways, so he just seems to have a natural feel as a receiving tight end.

Q: The size and speed of tight ends these days is a lot different from what it used to be, does this go along with what the Giants’ plan for what the offense will be?

A: You have to ask Ben (McAdoo) about if he’s a part of the plan, but from a scouting prospective he was a playmaker. He was a versatile playmaker, very athletic guy, clean off the field, and checked all the boxes as far as things we look for in a quality player.

Q: If you look at his numbers, he had a big jump last season. Anything happen?

A: I think they just used him more in the offense. He was a senior, you rarely see seniors anymore, he just grew as a player, he got better, they used him more and I think they both benefited, Ole Miss and Evan.

Q: David Njoku was another tight end that was on the board at the same time, what differentiated the two in your opinion?

A: I won’t talk about Njoku versus what we liked about Evan. What we liked about Evan was his versatility, his feel for the game, his polish, his hands, his route running and his experience. Those were the things that we really liked about him.

Q: Was part of it adding another game breaker, home run hitter type to compliment Odell [Beckham Jr.] and to just give you more explosiveness that way?

A: Anytime you can get somebody who can make first downs and score touchdowns, that helps out the offense. It helps everybody out. The coaches are really excited to add a guy like this. The more weapons you have, the harder you are to defend, and hopefully it will come to fruition like that.

Q: He’s called a tight end. The way football is played now, is he more of a weapon than tight end?

A: He’s not going to line up on the line and just try to drive block people all the time. He’s going to be in the backfield, he’s going to be in the slot, he’s going to be detached. He will be down at the traditional tight end position sometimes as well, but the way Ole Miss used him he could line up at four or five different positions. He has that versatility, he has the smarts to do that, so I would envision that we would use him in a similar fashion because that’s a benefit that he has.

Q: Do you see any Jordan Reed in him, Jerry Reese mentioned him.

A: You can see the similarities, he’s an inch taller, Jordan was 10 pounds heavier, this guy ran a lot faster, but the way they were used, yes, very similar.

Q: Did you time him yourself?

A: Evan? No, I let my scouts do it. I just write it down and chart it. I’m too old for that.

Q: Is his speed comparable to some receivers?

A: Yes, besides John Ross, he was one of the fastest guys as far as a receiver or tight end. He might have been the second fastest guy. The receivers that were taken in the top ten, one (Corey Davis) didn’t work out and he ran faster than the other one (Mike Williams). He was about the second fastest guy as far as the skill positions on offense.

Q: Spags calls it basketball on grass sometimes, do you guys in the personnel department look at the tight end position maybe a little bit differently now? Do you have to do that because of the way the game is played?

A: Yeah, you just don’t see it anymore, traditional tight ends in college. It’s rare to actually see a guy line up and do that. The way the game is played in college, it’s spread out and they’re catching the ball and just chucking it around sometimes. I think we’ll see more and more of these guys if they have the athletic ability, the feel, the smarts, all that stuff that you do.

Q: Do you find is unusual to see two or three tight ends taken in the 1st round?

A: No, nothing surprises me. Going through the process, you knew who the good players were and you had a good idea of where they were going to go, so it didn’t surprise me.

Q: You signed Rhett Ellison before this, is that a good complement? First a guy who can block and now this a guy…?

A: Seems to be. In theory, yes, it looks like that. Hopefully it plays out that way.

Q: Did his 40 time open your eyes even more than they had been with him?

A: Yeah, he was fast, but nobody expects the guy to run 4.42 at that size. You just never would’ve thought that. You think the guy would run a 4.5, 4.6, or something like that, but for a guy to jump out there and run a 4.42, it was shocking. It didn’t push him up on the board anymore, it didn’t change the perspective, the reports were in with what he could do with his skillset and that just added another positive value to his profile.

Q: Can he line up on the edge and drive guys, like a traditional tight end?

A: We’ll see.

Q: What was your impression with the way the first round played out in general?

A: You go in the draft and you always expect the unexpected and right from the start, there were some unexpected things that happened and you don’t know what it is but you just wait for it to happen and it did. 32 draft boards, 32 teams, they got it all different.

Q: The offensive line crop was historically shallow based on the number of players picked in the first round, did that kind of match up with your evaluation of that class coming into the draft?

A: We had some guys we liked, we had some guys we didn’t like and we’ll see.

Q: Not to hammer home the Jordan Reed thing, but when you have a player and you go against a player and you see how difficult it is to defend against that profile, does that add…?

A: You always draw comparisons when you play a guy. DeSean Jackson leaves Philadelphia and goes to Washington, aww man, come on. So, of course, when you play against a guy twice a year, it’s more on your mind, but you don’t look and say we need to get that kind of guy. It’s just when you’re talking about the process, you bring up the comparison.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Excited to add Evan Engram to the mix. Talented player out of Ole Miss. Length, speed, playmaker, special teams contributor. We’re excited to add him to the mix and hit the ground running with him.

Q: He has drawn comparisons to Jordan Reed, a big tight end/receiver type. Do you envision him to be that kind of player that can play multiple positions within the offense?

A: Yes. He played multiple positions at Ole Miss. I think we can bring him up and move him around a little bit. He needs to play special teams out of the gate and move him into our offense to see what he can handle. Push him that way.

Q: Where do you think he is as a blocker?

A: I think he’s a willing striker. We need to refine his fundamentals. He does what he’s asked to do in their offense and does it well at a high level. We have some things that we’re going to have to work on with him.

Q: Does he have that competitive nature?

A: Yes, he’s a competitor.

Q: Is he more of a slot weapon to you as opposed to a guy that’s going to be in line with bodies?

A: Again, we’ll get him here and play with him in a variety of ways but he’ll play with his hand on the ground.

Q: Because of that flexibility, what does that do for you as a play caller?

A: The fastest way to the end zone is down the middle of the field. Anytime you can add someone to your offense that can run down the middle of the field with that type of speed and length, it stresses the defense.

Q: The consensus was that the top TE in the draft went a few picks before you. Was there any thought in your mind to try and push to go get him?

A: I’m not going to talk about any of those strategies.

Q: Do you feel that Engram can make an impact in the run game?

A: Yes.

Q: How much contact, if any, did you have with him during the pre-draft process?

A: Limited.

Q: How surprised were you entering today that this is the way it turned out?

A: Nothing surprises you. You just go in and take it one pick at a time. See who’s on the board, a top guy on the board. You have to be confident. It’s all about doing the work going into the process. Trusting what you do, trusting your work, trusting the group, trusting the room.

Q: Did you like that Foster was there? Were there two or three guys you were looking at that were still available.

A: I think there were a lot of good players still left on the board.

Q: Does Engram have good yards after catch ability?

A: I think he’s a threat after the catch, yes.

Q: Did you see him as the best player available there or was he the best player for the need?

A: I saw him as the best available player.

Q: How much did you look at him before the draft?

A: I spent a lot of time on him. Just like a lot of scouts, other coaches and personnel people. I spent a lot of time.

Q: What was it that stuck out to you when watching him?

A: I think he’s a guy that’s played multiple positions. He has special teams versatility. He has some snap to him, snap to his body as a blocker. He’s willing as a blocker. Again, the speed just jumps off the tape. The yards after a catch just jumps off the tape at you.

Q: How does he fit in with the current set of tight ends you have now?

A: We’re going to put him in the room, teach him the offense and get on down the road. Again, we’re just adding another player to the mix. A good player that has a lot of potential.

Q: In going to Ole Miss, does he know Eli?

A: That’s a better question for Eli.

Q: With the addition of him, Marshall and Ellison, how much versatility does that give you going into next season?

A: We’re very happy with the players we’ve added to the tight end room and very happy with the players we have in the tight end room. It does give us some versatility and some flexibility. We need to get them all together. We haven’t hit the field yet; we need to hit the field.

MEDIA Q&A WITH EVAN ENGRAM:

Q: How does it feel?

A: I can’t put it into words. Honestly, I dreamed of playing for a couple of teams. I had it in my mind and New York was at the top. This is an amazing feeling. I’m so blessed. I can’t even find the words to describe it. I’m just very thankful and blessed to be a part of just this night. I have my family and friends. It’s a real blessing. I feel really blessed.

Q: Were you surprised when you got the call from the Giants?

A: I sat here and I saw it was Miami the pick before and New York just a little bit above it. I was just like, alright let’s see, Miami could call and New York could call. As soon as the Miami pick went in, I got the call. I saw the city under the number and I knew it. I wasn’t expecting it. I felt that it was coming but it was just, I was kind of surprised by it but I felt it in my dreams.

Q: Do you feel you are ready to come in and make an immediate impact?

A: I know I’m ready to come in and make an immediate impact. I know for a fact. I’ve been watching the Giants, they’re on TV all the time. I sit down and watch them, especially this past year. I’ve been really analyzing teams and certain offenses. The Giants have been missing a piece like me. They have a great quarterback and I think Tye, 45, was great for them. I felt that I could be another more dynamic piece at that role. I just always felt that they would look at a guy like me to come in and contribute. I know my skillset. I’m confident in my game and how hard I work. Just the weapons around me, I can’t wait to come in and contribute. Learn from all those guys and take advantage of the opportunity to be a great player for this team.

Q: Being a fellow Ole Miss alum, has Eli Manning reached out to you before or after this process?

A: No, I haven’t talked to him before. He texted me after they announced it and everything. He told me to enjoy the moment and that he’s looking forward to getting to work with me. I just told him thank you. He said he’ll be in contact to catch up in a couple of days. He hit me up after the pick went in.

Q: Have you ever met him?

A: Yes. He’s always around Ole Miss in the offseason. There’s been a couple of times I’ve caught a couple of balls for him. Just servicing him and running some routes that he needed. It kind of manifested in those moments I guess, this moment right here. I can’t wait to play with him, learn from him and just be a great player for this team.

Q: All along did you expect to be a first-round pick?

A: I knew I deserved to be and I knew I should be. It’s just what I bring to the table. I’m so dynamic and so confident in myself. I’m not trying to be cocky or anything because that’s 100 percent not it. I’m just really confident in what I can bring to a team. I definitely believe that I should’ve gotten a call in the first round and that someone was getting one of the most dynamic players and best players in the draft. I knew that I should be and I was just praying that I was. I came back for my senior year and that was one of my goals to solidify a first round pick. God has led me through all of this and to hear that tonight with the New York Giants, I knew that it was going to happen, I knew it should happen and I’m blessed that it did.

Q: Do you feel you can be effective in the slot or at wide receiver?

A: Yes. I feel like I can be a threat anywhere. I definitely have a lot to learn. Being out wide, I didn’t do it as much in college so I’m definitely ready to learn more about that, but in the slot, attached, in the backfield I feel like I can be a threat anywhere. I can’t wait to just get in there, learn, work and earn my way up into the offense and into making plays. Yes, I know I think I can be a threat anywhere around the ball.

Q: Do you create mismatch problems for the defense?

A: Yes, I guess from a coach’s standpoint, they love to move me around to make those mismatches. I know that my coaches at Ole Miss did and I kind of get excited when I see some big linebacker that is trying to man me up or some big safeties with bad hips – I just get excited when I see those guys trying to man me up. I do feel like I am a mismatch problem and I guess I am a huge plus for an offensive coordinator to have.

Q: You played in the SEC, which is regarded by many as the best conference in the country. How do you think playing in the conference prepared you for the NFL?

A: Man, look at the numbers that the SEC puts into the league. We are playing the best players in the country every week and just game planning for that, practicing for that and competing with that, it definitely helps us translate to the NFL. Just look at the numbers and it proves it. So just playing the likes of LSU and the Bama’s and the Arkansas’ and Auburn’s and Georgia’s and there are just so many athletes and so many talents make their way to the league from those schools – it definitely gives me an advantage going into the league and playing some more against some of the best athletes in the world.

Q: Where are you right now and who are you watching the draft with?

A: I am in my hometown, Powder Springs, Georgia, with all of my best friends, my family, people who have helped me get to this point, and it was tough because I got invited to the draft and I was torn because I wasn’t sure if I was going first round and that was the only way I wanted to go, so I decided to stay home. I couldn’t be more excited just being around my people and where everything started, it is just a huge moment. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change one thing.

Q: You have gotten some comparisons to Jordan Reed of Washington. How does that make you feel?

A: I have been looking up to him for so long. He was such a huge talent at Florida that I didn’t think got used enough, so when he got to Washington and got used to his abilities, he has been doing such great things in the league. So just watching him and studying him and I would love to work with him some day because he is such a threat, so savvy with his routes and so precise and he gets physical after the catch. Being compared to that is what I want. I want to be better than him, but that is going to be a tough task. But being compared to him and being able to bring to the table what he does for a team like the Giants is a blessing.

Q: How much contact did you have with the Giants during the pre-draft process?

A: Honestly, not that much. I talked to them at the Senior Bowl briefly; I talked with them at the Combine. I didn’t have any visits with them; no workouts and it just really came out of nowhere. I kind of felt myself being a threat there and being a possibility there, but it really came out of nowhere. I didn’t talk to them as much, but I kind of felt that they had their eye on me, so I guess it worked out.

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2nd Round – DT Dalvin Tomlinson, 6’3”, 310lbs, 5.18, University of Alabama
Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (September 10, 2016)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Fifth-year senior. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He can hold the point-of-attack against the double-team block. He is an outstanding run defender who plays with with leverage. Can stack and shed and he is a sure tackler. Tomlinson is not a top-notch pass rusher, but he has good quickness and can push the pocket. Tomlinson is very smart and a high-character player who plays hard all of the time. Tore one ACL in 2011 and the other in 2013.

SY’56’s Take: “One of the more interesting and impressive kids in the class when it comes to the off the field story (both parents died before he was 18 years old). Tomlinson doesn’t have standout physical traits but you know you are getting a guy that will get the job done. While he is a different sized player than Linval Joseph, I feel he will have a similar impact early in his career. Just a reliable presence inside that makes guys around him better with the potential to blossom in to more. Really watch some Alabama tape and you’ll see him do things you didn’t think he could do. 2nd round is where I strongly consider him.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Dalvin Tomlinson, defensive tackle, University of Alabama. Big guy that we think can come in and compete for a starting job for us. Create a lot of competition at that position. He’s a two-gap type player. He can hold the point of attack, has that NFL toughness that we like and the profile that we like. We thought he was a terrific pick right here right now at this point in the draft.

Q: Did this position become more of a need when Johnathan Hankins left in free agency?

A: Well, we’re just trying to pick good players. Obviously Hank left, so that created a little bit of a void. We’re just trying to pick good players. We stayed true to our board and he was the next man in line.

Q: Does the way that Landon Collins has worked out so far make you even more comfortable taking a guy from Alabama?

A: Well, Alabama has notoriously put out good players and Landon is a terrific player for us. We’re just trying to pick good players from wherever. Alabama has obviously been a top program. This guy is, like I said, NFL ready. He’s a big, tough guy. Big guy on the inside.

Q: How much have you interacted with him?

A: We interviewed him at the combine. He was one of the best interviews we thought out of the entire combine. He was one of the best guys we interviewed. He’s a New York Giant kind of player.

Q: What was so impressive about that?

A: I can’t remember everything because we interview so many guys. I just remember that he was impressive. When he left the room, everyone was like, ‘wow, that was pretty impressive.’

Q: Is he a guy that can bounce outside to defensive end as well?

A: No. He’s an inside player. He’s a two-gapper and can push the pocket inside. He’s an inside player.

Q: Was he close to being a first round pick?

A: I think some guys probably would’ve considered him as a first round pick. I think that, yes.

Q: You seem very comfortable with this format. Every three or four years you take a defensive lineman and get what you can out of him. Is that just the way it’s worked out?

A: That’s just the way it’s worked out. We would love to keep the player. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. With the last two big guys we’ve had inside (Linval Joseph and Johnathan Hankins), we weren’t able to keep them. They moved on to a better situation for them. We’ve been able to draft some guys that have been able to come in and fill the gap for us.

Q: With an undergrad degree in finance, Dalvin is going for a second degree in financial planning in May. How proud does it make you that you guys have brought in someone smart both on the field and off the field?

