May 022015
 
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Mykkele Thompson, Texas Longhorns (October 27, 2012)

Mykkele Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

On the third and final day of the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected safety/corner Mykkele Thompson (University of Texas) in the 5th round, wide receiver Geremy Davis (University of Connecticut) in the 6th round, and offensive guard Bobby Hart (Florida State University) in the 7th round.

S MYKKELE THOMPSON SCOUTING REPORT: Mykkele Thompson is a former quarterback and wide receiver converted to cornerback and then safety. Thompson is a  bit of a corner-safety ‘tweener. He is tall (6’2”) but thin (191 pounds) with good speed (sub-4.5) but not ideal quickness for corner. Thompson is raw and still learning the safety position, but he really improved as a player his senior season. Versatile, he can play safety, corner, and nickel corner. Thompson is a decent tackler, but he is not a physical player. He has good range, but does not make many plays on the football and has given up some big pass plays at the collegiate level. Thompson is smart with very good intangibles. He is a good special teams player who blocked three punts in college.

WR GEREMY DAVIS SCOUTING REPORT: Davis is a big (6’2”, 216 pounds) wideout with excellent hands. Davis is well-built with long arms and very strong. While Davis has decent timed speed (sub-4.5), he’s more of a possession-type receiver than deep threat. Lacks ideal quickness and agility and may have problems separating from defensive backs at the NFL level. Davis has a good catch radius, adjusts well to the football, and will make the contested catch. He lacks run-after-the-catch creativity. Team leader.

OG BOBBY HART SCOUTING REPORT: Hart played right tackle at Florida State but projects to guard at the pro level. He is very young – will turn 21 in August. Hart has excellent size (6’5”, 329 pounds) and good strength, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism and feet. Hart needs to play with better technique and leverage, but he is able to muscle and maul in the run game.

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

Opening Statement: Our last three picks… Mykkele Thompson, safety from Texas. They used him in a lot of ways. They used him as a free safety. They used him as a nickel and they used him as a corner. We like the versatility about him. We project him more as a free safety because he can really run. He has range on the back end. Another thing that stuck out for me about this kid is that he’s a good tackler. He’s not really a smash-mouth hitter like Landon Collins, but he’s calm. You see some guys get in space and they miss tackles. This guy was a guy who got people down to give you another chance to play defense. I liked that about him.

Our sixth round pick… Geremy Davis, wide receiver from Connecticut. He’s a big, possession-type of receiver. He actually ran fast. He’s a height, weight, speed guy. He ran fast, but he doesn’t play to that time speed as much. We think he’s more of a possession receiver, first down-friendly-to-the-quarterback kind of player. He plays inside. He plays outside. He’s a big kid. He has the right attitude to play on special teams. The guy can use his body to post people up, jump balls, good route runner. We like him like that.

Our seventh round pick… Bobby Hart, guard from Florida State. Actually he played tackle a lot, but we project him as a guard up here for us. He has played a lot of football. I think he’s only 20 years old. I don’t want to say really long arms, but his arms are 33 inches. He has good arm length. He’s played a lot of ball at a high level of competition for Florida State. I see guys like that with his skill set. We see them every Sunday playing in the National Football League. But we do think he’s a guard and not a tackle.

Q: Overall, what did you think about your draft?

A: We think we picked good players. Obviously, you don’t know until you get them out there and you let them play, but we feel good about this draft class. There are some talented football players. I think we have some tough players. We’ve got some athletes and talent. We like it.

Q: You filled some needs for your football team through the draft. Do you feel good about that?

A: Yeah. We tried to tie that together. We were all about the best player available, but we tried to tie in need with value as well. We were definitely cognizant of that and we tried to do that.

Q: How much do you think Geremy Davis’ injury affected his numbers last year?

A: That may have had something to do with it, but we’re kind of looking at him in how he played this past season. He’s a good football player. He kind of reminds you of Jason Avant. I think that was a name somebody brought up in our meeting. One of those kind of guys that could be your fourth, fifth receiver, play on special teams, has size, can block, good route runner, and catch the ball nice.

Q: Why is there a disparity from Geremy Davis’ combine speed and game speed?

A: He ran a fast time. I think he ran a 4.51, but we think he’s probably more like a 4.55, 4.56; those kind of guys. But you look at the time and this guy has got really good speed. He doesn’t quite play that fast for us, but he ran it and it’s on his card.

Q: Could Davis be a potential gunner?

A: He could be a gunner. We definitely think he’s a core special teams player. These kind of guys get jerseys because they play on special teams on Sunday.

Q: There’s a story on Mykkele Thompson and his contact lenses, which led to a drop in his production last year. Have you heard about it?

A: No.

Q: What makes you think Thompson can play free safety as opposed to playing closer to the box?

A: Because he’s not a guy that goes down in the box like Landon Collins does. He’s more of a coverage safety. He can really run. He’s played corner. He plays in the slot sometimes as a nickel. He plays in the back end. We project him as a free safety. Those are the kind of guys that you play on the back end and he’s about as heavy as Collins as well.

Q: Thompson said he almost expected to be an undrafted free agent. When you have a guy like that, do you contemplate taking a risk and waiting until later in the draft even if he’s at the top of your board?

A: It was a position that we talked about. He was in the group of players we were talking about with the skill set we were looking for. It fit what we wanted and we drafted him.

Q: It doesn’t sound like he’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder.

A: Maybe not. You never know. If he talks to you guys, he’ll have a chip on his shoulder pretty quickly.

Q: You have two spots on the roster now.

A: We have some guys that we might swap out, when free agency starts. We’re going to look at it right now if there are some guys on the board that we like better than some guys we have on the roster. There could be swap outs.

Q: How many people do you anticipate bringing into the rookie camp?

A: Probably between 60-65.

Q: Do you think you made a concerted effort to get bigger, faster and stronger?

A: We always want that. Everybody wants big, strong, fast, tough football players.

Q: You picked a lot of really young players. Is that by design?

A: We don’t think that’s a negative. They’re developing and you can teach them as they go, grow and mature. That’s not a negative for us. I think Michael Strahan was 20.

Q: It’s a positive?

A: We think that’s a positive. If a guy is 25, that’s more of a negative than a 20-year old.

Q: If you draft someone older, is it harder to have him adapt to what you’re doing scheme wise?

A: Not necessarily, but if you’re 25, you’re almost out of the league. When you’re 25, you’re almost gone.

Q: So it’s lower upside?

A: Yeah. It doesn’t fit everything quite that nice, like you said it, but we would rather have a 20-year old than a 25-year old.

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

Q: How do you look at the totality of the draft from your perspective?

A: It was good. We had a good time up there. We had a good process, good conversations and we came out with some players that we really like.

Q: Did the draft fall the way you expected or hoped it would?

A: Definitely the earlier rounds we had a good idea and then this year was probably the most unpredictable draft in years with guys just going from all over. It thinned out really quick, so guys were coming from everywhere.

Q: What did you see in Mykkele Thompson that nobody else saw?

A: We told him when he was here that we were going to draft him. I guess he wasn’t paying attention. Just jokes. We did have him in here on a visit and he was really smart on the board. Playing-wise, he is a competitor, he is really smart and they played him in a bunch of different positions. He was in the slot, free and strong [safety spots]. He can handle that in game. He can run. The kid can run. He is not your classic corner, not your classic safety, but we think he can provide versatility. More of a free safety for us.

Q: Does that scare you off from a player if no one else shows interest in him?

A: Not at all. We trust our scouts. We trust our coaches. We trust our process and what the media writes or what other teams do [in regards to], if they like him or don’t like him, has very little to no bearing on what we do.

Q: Is that something you even know if other teams have interest?

A: Yeah, when we bring him in and talk to him and our scouts call guys during the week and ask what visits have you had and who has brought you in and who has worked you out. We keep a tab total of guys and the teams who may be interested. Our pro [personnel] guys do a great job of trying to track media things in the different cities and the players. We have a good idea.

Q: Did you think you could wait for someone like him or because he was on the top of your board…?

A: At times we think we can get him as a free agent, but if everybody feels strongly about the player at a certain time, then we just take him.

Q: When you picked Bobby Hart, did you consider La’el Collins at all?

A: We thought about La’el the whole draft because he is sitting up there, but we were going to pass on that.

Q: Would you have noticed a player like Bobby Hart if he had not come from such a prestigious school?

A: Yeah, I think so because the guy is 6-6 and 330 pounds. Those guys just don’t walk down the street and you don’t notice them. We would have noticed him. He is a big, competitive kid. He is smart. He is very young. He started as a freshman at Florida State, and he is still only 20-21 years old. He has played a lot of football for a young player at a high level, obviously for a winning program, so those are the things you have to think that he is not going to come here and be intimidated by anything. He is going to come here and come to work.

Q: What makes you view him as an inside prospect?

A: He’s more of a box-area athlete. He is not a nifty mover. He is a big, massive, mauling guard type of profile as opposed to a tackle with movement. He has excellent length and strength for an inside player.

Q: Did he play any inside?

A: Maybe when he was younger, but he has been a right tackle the last couple of years.

Q: Do you think of [Geremy Davis] as someone who could fill a role like David Tyree did here?

A: You mean catch balls off his helmet? This guy is a big guy who is strong, competitive and more of a possession type receiver, even though he ran really fast at his pro day. He is more of a possession type. He catches the ball. A big guy like that is going to make it as your fourth receiver and special teams player if you want to say the Tyree role. Preston Parker did it for us last year. You need those utility backup guys to help you win. Be ready. Be prepared. If you get in the game, make a catch and play on all the core special teams. Every team needs has to have those kinds of guys to win and that is what we think this guy can do.

Q: Do you like the [Jason] Avant comparison with Davis?

A: Yeah, one of our scouts, Ryan Jones, compared him to Avant. That was a good one. Hopefully he can be an ‘Avant.’

Q: Going after undrafted rookies?

A: We are in the process of doing that right now. We target a few guys and we like to go after those and if we don’t get them, then the roster fluctuates by what we are going to do. That is what we are in the process of doing right now. Preparing for that.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Opening Statement: I think you can see what the intent was going into the draft, not only had a need, but we were also able to put ourselves in a position to help ourselves out from a standpoint of the quality of the player. We have talked about the first three rounds so I will just jump right into the afternoon.

We felt like in [Mykkele] Thompson we had a guy that actually will go very well with Landon Collins. Thompson has played corner, as you know, the majority of his collegiate career. He is a good cover guy and he is fast. He can play in the centerfield position. There is no way around it, you are going to have to bring him down to the line of scrimmage on occasion. As we go forward, if we could create it, we would create it the other way around. It also has been said that Thompson can play some nickel. We do have some guys that can play over the slot. We will just have to play that out as we work.

In Geremy Davis, we took a big wide receiver that also is going to be a contributor on special teams. You had a guy whose projection isn’t the greatest. I am not going to – you guys know more about the collegiate numbers than I do and the different teams. Davis is a big, fast wide receiver who catches the ball well. I don’t know if he is going to separate the way some of people that we have would, but he is going to contribute on special teams as well.

In Bobby Hart we took a guy that has played four straight years for a team that won a national championship. Truly a football university that has been outstanding in collegiate football for long, long time. A hard-nosed outfit. This guy has played a lot of football. There are some things we will have to do to shape exactly how that works with him, in terms the guard or tackle position. He has shown the ability to play both. We’ll establish that when we get him in here.

Overall, we made the maneuver. We traded up to be in position where we would take a player that we really felt would help us. In doing that there were a couple opportunities for choices that were subtracted. Overall that is the price you have to pay sometimes to get the player that you want in the program.

The draft, with the exception of the free agent part of it, which we do have some numbers that we are going to have to jump on right at the conclusion of the draft in free agency. Hopefully we will do well there because, to be honest with you, there are always opportunities for people to make your team that come out of that collegiate free agency. We will approach that as soon as the draft ends and put together, not only our 90 roster, but what we are going to do with our rookie mini-camp, which some of the players that are currently on our roster are eligible to be involved in that, which is a good thing. The rest will be a tryout camp as well.

Q: Was need more of a focus in this year’s past?

A: No. This is a franchise that in all the years that I have been around — you may have some legitimate battles of things of this nature, but the best player is going to get taken. Sometimes it looks as if we already have people at that spot, but over the years that has been proven the way to go. This organization does not change from that policy.

Q: In the beginning it looks like with the first three picks….?

A: If you can match them (value and need) up, that is what you want to do.

Q: That is the dream scenario?

A: It is. When you have needs and you have to fill them, but sometimes as you sit there and the players come off the board, it doesn’t work that way. We put ourselves in position with the number two spot to accomplish both and also the number three spot worked out very well for us in that regard.

Q: Would you be okay with two rookies starting at safety?

A: Let’s see how that plays out. We are glad to have those young men here and competing for that very situation, but let’s let it play out.

Q: How much do you think you guys improved or where do you see the biggest improvement this offseason?

A: Take a look down the line right here. Offensive line.

Q: Combining this and free agency?

A: There have been some changes, not quite as many as there was a year ago, but there have been changes. There always are. There is a certain percentage of your roster that you know is going to change throughout the course of free agency and the draft, so we are excited about those that we have here from a free agent standpoint and we are anxious to get them on the field and out of the meeting rooms. That will take place this week for us and the rookies will be here so we can take a look at them this weekend and put them right in the program the following week.

Q: Is there a specific area where you think you are better at?

A: I am not going to say that now. I hope we are better at all of them. We should be better in all the spots. That is the purpose of going out in free agency and bringing in players that you hope can help you. Not only on offense and defense, but certainly with [Dwayne] Harris on special teams.

Q: Do you think in the last three days your team got bigger and stronger and tougher?

A: That was one of the intents. And faster, too. Certainly younger. The roster will end up being younger.

Q: Can you realistically get all 12 receivers you have on the roster snaps?

A: It won’t stay that way. You have a number that you have in mind for camp. You are going to work with that number. If that number happens to be, whatever the position might be, over, then you are going to have to adjust.

Q: Will the rookies jump in right away with the veterans before the mini-camp?

A: No, they can’t. They don’t get here until Thursday. Once the rookies are here, the veterans are out the door. They cannot be here, other than the guys that are presently here eligible. We do have a few.

Q: You didn’t have a rookie camp last year. Do you like having the minicamp to introduce the rookies?

A: We have done mini-camps forever, so that is probably I would prefer it. Sometimes it doesn’t fall that way. Sometimes where you are with your team, they just roll right in anyways, regardless. This gives a chance to introduce the fundamental concepts, the terminology etc. on a little bit lesser scale in terms of the intensity of it. Then take them on the field and I think that will help some of these guys be introduced to where we are.

MEDIA Q&A WITH THOMPSON:

Q: Did this catch you by surprise getting drafted by the Giants in the fifth round?

A: It was a surprise to me. I don’t even know how to explain it right now.

Q: What’s surprising to you about it?

A: Just the place. It sounds right. This was the only team I took a visit up to. I’m just glad they believed in my ability and picked me up.

Q: What was the visit like? Who did you meet with and what was the impression you came away with?

A: I met with everybody. Of course, I was mainly with the defensive coaches and the defensive back coaches. It’s just a great vibe around there. They all really care and they want to win. I got a positive vibe from every one of them.

Q: Is this where you expected to go in the draft or did you have a different feeling heading into this process?

A: Honestly, I had no idea where I was going to go. Obviously, free agency was a possibility. Me thinking that I didn’t put that good of numbers up this past season, I thought free agency was going to be the main goal probably.

Q: Was there a reason for the numbers you put up this season?

A: There was no reason for it. I didn’t have too much action this past season.

Q: What do you bring to the NFL?

A: Honestly, I’ll play wherever they want me to. In college I played every defensive back position, so wherever they want me to go, that’s where I’ll play, and, of course, special teams is really big.

Q:  Is it your versatility or something else that you might say is your best quality?

A: My versatility, of course, and, of course, my length and my speed for my size.

Q: Do you know anything about the Giants’ second round pick, Landon Collins from Alabama?

A: I have seen a couple of games on him and of course I have seen his stats and everything.

Q: What were you doing today? Were you preparing for the possibility of being drafted or just taking it as it goes?

A: Of course, that is what I wanted to happen, but I was just here with my family. Nothing too big. We are just relaxing on the couch. I had no clue when or if my name would get picked, so I was just waiting by the phone.

Q: What was the reaction when the phone rang?

A: At first I just thought I was getting a text message. My phone has been blowing up. When I saw the New York area code, I was shocked, and I looked up at the TV and saw that [the Giants] had the next pick. I don’t even know how to explain it right now.

Q: Did you live in Italy very long as a kid?

A: My dad was in the Air Force. I lived in Italy for a couple years, but nothing that I can remember.

Q: When you started wearing contact lenses did that help you when playing football?

A: Yes.

Q: When did that start and how much of a difference did that make?

A: That started probably towards the beginning of this past season. Of course seeing better is always a one-up in your game. With my performance, it seemed like it helped.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DAVIS:

Q:  Did you think the Giants might be interested?

A: I know they are close to Connecticut, but I never really heard from them. During this whole process, you never know how teams work this thing out or if they show interest or they might be interested. There is so much that goes on.  I am just happy to see my name and do the best work I can for the Giants.

Q: What do you think you can bring to this team?

A: From a receiving standpoint, I am a big, physical guy. I am not afraid to open up big blocks for running backs and other receivers. I am not afraid to go across the middle. I have great hands. From a special teams standpoint, I can use my physicality on the front line for kickoff returns or blocking for the punt, running down on the kickoff and making a tackle. I am just going to give my all.

Q: You went from over 1,000 yards [receiving] as a junior to 700 yards this past year… What was the reason for that?

A: I missed two games with a high ankle sprain [on my left leg]. Then when I hurt my ankle, it was in the beginning of the ECU game so I pretty much missed three games. Prior to that, I was on pace for another year like I had, but unfortunately I had the injuries. I came back strong at the pro day, Combine and all-star games. I am happy that the Giants realized it.

Q: Can you make a catch like the one Odell Beckham Jr. made?

A: I always practice those muscle memory catches on the JUGS machine. [Beckham Jr.] is a great talent and I am happy to be working with him and a lot of the other guys like Victor Cruz and [Rueben] Randle. I just hope I can get under those guys’ wings and contribute on special teams and eventually at the wide receiver position.

Q: What do you think you can do on special teams?