A: We want him to play football. We don’t want him to do our taxes or anything like that. We want him to come in, stop that run and push that pocket so our defensive ends can get to the quarterback.

Q: You’re comfortable having two mainly run-stopping guys in the middle of the line?

A: Well, we think he can push the pocket inside. He’s violent with his hands inside. He’s got that NFL toughness that we like. He has the grown man strength inside. We think he can push the pocket for us inside.

Q: You like that though? The two guys that are run stuffers in the middle. Is that fair to say?

A: You have to stop the run up here. You have to rush the passer and you have to stop the run. I think he gives us a two-way guy.

Q: The one thing that sticks out in his bio is the two ACL’s. How much did you have to push him just to make sure?

A: Yes, that came into consideration for us. He’s played on those things for three years now. Our trainers and doctors were okay with him and didn’t think it would be an issue.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: Is this a guy that you guys feel can step right in and contribute?

A: For sure. It kind of reminded us – we kind of talked about the situation where when we had Linval (Joseph), the year we took him we kind of talked about him early and then he was there in the second for us and filled a void. Linval goes and then (Jonathan Hankins), we were really high on Hank and we talked about him early and he was there in the second round and we took Hank and he filled in. Both of those guys became pretty good players for us, so this was kind of a similar situation.

Q: So in four years you will be looking to replace him?

A: I hope not.

Q: Is there a guy that you can compare him to that is in the pros now?

A: No, he is himself. I don’t know. I am not that smart to kind of go off the top of my head. No, nobody jumps off right now.

Q: What about Hank? How similar or different is he to Tomlinson?

A: They are different players. I will just talk about Dalvin. Dalvin is strong, he is country strong, he has jolt, he has walk-back power, he is stout at the point of attack, he has sneaky athleticism and every down he plays hard. Every down.

Q: Was the knee injury a concern?

A: No, he has been three years and played and we have a great medical staff here that makes sure that we don’t take anybody that is a risk and they were good with him.

Q: What do you remember about the combine interview with him?

A: Man, Dalvin was one of the best definitely this year, but he will be a guy that you talk about for a long time. He was one of the more memorable ones that we have had. He was just smart, mature, poised, confident, just a man. He walked in the room and he had a commanding presence and as they say at Alabama, he is a man’s man. He was an ultimate leader there, guy you want in the foxhole and just really a leader for those guys. We hope that he brings some of those same attributes for us.

Q: Did all of that come through in the interview?

A: Yeah, well you knew about it coming in because all of our scouts do a great job throughout the year getting the information, and everything from Bama right from the start was, ‘Watch out for this guy, he is underrated. They have all these stars on the defense, but watch out for this guy.’ Sure enough, the guy is kind of the lynch pin of their defense and they are underrated, so you knew all of the positive things that they say and then when he comes in the room and talks – you will see when he gets here. The guy is pretty impressive.

Q: Was there one thing that he said that really stuck with you guys?

A: No, just the whole interview and the way he carried it to just talking about his life and then all the football things that we talked about.

Q: When you walk out of an interview like that, do you kind of think that you would love to make that pick at some point?

A: Yeah, you want all the boxes to check positive. I would say convergent validity from your scouts, from your interview, from the combine, from the fall and everything to kind of come together and he was one of the few guys that when we talked about him, it was all positive, from the area scouts, to the coaches, to myself, to Jerry (Reese), to Ben (McAdoo) and Chris Mara. Everyone said positive things. Now, did that mean he was the first pick in the draft? No. But I just mean that everything that we talked about Dalvin was positive with his profile. It was just one of the more impressive profiles on and off the field that you will see. It is what we like to call a clean profile.

Q: His NFL.com profile stated that he never played more than 45 percent of snaps in the season. Is that something that you look at?

A: I never knew that stat. I just know that at Alabama they rotate all of their guys in and out and they play. We just know that when he is in there and he is playing whatever role for us, but for them when he was in there he was doing the dirty work, getting the hidden production and just a grunt, tough guy in there.

Q: How important was it to bring in someone from Alabama who has that championship experience and was working under one of the best college coaches of all-time?

A: That is always a positive. Bama puts out good players. You are looking at 15 guys every year at Bama and you know that they get big-time recruits and that they have the pedigree and the profile, so when you are going there you have an expectation of what you are getting from players from that program.

Q: He has a pretty substantial wrestling background. Is that something that you look for in a defensive lineman?

A: If he can wrestle the offensive lineman down and make a tackle, yeah. But no, that just adds to his impressive profile, that the guy was a three-time state champion in wrestling.

Q: You mentioned last night that Engram was a clean profile guy. Does that factor into where you place players on your board?

A: Sure. Experience, positive off the field profile, those are the things that help out a player’s value on our draft board.

Q: Dalvin’s parents passed away. Was he raised by relatives?

A: Yeah, he had a group of people that kind of raised him. The things that he has been through in his life – he had to grow up fast and it shows in the way that he carries himself.

Q: You have been at Alabama every year. Is Tomlinson the kind of kid that you had an eye on the last couple of years?

A: No, he is a fifth year senior and kind of had to work his way up into the system there, so he wasn’t one of those ‘jump off the screen’ kind of guys when he was a young guy. They rotate so many guys in and out of there that you don’t know who is going to be the next one. But he earned his time on the field and he made the most of it.

Q: How important is it that he has that dirty production aspect?

A: I think that is a big thing that the coaches were looking for with whoever that fourth guy was in there because we have three studs on the defensive line, I think. So the next guy – he can kind of come in there and learn from those guys and play his role, there are not a lot of big expectations and just go play.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Very good profile, pro ready, excited. I’ll open it up.

Q: Jerry said it was a pretty memorable interview at the combine.

A: Yes, he did a nice job in the interview. He knew the football very well, great personality, he’ll fit in well in the room.

Q: Is that a thing where you test him on plays or something like that?

A: Yes, we have some different things we like to take them through, different exercises and he did a nice job.

Q: When you consider bringing guys into the defensive line room, do you think about the big personalities, big players when you look at that defensive line with a guy who can really fit in with a OV (Olivier Vernon), JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul)?

A: I think the interview just kind of confirms some things. You see him on tape, (he) plays at a high level, he’s pro-ready, plays with a good pace, uses his hands very well, which is something you don’t get with a lot of guys coming out of college and do it very well. He’s not just a run stopper, he has some transition rush skills, which is nice on first and second down. He has some versatility there to.

Q: Not everybody does, but how much do you like having the two 300-plus pounders together in the middle that can both stop the run and how beneficial do you view that combo together?

A: I like third and long. That’s a good place to start, with your defensive tackles.

Q: Do you draft a guy like Tomlinson thinking about the fact that you play a team like Dallas in your division twice a year that’s going to be running the ball for a while?

A: Just value in big guys. It’s where he was on the board, but you have to stop the run. That’s the foundation in this game. One of the core parts of this game is stopping the run, getting teams into third down and long so you can rush the passer and disrupt the quarterback.

Q: How do you view this move as the Johnathan Hankins replacement?

A: We lost a good player, Hank moved on. Dalvin was at the top of the board, so we picked him.

Q: Is it difficult to evaluate a guy like him when he has so many good players around him?

A: You just watch his fundamentals; grade him off of his fundamentals. They produce some good players down there at Alabama, but they play good players as well. You see good players throughout the SEC, so he’s battle-tested.

Q: How similar or different is his skill-set from a guy like Hankins?

A: They’re two different players. He has some versatility, he can play a little nose, a little three (technique), possibly some five technique or some four technique based on the scheme.

Q: Coach, two picks so far, two players from the SEC, what does it say about that conference that you guys have gone there twice now?

A: They must have some good players because they were at the top of the board twice. 

MEDIA Q&A WITH DALVIN TOMLINSON:

Q: What was your reaction when you got the call from the Giants?

A: I was excited. My family was excited with me. Everyone was happy for the most part.

Q: Was this about where you thought you would go for the most part?

A: I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was just waiting and being patient, to be honest.

Q: What do you remember most from your interview with the Giants at the combine?

A: I remember just critiquing myself a lot. I told them about my life story and everything. I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my career at Alabama and also in high school. I always fought through it and just wanted to become one of the best competitors on the team.

Q: Do you feel that you’re NFL ready?

A: Yes, I feel like I’m ready for the NFL.

Q: Dalvin, are you particularly excited to play with Landon Collins after the year he had and with a defense that led the Giants back to the playoffs last season?

A: Yes, I’m super excited to see Landon again. The Giants defense is an amazing defense. I love the play calls and the scheme they run. I feel like I’m going to be a perfect fit for their defense.

Q: Has Landon reached out to you?

A: I’ve been getting a lot of texts and calls. I haven’t seen anything from Landon yet, but I’m pretty sure he has.

Q: Can you just get us up to speed on your background?

A: I grew up in Georgia. I was a three tournament wrestler. State championship in high school. Just have been through a lot of adversity. My mom passed going into my senior year. I pushed through it and it motivated me to become a better football player and person. I used that at Alabama and try to continue to get better each and every day. It paid off for me.

Q: Your father had previously died?

A: Yes, he passed when I was five years old.

Q: Who are you gathered with right now that is closest to you?

A: My brother, my aunts, uncles and cousins. Family friends and all the coaches from high school and even park ball that have been coaching me through my whole life.

Q: Is part of that adversity going through two ACL surgeries?

A: Yes, it is. Coming into college with a torn ACL and then also having a second one and still being able to get back onto the field. Most defensive linemen probably wouldn’t have been able to come back from it the way I did. Also, to fight through it each and every day was tough on me at first. I just kept fighting through it each and every day and it ended up working out in the long run. I’m grateful for it because everything happens for a reason.

Q: How would you characterize your pass rushing skills?

A: I feel like I’m a great pass rusher. I haven’t been in the position to show it off a lot. I feel like I’m an even greater run stopper but I have a very good pass rush game.

Q: I think I read that you could’ve gone to Harvard. Was that right and a serious consideration?

A: Yes, that’s right. I was pretty much considered a nerd coming out of high school. Harvard was in consideration for me because academics was a big thing in my life.

Q: Were you a soccer goalie?

A: I was a goalie and I played striker, also.

Q: Striker?

A: I know, right.

Q: How many red cards did you pick up?

A: I didn’t pick up any in a few years. I’m surprised just like you are. I thought I was going to get a lot more red cards.

Q: You played soccer in high school?

A: Yes, I played up to my senior year, right before I got to Alabama.

Q: Soccer and football are in different seasons in Georgia, right?

A: Yes. Soccer is in the spring and football is in the fall in Georgia.

Q: At Alabama you wrestled teammates in the locker room all the time right?

A:  Yes, for the most part.Q: Undefeated?

A: Yes.

Q: How much are you looking forward to joining this defensive line here? They have a couple good players.

A: I’m pretty excited. They can teach me a lot of things from the defensive line standpoint. I’m blessed to have people like that at the program already.

Q: How familiar are you with that defensive line already and the fact that you’re the replacement of Hankins?

A: I haven’t gotten to meet them personally but I’m pretty sure when we get there we’re going to have a pretty good relationship and build an even stronger brotherhood. They’re going to mentor me and become a better defensive line.

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3rd Round – QB Davis Webb, 6’5”, 229lbs, 4.81, University of California
Davis Webb, California Golden Bears (October 21, 2016)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Webb has the tools. He has ideal size and a very strong arm. He can move around the pocket, but he is not a scrambler. Webb throws a nice deep ball and can wing it through tight windows. But he is a project who needs a lot of technique work and more experience in reading defenses given that he comes from collegiate spread offense. He can be streaky with his accuracy and his decision-making has been questioned despite his intelligence. Webb is a very smart, hard working quarterback who loves the game and who is dedicated to getting better.

SY’56’s Take: “His size and easy throwing motion can get you excited, but he has a ways to go in terms of progression and learning. Webb is a couple years away and will have to spend a lot of time correcting elements such as a footwork, lower body mechanics, and reading a defense, among other things. Possible starter down the road, but more likely a backup… Webb is a hot name with some of the people I get to talk with…and others think he won’t ever be a starter. Nobody denies the talent, but he has a ways to go. I’ve watched every game of his from 2016 and he does the same things week in and week out that bother me. He has to completely change his game and while I think it is possible, it’s simply unlikely.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Davis Webb, quarterback, Cal. A third round selection. He was very productive in that offense, like a lot of quarterbacks are. We thought that he had the best arm in the draft this year, really a gifted arm, thrower. For a tall guy, he is a good athlete. He can be off schedule and buy some time with his legs, so there are a lot of things that we liked about him. We think that he will have time – like we said earlier, Eli has however much time that he has left, two or three years left in his contract or however long he plays. We think that this guy has a high ceiling that can come in here and develop behind him and learn the pro game and challenge and compete and create competition at the quarterback position. I will take any questions.

Q: What are the challenges of using a high draft pick on a player that is probably not going to play for a couple of years?

A: Well, you never know when a quarterback is going to help. Obviously, we would like for him to have a couple years to be the caddie and learn the pro game and all the nuances of playing quarterback in these league, but he has all of the tools to play the quarterback, and we think that he has a high ceiling and hopefully he can sit on the sideline, hold a clipboard and learn the game.

Q: When you drafted Ryan Nassib, I think you said that you hope he never plays. Is it different with (Webb)?

A: We hope that Eli continues to play at a high level and this guy can develop. That is what we hope for. You never know what is going to happen, but that is what we hope for.

Q: Did you have a first round grade on Davis Webb?

A: We had a good grade on him. I am not going to talk about which round we had him. We had a good grade on him.

Q: How surprised were you that he was sitting there in the third round?

A: I am not surprised by anything in the draft anymore. It is hard to surprise me in the draft. But we liked him, we had him rated high and we think that he has a top skillset to play this position in the National Football League.

Q: Do you feel like you have an advantage in taking this guy and knowing that he has a chance to develop in the next couple of years?

A: Well, we hope so. That is what the whole premise is – that this guy can sit behind Eli for a couple of years, two or three years or however long it takes. Let me get this straight guys, we hope that Eli plays for a long time for us. Eli is our quarterback and we still think that he can play at a high level, but we do know that he is not going to play forever, so we are trying to make the best decision as we move forward for the rest of Eli’s career.

Q: What type of franchise quarterback qualities did you see in Davis Webb?

A: Here is the thing. First of all, he has a big arm. He has one of those wintertime arms, he can throw it in the wind, so again, we thought that he had the best arm talent in the draft this year and this guy is football all the time. You have to be that kind of guy in this league. You can’t half do it up here and play at a high level in the National Football League. This guy is a son of a coach, football all of the time and he has the quarterback profile that we like.

Q: What was the process like with him? Did you see him or meet him?

A: We didn’t bring him in here or anything like that, but we spent some time with him at the combine.

Q: Nobody went to work him out?

A: We did not.

Q: How does this work out for the rest of the roster? You have five quarterbacks now.

A: Well, again, we are just going to create as much competition at every position as we can and that will take care of itself as we move towards training camp and we will see where it goes.

Q: Did you sit with Eli at some point and let him know that you were thinking of bringing in a quarterback to develop?

A: Eli understands the process. Eli is a very smart guy and he understands the process. He knows that he is not going to play forever. He knows that it is our job to prepare for when he has finished his career here, so he understands that. It is nothing that we had to talk to him about.

Q: Did you talk to him after you drafted the quarterback?

A: We didn’t have any conversation with Eli before we drafted, but we draft a quarterback and we are going to let our quarterback know that we are drafting a quarterback, of course.

Q: Is there any concern that you are coming out of the draft without picking an offensive lineman?

A: Well, there are a lot of picks left and we will keep trying to fix the roster and add to the roster as we move through the rest of the draft. We have more picks to take.

Q: When you made the first few picks, did you have to talk about if you had to take Webb at that point?

A: You never know where guys are going to go. We stay true to our board. The big defensive tackle was there and we picked him and this guy was the next guy on our board and we picked him.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: What do you like about him?