A: I am a pretty big guy. Six-two, 215 [pounds]. I am a physical receiver. I am going to run down there and make tackles. I can be an in man on punt protecting for the punt. Front line on kickoff return. I am going to use all those traits that I have as a receiver on special teams.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HART:

Q: The Giants project you playing guard at this level. When was the last time you played the position?

A: I played guard my sophomore year and then in practice a little bit this year. Guard is fine with me. Whatever they need me to play, that’s what I’m willing to play.

Q: What are the differences you find between the two positions? Was it an easy transition when you moved from tackle to guard?

A: Pretty easy. With any new position there are new challenges, but I’m up for all of the challenges ahead.

Q: How much did you talk to the Giants prior to the draft? Did you have any idea you would land with the Giants?

A: I had no idea I’d be landing here. I talked to them in Indianapolis briefly. It was definitely a shock, but I’m definitely happy to be here.

Q: What about all the big games you’ve played in at Florida State helps prepare you for the NFL?

A: It definitely has helped. We’re definitely battle-tested there. We’ve been through a lot. Just keeping my composure in those games we had.

Q: What are your thoughts on Jameis Winston?

A: Jameis is a great guy. I’m pretty sure he’d be successful wherever he went just by the time he puts into the game and his passion for it. Wherever he went, whether it was first or wherever, I know he’ll be successful.

Q: Do you know Ereck Flowers?

A: Not personally. Just playing against him and talking to him after the game. Nothing personal.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

A: A very smart player. Tough player. Just a player that’s going to get the job done.

May 022015
 
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Landon Collins New York Giants Press Conference: Safety Landon Collins, who was drafted with the first pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, addressed the media on Saturday. A video of the press conference is available at Giants.com.

Q:  Is it exciting to be here?

A: Yes, very exciting.

Q: What was it like to walk in here and see everything?

A: It is a dream come true. Walking in here and finally having your name called and to be at the facility that you are going to be playing at for the next few years it is just a dream come true. You always dreamed of this moment, so when it actually happens a sigh of relief takes place.

Q: What have the last 24 hours been like for you?

A: It has been crazy. I haven’t gotten that much sleep. I tried to celebrate, but I couldn’t really celebrate because I had to get up for an early flight to get up here. It has been fantastic. It is a great feeling. To visit here and be here is fantastic.

Q: Have you had any conversations with the coaches at the Combine and up to now and what were they able to tell you about you might fit in here?

A: Last time I talked to the coaches was at the Combine. We talked and had a good conversation. We talked for about fifteen minutes at the Combine. We had a good conversation and they felt confident in me I guess.

Q: Have you had a chance to experience the city at all?

A: This is my first time in New Jersey or New York. I am definitely going to try to experience it when I get out here.

Q: Can you talk about the physical nature of your game?

A: That is how I play the game. That is my passion for the game to make sure I make plays on the ball and be around it and make sure I make the tackle and make sure they don’t score. That is just how I am. I always try to make plays and make physical plays as much as possible. You make a physical play you knock the ball out or cause a fumble or you knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands when they try to catch it. That is my type of game.

Q: How does your size play into that?

A: Size came along with it. I couldn’t help that. I kept continuing to work and try to build my strength and my arm size and chest and speed and everything else came along with it.

Q: Did the perception that you might be a ‘box safety’ bother you?

A: Yes, sir, it did. I played in the box at Alabama, but I was a safety. It was not an in the box safety. I played free, strong and played our money position, which was our fifth [defensive back] on the field. [I] was not just an in the box safety.

Q: Did you hear that during the process from actual teams?

A: It was just the outside noise. Teams said I played a lot in the box, but once they saw me play this past year in the deep middle and then they had total confidence in me.

Q: Number 26 was important to you? Did you ask for 26 here?

A: Yes sir. I am going to talk to the equipment manager and ask him for it.

Q: Sean Taylor wore 26 and that was your guy?

A: Yes sir.

Q: What do you know about Antrel Rolle?

A: He’s a big safety too. He’s fast and a great guy. He knows the game very well.

Q: Do you know him at all?

A: Not really.

Q: You’re trying to replace Rolle. What kind of pressure is that for you?

Landon Collins, Alabama Crimson Tide (October 18, 2014)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

A: I came into a lot of places. I came from Dutchtown. I came in right after Eric Reid. Going into Alabama I came in after Mark Barron and HaHa Clinton-Dix and Vinny Sunserry. I had plenty of big shoes to fill, so I’m going to definitely fulfill those shoes and keep it going.

Q: Have you had any conversations with the safeties drafted from Alabama about what to expect?

A: Not really. I talked to Eddie (Lacy). I talked to Ha-Ha. I haven’t talked to Mark yet. I talked to Robert Meachem. Nick Toon; all of those guys. They congratulated me and they told me to be ready.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice that one of them gave you?

A: Don’t lose the drive that you had back in college and high school.

Q: What were they telling you after the first round when you weren’t drafted?

A: Just keep my head up and the first round and second round stuff doesn’t mean anything because once you get into the pros and you show the teams what you’re able to do you’re going to be great.

Q: What do you feel you need to show the coaches moving forward?

A: I’m going to show them I’m an all-around safety. That’s all I can say.

Q: Do you feel you’ll be ready to play right away?

A: Yes.

Q: You feel you’ll be able to start?

A: Yes.

Q: What has made you prepared to start as a rookie?

A: Alabama prepared me for that. Being under Coach Saban, he doesn’t coach as freshmen, he coaches us as juniors and he puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulder as an 18 year old. I have the upmost respect for him because of that. Going through that process it helped a lot because it made me a man, the person, the player, and the leader that I am today and a smart player knowing the game. Definitely the school and coach Saban have helped me a long way with that.

Q: You’ve done a lot of traveling that last 48 hours. Are you going back home and then coming back for the rookie mini camp?

A: Yes. I’m going to head back home and then come back up.

Q: Are you tired?

A: No. I’m just ready to go start working out again. I’ve been off for three days because I was in Chicago. As soon as I touch back down I can go back working out and get ready for the rookie mini camp.

Giants.com Interview with S Landon Collins: A video of a Giants.com interview with S Landon Collins on Saturday is available at Giants.com.

May 022015
 
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Ereck Flowers New York Giants Press Conference: Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, who was drafted with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, addressed the media on Saturday. A video of the press conference is available at Giants.com. A video of Flowers arriving at the New York Giants team facility on Friday is also available.

Q: What have your last couple days been like up here?

A: It is going pretty good. It is a lot different than Miami. I am getting used to it.

Q: What is different about it for you?

A: There is a lot more traffic. A lot more going on. The city never really sleeps. I like it. It is going pretty good.

Q: Have you been recognized yet around town?

A: Yeah, I have been recognized. Maybe because I always have the [Giants] gear on.

Q: Have you been to New York before?

A: This is my first time.

Q: You have a lot of exploring to do then…?

A: We have mini-camp next week, then we have OTA’s, so I will be at the hotel busy until June.

Q: Who have you had a chance to meet and talk to and who has made an impression on you?

A: I had a chance to talk to [David] Diehl. Everyone around the building, all the coaches and everybody. I haven’t really seen the players. I guess I will wait to meet them.

Q: How do you think landing in the largest media market is going to play out? Thoughts?

A: Miami is a pretty big city. Same thing, just focus on football. Clock in and clock out. Get the job done.

Q: How does it make you feel when you hear people say you have a nasty streak in your game?

A: It is just who I am. It is not something I am really sticking out about. It is just how I play.

Q: Can your turn being nasty on and off?

A: Yeah, whenever you’re on the field, it is a different mindset.

Q: Can you talk about the physical nature of your game…You seem to be a strong run blocker?

A: I love run blocking. That has dated back to high school. My running back from college went to the same high school as me. Mostly what we did was run the ball.

Q: What do you like about run blocking?

A: Opening the holes, watching the [running back] get through and running the ball wins games. [I enjoy] everything about it.

Q: Do you feel you have an advantage run blocking with your size and strength?

A: I have played against some big dudes and some real athletic dudes. I would say I didn’t have the advantage with my size, but the effort and everything I put into it going into [the games]. That maybe gives me more of an advantage more than my size.

Q: What do you remember about the Nebraska game last year?

A: That we should have won that game.

Q: Do you remember the matchup up with Randy [Gregory]? How’d that go?

A: Yeah.

Q: He was just drafted by the Cowboys and you may face him in the opening game… Are you looking forward to that?

A: I am looking forward to that.

Q: Were you disappointed when Nebraska played [Gregory] on the opposite side of you for most of that game?

A: It is more so a team mindset. I was really looking forward to any matchup. I was just looking to win the game. At that point we really needed that game to turn our season around.

Q: Are there any skills that you developed from playing basketball that have translated into your offensive line career?

A: My footwork, more than anything.

Q: What aspects of your technique will you focus on working on this offseason?

A: Hand placement.

Q: Why?

A: At this level, technique plays a bigger role. That is one thing I am focusing on, getting my technique better.

Q: Have you heard from Eli Manning yet?

A: He called me.

Q: How was that conversation?

A: It went pretty good. He was welcoming me and stuff. He was telling me about it and telling me to get ready to go to work.

Q: Do you take it to heart that it is your responsibility to keep Manning clean?

A: Yeah. I take everything.

Q: Did he remind you of that?

A: No. he didn’t remind me.

Q: Did you get a chance to talk to any of your fellow Giants offensive linemen?

A: Yeah, some of them have texted me or tweeted me. I am ready to come in and meet them.

Q: Do you have any relationship with Jon Beason because of the Miami connection?

A: No, but he texted me though.

Q: How did it meet your expectations being a top-ten pick? How did it play out for you?

A: I didn’t really have too many expectations of where to go. It was more so just trying to land in a good spot. A place where I could progress. I didn’t really have a mindset of having a certain spot [to be picked in the draft]. I just wanted to get to this level and find a place I really fit and can progress. That was more so my mindset.

Q: Does it mean something to you that you ended up in the top-ten?

A: It is great to be in that. It is just a selection. It is more so what you do now than when you are selected.

Q: Can you talk about your relationship with your father and what is has been like the past few days and months?

A: It has been good. We have been working out and taking visits. Just setting everything up and getting ready to go. We will be ready to go this Thursday when we come back up.

Q: Without an agent, was it hard to set up his visits?

A: No, they just called [my father] directly.

Q: Would you say he is your toughest critic?

A: Yeah, or after myself.

Q: Is that physical play a mindset or an attitude?

A: It is how you were taught to play. In high school the coaches I had – we had to play a certain way. After playing a certain way, it just becomes who you are. I can’t really sit here and say I have a certain mindset. It is just how I play.

Q: Were you usually bigger than the kids you were going against when you were younger?

A: I was always taller than everybody. I was never fat. I was just taller and bigger.

Q: You will go home now and then come back for the weekend?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you found or looked at places to live?

A: Oh no. I just got here. I don’t even know my way around yet.

Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (May 1, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Q: How was it yesterday at the Mets game?

A: It was good. I never really went to baseball games. The game was good. It was a pretty good game to go to.

Q: How was your first pitch?

A: It was pretty good. I had a pretty good pitch.

Q: Were you nervous?

A: No, I wasn’t nervous.

Q: When was the last time you threw a baseball before last night?

A: Probably about fifth grade.

Q: Did anyone give you advice on throwing it?

A: Don’t let it hit the ground.

Giants.com Interview with OT Ereck Flowers: A video of a Giants.com interview with OT Ereck Flowers on Friday is available at Giants.com.

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May 022015
 
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Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA Bruins (August 30, 2014)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With their third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (pronounced Oh-wah-MAH-bay Oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah) of UCLA.

SCOUTING REPORT: Odighizuwa is an extremely well-built (6’3”, 267 pounds) and athletic defensive end with long arms and huge hands. He plays with power and strength and is a good run defender. He is a versatile player who can play inside in pass rush situations. Odighizuwa flashes explosive pass rush ability (4.59 40-yard dash) but he needs more technique work in that area. Odighizuwa is a hard working, competitive team leader with a non-stop motor. He missed the 2013 season due to two hip labrum surgeries.

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

Opening Statement: He’s a defensive end. Great athlete. Big and fast. Long arms. Big Hands. Really a clean player, captain. There are a lot of things to like about him. He plays hard. We think there’s a lot of upside. When you start picking guys in the third round, those are guys that have some things they have to get better at, some developmental qualities that they have to get better at, but this guy, all of his gymnastic stuff he did at the combine were really off the charts. You rarely see guys with this kind of athletic ability with respect with the gymnastic numbers show. There’s a lot of things to like about him. We just think we can get a guy in the third round who’s going to be a core special teams player while he’s learning how to adjust to the game up here. He’s a big, powerful guy. An amazing body. We’re hoping to hit on this guy as a pass-rusher. He can play inside. Our coaches like that he can go inside and play. We think he’ll be a matchup problem as an inside rusher as well.

Q: He will be a defensive end for you?

A: He’s a defensive end.

Q: Any concern with the hip surgery he had?

A: We talked about that, but our doctors think he’s fine and they cleared him, so we picked him. That definitely was a concern for us, but he has no restrictions at this point.

Q: Would you have considered him with the 40th pick in the second round if you did not trade up?

A: We had some more guys.

Q: You were or were not ready to talk about him at that pick?

A: We were not ready to talk about him at that point.

Q: You talked about his personality. He was a captain at UCLA.

A: He was a captain. He really blew us away in the interview process at the combine. He was really good. With the video stuff, he knew all the schemes and where people lined up and played. He was impressive that way. He has already graduated. He’s very smart. You guys will like him. He’ll be a media guy. You guys will like him.

Q: You’ve taken fliers on athletes in the draft.

A: I wouldn’t call him a flier because our defensive coaches say there’s a lot of things to like about him. They really like him. I wouldn’t call him a flier. Justin Tuck was a third round pick and he ended up being a pretty good player for us. We’re hoping that he can be in that same mold to come in and like Justin started out playing a lot on special teams and develop into a really good player. We think this guy can do the same thing.

Q: What kind of a pass-rusher is he?

A: He had six sacks. He’s a hard rusher. I think he can learn a lot of things with the pro coaching up here. I don’t think he’s an ultra pass-rusher at this point, but I think he has the tools to be a really good pass rusher.

Q: What do you see as his top skill?

A: I think he equally plays the run and plays the pass. I think he’s a good player both ways. With respect to what his top skill is, I’m not sure what his top skill is. His compete and his effort is what his top skill will be until he really learns how to hone his skills and play the type of technique that we like up here for the New York Giants.

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

Q: What about him did you personally see that you liked?

A: First thing you see when you see the guy on the field, he is built. He looks like an NFL football player. He is strapped up, put together. At this point, he is a big guy that plays hard. He plays physical. He is strong. Snap to whistle, he is going after it. He is a team captain. He loves ball. He loves playing. That is what we are looking for. Premier position. He has rushed from the inside and outside. That gives you some flexibility there. He has special teams temperament. He is a great young man.

Q: What kind of a pass rusher is he?

A: He is more of a power guy on the outside. They put him inside, so he uses his quickness a little more inside. He is actually more accomplished inside right now than outside. Outside, he is a power guy – let me try to run you over. He has some sneaky quickness inside, so they do both with him. That was definitely attractive to us and our defensive coaches.

Q: Did having [Coach Spagnuolo] here change anything that you were looking for in defensive players?

A: No, not really. It has been about the same. We look for productive guys that play hard and are good athletes. Spags has been here before, so when we first started meetings, nothing changed. Once we started meetings, we just jumped back in. The familiarity with him was great, but there was nothing that changed or he said, ‘Hey, I need this since I have been gone’ or ‘we need this, we need that.’ It has all pretty much been the same.

Q: You said before Coach Coughlin wanted a pass rusher… Did it just so happen that you ended up with a pass rusher?

A: It just happened to end up that way. We knew [Coughlin] liked him. I spent a lot of time with Tom after the season, once we do the Combine, pro days and all that. We spent a lot of time together. I have a good idea of the guys he really likes. Again, we are on the same page, Tom, Jerry [Reese] and I, and the scouts and coaches. We all talk it out and hash it out together and have a good synergy going on with everybody. There are really no surprises or guys jumping on the table pushing for people. We talk things out. We are prepared. We feel like we come to good decisions as a unit and as a team.

Q: Did you feel like you needed to come away from the draft with a pass rusher?

A: It is always good to get ends. If you can go into a draft and get a defensive end who everybody likes, then that is a good goal. We never set out and have a checklist of players that we say we have to get. We set the board up by the players we like. We hope they fill a position of need and value. We just attack in that kind of way.

Q: How would you describe how the draft has gone so far overall?

A: I think the biggest thing that jumped out is all three of these guys bring a physical toughness to our team. They are three different positions. A passion, a toughness, a physicalness at their position. I think that is the common thread with the three of them.

Q: Do you see anything there with him and Justin Tuck?

A: It never crossed my mind.

Q: Could you see him moving inside and being a successful pass rusher?

A: Yeah, he did that there. That is one of the things we like. We have been successful moving guys around and we think he brings us that versatility. [Robert] Ayers can do it, [Odighizuwa] can do it, so hopefully we have some versatility with a few of those guys.

Q: Did [Odighizuwa] rush from the inside at UCLA?

A: Yeah.

Q: What makes him good at it?

A: He has sneaky quickness inside. He has enough power and strength to power through the gaps. That is how he beat guys.

Q: Have you seen signs from studying him last year of medical conditions?

A: No, none at all. We have a great medical staff. Those guys go through the ringer with that. There were no limitations on the field, workout wise. The guy is a beast working out. It didn’t limit him at all.

Q: Is this the kind of guy profile-wise who pops out to you?

A: Yeah, at this point in the draft, when you are going through the checklist and talking about players. You say, ‘He is big. He is fast. He is a good athlete. He plays hard. He is smart. He is a captain. Okay, he is productive.’ You are going down all these things and saying, ‘Alright, in the third round, these are a lot of attractive attributes that he has.’ This is the kind of guy you need to try to work with. Throw him in the mix. He has the special teams temperament right away.  Hopefully he will get on the field and contribute in some sort of packages versus the run and pass. At this point in the draft, a guy with all these positive traits is very attractive.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Opening Statement: This guy is a great effort player. When I got on the phone he was crying. He was so happy, so excited. He brings a lot to the table. His testing, his gym numbers out at the Combine are out of sight. 11 [inch] hands. Strong, very, very strong. We think he can rush from the inside or the outside. We think he can play certainly a 9 and a 6-I on first and second down. I am not sure he will be a five-technique. He is a strong player. Gives great effort. He is fast and can play on special teams. He will be a contributor that way. He gives us that force that could be a left-end. I am not going to nail that down just yet. He certainly can play on that side. We are excited to have him.