A: He’s a big guy with a live arm. Son of the coach with the top intangibles. Went to Cal and took leadership of the whole group. He ran meetings. Really strong personality, a leader. A football junkie. He’s a surprisingly good athlete for his size. Just has a lot of upside to develop.

Q: What happened when he was at Texas Tech?

A: He was coming off of a couple injuries. He started there. Texas Tech had a lot of guys that transferred out of there. A kid went to Virginia Tech, a kid that is at Oklahoma now. Davis kind of beat them out. He was competing against Mahomes. Coming off an injury, Mahomes had a leg up. He just kind of beat him out at that point.

Q: Did you get to see him at his pro day?

A: Yes. Saw him at the Senior Bowl, saw him at the Combine. We’ve been tracking him all year. Our area scouts were really excited about him early in the year because of the transfer and guys that are out west. Really fired up about him from that point on.

Q: What does it say about his resiliency as a player that he could lose his job at a major program at Texas Tech and then go right to another one like Cal?

A: This guy is a football player. Son of a coach, tough guy. Obviously disappointed. I’m sure he’s disappointed right now that he wasn’t a higher pick. That’s what you love in a quarterback. Guys that can bounce back and have fortitude to persevere. That’s what you need. We think he has that.

Q: Is the process of picking a quarterback different than from other positions?

A: It’s more of a lightning rod type of pick as opposed to picking a DT or corner and stuff like that. A quarterback has all these innuendos and questions about why you’re taking him and what you’re going to do with him. It’s the most important position in sports, so of course it’s going to get the most attention.

Q: Did you have any contact besides the Senior Bowl and the Combine?

A: Yes, we met with him in the fall, our area scout met with him. Senior Bowl, we met with him. Combine, we met with him. We kind of kept an eye on him. I’m surprised he was still around at this point. I thought he would go higher.

Q: Why do you think he fell?

A: That’s a good question. I think it was the system that he played in, a little bit of the inaccuracy that he had. Each team evaluates quarterbacks in a different way.

Q: One of the scout criticisms was his deep ball can be a little inaccurate. Is that something that when you have a coach like McAdoo and a couple of years, you feel like you can work out?

A: We’re hoping this guy can develop his skills. You have a guy like this in the situation we have now, we’re hoping he doesn’t have to come in right away and be the guy and get thrown into the fire. He can work on his skills.

Q: Were some of those concerns on why he fell not as much of a concern to you guys?

A: Yes. Obviously, it gives you a little bit of a cushion and some breathing room. You saw what happened in the first round, teams trading up everything to get those guys. We feel we have a fairly equal talent at the bottom of the third compared to some of the guys that went pretty high.

Q: Ben McAdoo hasn’t even met Davis in person. You take that as he trusts the board and scouting. Does that speak to how this process played out?

A: You learn from Philly down there. The Sixers. Trust the process. No, I think we work hand in hand really well together. The coaching staff, scouting staff and ownership. Frankly, I try and put Ben in touch with guys that I think we really have a chance to get. Again, I did not think at this point Davis would be one of those players. I thought he would be gone at this point. He’s watched the tape, the quarterback coach has communicated with Davis, our scouts have been in touch with him and talked to him at various points throughout the year. He’s just one of the guys that wasn’t a priority to Ben to meet because there are only so many guys you can meet with.

Q: So the lack of contact wasn’t because you were playing coy, but that you didn’t think it was realistic?

A: I don’t know. No, a little bit of both. You try and mix it as a little bit of both. You want to do your research and dig but still not be too obvious about what you want to do.

Q: Were you going to take a quarterback in this draft no matter what?

A: No, not necessarily. If there was a guy at the right time and was the right guy, we were going to take him.

Q: Does he draw comparisons to any other QB’s?

A: No.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

Davis Webb, big man with a chip on his shoulder. He’s a gym rat, coach’s son, excited to plug him into quarterback school and hit the ground running.

Q: Ben, where does he slide into your depth chart right now?

A: He’s a young guy, he needs to come in and see how he does, throw him into the mix and let him compete.

Q: What do you like about him? What stands out?

A: I think he’s a big man, he’s a fluid mover, he’s a pocket passer but he’s not necessarily a statue back there. He can move around and has some good rhythm in the body.

Q: Why does he have a chip on his shoulder?

A: He lost a job early in his career, sitting there probably a little bit too long in this draft.

Q: You thought he would be drafted earlier?

A: I thought he would drafted earlier, yes.

Q: 1st round?

A: We had him graded fairly high.

Q: Ben, Jerry said you guys called Eli and told him what you guys were doing. Obviously that’s not something you do with other positions. How closely will you monitor how the players react to this?

A: Not at all.

Q: What was Eli’s reaction?

A: I didn’t talk to Eli.

Q: Do you feel like the offense that you run might be a friendlier transition for someone coming out of an offense like Texas Tech or Cal?

A: I think every case is different. You take it on a case-by-case basis and we find out when we get them in the building.

Q: Was there a point where you were sold on him? [inaudible]

A: Again, we liked the way he works, we like the way he leads, he’s a positive player, did a nice job at the Senior Bowl, that helped his cause.

Q: Does his performances remind you of another quarterback?

A: There are a couple guys out there, but I don’t want to do that to him.

Q: For you personally, your only one-on-one time with him when you were in the room with him was at the combine?

A: My evaluation was based on film study.

Q: Does he fit into the offense in the way that Eli does? Obviously not experience wise, but is he a different kind of athlete?

A: Pocket passer. Again, he’s a fluid mover back there. He can move in the pocket and extend plays. He can do some creating. Like I said, he’s not a statue back there.

Q: You have not met him before?

A: I have not met him.

Q: Is there extra gravity brought on by taking a quarterback, especially given the importance of the position?

A: That’s a dramatic question, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

Q: This is an important decision, I would assume, as a head coach and a franchise, potentially bringing in the quarterback of the future.

A: He was the highest player on our board, we had a high grade on him, we felt that there was good value for the pick, and we’re confident that he’s going to come in and develop.

Q: Usually when you take a guy in the 3rd round, you expect him to play somewhere, special teams, start, rotation, you don’t expect this guy to play at all.

A: He’s not going to be covering kicks for us.

Q: How do you weigh that? You get a guy in the third round and say look he might sit for two years.

A: Well, you have to trust. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, whether it’s scouts, Marc Ross, the coaches evaluate, the coordinators evaluate, Jerry and I evaluate. You have to trust the process.

Q: This is a guy you said you thought would be gone at this point. As the Draft is unfolding, are you thinking in the back of your mind, hoping that he’s going to last?

A: Hoping doesn’t work, I tried it. It doesn’t work real well, so you just let it play out, take it pick by pick and when you have someone sitting up there that you graded up there and they’re the highest guy on the board, you’re confident that you did your homework and it’s going to pay off.

Q: What character traits have you been able to identify with him that make him the potential franchise quarterback?

A: You can see he’s a persistent guy, he’s a hard worker, the game is important to him. Like I said off the bat, he’s a gym rat, he’s a coach’s son and grew up in the game and that helps. He’s going to have to have thick skin like they all do. Let’s get him here and let’s get him a playbook and a helmet.

Q: He was the highest player on your board in the 3rd round?

A: When we made our pick he was the highest player.

Q: Was he close to being the highest rated player in the second round?

A: That’s a long way back.

Q: Did you have a set idea as to what milestones you want him to reach at a certain point or do you let him develop organically?

A: Reps are tough to come by, that’s a big part of the offseason and the way things are with the new CBA. Reps are tough to come by, but they call it development for a reason. It takes different guys different speeds to get you to where you want him to go. We just need to get him in and throw as much at him as quickly as possible and see how he handles it.

Q: You said you haven’t met him in person, was that by design?

A: No, there’s only so much ground you can cover.

Q: How big a benefit do you think it is for a quarterback to come into the league and sit for a couple years?

A: I think it’s huge. I think it’s tough to come into the league and be a number two. I don’t think there are very many guys, even in this draft, that can come in and be a number two quarterback. I think it’s challenging, it’s asking an awful lot. It’s a different game and it’s a challenge. It’s a benefit to be able to sit behind especially a veteran quarterback and learn. It goes a long way.

Q: You think for developmental purposes it’s better for a quarterback to get in the game right away or sit?

A: Case by case, it’s different. Every guy is different, but I do think it helps.

Q: You say you never met him, but did you talk to him tonight?

A: Yes.

Q: What was that conversation like?

A: He’s pretty excited.

Q: You?

A: Pretty excited.

Q: Do you have to strike a balance? I mean people are going to want to see this guy play at some point and you still have Eli. Is that going to be [inaudible]

A: Doesn’t matter. 

MEDIA Q&A WITH DAVIS WEBB:

Q: What was your reaction when you got the call that you were coming to the Giants?

A: I was ecstatic. I was very fortunate to be selected by such a great organization and great coaches and Coach McAdoo and I am just very thankful for the Giants organization picking me up today and I am ready to get to work.

Q: Ben (McAdoo) said that he was surprised that you were on the board this late. Were you surprised by that, too?

A: Yeah, the NFL Draft is a little weird. You really can’t predict it, so anything can happen, but I am just glad that I ended up at such a great organization and so many great players on the Giants team and obviously great coaches. I am just looking forward to being a great teammate and being a prepared quarterback.

Q: They have obviously made it clear that Eli Manning is the starter here. They view you as someone who can potentially take the reins. Is that a role that you are comfortable with?

A: I don’t know what my role is on the team yet. Obviously Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, so he is one of the best and a Hall of Fame quarterback. So I am just excited to be in the same quarterback room as him and we will see what happens. I am just trying to be a great teammate first, be prepared from a week-to-week standpoint as a quarterback because I have a long way to go.

Q: What was this process like for you in the last two days?

A: It was all over the place. My emotions were very high and very low, but again, I have had so many great people help me out the past couple days and past 22 years of my life to always stay even-keeled and control what you can control and commit to those controllables and that is what I did tonight and yesterday. It was out of my control and I was just looking forward to seeing who would pick me up and obviously the great organization New York Giants and there are so many good players of the team, so I am just excited and looking forward to heading up to New York very soon.

Q: What is your relationship like with Patrick Mahomes?

A: Yeah, Patrick Mahomes and I are very close friends. Obviously we were together at Texas Tech and we have kind of stayed in touch ever since then. So it was cool to go through the draft process with him and I am looking forward to seeing how he does in Kansas City with the Chiefs organization and obviously I will be rooting for him.

Q: Do you come into this process setting milestones for yourself or do you plan to develop organically?

A: I am not sure. I am a very goal oriented type person, but at the same time, I don’t know what my role is yet. I am just a third round draft pick tonight and I am looking forward to being a great teammate first and being a hard worker because those are the two things that I can control and I look forward to doing those two things first.

Q: You mentioned there are a lot of things you can get better on. Is there anything particular that you identified as something you want to work on right away?

A: Yeah, I have brand new coaches so I am excited to see what we can continue to develop and get better at. Obviously I think that one thing I need to work on is being more efficient mechanically. Coming from a spread type system in college and going to the NFL, obviously every college quarterback needs to develop into an NFL type quarterback, so I am just looking forward to that development and working hard at it.

Q: Is there any disappointment that you are not coming to a team where you are going to compete for a starting job right away?

A: Not at all. I am just excited to be a part of a great organization. I commit to the controllables, and the Giants thought enough of me to pick me tonight and I am just very thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to meeting teammates and getting in the playbook and being in the weight room and just develop relationships and be a great quarterback.

Q: When was the last time you were in New York?

A: It was a couple weeks ago. I visited the Jets, so that was the last time that I was in the area.

Q: What do you see as your greatest strengths as a quarterback?

A: I am not sure. I think that I have a couple things that I do a good job at, but at the same time there are so many rooms for improvement in my game. I think that I am a great leader – I was voted a captain at two different schools, so I would say that my leadership qualities are strong. I was a coach’s kid and the only two things that I focus on are being a great teammate and being a hard worker and I think everything else will play itself out.

Q: Was your father a quarterbacks coach?

A: Yes, he was. He is a head coach at Frisco Centennial down in Dallas.

Q: Are you home in Texas right now?

A: Yes, I was home for draft night in Prosper, Texas and I had my family over and a few close friends and we were all very excited when the New York Giants called my name tonight.

Q: You are going to have the luxury of time with the Giants. Do you view that as beneficial to you?

A: I don’t really know what that question entails. Again, I am very happy right now just to be selected to the NFL. I think that every kid wants this dream to happen, so right now I am thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to getting to work and being a good teammate.

Q: When did you get a sense tonight that the Giants were going to take you?

A: Again, I didn’t know which team would take me because there are 32 good ones out there. The New York Giants happened to select me tonight and I am very fired up for them and I am excited to be up there in New York very soon and get to work and learn the new playbook and try to develop into the quarterback that I think I can be.

Q: How much did the Giants come onto your radar during this process?

A: They were definitely on the radar. There were a lot of teams out there, but I am just very happy that the Giants selected me tonight and I am looking forward to getting up there.

Q: Did you talk to Coach McAdoo earlier and if so, what did he have to say?

A: Just welcomed me to the team and the organization. I am very blessed by that. I am very thankful to Coach McAdoo and the entire staff and I am looking forward to getting up there.

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4th Round – RB Wayne Gallman, 6-0, 215lbs, 4.59, Clemson University
Wayne Gallman, Clemson Tigers (January 9, 2017)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Fourth-year junior. Gallman is a well-rounded running back with good size (6’1”, 215lbs), vision, and decent elusiveness and speed. He is a slashing, cutback runner. Gallman lacks explosiveness, but he is very competitive and runs hard. Gallman can pass protect and catch the football.

SY’56’s Take: “Gallman is a pro ready back but I don’t think he is ever going to be a feature guy, which is fine. His ability to plant his foot and burst combined with his toughness can make him a dangerous player. He became a much better blocker and receiver this season as well. I wish he could hold on to more weight and protect the ball better, but you could do much worse than having him as your number two back.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: The fourth round pick we took, Wayne Gallman from Clemson, running back. Wayne’s a versatile back and is very productive. Three years of production there. High level of competition. I think he ended up with 36 touchdowns. We think he can create a lot of competition in that running back group. Very versatile, played on special teams as well. Actually, I think he was a linebacker in high school, so that helps him as a special teamer when those guys play different positions in high school. We thought he was a nice addition to our running back group.

Q: How do you think Gallman works with Perkins?

A: That’s up to the coaches. We just try and pick a good football player right there. We think he’s that. He’s a three-year producer there. Young kid, tough, kind of linear for a running back. Tall for a running back. I think he’s a little bit over six foot, maybe just six foot. He looks taller when you think about running backs.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: All right, Wayne Gallman, productive third-year player out of Clemson. (He has) upside in the pass game, comes from a winning program, glad we have him.

Q: What did you like about Gallman?

A: Again, he comes from a winning program, had a tremendous interview and provides a spark and change of pace. He has a lot of upside.

Q: How does he compare or complement (Paul) Perkins?

A: Different type of player. He is a little longer type player. He has some speed and we feel like he has some upside in the pass game.

Q: He also has good ball security skills.

A: Yes, we like to maintain the ball. That is a big part of things and that is a big focus for us this year. He is a productive player.

Q: What about Gallman’s interview stood out?

A: He was well-prepared for the interview. You could see that he got football; it came clean to him. He did a nice job and was very ready, polished.

Q: How ready is Gallman in terms of pass blocking?

A: There will be a learning curve there. He has a lot that he has to learn about the pro game. It will be different systematically for him, but again, he did a nice job in the interview. He could really communicate what they were doing offensively and that is a good start.

MEDIA Q&A WITH WAYNE GALLMAN:

Q: How’d it feel to get the call from the Giants?

A: It was a shock. I’m just sitting here waiting and I heard that phone call. I just couldn’t wait to pick it up. I’m just glad to get that call.

Q: Why do you say shock?

A: I was hearing that I was supposed to go a little earlier than expected. Just this way, I’m relaxing to it and trusted wherever I was going to go through God. When that phone call came, I was just shocked. I didn’t know who it was. I’m glad it was the New York Giants.

Q: Just from seeing your tweet, it seems like you’re coming in with a chip on your shoulder it seems?