Q: Do you see any Justin Tuck comparisons?

A: I certainly hope the results are that.

Q: What is it about [Odighizuwa’s] game that you like?

A: Effort. I like the effort. I like to see a guy that just goes and goes and goes. He seems to have that kind of a motor. I like that. He plays hard.

Q: How important is that physicality that you guys talk about?

A: Very important. What I always talk about – you have to win the line of scrimmage with the defensive line and the offensive line. I think this guy gives us a chance to get back into that business, run or pass.

Q: Can he do that right away?

A: He is going to have to learn. He is relatively new to the game. He is going to have to learn the nuances. I just don’t want to slow him down while we are teaching him. We will try to anticipate those types of things. He is smart. He has graduated. He has been a captain. He played in a sophisticated system.

MEDIA Q&A WITH ODIGHIZUWA:

Q: Tom Coughlin said you were emotional when he spoke to you today. Can you explain what that call meant to you?

A: I was definitely very emotional. Just finally getting my name called and knowing that I’m going to be living out my dream and working and playing professional football was a very emotional moment for me.

Q: Is this around where you thought you would go and was there any indication it would be to the Giants?

A: Honestly, I wasn’t sure which team it was, but a lot of people were saying different things and I was just waiting it out to see who was going to call my name. But anything goes on draft day, so I was just excited to get my name called.

Q: Do you think your hip issues in 2013 caused your stock to drop a little bit?

A: I’m sure that could have played a part in it. There could be a lot of different factors. You just never know what teams are thinking when it comes to draft day. Regardless of what it was, that’s behind me. I’m looking forward to just being a part of this organization and competing and getting ready to play football.

Q: Where do you think your best position is going to be on that defensive line?

A: Honestly, I think I can play anywhere that the coaches want me to play, whether it’s strongside or weakside defensive end or even rushing as a three technique on passing downs. I think my versatility in what I bring to the table is an upside for what the coach wants for the defense and for the team.

Q: Could you describe your own game and your strengths?

A: I’m a relentless player. I’m physical. My athletic ability allows me to do a lot of different things, like I was saying with my versatility. I think that’s what really helps me as a football player.

Q: How much do you know about Justin Tuck and what he did here?

A: I know he’s a great player who was drafted out of Notre Dame in the (third) round and I know that I was watching him my sophomore year in high school when they were playing New England in the Super Bowl and the Giants’ defensive line inspired me and made me want to be a better defensive line with Osi Umenyiora, with Justin Tuck, I believe number 94 (Mathias Kiwanuka, who did not play in Super Bowl 42). But I know Justin Tuck is a great player. He’s really, really physical and that’s a guy that I try to learn some things from, but I know a lot about the Giants’ defensive line. I could go all day with what I know about their defensive line play. With Michael Strahan, obviously he’s a Hall of Fame player. He won a Super Bowl. He went out on a bang, so to speak. The last year he played, they won a Super Bowl, but he had a great career with the Giants. He was drafted out of Texas (Southern). I believe it was in the (second) round, which makes me put things in perspective with me. For me as a competitor, I want to be drafted as high as possible, it doesn’t work out but my thing is a lot of great players come in different rounds and make an impact. I know Michael Strahan was one of them. I know Osi Umenyiora was one of them. I know Justin Tuck is another guy. I know the Giants have a great tradition with drafting great defensive linemen. Jason Pierre-Paul is one of them. I looked up to him coming out of (South Florida). Is it South Florida? I can’t remember. I’m very excited about this opportunity that I get to learn. I think it’s going to help me develop as a football player. My goal is to just be the best that I can be and take my game to the next level. You’ve got to start somewhere and learn from guys who’ve been there and done that. I’m excited about it. I think it’s a great opportunity for me.

Q: How did you get to know so much from the Giants out on the West Coast?

A: It may sound weird, but I just love football. It’s just something that I like to study to get better as a player. When I tell you that the Giants’ defensive line inspired me as a player, it’s no joke. The way they played is really what sparked my thirst for wanting to be better as a d-lineman. I remember in college watching the year Osi Umenyiora had six sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles. I watched his highlights over and over again. I watched his drills that he did with the d-line coach who coaches guys out of Atlanta. There was a video of him on YouTube and I was watching it over and over again. I was doing every drill that he did. The list goes on and on. I was watching Michael Strahan and how he plays. I studied everything about the Giants defensive line. I studied Jason Pierre-Paul the year he went off. They know their defensive line.

Q: You get to play under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. How excited are you for that opportunity?

A: I’m extremely excited. I’ve been waiting to be in this situation where I can just be a defensive end getting after the quarterback, playing physical against the run, just playing that traditional four down over, under defense. I’ve been looking forward to that for a very long time.

May 012015
 
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The New York Giants traded up to the first pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the Tennessee Titans. With the pick, the Giants selected safety Landon Collins of the University of Alabama. To move up to the first spot, the Giants gave Tennessee their 2nd (#40 overall), 4th (#108 overall), and first 7th (#245 overall) round picks.

SCOUTING REPORT: Collins is a junior entry. He’s a big safety (6’0”, 228 pounds) with good speed (4.48). Tough, physical, intimidating safety who is a big hitter and sure tackler. Collins excels in run defense; he is like having an extra linebacker on the field. Good blitzer. He is solid in coverage with good range but lacks ideal quickness and recovery speed. Field-smart, instinctive, and a team leader, Collins has an ideal defensive temperament. He is a superb special teams player.

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

Opening Statement: We got a safety from Alabama, Landon Collins. He’s a big, versatile safety. He played a lot of positions for them. They asked him to do a lot at Alabama. We always like guys that have a lot of versatility like that and he’s played at a very high level of competition. He was very productive for them. We think he can play on the back end and we think he can play in the box. We think he can play like a sub linebacker… also as a special teams player. He’ll come right in and compete for a job at that position.

Q: Do you see him more as a strong safety, free safety or does that distinction matter?

A: I just see him as a safety. One or the other has to come down into the box at some point and they have to go back and play coverage at some point. I think he’s just a versatile safety. If you look at Alabama, you see them use him in all kinds of ways. He’s very smart, very productive, big, tough and can run.

Q: You don’t make a lot of trades up like this. Did you pick out particular players last night before you left the facility?

A: There were a couple of guys sticking out last night as we looked at the board before we left. We had a group of players right there together that we liked and we always try to combine value with need and so we made some calls last night and some calls today and it worked out for us.

Q: Does he have a first round grade?

A: We have a good grade on him.

Q: When you left last night, did you feel like you were going to get this player?

A: You never know. We just made contact last night with some teams in front of us because there were a couple of players that we liked still on the board right there, so I made some phone calls last night and some phone calls this morning and talked about it most of the day and we decided to make the deal.

Q: It seemed like a couple of players drafted at the end of the first round might have been on your draft board. Did that effect what you decided to do with this trade?

A: No, not really. There were a couple of good defensive players that we liked that got picked yesterday as well, but every draft, it happens like that. When that guy gets picked, move on to the next.

Q: You haven’t been able to bring a safety in through free agency up to this point. How much of a necessity was it for you to make sure you acquired a player at the safety position in this draft and did you need to make the pick at a certain point in the draft?

A: Not really. We just try to get good players when the opportunity presents itself, so we try to be aggressive. We liked this guy. He’s going to come in and compete with safeties we have on the roster right now and we’ll continue to see what’s out there and what’s available. It’s just April. There’s a long way to go before we play and so we’ll continue to try to upgrade that position like all of the other positions.

Q: Did you pay more than you expected to?

A: No. When you move up to that spot, you have buddies around the National Football League, but they’re not buddy enough to let you come up there for free. It’s a premium spot when you’re picking first in the second round, so you’ve got to pay to go up there and secure a guy.

Q: Did you pay less than you thought you might have to?

A: No. We paid a fair price for him. Very fair.

Q: What makes you think he can compete for a starting job, whereas many other rookies can’t?

A: A lot of rookies do compete for starting jobs every year. There are rookies that come in and play all over the National Football League at different positions, so why not him. He played at a very, very high level of competition. He’s smart. He can run. He’s tough. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t come in and compete.

Q: What are some reasons why he can compete for a starting job on this defense?

A: I think it’s just what I said, because he’s very accomplished at a very high level of competition, the highest level of competition. He’s been very productive there. He’s smart. We interviewed him. This is what I think is going to motivate him. I think a lot of people had him projected to go in the first row, so I think we’re going to get a very, very motivated player coming in here to prove some people wrong that didn’t take him in the first row. They missed out on a good player.

Q: Did you have him in for a visit?

A: Did we have him here? No.

Q: He’s been compared to Kam Chancellor as a heavy hitter. You acquired Ereck Flowers, who has a nasty streak. Are you trying to improve the physicality of this team?

A: You always want a physical football team, so the more physical guys you can acquire, the more physical your football team is going to be. That’s part of the method to who he is and why we want him and why we think he can be a good player for us.

Q: Did you view him as the top safety in the draft?

A: There were some more safeties we liked as well, but we had him ranked high.