A: Of course, no doubt.

Q: How would you describe your running style?

A: I’m a hard, physical runner. I believe I have all the aspects in the running game that a running back is supposed to have. I have speed, power, whatever a team needs to get that extra yard.

Q: Are you familiar at all with Paul Perkins?

A: I watched him in college and watched a couple games from New York last year. I know a little bit about the running game.

Q: Do you think that you would compliment him well from what you’ve seen in his style?

A: Yes. I think I would be able to complement him and the offense well as well as any other thing that they would want me to do. I’m just ready to come in and work.

Q: Reuniting with fellow Clemson player B.J. Goodson?

A: Yeah, we have a relationship. I was just working out with him, these past couple of weeks, in Clemson.

Q: Will that continue when you arrive in the next couple of weeks?

A: Of course

Q: Did you have a lot of battles in practice with Goodson?

A: Yeah, a little bit here and there.

Q: Are you home right now? What is it like there?

A: It’s just me and my mom, my best friend, my dad, and my girlfriend. They are all excited.

Q: What is the feedback along this draft process for you? What did you take from what teams were telling you?

A: Pretty much, there was really no negative thing I’ve heard. That’s why I really didn’t know who I would get picked by. I knew everybody liked me, I don’t have a bad background at all, and I know my film is good, so it was a just a matter of seeing who was going to call.

Q: What was your contact with the Giants?

A: Actually, my first visit at the combine, either the first or second visit on Thursday or Tuesday, was with the Giants. I had a really good meeting with them. From then on, I really liked the Giants and Coach Johnson and everything.

Q: What made it a good meeting? Did you break down the plays, was it the conversation?

A: Conversation, breaking down the plays, and just the vibe that I came into the room with that I felt. I just liked them from then on.

Q: Did you have 100 less carries this season? What happened? Why did the number go down?

A: I did. We wanted to pass more this past year. It was all on my coach, Tony Elliot. That’s what the coaches wanted to do this past year. We ran the ball but it is what it is.

Q: The benefit of that was that you won a National Championship.

A: Exactly.

Q: Do you think that it hurt you personally though?

A: I am not trying to think about that, but I do know that throughout the year, those carries were ones that I wanted as a running back, of course. But I will do whatever it takes to win and if that means going out pass blocking and receiving, then I will do that.

Q: Who gave you the nickname “Train”?

A: Actually, my coach. (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach, Tony Elliot) and all the Clemson fans.

Q: What do you think of it?

A: At first I thought it was a little corny, but the more it was used – they ended up giving me a train sound whenever I scored or made a big run in Clemson Stadium, so I kind of just went along with it and accept it now.

Q: Did you do more pass protection this year with the offense?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: How did that go?

A: Yes, I believe that I improved over the year. At the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t say that I was doing my best job as a pass protector, but throughout the year I got better with my technique and it got us a championship.

Q: What was it like working with Dabo Sweeney?

A: Man, working with Coach Sweeney is just like working with a father figure. Coach Sweeney is all about family and just going out there and working hard each and every day. His standard is to just be the best and that is what we did every single day.

Q: Did you ever get tackled by Landon Collins?

A: No.

Q: Did you ever run him over?

A: No, I don’t think I played against Landon.

Q: How about Davlin Tomlinson?

A: No, I don’t really remember Davlin.

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5th Round – DE Avery Moss, 6’3”, 264lbs, 4.85, Youngstown State University
Avery Moss, Youngstown State Penguins (March 4, 2017)

Avery Moss – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Moss began his collegiate career at Nebraska where he was dismissed for an off-the-field incident. Moss has good size with long arms and is a good athlete. Moss flashes as a disruptive run defender and pass rusher, but he needs to get stronger at the point-of-attack. He is a competitor who plays hard. Needs technique work.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Avery Moss, defensive end from Youngstown. Avery is really a true defensive end. You don’t see a lot of those guys these days but he’s a true defensive end that can play the run, rush the passer. Big guy, has a lot of upside. We think he is just now scratching the surface of where we think he can be. We really like his skill set and really think he can come in and help us in that d-line group and at that defensive end position.

Q: How difficult was taking Moss as far as character and background?

A: Yes, he has had some issues. I think you have talked to him some already but he has had some issues and we think he’s well past those things. We’ll definitely keep an eye on that and if he needs any help in respect to that, we’ll definitely be there to help him. He’s a really well spoken young man that has been through some things. We think he has everything together now.

Q: How much did you evaluate that type of situation?

A: I can’t talk about some of the personal stuff that we talked about in respect to him, but we had a lot of conversations about it and we feel good at this point. We think he’s gotten past those things.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: Can you take us through the process on Avery Moss and his checkered past?

A: Just like any player, our scouts do an excellent job with digging into the background with the coaches, with his former coaches, off the field. We have tests that we give, a psychological test; obviously, with a person like Avery, who has something that was known, you do extra. That’s what we’ve done throughout the whole process and we felt good about taking him right now, based on his last two years of maturity and the help that he’s received. So we felt good about him as a person.

Q: Did you count on Coach Pelini’s recommendation?

A: Without a doubt. One of our scouts, Steve Devine, has a very close relationship with him. You have to rely on your scouts and trust the people that they talk to and trust throughout the process.

Q: How much is that talked about before you draft a guy?

A: We have draft meetings, extensive draft meetings, where we thoroughly vet every single player. Those things are talked about and the way we do our process, which is maybe different than other teams, we kind of go through a mini-meeting about each player as we are approaching our time on the clock.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Avery Moss is a physical football player; he has good length, plays with an edge to him.

Q: How much did you put into the vetting process with (Avery) Moss?

A: We did our homework.

Q: Do you feel confident that he is not a risk?

A: We feel that he has turned the corner. If he needs any support or help when he is here, we will offer that support.

Q: With a player that has been through something like that, do you check that personally?

A: We do our homework.

Q: You personally?

A: We do our homework.

MEDIA Q&A WITH AVERY MOSS:

Q: How did it feel to get the call from the Giants?

A: Oh, man it felt so great. I am here at the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas with my grandma – she just had a stroke a couple days ago, so I was just with her and we were ecstatic to get the news.

Q: How is she doing?

A: She is doing good. She has shown mass recovery in the last week. She is moving faster than any normal patient really does and I wouldn’t expect nothing else from her. She is a fighter. We have been here with her day and night since about Tuesday. So everything has been going well on her end, to God be the glory, everything is good right now.

Q: Did this throw off your plans for this week?

A: Yeah, we didn’t have a lot planned, but this definitely changed everything. It changed our mood and everything because it is definitely a Lord’s blessing to even have this opportunity. But at the same time, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my grandmother, so it is just a precise thing of life – we had to be here and she was like the number one thing in my mind. It is a blessing that she is alright and it did change, but it was for the better. We are going to go family first on this one, but I am definitely glad that we were able to be here at the hospital and be able to watch the draft with her and celebrate with her, as she is getting better.

Q: Is she awake and alert now? Does she know that you have been drafted?

A: Yes, sir. She has a lot of her cognitive skills back, she is aware and everything like that and once I told her, she cried and I hugged her. She knows and she is excited. She said that she always knew I was going to go back to a cold state anyway.

Q: What do you think you can bring to the Giants?

A: From a defensive end, I know as everything I have had in my life, I have had a lot of adversity. Perseverance is a normal language for me, that is something I am used to and I just keep going through and keep doing. I am relentless when it comes to effort. I never want to give up on a play just because it is never done until the whistle is blown and I think I can definitely try to assist and learn from the D-ends that are already there and then just try to add on in terms of a pass rush standpoint, try to make some noise and help New York get to something big.

Q: Can you explain what happened in your dismissal of Nebraska?

A: My true freshman year, I came in off 17. I got charged with indecent exposure but that wasn’t what led to me actually getting dismissed. I got dismissed for going into a dormitory hall that I was banned from for a year. It is what it is. I waited to try and get back into the University of Nebraska. They dismissed me and I went to the FCS and coach Bo. I definitely learned from everything. I attended counseling from that incident and am two years graduated from that. It was a blessing not only to have this chance to be a New York Giant and play for the National Football League, but it’s a blessing just to get a second chance to play the game at another university. I felt like I was at my lowest in 2014 when I was dismissed. I was going through a crisis and didn’t know what was going on. I really found my faith with my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Everything came to balance once I added Him into my life. From there, everything has been good, so to God be the glory. I’m thankful for this opportunity and the road that came with it because it taught me a lot.

Q: How much of an impact did coach Pelini leave on your life because you followed him to Youngstown?

A: He’s a real life father figure. He may be one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, I’ve had. Another man I would want to have impact my life like he did. He came in from high school and told me, there was a lot of guys that were recruiting me and were telling me that I was going to be a starter and that they could make me an NFL player this and that. He came in and he was genuine and real. He said I may not be a starter there but that he could offer me opportunities. He said he needed me to work hard and this and this could happen. Everyone always sees the yelling coach Bo and all that, but he’s really a good dude. A fun dude. He’s really just the father that you have in the stadium. He cares for his players dearly. He just shows it and he’s a wonderful, good teacher also. He’s taught me a lot about the game of football. I’m sad to be leaving him but ecstatic about the opportunity and blessed that he was in my life.

Q: Was there a chance to go back to Nebraska if the coach stayed?

A: I was originally supposed to go back. The suspension that I had was only a year suspension. So after that year suspension, I was thinking I was going to come back. They had certain rules and protocols that I had to follow during that year that I was off to get re-admitted back into the university. So I went and did that; was expecting a call saying that I was going to be able to come back. After the end of the year after Coach Pelini was fired, they told me to find another school. That’s when I looked into other schools to go to, and I was going to go to another big D-1, but if I did that, I would have to sit another year out for transferring, so I’d only be able to play my senior year. So I decided to go to the FCS and it made perfect sense.

Q: What did you do for that year when you were out of school?

A: I worked at a car dealership called Sid Dillon in Lincoln, Nebraska. For a year, I would put in 45-hour weeks, and all that good stuff. That was my occupation for that entire time, from January to January.

Q: At that point did you think you would be in this position someday?

A: No, sir. I definitely was in a weird space, where I was trying to find myself.

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6th Round – OL Adam Bisnowaty, 6’6”, 304lbs, 5.24, University of Pittsburgh
Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh Panthers (October 8, 2016)

Adam Bisnowaty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Fifth-year senior. Bisnowaty played left tackle at the collegiate level but could project to right tackle or either guard spot in the pros. Bisnowaty looks the part with a good frame (6’6”, 304lbs) with long arms and huge hands. He lacks ideal agility in pass protection and mauling power as a run blocker, but he is a scrappy player with good intangibles. Smart, tough, and aggressive. Bisnowaty works to finish his blocks and has a mean streak. Somewhat injury prone.

SY’56’s Take: “Early in the 2016 season, scouts were talking about Bisnowaty as being the top guy in this class. Potential top 10 overall type. It’s easy to see why because of his easy movement out of his stance and ability to mirror a defender with excellent lower half balance and quickness. He did suffer an injury somewhere around the midpoint of the season that made his tape look weak in the second half, but even at full strength I never quite saw it from him. He didn’t move guys. More of an absorber rather than an attacker. Too easily thrown around. Those things bother me as much as a guy with really slow feet. I think he may be best suited for backup swing duty.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Bisnowaty, a tackle from Pittsburgh. He played a lot of football for them. A big guy that is tough and rugged. He’ll get into our offensive line group and challenge for a spot there as well.

Q: Do you see Bisnowaty as a tackle or a guard?

A: We think he’s a tackle. We’ll start him out at tackle. That’s the coaches. They can do whatever they want to do with him. I think he’s a tackle.

Q: You traded up seven spots and gave up a draft pick to get him. Why?

A: We thought that there wasn’t a lot left on the board in respect to offensive line. He could’ve easily been there but we had a little huddle and said let’s go get this guy if we can. We gave up our seventh round pick to get him.

Q: How important was it to get an offensive lineman in this draft?

A: We wanted to help the offensive line but we didn’t want to reach for anyone and we did that. We always want to help every position and offensive line is a position that we tried to help, but again, we’re not going to reach for anyone.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: Jerry Reese mentioned that you traded your 7th round pick because no one at the top of your board was left, is this true?

A: Yes. We felt really good about Adam Bisnowaty and we didn’t want to miss out on him, compared to some other people that you may have to wait on in the sixth, and then wait on in the seventh round. We felt that he was worth packaging those two picks to get.

Q: Waiting until the sixth round to get an offensive lineman, is it safe to say that you guys thought this offensive line class was bad?

A: We stuck to our board from the first round until the sixth. We’re not going to reach. If we feel like there is a player of value and need at the right place and the right time, we are going to take him. We’re just not going to jump over players that we feel are better players who can contribute to reach for a perceived position of need.

Q: The offensive line is perceived as a position of need. Do you look at it like you really need an offensive lineman?

A: We look at it as we need good players at every position, at every position.

Q: It was a perceived position of need with others and you got one. Why so late for a tackle?

A: We took six players. How many positions are there on the field? Ten. So you can kind of check, oh man we could’ve got four, maybe if we had four more picks we could have got those. We’ll see when we get in free agency.

Q: Is it fair to say that inside this building you feel better about your offensive line than outsiders?

A: Probably inside this building we feel better about a lot of things than most outsiders feel. We say left, you guys say right. We say up, you say down. It’s just the nature of what we do. We trust the people that we have here from the coaches to the scouts and that’s what we have to rely on.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Adam Bisnowaty is a tackle or guard from Pitt. He has played a lot of football for them, has been a productive player, he is a physical player and we are glad that we have him.

Q: Where will Bisnowaty play?

A: It is still early. We are going to bring him in, see how he can play on both sides, both right and left, move him around a little bit and we think he has some flexibility inside as well.

Q: Will he play tackle initially though?

A: We will start him at tackle and see how he does.

Q: Bisnowaty said that he is a nasty football player. Is that something that you want in all of your linemen?

A: I don’t know that it is the most important quality, but it is nice to have someone that plays physical with that type of physicality and likes to finish plays and plays nasty and he is also from God’s country. That helps him. He is a good, physical football player. We are glad to have him. He fits our profile and has played a lot of football at a high level.

MEDIA Q&A WITH ADAM BISNOWATY:

Q: How did it feel to get the call from the Giants?

A: It was awesome. Just sitting here and watching, it is an unbelievable experience and opportunity I have in front of me and I am excited to get started and to get there and get rolling. Like I said, it was awesome.

Q: The Giants traded up to get you. How does that make you feel?

A: I think it says a lot about how they feel about me, which is great. I am ready to come in and get going and start hitting the field and just get out there and help the team to win that Super Bowl. I think it says a lot about how they feel about me and I am pretty excited about that.

Q: Are you a tackle or a guard?

A: I think it is whatever they feel like they want me to do. I played a lot of tackle at Pitt and a little bit of guard, but I am willing to play either one, so wherever the best fit is for me and the team and however we are going to win the most games is going to depend on where I play. I am excited to play either one.

Q: How would you describe your game?

A: I am a nasty football player. I get after people. That is something that I am very proud of – I am out there and I am physical every play, making sure that the guy across from me wants to quit. Everything I do on the field is nasty and physical and I take myself off the field with the preparation and I take that to the next level, so that when I get out there it is all football.

Q: What do you think you have to work on the most?

A: I think just continuing to work on the details of my fundamentals. I think it all comes back to that offensive line play and fundamentals are huge. If you continue to work on those every day and I think just continue to learn, keep learning, keep perfecting my game and skills every day and that will help me to become a better player and to succeed.

Q: Do you know much about the Giants offensive line situation right now?

A: Yeah, I know a little bit. A few years back they drafted a few guys and they have a few guys starting right now and there are some opportunities and right now I am just excited to come in there and get out there and do the best I can and help contribute to this team. I think that is my main thing coming out there.

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Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

RB Khalid Abdullah, 5’10”, 194lbs, 4.69, James Madison University (Video)
Abdullah is a super-productive, instinctive, small-school running back who lacks ideal size and speed, but he can make defenders miss.

FB Shane Smith, 6’1”, 244lbs, 4.81, San Jose State University
Smith is a classic lead-blocking fullback who rarely touched the ball in college. Gym rat who is super strong. Smart. Good special teams player.

WR Travis Rudolph, 6’0”, 189lbs, 4.65 Florida State University (Video)
Rudolph lacks size, speed, and agility, but he plays better than he tests. He runs good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. Competitor who will block.

WR Keeon Johnson, 6’2”, 211lbs, 4.57, University of Virginia (Video)
Johnson is a big possession receiver.

WR Jalen Williams, 6’2”, 209lbs, 4.55 University of Massachusetts (Video)
Williams is a tall, athletic receiver with very good hands. He averaged 19.3 yards per catch in 2016. However, Williams missed all of 2015 with a leg injury and was nagged in 2016 with ankle issues. He also has had off-the-field problems (arrest in 2015).

WR Rob Wheelwright, 6’2”, 205lbs, 4.60, University of Wisconsin (Video)
Wheelright has a nice combination of size and overall athletic ability. Lacks ideal speed and his hands are just so-so. He doesn’t play to his size and has been regarded as a bit of an underachiever. Good run blocker.

WR Kevin Snead, 6’0”, 190lbs, 4.22, Carson-Newman University (Video)
Snead is an extremely fast but raw, small-school player who has some experience at both corner and wide receiver. He only had five catches in college. Snead did return kickoffs in college.

WR Jerome Lane, 6’3”, 220lbs, 4.58, University of Akron (Video)
Lane is a big, physical receiver who lacks ideal speed and quickness. Lane will make the tough catch over the middle but may struggle to separate from NFL defensive backs.

TE Colin Thompson, 6’4”, 254lbs, 5.01, Temple University (Video)
Thompson is a blocking tight end who rarely touched the ball at Temple.

OT Chad Wheeler, 6’7”, 306lbs, 5.49, USC (Video)
Although he did not test well athletically, Wheeler combines good size with decent overall foot quickness at left tackle. He is a solid technician who plays hard and enjoys the game. Tough and aggressive. However, he had injury and off-the-field issues in college. Wheeler is a better pass protector than run blocker and he needs to get stronger.

OG Jessamen Dunker, 6’4”, 318lbs, 5.01, Tennessee State University (Video)
Dunker is a big, athletic guard who needs to get stronger and dedicate himself to the game. He does not play with much power and he needs a lot of technique work. Raw, but has an upside.

DE Evan Schwan, 6’5”, 261lbs, 4.68, Penn State (Video)
Schwan is a big defensive end who was an ascending player at Penn State late in his collegiate career. Smart and hard working. He is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks ideal quickness.

DT Jarron Jones, 6’6”, 316lbs, 5.41, University of Notre Dame (Video)
Huge, strong defensive tackle with very long arms. He can stack at the point-of-attack against the run and flashes as a power pass rusher. Too fat and lacks ideal overall athleticism. Work ethic and competitiveness have been questioned. Jones has an upside but he has to want it.

DT Josh Banks, 6’3”, 278lbs, 4.90, Wake Forest University (Video)
Athletic, undersized defensive tackle who flashes the ability to disrupt and make plays in the backfield. Banks was suspended by his team for three games in 2015 for unspecified reasons.

LB Calvin Munson, 6’1”, 245lbs, 4.78, San Diego State University (Video)
Three-year starter who was a team leader at SDSU. Munson has good size, but lacks ideal agility. He is a better run defender than in pass coverage or blitzing. Smart, physical, aggressive, instinctive, and productive.

CB Nigel Tribune, 5’10”, 190lbs, 4.49, Iowa State University (Video)
Experienced corner who started games every year at Iowa State. He was suspended for a drunk driving arrest his senior year.

CB DaShaun Amos, 6’0”, 185lbs, 4.50, East Carolina University
Amos is an average-sized corner with decent overall athleticism.

S Trey Robinson, 6’1”, 203lbs, 4.63, Furman University (Video)
Robinson is a physical safety with decent size and overall athleticism.

FS Jadar Johnson, 6’0”, 206lbs, 4.64, Clemson University (Video)
Johnson has a nice combination of size and overall athletic ability. Well built. He is instinctive in coverage, has good range, and makes plays on the football in the passing game. Better in zone coverage as he can struggle in man coverage. Johnson is not a physical run defender or tackler. He needs to become a tougher football player to make it.

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Eric’s Take on the 2017 Draft

The draft is not always about addressing immediate needs. A good team is lucky if more than two of their drafted players start as rookies. Savvy, secure, and stable front offices think beyond the upcoming season in terms of how a roster is constructed for the long term. That said, free agency and the salary cap have put more pressure on teams to select players who can contribute sooner rather than later and thus, on the value vs. needs spectrum (and debate), “need” has become more important as the years have passed.

Heading into the 2017 draft, the Giants had glaring needs at defensive tackle and tight end. The team also ideally wanted to address talent and depth concerns at running back, the offensive line, linebacker, and in the secondary. Then there was the elephant in the room that some fans did not want to acknowledge – the Eli Manning era could be coming to a close in three years. As is the case each year for every team, there were more needs than available resources (the Giants entered the draft with seven draft picks).

My views on this draft come with a subjective bias. I did not like this offensive line class and thus, I was very much worried the Giants would reach and draft a sub par offensive lineman with an early pick. Teams appear to have agreed. Only 33 offensive linemen were drafted, with only 10 drafted in the first three rounds. The last time an offensive lineman was not drafted this late was 1982. You may have had your favorite OL prospect passed on by the Giants (and most other teams), but how good a prospect would that player have been in a “normal” offensive line draft? In fact, had 23-year old Ereck Flowers been a prospect in this draft, he probably would have been the first offensive lineman drafted.

The selection of Evan Engram did not surprise me. I had a sneaky suspicion he was going to be the pick and heard from two sources before the draft that he was definitely a first-round target. And I would not be surprised if the Giants had Engram rated ahead of tight end O.J. Howard, who went four picks before the Giants selected. They certainly had him rated ahead of tight end David Njoku, who went six picks later. Let’s get this straight: Engram is not a true tight end and he never will be. One look at his frame will tell you that. He’s a hybrid, a TE-WR ‘tweener. It’s a different game now. The days of Mark Bavaro, Zeke Mowatt, and even Howard Cross are gone. For better or worse, we’re moving more towards Arena League-style football. It’s happened in college and now it’s happening in the pros. Free agent Rhett Ellison – who has averaged 10 catches per season in five years – will be the in-line, blocking tight end. Engram will be used everywhere: H-back (move tight end), slot, out wide, out of the backfield, and sometimes in a traditional in-line stance. The fact that he was drafted tells us that it was not McAdoo’s preference to be in “11” personnel (1-RB, 1-TE, 3-WR packages) all season in 2016. That will change now. Most importantly what will change is opposing defenses ignoring the Giants tight ends and playing exclusively two-deep coverage. Engram’s presence alone will help open things up for Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, or Engram will torch opposing secondaries all day long down the middle of the field. Engram is not as field-fast as his 4.4 time suggests, but he will be one of the fastest (if not THE fastest) tight ends in the NFL. He’s smart, he knows how to get open, and he can catch the football. The most used word to describe him? Play maker. Why did the Giants struggle to score last year? Yes, the offensive line was an issue. But the bigger issues were Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz, and Larry Donnell/Will Tye were not very good. The Giants offense is now a MUCH different creature and will be very difficult to defend if the quarterback plays well and the offensive line plays at even an adequate level.

With the loss of Johnathan Hankins, I thought defensive tackle was the most glaring need on the team. Not only were there only three defensive tackles on the roster, but two of them (Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas) have been career back-up types. All-Pro Damon Harrison can’t do it all by himself. You can’t game plan around not having a defensive tackle. And God forbid Harrison gets hurt. The entire defense could fall apart. Enter Dalvin Tomlinson, who was one of the best run-defending defensive tackles in the draft. Moreover, Tomlinson – given his size, strength, intelligence, and Crimson Tide pedigree – has an excellent chance to start from day one. Tomlinson was asked to two-gap a lot at Alabama. Freed to one-gap more with the Giants, he actually may end up being a more disruptive pro player than college player. Tomlinson is my favorite player the Giants drafted.

The lightning rod selection – as it always is on every team – was the quarterback. Most quarterbacks drafted do not become “franchise” quarterbacks. And those odds dramatically decrease after the first round. Despite some talk of the Giants being interested in drafting Pat Mahomes (who went 10th), the Giants were not in position to draft him or Mitchell Trubisky (2nd overall) or Deshaun Watson (12th). One could argue that this was not a great QB class and it would have been an exceptionally risky proposition not only to draft one in the first round, but worse, give up multiple future premium picks to do so. So after the top three were gone, I was personally happy the Giants did not draft a quarterback in rounds one or two. Now some argue that given the batting average of drafting a quarterback past round one is not good, drafting a quarterback in round three is a waste of a draft pick. (Hanging over this discussion is the team’s abysmal record of drafting players in the 3rd round in recent years). However, teams cannot afford to think that way. Where would the Cowboys be had they not drafted Dak Prescott in the 4th round? The Giants had a second-round grade on Davis Webb. When he fell to the third round, they pounced. Will he be the next Eli Manning? The odds say no. But Webb has the tools – he has the size, arm, intelligence, and work ethic. Does he have “it”? Only time will tell. But the good news is that Webb has some time to develop and he has a good system and coaching staff to work with.

Given the talent and depth at running back in this draft, the 4th round was an obvious spot to select a running back and that’s what the Giants did with the pick of Wayne Gallman. The Clemson prospect had a monster year in 2015, saw his productivity slip in 2016, but he became a more well-rounded player. He’s a big-time player from a big-time program who has scored 30 rushing touchdowns in two years. The only second-guessing here will be from those who wonder if the Giants should have selected a different running back. Gallman will have a legit chance to win the starting running back spot from Paul Perkins.

The late rounds is where scouts really earn their keep. This is where lesser-known players with some warts – including character concerns – get drafted. Teams have to do their homework and determine if these players have a credible chance to eventually make an impact at the pro level. Avery Moss is one of those “who?” guys that after closer inspection seems worthy of the late-round selection. Moss was kicked out of Nebraska for an off-the-field incident that the Giants have investigated. He’s a two-way defensive end (difficult to find late in the draft) who can rush the passer. That will be his ticket if he is to unseat Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn, or Odighizuwa Owamagbe from a roster spot. Those three did not get enough heat on the quarterback. Moss flashes that ability. He did so both at Nebraska and Youngstown State. To those fans who say, “why do we need another end?” I would respond remember what happened to the pass rush once JPP left the line-up. The Giants – like all teams – need to add pass rushers.

Getting Adam Bisnowaty in round six was a bit of a coup. The Giants gave up their 7th rounder to move up seven spots to do so. No, Bisnowaty is no sure bet to solve the Giants offensive line woes (or even make the team). But he was regarded by some as a 4th round-type talent. Bisnowaty may not be pretty, but he’s the kind of scrappy player who survives a long time in the NFL (think David Diehl, Brad Benson, Rich Seubert). If the Giants had drafted Bisnowaty higher than they did, no one would have blinked an eye.

And the Giants got another player like that after the draft when they signed undrafted rookie free agent Chad Wheeler, who had not it been for a down 2016 season and an off-the-field incident, would have been drafted and possibly quite high. I would not be shocked to see Wheeler starting for the Giants at some point within the next couple of years. Small school offensive line prospect Jessamen Dunker is raw but extremely athletic. He also can play both guard and tackle. Dunker may take a couple of years to develop, but he has a shot.

Other undrafted free agents of note are Shane Smith, who could earn a roster spot by default if the Giants want a fullback on the roster. Travis Rudolph was a super-productive wideout from a major program. He could be one of those players who simply doesn’t test well, but is a player. Colin Thompson is a college rarity – a tight end who can block. Jarron Jones flashes tremendous ability at defensive tackle, but he won’t make it unless he takes the game more seriously. Both linebacker Calvin Munson and free safety Jadar Johnson have a legitimate chance to make the 53-man roster. My only surprise and disappointment is that the Giants only added one rookie corner (rookie free agent Nigel Tribune) in what was regarded as a strong defensive back class.

Overall, this looks like a respectable effort with the wild card being Davis Webb. What is interesting is that every drafted player, with the exception of Avery Moss who transferred from Nebraska, came from a major program. Evan Engram will elevate the Giants’ offense to a different level. Dalvin Tomlinson has a good chance to start and become an outstanding pro. Wayne Gallman has a chance to win the starting running back job. And the Giants did add some rookie offensive linemen who have a chance to be a factor down the road. The rookie free agent class is strong. If Webb becomes a good pro player, then this draft moves to a different level.

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May 012017
 
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Chad Wheeler, USC Trojans (September 3, 2016)

Chad Wheeler – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of May 1, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about how the New York Giants performed in the 2017 NFL Draft and their thoughts on the undrafted rookie free agents signed after the draft.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 302017
 
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Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh Panthers (October 8, 2016)

Adam Bisnowaty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 29, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about the New York Giants’ selection of running back Wayne Gallman (Clemson) in the fourth round, DE Avery Moss (Youngstown State) in the fifth round, and offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh) in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 292017
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 9, 2017)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 28, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about the New York Giants’ selection of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round and quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 282017
 
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Evan Engram, Mississippi Rebels (November 5, 2016)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 27, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about the New York Giants’ selection of tight end Evan Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. They also discuss how the rest of the NFC East did.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 262017
 
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De'Veon Smith, Michigan Wolverines (December 30, 2016)

De’Veon Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 26, 2017: With one day to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 to talk about the Giants’ needs and projections, SY’s Mock Draft, and rumors, thoughts, observations, and tidbits before the draft starts.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 252017
 
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Jamal Adams,LSU Tigers (December 31, 2016)

Jamal Adams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Safeties

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

One of my best value picks of the 2015 NFL Draft, Landon Collins, broke out in a big way in his sophomore season. The two way threat made several All Pro teams and appears to be a cornerstone of this defense moving forward. The spot next to him continues to be a revolving door, however. Darian Thompson, Mykkele Thompson, and Nat Berhe combined for more missed games than actual games on the field. In their absence, UDFA Andrew Adams showed some promise. All four will compete for the starting job this summer but it looks like the 2016 3rd rounder Thompson has the inside track. All in all this group is young and versatile, but also unproven outside of Collins.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Jamal Adams – 6’0/211 – LSU: 91

Summary: Junior entry that was a factor in the loaded Tigers’ backfield from day one of his college career. Adams was an All American in 2016 and may be the top safety prospect to come out in over a decade. His game can factor on any play in any situation against any opponent. He is at his best in the box and in pursuit. There is a natural gravitation towards the action and a rare ability to close and finish. The athletic tools he possesses are rare and very functional on the field. Adams can easily be moved around and his impact will always be felt. The intangibles and leadership qualities in addition give him the franchise player caliber-level.

*Adams can make a case for being the top overall player in this class. He doesn’t have the ideal size but by no means can he be considered small. He has longer arms than some offensive linemen and a frame that will easily add 10 pounds when all is said and done. Adams can fill every role, including nickel CB, based on the situation. I love how he can sniff things out and finish plays off. Very smart, intelligent, hard working. Motor always on. He is a guy a defense can be built around and to be honest, if I am CLE a #1, I would consider him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eric Berry – KC

2 – Malik Hooker – 6’1/206- Ohio State: 84

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Just a one year starter that took full advantage of his time in the spotlight, earning 1st Team All American honors. Second in the nation with 7 interceptions and very high quality play in the box. Hooker is still very green in comparison to other prospects. He’s only been playing football for five years which is almost hard to believe because of the high level of instincts and awareness he plays with. One has to believe the arrow is still very much pointing up for him. His issues revolve around the physical presence of the game. He misses more tackles than a safety should and there have been times where he shies from contact. His surgically repaired shoulder shouldn’t decrease his grade much, if at all. There is always risk with one year starters, but his upside is through the roof.