Q: How important is it to you if a prospect has played in the SEC?

A: If they’re playing at a high level of competition, we think it’s an easier adjustment to play up here, but there’s plenty of guys that play at lower levels of competition that come in this league and do really well.

Q: Did you talk to Nick Saban about him?

A: We talked to everybody about him. Our scouts have talked to people. We saw him at the pro day. We saw him at the combine. We interviewed him, so we’ve done our homework on him.

Q: His last college game wasn’t his best.

A: I can’t remember what his last college game was like. Nobody plays a good game every week, I don’t think. We don’t penalize guys for having one bad game. He’s had a lot more good games than bad games for us.

Q: Is there a skill that stands out for him?

A: What really stood out to me was that they used him all over the place. They asked him to do a lot and that was very attractive to me because he lines up all over the place. They asked him to make calls, make checks and they used him in a variety of ways and that was very attractive to see a guy with so much versatility and how they use him. I liked that about him.

Q: Where does it rank on the priority list to gain back a pick later in the draft?

A: We’ll see how things unfold. We might get an opportunity to get some picks back. We’ll see. In the middle of the draft, it’s pick to pick with how things unfold for you. We’ll see how things unfold and we’ll play it that way.

Q: A lot has been made about his tackling prowess and being a hard-hitter. Do you see him as a guy who can cover tight ends?

A: Yeah. They used him in a lot of different ways. They used him down in the box. You see him go out there on slot receivers at times in their defense. He has cover skills. He’s a physical player. He can play in the box. He can play back on the hash. He can play back deep in the middle. He’s very versatile.

Q: If Landon Collins was not available, would you have been just as aggressive to get the 33rd pick?

A: I don’t know that, but if we couldn’t get this deal done, we were very confident that we were going to get a good player with our pick if we stayed at 40. We were going to get a very good player right there, but we thought it was in our interest to be aggressive to go after the safety in light of our safety situation to get a very good player who can compete for that job.

Q: Are you trying to get another draft pick in the second round?

A: We’ll see. You never know what will happen and we’ll just play it as each pick unfolds.

Q: Do you have expectations for the rest of the current safety group in light of this draft pick?

A: I expect all of those guys to come in and compete like crazy and see who’s the winner for the job. That’s what I expect. I expect all of them to come in and really compete. I think there will be some good competition for that position and we’ll continue to upgrade it as we go along.

Q: Can Landon Collins and Nat Berhe coexist as two safeties?

A: We’ll see. Whoever wins the job, that’s up to Steve Spagnuolo and Coach Coughlin to figure out.  I’m just trying to provide them with some good choices to choose from.

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

Q: Did you really like [Landon] Collins?

A: Of course, we did. We went and got him.

Q: Did you suggest the trade?

A: We talked about it last night. We de-brief and we look at our board and we see who is sticking out there. Let’s make something happen here.

Q: What is it about Collins that made you feel that way?

A: Landon is the consummate football player. This guy is smart. He is tough. He is physical. He carries himself like a pro since the day he got to Alabama. One of the best interviews at the Combine that we have had. This guy is going to bring an attitude and maturity, not only to our defensive backfield, but to the whole defense. This guy will be a leader for us. He was that for Alabama and we think he can do the same thing for us.

Q: What was it about the interview that impressed you?

A: He had an air of confidence about him. Very mature. He blew us away talking about the football aspects of it. That is what we do. We talk to him a little bit and then we put him on the film. He blew us away with his total package – his personality, his maturity, his confidence and then his knowledge of football.

Q: Have you sensed that he has a chip on his shoulder because he believed he would go in the first round?

A: Yeah. This guy has been a highly publicized, highly decorated player from high school all the way through [his time] at Alabama and this year in the draft. A lot of the mock drafts had him really high. I am sure he felt he was worthy of being a first round pick. After last night, I don’t know if you guys saw his tweet, which basically said he is not going let that define him of him not getting drafted in the first round. We talked to him about that and this guy is coming to prove that he is the best safety in the draft and one of the best football players in the draft, no matter where he gets taken.

Q: Why did he fall?

A: Just circumstances. I can’t answer that. I would think that his label of him being a box safety. Some people may have gotten scared away. He didn’t blow anybody away at the Combine with some of the gym numbers, which again scares teams away, but if you go back to the tape and watch this guy and take his whole body of work into account, then we felt he was first round worthy.

Q: Was this one of the scenarios that you go over that you thought had a chance of unfolding this way?

A: Throughout the week he was – you kind of think in your mind, alright second round, who is going to be around and you discount certain guys. You just put them away. He was one of those guys that we thought would be gone, so we weren’t really thinking he would be around the second go around.

Q: Did you have him as a first round pick?

A: He was up there. He was in our first row.

Q: When you see a safety with 103 tackles, is he that active or are people getting funneled to him?

A: No. If you know anything about Alabama, they have some other talented players. They are not funneling just to him. He gets to the football. He has excellent instincts and he is aggressive running to the ball. For a safety, those are key elements. You have to see it and then you have to react to it. Some guys can see it and they don’t want to react to it. Some guys can’t see it and they can start going once they finally do see it. This guy sees it fast and he reacts fast and he goes aggressively to the ball. That is why he has so many tackles and he is always involved. The way [Alabama] uses him, he plays everywhere on their defense. He knows where to line up. He gets everyone else lined up. He just has a nose for the football.

Q: Coach Coughlin said he was anxious to get a defensive player… How do you view that as a personnel staff member?

A: Coach wants everybody. We have to stick to the board and stick to what we do. We meet and talk about things for a reason and we rank the guys and stack them for a reason. He wants a pass rusher. He wants this. We will get the best players up there.

Q: Were most of the guys you liked at the beginning of tonight defensive guys?

A: Yeah, sure, there were some defensive guys.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Opening Statement: We had a real nice relationship between a need and an outstanding player. A guy that was in the first round. It has already been said, Jerry [Reese] mentioned it, I’m sure, about how motivated this young man is. [It] couldn’t be a better situation for us. Everybody thinks of him as a solid hitter. They kept saying over and over on television about being in the box. That will be a part of it, but you can’t play in this level as a safety without having to defend the middle of the field. I think he will be able to do that. Many times you see on film [Collins] is down low and doesn’t get in a position where he can see the entire field. The deep of the deepest is going to be a factor, no doubt. He is very skilled and very motivated. He will help us on special teams. He will compete for a starting job. He is a smart guy. He has contributed at Alabama in many different ways, as a leader and as a guy in the secondary making the calls. We are excited about the pick.

Q: How difficult was it having to give up two picks? Was this a long discussion last night into today?

A: There was a lot of time during the day today to discuss a lot of things. Everyone was evaluated. Whether it was the top half of the second or the bottom half of the first, those left. Decisions were made in terms of the quality of the player and the need position. It went from there.

Q: Where were you on the confidence scale when you went home last night in regards to ending up with [Collins]?

A: There were any number of players that probably could have ended up in that category. I was anxious that it would be a defensive player. It turned out to be that way, but anxious not until this afternoon.

Q: Is this dealing with a position of strength in some ways? You guys had to make a big move and give up draft picks to fill up this pretty glaring need at safety?

A: I don’t know. I think it is a fair deal for both teams. Tennessee is obviously looking for picks to go along with their first round choice. If you want something and it is above you, you have to give it up. I thought it was a fair deal.

Q: How important was it to you to get another guy at the safety position?

A: Very important. Just like it always is when you feel like you want to increase the number of people to compete for the job. It is very important. The more competitive the situation is, the better off it is. I am happy about that.

Q: What do you mean when you say Collins is motivated?

A: He thought he would go in the first round. He needs to come in here and prove to everybody that he should have. That is a good situation. Any time we’ve have had that one, it has turned out pretty well for us.

Q: Like who else?

A: No, do your own research.

Q: Do you get the impression [that Collins is motivated] just from speaking with him?

A: I wouldn’t have brought it up if I didn’t. It was mentioned a couple of times. He mentioned it himself, according to the people that look at the Twitter business.

Q: If he gets bigger, could he be a linebacker?

A: He is a safety, thank you.

Q: Given his motivation, do you think he can develop into a young leadership voice in the locker room?

A: Yes, I do, but you are not going to see that right away. You’ll see it on the field, but you may not see it in terms of that. A rookie comes in here and he has a lot of work to do before he gets to that. You have to prove. You do it by how hard you work and you lead from the front – first in line [and so on]. If he does that on the field, he will establish a platform and that platform can be developed going forward.

MEDIA Q&A WITH COLLINS: (Giants.com Interview)

Q: You sound like you’re very motivated to show people what you can do?

A: Definitely, I’m very motivated.

Q: What was the whole experience like for you?

A: Yesterday was a disappointment for me missing out on the first round, but other than that, I’ll use it as a stepping stone and use it as motivation to showcase that I’m ready and ready to play and ready to step on the field and do what I’ve been doing since I was playing at four years old.

Q: Do you have preference as to which safety spot you play?

A: All over. I can play sides of the field, strong or free. It doesn’t matter. I’ve been doing it in college. It does not matter which safety I play.

Q: What were your expectations coming in?

A: As a kid, my dream was always was to go in the first round and walk across the stage and be a first round draft pick. But today I flew home to spend some time with my family and watch the draft with them because I only had a few of my family members up there and I wanted to see a lot of my family members and give them kisses and hugs. I just wanted to be around them and then my cousin and I took a drive to the lake and we got the phone call driving back to the house.

Q: Why did you leave Chicago? Did you think it was going to take a little more time for your name to get called?

A: I just wanted to come home and spend some time with my family because I haven’t seen them for a while. I had been training, being all over the country.

Q: Between the time the draft ended yesterday and you were drafted today, did you talk to the Giants at all?

A: Not at all. The last time the Giants and I spoke was at the combine.

Q: Did you hear about the Giants trying to move up to get you?

A: No. The Giants called me right after the draft had started. I could hear it in the background that they traded up and everything. It was a fantastic feeling.

Q: Does that put more pressure on you knowing they gave up quite a bit to select you?

A: Not just them moving up, but the player that I am, I’m a baller. All I’ve been doing is just balling. Once I touch the field, I’m a different animal. That’s what they’re going to get. That motor is in my blood and in my body.

Q: Were you aware of their need at safety?

A: I knew since I entered the draft. I knew they were in need of a safety, but it’s been a while since I knew that.

Q: A couple coaches said you blew them away in your interview with the team. Did you realize you had a good interview with them?

A: No. I was being myself. I was being the person I’ve always been and it’s the mantra that I have. It’s always taken me a long way. If they loved me… they picked me up. That’s all I can say.

Q: Is this the first time in your football career that you’ve been overlooked?

A: I was hurt overall. I was hurt because it was just my dream. My dream was to always go in the first round, so I was hurt more than anything.

Q: What went into the decision to go home from Chicago? Did you think about staying an extra night?

A: Definitely. It was a hard decision because it was like should I stay? I can go early. And then I was thinking about my family because if I do go early, I’ll fly back into town. So many thoughts were going through my mind, so I was definitely just trying to get answers from my family that was up there to see what I should do. We then decided to come home so we could be together and when I do have to leave, I could leave them and give them hugs and kisses.

Q: Was it tough walking out of there last night?

A: It was tough. It was definitely tough, but I walked out of there with my head held high because I know what kind of capabilities that I have as a player and whatever team gets me, I have a chip on my shoulder to prove why I should have been a first round candidate. That’s definitely what I will showcase when I start playing this upcoming season.

Q: How well do you know Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: We know each other pretty well. I met him my freshman year. He was a sophomore when I met him. They were up in Alabama chilling with us during their bye week and then we stayed in touch since then. We’re cool.

Q: Have you heard from him since you’ve been drafted?

A: I have to check my messages. I have over 200 messages right now, so I definitely don’t know who’s texting me right now.

Q: How much better do you think you can be with this chip on your shoulder?

A: That’s in God’s hands. All I know is that I’m going to be a dominant player when I touch the field.

Apr 302015
 
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With the ninth pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select offensive tackle Ereck Flowers from the University of Miami.

SCOUTING REPORT: A junior entry, Flowers is very young and just turned 21 in April. At 6’6”, 329 pounds, Flowers is a massive player with outstanding strength. Flowers played both left and right tackle at Miami and the Giants feel he has the athleticism to play either tackle spot at the pro level. Flowers is a very powerful, physical, violent run blocker who plays with a mean, nasty streak. He can muscle and maul defenders and is able to effectively engage defenders at the second level. Flowers has the feet, agility, and overall athleticism to become a very good pass protector, but he needs technique work in that area. He also needs to do a better job of recognizing blitzes and stunts.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) (Giants.com Interview)

Opening Statement: Ereck Flowers – Offensive Tackle, University of Miami. Highest guy on the board. A lot of things to like about him. Obviously he’s a gigantic human being. Really long arms. He was the strongest guy at the combine. Arms … I think his arms were 34 ½ inches. He can play left or right tackle. That’s up to Coach Coughlin where he plays, but we think he can be a long time tackle for the New York Giants. Any questions about him?

Q: What about him as opposed to some of the other offensive linemen?

A: There were some good offensive linemen up there, but he was the highest guy on our board where we picked him. We think it’s all upside with him. A couple of days ago, I think he just turned 21. So those are things that we like. He’s young, powerful, big, tough, he’s got a nasty streak. All of those things we like about him.

Q: Is he polished enough to step in?

A: All college players have to learn the speed of the game when they get up here and play against these defensive linemen and these defensive schemes in this league, but obviously he’ll have to catch up to the speed of the National Football League. But he’s played at a high level of competition and we think he’ll catch up pretty quickly.

Q: Can you see him playing guard or do you see him strictly playing tackle?

A: I think he can play anywhere. I think he can play guard. I think he’s naturally a tackle, but I think he can play guard.

Q: How would you rate his run blocking versus pass protection?

A: If I had to rate one versus the other, I think he’s good at both. I think if I had to grade one over the other, I think he’s probably a better pass blocker. He’s very productive as a pass blocker, but I think he’s a very good run blocker as well.

Q: Was he your guy all along or when Washington took (Brandon) Scherff, did that change any plans?

A: We liked both of those guys. I can tell you that. We liked both of them and we thought they would both be terrific players.

Q: Do you project him as a possible left tackle?

A: Yeah, you would think so. You would think he can play left tackle. He could play right tackle. We project him as a really good football player, first, and where he ends up, that’s up to our coaches.

Q: Was this a pretty good marriage in terms of the needs of the team?

A: We always talk about we’re going to take the best player, but we’re always cognizant of what our need is as well and we think this is a good need and a value pick for us. We think this can help solidify the offensive line, so hopefully this will settle the offensive line down and we don’t have to keep talking about the offensive line as much.

Q: Did you go check him out personally at his pro day? What did you see when you were down there?

A: I did go to the pro day and I saw a big guy. There were 32 teams there and probably 10-12 offensive line coaches, and they put him through a lot of drills. It was hot down there and he stayed out there and he went through every drill and never complained a bit. He did an outstanding job down there.

Q: When did you first get wind of him?

A: Our scouts. Our scouts do the work. They liked him and obviously Mark Ross liked him. Our coaches did work. Pat Flaherty was down there at the pro day. We liked him at the combine and we interviewed him at the combine. We brought him in here for one of our visits, so we’ve done a lot of work on him and we’re really happy to have a player of his caliber.

Q: Has it been a little frustrating for some draft picks to not have panned out?

A: You’re always trying to fix some problems you have on your team, and offensive line has been an issue for a couple of years and we’re trying to finally solidify the offensive line, and I feel like we’ve got some strong caliber players in the offensive line and we just need them to stay healthy and gel together and play well.

Q: How does his nasty streak manifest itself?

A: He’s just a big, tough guy. That’s one of the things when you talk to the coaches down there, it’s like this guy doesn’t take any crap from anybody. We like that and you can see that in his play. He likes to finish guys off and that kind of fits the offensive profile that we like. We like some big, tough guys with a little bit of a nasty streak.

Q: Did you ever consider trading up or down at any point?

A: I won’t talk about that.

Q: Was there any feeling to move up when Leonard Williams was dropping?

A: I won’t talk about that.

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

Q: What do you think about Ereck Flowers?

A: Ereck is, as you have probably heard, a physical, nasty, tough football player and you just don’t see that too often anymore in college football. He is a man-child physically. He is gigantic. He has long arms. He just turned 21 on Saturday. Super productive against the highest level of competition there, the Florida States and the Nebraskas. He is a good player who is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.

Q: Where do you see him position-wise?

A: Tackle, for sure. He can play [either side]. He has done that. He played right tackle as a freshman. He played left tackle the last two years, so wherever the coaches want to play him and feel most comfortable right now, but I feel he can do either tackle spot.

Q: Do you see that his weakness is with his techniques?

A: You read that stuff. The guy is 20. They all have technique flaws. Nobody is ready-made to play in the NFL. Even fourth- or fifth-year seniors. They all can improve. He is just learning to play, but even with technique flaws, the guy was a productive and dominant player at times.

Q: Do you have the belief that this pick could quiet the concern about the offensive line, as Jerry Reese expressed?

A: I feel strongly that we drafted a really good football player. Whether it is solving the problems or doing any of that, I don’t know. We were just super excited to get a really good football player.

Q: Is he the type of guy that is a good pass-blocker, as well as a run-blocker?

A: He has done that [at Miami]. He played left tackle. He’s nasty in the run game, but his length and his feet as a pass protector – he did that well, as well. He did both really well. We expect him to be a complete tackle who will excel as a punishing run-blocker and a nifty pass-blocker.

Q: Did you see that [Brandon Scherff] may be more polished, but [Flowers] has a higher ceiling?

A: Again, Scherff was a fifth-year senior. This guy is a 20-year-old, third-year junior. Scherff was a 22 or 23-year old fifth-year senior, so of course he has been around. He has played more and been around it more. He was slightly better with technique and playing, but there wasn’t that much of a major difference.

Q: How does he balance being quiet but having a nasty streak?

A: When we went down to Miami and talked to all the coaches and stuff and when we had him in here for a visit – we went down there and had dinner with him and spent some time with him. He is quiet. He is very quiet, but he is a smart quiet. He is all about football. He is a gym rat. They tell you at [Miami] that he just hangs around the facility. He works out all the time. He is real tight with his dad and they work out together. He will come back to the facility and work out some more. He doesn’t go out and hang out. He doesn’t party. You would think down in Miami and South Beach that he would be out, but he is one of the exceptions down there. He doesn’t go out. He just wants to play football. He doesn’t want to talk about it, he just wants to be about the action, as Marshawn Lynch said.