*I have never seen a prospect that reminded me so much of Ed Reed, the guy that I think should be considered the top safety of all time. Hooker has such a natural feel and instinct for anticipating throws and routes. Excellent ball skills with some of the biggest hands you will ever find (yes, that matters to scouts). His issues, however, are a lack of experience and iffy tackling. Despite those issues I still have a high grade on him and even though I see a second coming here, I have to admit Hooker may be one of the bigger risks of the class.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ed Reed – RET

3 – Desmond King – 5’11/200- Iowa: 83

Summary: Four year starter and 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner. Opposing offenses avoided throwing him the ball in 2016 for the most part, hence the drop in production. However he looked just as good, if not better on tape and will be one of the most versatile defensive backs in this class. King can play a cover 2 cornerback role with his ability to anticipate and react. If a team wants to roam him as a safety, he has more than enough physical presence and versatility on coverage to more than hold his own. The lack of ideal size and speed can limit him, but this kid is a playmaker that will help much more often than a hurt a defense.

*I came in to the year with King right under DE Jonathan Allen as my top senior prospect. Her e we are, the week of the draft, and King is still at or near that spot. The question here is, what position does he play? As a CB, he is graded a tad lower but not much (81). King doesn’t have the ideal size for safety, nor does he have the ideal speed for CB. But at the end of the day I think he can play both in the NFL and would benefit from a nickel, third-safety type role. He is an elite tackler for the defensive backfield and he may be one of the smartest players in this class. I’ll take a kid like this every day and know you have a guy that could actually play both spots at a high level.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jairus Byrd – FA

4 – Budda Baker – 5’10/192 – Washington: 83

Summary: Junior entry and three year starter. 1st Team All Pac 12 two years in a row. The former 100 M state champion was a huge get for Washington in the recruiting process. His career has been on the uptick from the beginning and despite a lack of size and strength, he has had as much impact on the team’s defense as anyone. Baker is a natural lead by example type with his never-off engine and presence all over the field. He can impact the game several ways. There is cornerback-caliber lower body movement in man coverage and a feel for deep zone coverage that is hard to find. He may not be a bruiser in the box, but he’ll get the ball carrier to the ground. He can do it all.

*Hard not to enjoy how this guy plays. We are talking about an all out, all the time versatile threat that, with the right defensive mind calling the shots, can put him in a position to make a deep impact on the game each week. The size is a glaring issue and there no arguing that. While he is a very good tackler, the ability to hold up considering his size is questionable. Baker needs to play a split slot CB/roaming safety role. I’m not sure he would hack it as a traditional safety.

Upside Pro Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu – ARI

5 – Marcus Maye – 6’0/212 – Florida: 81

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three year starter that has quietly been one of the best players on the Gators defense over that span. He was named an All American in 2015 but a broken arm in November ended his senior campaign short. Maye doesn’t have a lone standout trait to his game. However his all around, balanced abilities and skills can give a secondary versatility and reliability. He has plenty of experience in the box, in man coverage, and in deep zone. He is at his best when playing near the line of scrimmage, but he is no slouch in the other areas. Maye can be a starter early in his career.

*I’m not sure how many people have a 1st round grade on Maye, but I don’t really care. He is a versatile threat that tackles as well as anyone. This is the kind of defender you want as your last line of defense. Really intelligent, instinctive player. Pro-ready week 1 and I think he can be a starter for NYG right away if they were able to snag him in round 2 or 3. A lot of these safeties in this class lack a power presence and/or speed. Maye has both and he plays smart.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eric Reid – SF

6 – John Johnson – 6’0/202 – Boston College: 79

Summary: Fourth year senior that blossomed his senior year, showing a versatile skill set that can be used in deep coverage as well as near the line of scrimmage. Johnson isn’t a household name, but he is as quick and instinctive as any of the safeties in this class. Johnson has the athletic ability to match up with receivers in man coverage but also makes an impact as a downhill tackler. He has all the range and easy reactions to factor in zone coverage. For schemes that like to intertwine their safeties, Johnson can be viewed as an early day 2 pick.

*I’m higher on Johnson than anyone I’ve seen out there. I simply believe his arrow is really pointing up at this point and the he can be had before he proves to everyone there is a lot of talent here. Such a fluid mover and quick reaction based player that tackles well. He could use some more meat on those bones and in time, he likely well. Whoever gets him is going to be very happy 3 years from now.

Upside Pro Comparison: Glover Quin – DET

7 – Jabrill Peppers – 5’11/213 – Michigan: 79

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Had a ton of buzz surrounding him out of high school. Was jostled around position-wise but spent the majority of his snaps at linebacker in 2016. Peppers is a jack-of-all trades prospect, almost to a fault. There is no denying that his ability with the ball in his hands is elite. However, as a defensive prospect, there are several holes in his game. There may not be enough skills and instincts for the defensive backfield, and there aren’t any linebackers at his size. Drafting Peppers will be a risk for a few reasons, the main one being trying to choose what he is best at and let him develop from there.

*Here it is. The most polarizing prospect in the entire draft. So much of me wants to say this kid is a top 5 player and will impact the league multiple ways for a decade. The other side tells me he isn’t a football player. He has been a superior athlete at that’s what made him a quality asset to a team. Now he is entering a league where, to be frank, he is slightly above average athletically. I can speak about Peppers for hours but to sum it up, he is a guy without a true position. That can be a good thing in the right scheme, or a bad thing in the wrong scheme. And I will take this to my grave…he would be a better RB in the league than defensive player. While he doesn’t meet the grade for #23 overall…it would be exciting to see this kid in blue.

Upside Pro Comparison: Keanu Neal – ATL

8 – Obi Melifonwu – 6’4/224 – Connecticut: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior that never left the starting lineup since week one of his redshirt freshman season. A consistently productive and versatile player that ended up on the 1st Team All American Athletic conference list in 2016. Melifonwu is sure to get several scouts and coaches excited about his through the roof upside. The combination of tools may be among the best in the class and he proved that he is more than a model. Melifonwu has a developed skill set and knows how to impact the game several ways. There are some vitals he needs to clean up, mainly tackling, but this kid is pro-ready right away. He can be a starter on most teams.

*This kid is one of those “Greek God” looking guys. He gets off the bus and you wonder how a human being can look like he does. And you know what? He is actually a player. Some teams are actually looking at him as a CB because of how fluid he can move and he showed a ton of promise in press coverage. Very unique player but I still consider him very raw. Borderline hesitant and not secure in his decision making yet. If he blossoms, he can be a star.

Upside Pro Comparison: George Iloka – CIN

9 – Rayshawn Jenkins – 6’1/214 – Miami: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior that missed 2014 while recovering from a back injury that occurred during offseason weight training. Jenkins started for three years. The 3rd Team All SEC safety plays a physical brand and has the size to back it up. He can knock ball carriers in to tomorrow but also shows advanced footwork and awareness in coverage. He wore a lot of hats for that Canes defense. You’ll get a high effort, intense, physical guy here that can be moved around a bit.

*Jenkins is an interesting guy. One of 16 children growing up, he plays the game as hungry and intense as anyone. Leader of the defense type. The former high school running back and track champion will be a special teams demon week 1 and could likely physically start in year one as well. I don’t think he will ever be a star but you may not need him to be. He will be reliable,physical, and fast.

Upside Pro Comparison: Morgan Burnett – GB

10 – Xavier Woods – 5’11/197 – Louisiana Tech: 77

Summary: Four year starter and three time 1st Team All Conference USA member. 17 interceptions over his final three years is the number that stands out from Woods. He has cornerback type traits and could likely fill the nickel role on some teams that want more physical presence at that spot. Woods has some of the best instincts and awareness of all the players in this class. He is always in the right place mentally and his movement ability is near top notch. Woods is overlooked but I bet he gets drafted sooner than some think.

*I like this kid a lot. Some things, mostly his size, tell me not to put him this high on this list but at the end of the day, he isn’t much smaller than most of these fellow safeties. Woods is always moving in the right direction and I think he can fit in to any scheme and wear multiple hats. Maybe never a big time player, but he can contribute early in different roles.

Upside Pro Comparison: Micah Hyde – BUF

11 – Justin Evans – 6’0/199 – Texas A& M: 77

Summary: Fourth year senior that played and started for two years at Texas A& M. The former junior college standout earned 2nd Team All SEC honors in 2016, displaying an all-over-the-field style of play. Evans is an outstanding athlete for the position that will lay the lumber to oncoming ball carriers but also factor in deep coverage. He can wear multiple hats for a defensive backfield, but must show he can do a better job of reading receivers and quarterbacks before he can be relied on. He takes too many false steps for a position that needs to rely on instincts, feel, and anticipation. If he can harness his aggression and add some bulk, he can be a quality starter.

*Exciting player to watch. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and his presence is bugger than his listed size. That said, I think he is on the very thin side and it always worries me when a player with his frame plays at hard as he does. Will he hold up? We are talking about hitting a different breed of athletes in the NFL. Evans is almost over-aggressive and is often catching up from missed reads. Sometimes it helps, but sometimes it just kills a defense. All or nothing in more ways than one.

Upside Pro Comparison: Quintin Demps – CHI

12 – Josh Jones – 6’1/220 – NC State: 75

Summary: Junior entry. Full time starter for two and a half years that has somewhat flown under the radar. Jones is a productive-across-the-board defender that totaled eight interceptions over his career in addition to be an aggressive run defender that flies all over the field. His tools are top notch, but mentally he shows too many lapses in concentration and an overall lack of instincts. He’ll need to show he can play with more discipline before he can be depended on as a last line of defense.

*For teams that are looking for more size and presence among a safety group that is pretty undersized as a whole, Jones may be higher on their board. He is a great downfield, physical tackler that will react as fast as anyone. He can close that 10-15 yard window as quick as anyone. What Jones consistently did poorly, however, was read quarterbacks and receivers. He got fooled weekly and sometimes, very badly. Does he have instincts? If not, I wouldn’t want him. If he can clean that up, he has a very high ceiling.

Upside Pro Comparison: Reshad Jones – MIA

13 – Nate Gerry – 6’2/218 – Nebraska: 75

Summary: Fourth year senior with three years of starting experience. In each of those three years, he was a part of the Big 10 All Conference team. Gerry played a hybrid LB/S role for this defense but n 2016 he saw more deep coverage duties in which he performed admirably. Gerry will be drafted for his run defending presence, but he has proven he is not a major liability on coverage. Still a limited athlete, Gerry can be a solid compliment to a coverage safety.

*Gerry was suspended for the team’s bowl game this past year because of academics. I wouldn’t call it a character red flag though. Gerry plays the game physical and borderline dirty. He likes to be a bully and some teams will love that about him. He is an enforcer that is athletic enough to carry tight ends up the seam. I wouldn’t trust him in deep coverage or in a matchup against NFL WRs, but he can find a role.

Upside Pro Comparison: JJ Wilcox – TB

14 – Marcus Williams – 6’0/205 – Utah: 75

Summary: Started through all four years of his career, earning all conference honors in 2015 and 2016. Despite missing some time this past season with a knee injury, Williams proved to be one of the top ballhawks in the class. He shows a very advanced skill set when it comes to getting himself in position and making plays on the ball. Even though he has a good reputation of constantly being in or near the action, Williams was too easily fooled and let up a lot of big plays. As a last line of defense in the secondary, he needs to do a better jump of diagnosing what is real and what is not. In addition, his frame needs more meat so that he can add a presence to his tackling rather than getting knocked backwards so often. Developmental, potential starter down the road.

*Most will have this guy as a day 2 pick, but I’m not quite there with him. Williams is very good when the ball is in the air. He can high point the ball and position his body well. What concerns me though is a lack of quick twitch and unplanned movement. He isn’t a good reaction guy and combining that with a lack of tackling presence, I just see too little impact between his turnovers. Sure he can make some plays in specific situations but I just think it is too specific.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mike Mitchell – PIT

BEST OF THE REST (15-29)

15 – Delano Hill – 6’1/216 – Michigan: 75
16 – Tedric Thompson – 6’0/204 – Colorado: 74
17 – Randall Goforth – 5’10/186 – UCLA: 72
18 – Jonathan Ford – 5’11/205 – Auburn: 72
19 – David Jones – 6’1/205 – Richmond: 71
20 – Eddie Jackson – 6’0/201 – Alabama: 71
21 – Lorenzo Jerome – 5’10/204 – St. Francis: 70
22 – Jamal Carter – 6’0/218 – Miami: 70
23 – Derek Barnett – 6’0/192 – Kansas State: 70
24 – Donald Payne – 6’0/217 – Stetson – 70
25 – Montae Nicholson – 6’2/212 – Michigan State: 70
26 – Ahmad Thomas – 6’0/217 – Oklahoma: 69
27 – Shalom Luani – 5’11/202 – Washington State: 68
28 – Josh Harvey-Clemons – 6’4/217 – Louisville: 67
29 – Orion Stewart – 6’0/203 – Baylor: 67

NYG APPROACH

With potential superstar Landon Collins in place for the near future, it’s important this team finds someone to put next to him. If you’re traditional, the ideal battery mate should be able to play the deep centerfield role whole Collins is roaming all over the field and creeping up towards the line of scrimmage often. Darian Thompson looks like he has the proper blend of tools, size, and instincts to at least warrant the opportunity. In addition, it appears he will be fully healthy and ready to rock before summer. However, like I said last year I’m not sure he can hold up with his style of play and lack of a sturdy frame. And is he really that much of a factor in coverage? I don’t see it. This safety class has a few guys that can wear the multiple hats you want a safety to show. I’m looking at a Budda Baker in round 2 or someone like Xavier Woods in round 4. Guys that can play some nickel CB but also the deep cover safety when called upon. In addition, Collins could use a quality backup, a guy that plays the run hard and can move with tight ends. Late day 3 there perhaps.

Apr 232017
 
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Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State Buckeyes (October 15, 2016)

Marshon Lattimore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

What used to cause as much stress to an NYG fan as anything, the cornerback group can rightfully be considered the team’s top unit. Janoris Jenkins was worth every penny that Reese spent in free agency. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may not be the household name of the group anymore but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me there are better #2 CBs in the league than him. Make that two incredible free agent signings by Reese at the position in recent years. To back them up, tools-rich Eli Apple took his rookie lumps in 2016 but he flashed several times. He looks like a keeper but we need to see more in 2017. Behind these three, a case can be made that the rest of the depth is replaceable. I like Antwon Blake (signed from TEN), a signing that I think we will be looking back on about 6 months from now as a solid under the radar move.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Marshon Lattimore – 6’0/192 – Ohio State: 86

Summary: Third year sophomore entry with only one full year of experience. Missed the final five games of 2015 with his chronic hamstring problems but played every 2016 contest, earning 1st Team All Big Ten honors. In most scenarios, the lack of career experience and injury woes would be enough to really bump a player’s grade down quite bit. However the 20 year old Lattimore could make a case that he has the most impressive blend of tools and skills within this deep cornerback class. The size, speed, and ball skills are all top notch and he can fit in to any coverage scheme or role. The upside is through the roof here as long as his hamstrings can be trusted.

*Two red flags here. The hamstring issues that plagued him for 2+ years and a lack of experience. I factored both in to the grade and he still finishes at the top of an unbelievably talented and deep group of CBs. Lattimore is as smooth and instinctive as it gets. Very quick reads, even quicker burst matched with ball skills and enough size. Lattimore has true shutdown capabilities. He is a lock for top 6 overall.

Upside Pro Comparison: Johnathan Joseph – HOU

2 – Kevin King – 6’3/192 – Washington: 85

Summary: Three year starter that has saw a lot of time at safety early in his career before making a shift to cornerback in 2015. Two time Honorable Mention All Pac 12. King fits the mold of what the NFL is looking for in cornerbacks. He is tall, long, and fast. His top tier ability to change direction and burst is just as attractive. King has had some shoulder durability issues on that slight frame of his, but when he is on the field he proved to be a cover corner on the way up. His skill set is starting to catch up with his elite, top tier tools. Enormous upside.

*I always get Washington games early on in the year for whatever reason. I went in to their week 1 matchup against Rutgers ready to scout Baker, Jones, Qualls, and Victor. I came away, in that game alone, with the notion that King was the best prospect on that team. Here we are a week before the draft and that thought never left me. King has superstar potential, probably even more so than Lattimore. This kid’s height, length, easy acceleration, and agility can make him able to cover anybody. My fear with him is a lack of bulk. He is an aggressive tackler and I’d hate to see him break in to pieces when he takes on an NFL downhill power runner. But when it comes to coverage, King is top notch. Needs to refine a few things but I think he is heading to top tier status.

Upside Pro Comparison: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – NYG

3 – Gareon Conley – 6’0/195 – Ohio State: 82

Summary: Fourth year junior with two seasons of starting experience. Ended his career with a 2nd Team All Big 10 nomination. A tall, very long, and more than fast enough cover corner that has the potential to excel on the outside. Conley has as much upside as any cornerback in this class. Very few match-ups give him trouble but he will need to develop the mental side of the game. He can be fooled and he’s shown a consistent struggle defending the deep ball, but if he can shore those up his he has upper tier starter written all over him.

*Every time I scouted Apple last year, Conley flashed. He jumped off the screen as much as, if not more. I think he has more natural coverage ability and instincts than Apple did. Slightly less talent, but he was more consistent (if that makes any sense I know). Conley excels in man coverage, especially on the short and intermediate routes. I think he will need some work before you can toss him on an island against speed, but the upside warrants a 1st round pick. He is a possible top 10 pick.

Upside Pro Comparison: Byron Maxwell – MIA

4 – Quincy Wilson – 6’1/213 – Florida: 81

Summary: Junior entry with two years of starting experience, the latter of which he earned 2nd Team All SEC honors. When looking for the current era’s ideal cornerback, the image of Wilson comes up. Very big, tall, long, strong, and fast. These are all physical traits on Wilson’s sheet and he proved that there are football skills to go with them. Even though he appears raw and borderline reckless at times, Wilson has the goods that most cornerbacks will never have. The ability and skills are there, but the consistency is not. If he takes to NFL coaching and pays attention to details, he can be a star.

*You want upside? I feel like a broken record here…but Wilson is another guy that could easily be the top CB in this class. He is a little on the non-traditional side, but the kid gets it done. Really physical as a press corner, probably the most aggressive cover man in the class. He is ultra-confident, has the short memory you want, and the talent just drips off him. There is some rawness to his techniques and he is going to need to know that his ability won’t be enough against NFL WRs. If he applies himself and takes in coaching, watch out.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aqib Talib – DEN

5 – Ahkello Witherspoon – 6’2/190 – Colorado: 80

Summary: Under the radar high school recruit. Started off as a 5-foot-8 junior college corner but then grew 5 inches prior to joining the Colorado roster. In his senior season, Witherspoon led the nation with 23 passes defended and earned 2nd Team All Pac 12 honors. The arrow is pointing up for this kid as much as any player in the draft. His tools and ball production were top notch all season and there are plenty of reasons to believe his upside is through the roof. As long he takes in NF coaching and improves his techniques, Witherspoon is headed towards being a household name.

*A name that wasn’t on my radar prior to the season, he abruptly climbed to my top 10 of the group by midseason. The height, length, speed, and ball skills are enough to get anyone high on him. But I saw a level of competitiveness that few players have. He relishes the role of being matched up on an island and I love that about him. He can be a star. There are some very important things he needs to work, like maintaining speed and body control on deep balls. He is a day 2 name NYG would have to think about.

Upside Pro Comparison: Richard Sherman – SEA

6 – Tre-Davious White – 6’0/197 – LSU: 80

Summary: Four year starter on a defense that breeds NFL defensive backs every season. He capped his career off with a 1st Team All SEC nomination while wearing the honorable #18 jersey, given to the team’s leader. A four year starter in the SEC with his kind of production, versatility, and consistency says a lot about what he can offer in the NFL. He won’t ‘wow’ anyone with tools, but his ability to stay on the hip pocket and play with proper techniques will get him on the field early in his career. His best fit may be defending the slot, but he can easily be moved around depending on the situation.

*In this high ceiling CB class, I think White gets overlooked. While he may not have the top tier measurables (he’s no slouch there) in comparison to the others, White can make the case that he accomplished more than any of these guys over his college career in the SEC from a school known for producing NFL talent at defensive back. White is a “know what you’re getting” prospect. Very solid player that can fit in to any coverage role right away.

Upside Pro Comparison: Casey Hayward – LAC

7 – Fabian Moreau – 6’0/206 – UCLA: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior that came to UCLA as a running back before making a switch to cornerback during his first year. He went on to become a four year starter and earned All Conference honors 3 out of those 4 years, the only not being 2015 where he suffered a season ending foot injury. Moreau is one of the best pure athletes in the entire class. His development is ongoing and if he can reach his upside, he could be the top corner in the class. He has a rare blend of tools and a skill set that appears to be catching up. The lack of feel and instincts is worrisome and could expose him early on, but in the right role he can be a difference maker while he develops.

*Every now and then, you actually see the top tier athlete develop in to a high quality, skilled player. That is Moreau. He’s always been an eye-popping athlete but in 2016 he showed a different level of skills and instincts. He is a nicely built, smooth operator that can still evolve in to an even better player. Very high upside and yes, you guessed it, could be the top guy in this group a few years from now.

Upside Pro Comparison: Patrick Peterson – ARI

8 – Jourdan Lewis – 5’10/186 – Michigan: 79

Summary: Three year starter that, after missing the first 3 games with an injury, capped his career with a 1st Team All Conference nomination, winner of the Big 10 Conference Defensive Back of the Year Award, and Jim Thorpe Award finalist performance. Lewis had an ultra-productive career and seems to be ready for an NFL role week 1. His abilities are best suited to defend the slot because of his seamless transitions out of his breaks and ability to cut off routes. If he gets matched up against bigger receivers, he can be pushed around easily. However his performance inside could be top tier.

*It took 8 guys to find a corner under 6 feet and below a 1st round grade. Lewis, who just missed a 1st round grade in my book, is more than a slot corner. He can play outside as well. I think he is one of the top corners in the class when it comes to playing the ball and maintaining his body control downfield. That can certainly make up for some of the size deficiencies. Lewis is a little under the radar but I think he is almost a sure thing to factor in the league at a high level.

Upside Pro Comparison: Brent Grimes – TB

9 – Adoree Jackson – 5’10/186 – USC: 79

Summary: A four year starter that has as many accolades and awards on his mantle as anyone. Jackson has played all over the field for the Trojans and no matter where he was, he excelled. Jackson will enter the league as a cornerback, where he won the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award and earned All American honors, but his quality tape as a receiver and running back will give NFL coaches some ideas to try out. In addition, the All American track and field star will immediately become one of the league’s top return specialists. Now that he can fully focus on football, Jackson’s arrow is pointing up as much as anyone.

*Watch this kid’s highlight reel and you may wonder why he plays cornerback because he has some big time, legit ability with the ball in his hands. As a CB alone, he may not be graded this high but because of what he can offer on special teams and a special offensive package, he is borderline round 1 for me. He was an accomplished collegiate track and field athlete but now that his training is solely on football, I think you may see an uptick in his skill set as a cover man. Jackson has some holes and lacks some instincts, but he can be a starting corner in the league for sure. If not, you have one of the most dynamic playmakers with the ball in his hands in this class.

Upside Pro Comparison: Robert Alford – ATL

10 – Chidobe Awuzie – 6’0/202 – Colorado: 78

Summary: Four year starter that finished his career as a 1st Team All Pac 12 honoree after being named to the 2nd Team in 2015. Co-recipient of the team’s MVP Award in 2016, as well. The Colorado secondary was among the best in college football this past season and it was Awuzie that led the way. The quick twitched, physical corner can excel from the slot and in most outside coverage responsibilities. He may not have the confidence in his deep speed to man up the NFL’s fastest downfield threats, but everywhere else this kid can be a factor. He plays with an excellent combination of technique, instincts, and quick-twitch reaction. He can play week 1.

*The best tackler and the toughest competitor in this group. Don’t be fooled by the #10 ranking of the group, I think this kid can be a fan favorite and integral piece to a good defense. He may need a specific scheme, one that is more zone based. But I love the way this kid plays and he is a quiet leader that plays as hard as anyone. Smart, instinctive, and quick to react. Someone is going to get a great player here if they put him in the right role.

Upside Pro Comparison: Darrelle Revis – FA

11 – Marlon Humphrey – 6’1/198 – Alabama: 77

Summary: Third year sophomore entry and two year starter. A former high school state champion sprinter and son of former 1st round pick Bobby Humphrey. An overly aggressive, talent-filled cover corner that was among the best players on the best defense in the country. Humphrey is ready to start in the NFL week one and he won’t show an ounce of fear. He is an overly confident, overly aggressive defender. He needs to improve his consistency from a skill ad technique perspective, however. Talent can only take you so far at cornerback. If he can learn to trust his footwork and track the ball better, Humphrey can be a quality starter.

*I wouldn’t go as far as saying I don’t like Humphrey, I just simply believe there is a lot of work to be done. I hate to see that his weaknesses are the in the same place as they were in 2015. He has talent, he has the mindset to play the second toughest position in football, but there are too many inconsistencies with his technique. He has a high ceiling but in such a stacked CB class, I could see him falling deep in to day 2.

Upside Pro Comparison: Stephon Gilmore- NE

12 – Sidney Jones – 6’0/186 – Washington: 77

Summary: Junior entry that started all three years and finished with two straight 1st Team All Pac 12 nominations. Jones came in to 2016 with very high expectations after a breakout sophomore campaign in 2015. The size, speed, and physical style led some to compare to him to former Huskie and current Chiefs star Marcus Peters. Jones isn’t quite on that level, but his upside can scratch that surface. He knows how to play the ball once in the air and he forecasts well. The issues with him are very correctable but they’ve been there for awhile now with little-to-no progress. He needs to clean up vital techniques to the position. If he does, he has star written all over him. If not, he will be a major liability. High risk, high reward.

*Since my report was filed, Jones went through arguably the worst situation imaginable during the pre draft process. He ruptured his Achilles during the Washington Pro Day on a simple cut in DB drills. He will more than likely be out for all of 2017. So anyone that spends on a pick on him will be deferring that selection to next year AND dealing with an injury that is not easy to bounce back from. That said, Jones was a top 5 CB in this class no doubt. The upside is enough and you know what? NYG could be a landing spot for him considering their need at CB at this time next year could be much stronger. If he is there in round 4, it’s an easy decision. Before that….flip of the coin.

Upside Pro Comparison: Josh Norman – WAS

13 – Corn Elder – 5’10/183 – Miami: 77

Summary: Former top tier running back recruit made the move to cornerback his freshman year. Elder has a lot of athletic and style of play traits that can make him a defensive weapon in the league. His issue may be that he is too small for every down outside duty and not quick enough for nickel duty. If he can be put in to the right scheme, Elder will make a team very happy. While the desired measurables aren’t quite there, he has shown he can make up for them with his aggression, toughness, and instincts.

*The first corner in the group that I think purely a slot guy. He has the short area quickness and reads routes as well as anyone. Very instinctive and smart. In addition, Elder can give Awuzie a run for his money as the top tackler in this group and that is always a plus for guys that play the slot.

Upside Pro Comparison: Chris Harris – DEN

14 – Brian Allen – 6’3/215 – Utah: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that began his career as a wide receiver. After making the switch, Allen started just 13 games over the course of four seasons. The size and speed to go along with his ball skills create a sense of potential and high ceiling here, but at the end of the day is was too easily beaten by receivers that knew that there were doing. He is a long term project .

*I’m likely waiting until day 3 for Allen, as I just don’t see the early impact from this guy and there is a lot of risk associated with a prospect like this. I love the size, speed, and aggression as much as the next guy but he looks overly raw to me at times. A terrible tackler and he gets fooled easily. Gamble worth considering if you have enough short term security at CB.

Upside Pro Comparison: Sean Smith – OAK

15 – Channing Stribling – 6’1/188 – Michigan: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior with a year and a half of starting experience. A former Division I basketball recruit ended his career with a 2nd Team All Big 10 season. Stribling initially comes across as too frail and thin, but it won’t take long to realize he has all the aggression and playing strength a cornerback needs. He is a tough, hard nosed player that will not hesitate to get dirty in oncoming traffic. Stribling showed top tier ball skills and paired with his length, it could make up for a lack of long speed.

*The Michigan defense was so stacked. It took forever to get a hold of all their guys in the scouting process and for no particular reason, Stribling was one of the last guys I really zeroed in on. I was very impressed with how consistently well he played the ball in the air. I love his competitiveness and knack for being in the right place at the right time. I don’t see a high ceiling here because his speed can be beat and he still plays with a light presence at times, but I think he can be a top tier backup that gets on the field in nickel/dime situations.

Upside Pro Comparison: Dre Kirkpatrick – CIN

BEST OF THE REST (16-30)

16 – Jalen Myrick – 5’10/200: 75
17 – Shaquil Griffin – 6’0/194 – Central Florida: 75
18 – Damontae Kazee – 5’10/184 – San Diego State: 75
19 – Ryan Lewis – 5’11/192 – Pittsburgh: 74
20 – Cameron Sutton – 5’11/188 – Tennessee: 74
21 – Teez Tabor – 6’0/201 – Florida: 74
22 – Nate Hairston – 6’0/196 – Temple – 74
23 – Cordrea Tankersley – 6’1/199 – Clemson: 74
24 – Aarion Penton – 5’9/177 – Missouri: 73
25 – JR Nelson – 6’1/187 – Montana: 73
26 – Howard Wilson – 5’11/200 – Houston: 73
27 – William Likely – 5’7/180 – Maryland: 73
28 – Jeremy Clark – 6’3/220 – Michigan: 72
29 – Rasul Douglas – 6’2/209 – West Virginia: 71
30 – Treston Decoud – 6’2/206 – Oregon State: 71

NYG APPROACH

This is the deepest AND most top heavy CB I’ve seen. For any teams looking for secondary help, this is the year to get stocked. Throw in the safety class and you could make the argument this is the best DB class ever. Even though the NYG top three corners can be called the best in the NFL, there is without a doubt room for another guy in there. The position has been hit by injuries every year and we’ve seen in the past that weak backups at corner can ruin a defense. Might as well use one of these picks to stock the shelves for depth and future reasoning. Round 1 is likely out of the question, but after that I think all bets are off. This class is so deep, I’m confident the right value will be there almost every time NYG is on the clock. When you actually take one can be debated but let’s not forget how quickly this position as a whole can get ugly.

Apr 232017
 
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Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (October 15, 2015)

Forrest Lamp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 21, 2017: With one week to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas, of The NFL Draft Report, to talk about the Giants, the draft, and some of his thoughts, observations and tidbits as the clock is ticking down to the draft. Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

Apr 212017
 
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Jarrad Davis, Florida Gators (September 17, 2016)

Jarrad Davis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

For the first time in awhile, it doesn’t come across that NYG is in desperate need of new talent at the LB group. It was getting bad in there for awhile and I have always been critical of the approach that “4-3 linebackers aren’t that important” type approach. NYG hasn’t seen a trio of truly effective LBs in such a long time that they have failed to realize how much better this defense could be with better players at this spot. Keenan Robinson was an important piece to their defensive success and Devon Kennard has been quietly very good. There seems to be a spot up for grabs in the middle, as last year’s BJ Goodson should get a shot. While the starters appear set, there is still a lack of overall talent and depth here. None of them are particularly good pass rushers and there isn’t a playmaker within the group.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Jarrad Davis – 6’2/230 – Florida: 84

Summary: Four year contributor with enough speed and explosion to get anyone excited. Tough hard nosed leader that takes pride in the role of a linebacker. Davis brings the attitude and physical prowess you want in the middle of your defense. His violent presence as a tackler and aggressive nature in pursuit makes him a legit sideline to sideline threat against the run. He has all the range and tackling ability in the world, but Davis will need to show more discipline and awareness in the NFL, however.

*If it weren’t for some durability issues, Davis would be a couple points higher and ultimately end up in the top 6 overall in this class for me. He entered the year as my favorite LB and has since been passed by a couple guys, just to have Davis end up back on top right before the draft. This is an almost-perfect blend of speed, power, quickness, and intelligence. Davis can think AND move his way in to production. Very effective in coverage. Effective blitzer. He is an every down threat that has top tier talent and a blue collar approach. In NYG’s scheme, he would be a perfect weak side fit.

Upside Pro Comparison: CJ Mosley – BAL

2 – Reuben Foster – 6’0/229 – Alabama: 79

Summary: Two year starter that lost about 20 pounds prior to the 2016 season which helped bring his game to another level. The 2016 Butkus Award winner and 1st Team All American proved that he could sustain his elite level power and functional strength at a lighter weight, enabling him to be a guy that never comes out of the game and factors all over the field. Foster has presence, aggression, and reaction that will make a difference on any defense right away. His main concern revolves around shoulder problems he had earlier in his career.

*I like Foster as a player a lot. Incredibly quick twitched, instinctive, explosive, violent. He dropped some weight prior to the season and it was a great move, as his range improved but his power presence remained. How come I have him as a borderline first rounder? The shoulder issue is worrisome. Potentially very worrisome. And there is now a good amount of smoke surrounding him off the field. Lastly, if you really spend time watching all of the Alabama tape, you’ll notice there wasn’t a LB in this class that went untouched more than Foster. There was such an unreal amount of talent on that unit and I hate to say it, but there were weeks where it was easy for Foster to produce. Health and off field stuff aside, Foster could have been around an 81/82 overall. But I don’t see the top 10 talent that most will talk about with him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Lawrence Timmons – MIA

3 – Haason Reddick – 6’1/237 – Temple: 79

Summary: Former high school running back blossomed from defensive end project to a 1st Team All Athletic Conference honors in 2016 after finishing third in the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. Reddick played a defensive end type role for the Owls, but will likely project as a 4-3 SAM or WILL in the league. His athletic traits ans very solid week at the Senior Bowl lead to the notion that the move shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Reddick has a natural nose for the ball and can beat blockers several ways. He can be a swiss army knife for a creative defensive scheme that produces in any situation multiple ways.

*One of the guys I have spent the most time scouting over the past few months. I didn’t have a great read on him late in the season. Initially I labeled him a day 2 talent but when I saw how well he moved in coverage and in pursuit at the Senior Bowl, I was thinking round 1 for awhile. He is a big time athlete with all of the versatility you want in today’s NFL linebacker. That said, I still think he is a 2nd rounder if you put a gun to my head. I’ve noticed he isn’t overly physical at the point of attack and he doesn’t tackle well. He can be pushed around by big, physical blockers. Gets locked on to and doesn’t quite have that presence I look for in traffic. In the right role, he can be a stud. But you are gonna need to really protect him and try to hide is weaknesses.

Upside Pro Comparison: Thomas Davis – Panthers

4 – Tyus Bowser – 6’3/247 – Houston: 78

Summary: Two year starter that was positioned to break on to the national scene in 2016 before breaking an orbital bone (face), forcing him to miss 5 games. Still, Bowser finished the year with 2nd Team All Conference honors. The movement in traffic and space are both top tier, as he has the phone booth quickness to miss blockers and the long speed to cover tight ends up the seam. His role within the Houston 3-4 defense saw him wear many hats, showing NFL coaches and GMs that he can do it all. Versatility and athletic ability are key for Bowser. Through the roof upside.

*Bowser is a freak athlete that can rush the edge and cover as well as anyone when it comes to the combination of the two skill sets. He can really bend and get under blockers. Outstanding physical traits with a frame that can likely handle more weight. Coaches have every right to get really excited about a player like this. My downfall on him is he doesn’t play overly aggressive and seems hesitant at times. Runs around blockers too much and doesn’t seem willing or effective to really attack a blocker head on. Perhaps that can come with time. I don’t see round 1, but as a round 2 prospect he fits the bill for NYG has been looking to do at OLB for years.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jamie Collins – CLE

5 – TJ Watt – 6’4/252 – Wisconsin: 78

Summary: Fourth year junior. Initially came to Wisconsin as a tight end and redshirted his freshman year. Watt then missed all of 2014 with a knee injury and was limited throughout the 2015 offseason with another injury to his opposite knee. 2016 was his only real full season as a starter for the Badgers. The brother of All-Pro JJ, TJ earned 2nd Team All American and 1st Team All Big 10. His frame and style of play screams 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end as long as he can put on the weight he needs. He is short on talent but as advanced as a college player can be when it comes to technique, smarts, and phone booth-movement. Dark horse prospect.

*I wonder if some 4-3 teams are looking at Watt as a DE. Part of me thinks that is where he should end up, because I think he easily adds 10-15 pounds to his frame. No matter what he ends up doing, he is a guy that I would be very secure with in round 2. He is as good as anyone at defeating blockers and making plays. He can be an extra edge rusher on passing downs and an elite run defender elsewhere. He isn’t a very fluid athlete and I wouldn’t want him in certain coverage roles, but there is a ton to his game that would help the NYG defense. May have to get a little creative here but I feel like NYG has been looking for this kind of player for years.

Upside Pro Comparison: Anthony Barr – MIN

6 – Samson Ebukam – 6’2/240 – Eastern Washington: 78

Summary: Three year starter that steadily improved from athletic freak to football player each year. Earned 3rd Team All American honors in 2016. The hybrid OLB/DE has a unique combination of speed, explosion, and short area power that can give any blocker a handful. His football intelligence and hustle are top notch and the coaches speak volumes about his leadership and character traits. Ebukam isn’t a household name because of where he went to school, but when considering everything he can do, he has to be considered one the highest upside prospects in the class.

*Here you have it. Ebukam is my top sleeper in the draft and I have him graded as a legit 2nd rounder and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him outperform both Reddick and Bowser. They are all very similar prospects, yet Ebukam is rarely discussed. Athletically, he tested out as well as any LB in the entire class and on the field this kid is a terror. He mostly rushed the passer but in limited opportunities, he showed natural and easy movement when dropping back. I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here. Combing the talent with his approach, I see a potential star here.

Upside Pro Comparison: Bruce Irvin – OAK

7 – Brooks Ellis – 6’2/240 – Arkansas: 77

Summary: Four year contributor for the Razorbacks that led the team in tackles in both 2015 and 2016 respectively. Ellis won’t jump off the screen athletically, but his ability to almost always be in the right place at the right time covers that weakness for the most part. He can’t fit in to every scheme but at a position where instincts and anticipation trump all, Ellis has enough there to be a quality backup at least.

*You want a smart, reliable, consistent performer in the middle? Ellis is your guy. Nobody is going to confuse him with Luke Kuechly, but Ellis is going to be a solid presence on all three downs in any scheme. He is more athletic than you think and combining that with his quick reads and anticipation, you know this guy is going to rack up the tackles. Not a star but he doesn’t need to be. He will get the job done each week.

Upside Pro Comparison: Chad Greenway – RET

8 – Ben Boulware – 6’0/238 – Clemson: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior. Team captain that has been the signal caller of the Clemson defense for two years. Boulware is an old school, blue collar linebacker that lacks ideal tools but more than makes up for them with his instincts and repeatable techniques. He does all the little things right and can be a major difference maker in any defensive scheme. His role should be best suited inside where he can make the calls and sniff things out. He is not a space player and he won’t be a major factor against the pass. However his value could be through the roof between the tackles.

*While I don’t like this guy the way I liked Chris Borland a few years ago, I do think Boulware is the kind of prospect that can come in year one and lead your team in tackles. He isn’t the same kind of athlete and there is some lack of power presence, but he can simply think his way in to a lot of production. Such a smart player that can play the role of quarterback on your defense. He sniffs plays out with the best of them. He may be a guy that comes off the field in certain situations, but for a 3rd or 4th rounder you could do much worse.

Upside Pro Comparison: Denzel Perryman – LAC

9 – Jalen Reeves-Maybin – 6’0/230 – Tennessee: 75

Summary: Fourth year senior that started for three years, leading the team in tackles in both 2014 and 2015. After missing most of 2016 with a shoulder injury, Reeves-Maybin opted to enter the draft rather than apply for a medical redshirt. Reeves-Maybin is one of the best short area movers in this class. He understands how to use his lack of ideal size to his advantage, shifting through traffic with ease. He is a hard guy to get a hold of and he knows how to finish. Reeves-Maybin will have to prove his shoulder is stable but if all checks out, he could be a weak side starter week 1.

*Interesting prospect here. Reeves-Maybin does look smallish initially, but this guy has an incredibly strong and quick-twitched lower body. That is a nice combination to have. He is an excellent open field tackler and there aren’t many guys that can pursue as well as he does. In addition, we are talking about an excellent cover linebacker and in today’s NFL, this is the kind of guy that can really excel on all three downs.

Upside Pro Comparison: Wesley Woodyard – TEN

10 – Raekwon McMillan – 6’2/240: Ohio State: 75

Summary: Junior entry. Team leader in tackles two years straight. Butkus Award Finalist in 2015 along with 2nd Team All Big 10 honors. Earned a spot on the 1st team in 2016. McMillan is an old school between the tackles force that can own the opposing inside running game. He is very stout and physical downhill player that can make the tough tackles in traffic. His point A to point B burst us underrated, but nobody can say he is a top tier athlete. He needs a specific inside role but in there, he can be a big time difference maker.

*If you are a fan of David Harris from NYJ, you’re gonna have to like McMillan. Very tough and stout in the middle. Can sniff out plays and knows how to finish. He can close that 10-15 yard gap downhill as fast as anyone and when he gets there, watch out. He isn’t a great lateral mover and he does struggles to change direction and adjust his weight. 3-4 teams may have a higher grade on him.

Upside Pro Comparison: David Harris – NYJ

11 – Duke Riley – 6’1/230 – LSU: 75

Summary: One year starter that took full advantage of his opportunity. Riley led the Tigers in tackles and proved he can make plays despite being undersized. His speed and aggression are big time factors. He projects as a weak side-only type but can be a weapon on special teams and eventual starter in the NFL. If Riley is in the right scheme with the right players around him, he can be a force.

*Speed is the name of the game for Riley, as he struggles to make the impact between the tackles and won’t get off a ton of blockers. But get this kid in space and tell him to chase the action, you may have yourself an elite playmaker. He needs to be protected but if you can keep him clean and out of traffic between the tackles, watch out.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kwon Alexander – TB

12 – Zach Cunningham – 6’3/234 – Vanderbilt: 75

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Overlooked high school recruit that evolved in to a two time 1st Team All SEC linebacker, while adding a 1st Team All American honor to his wall. In a league speed and versatility is the name of the game, Cunningham is going to raise a lot of eyebrows. Despite the less than ideal frame for physical play, his ability to play sideline to sideline and run like the wind will potentially be in high demand. Cunningham stood out weekly on a defense with very little talent. He is a playmaker that, if used correctly, can be an immediate impact. There are holes in his game that could be significant in the NFL. High risk, high reward.

*I have never quite seen it with Cunningham. I just hate the slender build and straight-line-only athleticism. Everything want in a LB, Cunningham basically can only project to. He has tools that some others don’t, but he isn’t Barr from MIN. He gets pushed around too much and won’t impact the game between the tackles well enough. You can gamble on his upside, but in round 1 or 2? I say no way.

Upside Pro Comparison: Thurston Armbrister – DET

13 – Jordan Evans – 6’3/232 – Oklahoma: 74

Summary: Three year starter that was second on the team in tackles in both 2014 and 2015 before leading the team in 2016. Two time 2nd Team All Big 12. The leader of the Sooners defense was a big time high school running back as well. His athleticism is more than noteworthy, as his ability gets him involved in the action often. He is a reaction-based player that can beat blockers and ball carriers to a spot, but he has struggled to show he can anticipate running lanes and read blockers. He will need to start off as a special teamer, where he could excel, while he develops the mental side of the game. If he can do that, he has a very high ceiling.

*You have the like the package you are getting with Evans. He is a guy that comes on to your team and immediately becomes the best cover LB in all likelihood. That’s how he can get on the field right away and from there, we’ll see if he can develop in to every down duty. Evans needs to get stronger and tackle better. He is a reaction player rather than an anticipation player, which can always backfire. But I like the upside if we are talking day 3.

Upside Pro Comparison: KJ Wright – SEA

14 – Connor Harris – 5’11/242 – Lindenwood: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior that missed the majority of his true sophomore season with a shoulder injury. The three time team captain is the all time, all-NCAA career tackle leader with a total of 633. His production would have been high at any level, not just Division II. Harris is a smart, instinctive, powerful, fit-into-any-crease type defender that is always around the ball. He was born to play linebacker. His physical limitations will have an impact on his versatility in the NFL, but there is a place for him in most defensive schemes. Harris should not be overlooked. In fact, he should be considered one of the safer picks in the class.

*If you like Boulware, you have to at least Harris a little bit Very similar players when it comes to instincts and reaction. Very similar players when you stack their measurables next to each other. I actually think Harris is better put together and can handle NFL blockers easier. He is an absolute rock. He plays a little stiff and likely needs to be taken off the field more than some of these other guys, but he will be productive in the right role. Coaches love these guys inside.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mychal Kendricks – PHI

15 – Vince Biegel – 6’3/246 – Wisconsin: 73

Summary: Four year contributor for the Badgers, earning a spot on the All Big 10 Football squad twice. Biegel hails from a football family and his passion for the game is obvious. He is a worker bee that relishes his opportunity. He is a limited impact type guy, but it’s safe to assume he can at least fit in as a quality backup as a 4-3 SAM or 3-4 rush ‘backer. Medicals need to be looked in to concerning his foot which has been a recurring issue.

*There are some issues here, mainly with his foot and the fact he essentially played 3-4 OLB in college. He is such a smart player though that understands hustle and reading offenses. Good combination. Better athlete that people think too and if they strike out on the some of the outside guys we talked about above, Biegel is a nice fallback option.

Upside Pro Comparison: Rob Ninkovich – NE

BEST OF THE REST (16-30)

16 – Cole Langer – 6’0/239 – Missouri State: 73
17 – Jayon Brown – 6’0/231 – UCLA: 73
18 – Kendell Beckwith – 6’2/243 – LSU: 73
19 – Alex Anzalone – 6’3/241 – Florida: 72
20 – Anthony Walker – 6’1/235 – Northwestern: 72
21 – Ryan Anderson – 6’2/253 – Alabama: 72
22 – Brandon Bell – 6’1/233 – Penn State: 71
23 – Ukeme Eligwe – 6’2/234 – Georgia Southern: 71
24 – Carroll Phillips – 6’3/243 – Illinois: 70
25 – Steven Taylor – 6’0/228 – Houston: 70
26 – Riley Bullough – 6’2/226- Michigan State: 69
27 – Charmeachealle Moore – 5’11/223 – Kansas State: 69
28 – Ben Gedeon – 6’2/244 – Michigan: 69
29 – Marquel Lee – 6’3/240 – Wake Forest: 69
30 – Tanner Vallejo – 6’1/223 – Boise State: 69

NYG APPROACH

The linebackers are good enough to get the job done for a quality defense. And this may be the first time I have gone in to the draft saying that in quite some time. But in no way am I crossing these guys off the list if the value is right, and that is starting with Jarrad Davis in round 1. I have had my eye on this kid for 2 years now and I am as sure about him as any player in this class. He is going to be a difference maker, a rock for a decade if he stays healthy. He represents everything I want in a LB. Besides him, I can understand the desire for the edge rushing 4-3 guy that can play the run and drop in to coverage. Very hard to find, but if there are a few in this class that can fit that mold. I simply don’t want to use the 23rd pick on any of them because I just don’t see the value grade wise and I think there will be better talent available. Reddick and Foster will likely be gone before I think they are worth taking. But a solid round 2 target could be Watt or Bowser. After that the players are very similar grade wise and it will depend on what you want out of the position. There will be quarterback of the defense types there as well as the athletes with upside. Either way, I think a pick should be used on one. Keep your eye on Ebukam!