Q: Do you see him as a guy who could give Will Beatty a run for his money also?

A: We’ll see. A franchise left tackle is a rare commodity. There are not many of those guys around the league and we think this guy has the ability, the upside, the potential, the toughness, the smarts and the competitiveness to be a franchise left tackle for us.

Q: When you showed up at the office tonight did you have offensive lineman as your top priority?

A: We stack our players on the board and this guy was the best guy that we had up there. This was a really good year for offensive linemen. Of course, we discussed it and talk about it in our meetings. He was the highest guy on our board, so we took him.

Q: Was he the highest guy on the board at his position?

A: At the time we picked him, he was the highest guy up on our board.

Q: Did this first round pick play out as expected for you?

A: We thought there was a chance [Scherff] would go before us, maybe a pick or two, but not where he went. We felt really strongly going into it that he would go ahead of us. Just because he had a lot of momentum building up to this day. We go through a lot of scenarios before the draft and we talk about every possible scenario. Things that are just ridiculous that we talk about. What if [Marcus] Mariota, [Amari] Cooper and [Jameis] Winston are all there when we are picking? What do we do then? We talk about everything. We are not ever surprised. The draft is always something – a curveball gets thrown in there, but we always talk about every scenario possible, so we are not surprised when we are up on the clock.

Q: Did you see this as the most likely scenario the way it played out?

A: Pretty much. We felt good about this one.

Q: Is the expectation for [Flowers] to come in and hit the ground running?

A: Yes, sure, because of the intangibles. Last year we weren’t specifically looking for captains. Those guys just happened to be captains, but we were looking for clean football players. This guy is a clean player. He fits the mold of that crew last year because they say he is the hardest working guy on the team. They say he is a gym rat. They say he is the nastiest guy and you don’t want to mess with him because he is all about football and his love for the game. He is going to will himself to get on the field right way.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video) (Giants.com Interview)

Opening Statement: We are excited about Ereck Flowers. We had Jerry Reese, Pat Flaherty and Marc Ross – all of those gentlemen were at [Flowers’] workout in Miami. The kid is an outstanding athlete. He is very young, as you know. He is a battleship, an aircraft carrier or however you want to describe him at six-foot-six, 329 [pounds]. Strongest guy in the draft. Outstanding feet. [He] just turned 21 a couple of days ago here in mid- to late-April. Those things, together with the desire to improve both our offensive and our defensive lines, to be honest with you, we think we have made a good start here. You sit there and people start coming off the board and then the guy in front of you is a very prolonged amount of time and you are wondering if in fact…we had heard St. Louis would like an offensive lineman as well. Were they coming above? That was a factor, obviously. We are very excited about this young man and looking forward getting him in here and getting to work.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to him?

A: I did.

Q: How did that conversation go?

A: Very well, thank you. He is very excited. Did you see that picture of him slapping hands? I thought he was going to kill somebody.

Q: Is he a right tackle or a left tackle?

A: He can be either side. He [was] a left tackle last year, but he has the size and so on and so forth to play a lot of spots if you so desire. We think he is a tackle.

Q: Do you expect him to come in and compete for a starting spot?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Do you view Justin Pugh as a potential person to move inside?

A: We are talking about Ereck Flowers, and I am not going to comment on that until I have the opportunity to talk to our coaches about exactly how we are going to go about starting this.

Q: Would you say he is more ahead as a run-blocker or more of a pass-blocker?

A: He is both. He is athletic. He has good feet. He is big and strong and powerful. As I said, [he was] the strongest guy at the Combine. He can do both.

Q: Was offensive line the particular focus for you?

A: Yeah, but you know how the Giants operate – the best player on the board is going to get the majority of the consideration, and that was the case right here.

Q: Did it work out well in where he fell and your board ratings?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What have you seen from [Flowers] in regard to his nasty streak?

A: You see him on film. You see him at the second level trying to finish people off. Arriving in a bad humor at a pile. You see all that stuff.

Q: Do you feel like Pugh, Weston Richburg and Flowers are the nucleus of the offensive line going forward?

A: He is an addition to the players that we have here. We are excited about that. We do have some veteran players here as well. Hopefully the best will rise to the surface.

Q: What do you know about him as a person?

A: I can read and I have read page after page after page of interviews and summaries and evaluations and so on and so forth. Everything we hear – he is very, very close with his dad. His dad is with him all the time. At his workout, his dad was there. I think that is a very strong relationship and I think that points to a very solid young man. Maybe a little bit on the quiet side, but he is young. He is a guy that is always in the weight room, always hanging around, even as they practiced down there this spring, from what I understand.

Q: Do you see [Flowers] as competition for left tackle?

A: It is competition up front, period. It will be that. The better the competition, the better the results.

Q: Was this your first choice of a position in the first round?

A: That was one of, yes.

Q: Did [Brandon Scherff] going to Washington surprise you?

A: Well, there is always the chance. He [is] a very, very solid football player who is well thought of throughout the league. Ranked very highly by everyone. For him to go there is not a shock.

MEDIA Q&A WITH ERECK FLOWERS: (Giants.com Interview)

Q: How surprised were you that the Giants ended up picking you?

A: I was really surprised. I saw the phone light up and it was surreal.

Q: It seemed that the Giants did an extensive amount of research on you. You had to have known they were interested in you.

A: I took a visit. I saw the coaches and we had dinner.

Q: What did you think about that visit?

A: It was great. I got to sit down with Coach Flats (Flaherty) and the offensive line coaches. Jessie Armstead went to Miami, so there was a connection there. I think it was a pretty good vibe.

Q: Did you have any inclination that the Giants would be a landing spot?

A: I thought it could be a possibility, but in drafts you never really know. I was sitting here just waiting on the call.

Q: You’re close with your dad. What’s his first name and did he play football?

A: Everald Flowers. He played football at Washburn University. He played linebacker.

Q: Is your father serving as your agent?

A: We have a lawyer to do the contract, but he’s the one who has been representing me.

Q: A lot of the coaches have said you’re a quiet guy with a mean streak.

A: I like to really get into the game, and I really play with a lot of passion. I love the game of football.

Q: Could you give us a scouting report on what you think of yourself as a player and what you still think you might want to work on in the NFL?

A: I think I’m a player who needs to work on everything. I think I’ve got a long ways to go and I’m ready to go that way. I love everything about football, so I’m pretty happy about the confidence in myself. I’m just ready to take this next step.

Q: What do you believe you do so well that made you a high number one draft pick?

A: I think I’m a pretty good run-blocker. I think I show a good amount of athleticism. I think I’m a pretty good reach-blocker, but other than that, I think I can improve in everything, including the things that I would say I do pretty well at. I’m ready to make those improvements.

Q: Who have you styled your play on the field after?

A: My favorite player coming in was Trent Williams.

Q: You’re a pretty young guy. Do you think you can come in and play right away?

A: I do. I feel I can.

Q: What makes you think your game translates to the next level well?

A: I have a lot of confidence in myself and whatever I do or I wouldn’t be playing this sport at all or doing any of the stuff I do. It’s really just the confidence in myself and what I see in myself. I can’t really sit here and persuade you, but I’m confident in myself and what I do.

Q: Do you think of yourself as a left tackle in the NFL?

A: I see myself anywhere on the line. I’m ready to come in anywhere on the line to make a contribution. Whatever helps the team win.

Q: Have you ever played guard?

A: I’ve played it in practice. My team never really needed me to play guard. I played both tackles, so I’m ready to play wherever.

Apr 292015
 
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Stevie Brown Agrees to Terms With Houston Texans: According to the NFL Network, unrestricted free agent safety Stevie Brown (New York Giants) has agreed to terms with the Houston Texans. NJ.com is reporting the contract is a 1-year deal. The Giants were believed to be interested in re-signing Brown, but not at the price tag that Brown was looking for.

Brown played in all 16 games for the Giants last season. He started the first three games of the season, lost his starting job for eight weeks, then regained it for the last five weeks of the season. Brown finished with 38 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense.

Brown was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Raiders released him in September 2011 and he then spent time with the Panthers and Colts. The Giants signed him in April 2012. Brown had a tremendous season in 2012, intercepting more passes in a single season by a Giant in 44 years. He was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2013 after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the preseason.

Brown is the sixth unrestricted free agent to leave the Giants this offseason, joining linebacker Spencer Paysiner (Dolphins), tackle James Brewer (Jets), safety Antrel Rolle (Bears), cornerback Walter Thurmond (Eagles), and cornerback Zack Bowman (Dolphins).

For a complete listing of the Giants’ free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Giants Place Troy Kropog on PUP List: The New York Giants have placed offensive lineman Troy Kropog on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Kropog was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014 with a foot injury that he suffered in training camp.

While on the PUP, Kropog will not count against the offseason 90-man roster limit.

Kropog was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans waived him in September 2012 and he then spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Vikings (2012-13) and Redskins (2013). The Giants signed Kropog to a reserve/future contract in January 2014.

Articles on the Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft:

Apr 292015
 
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Giants Talking to Browns About Trading Down in Draft?: According to BleacherReport.com, the New York Giants have had initial discussions with the Cleveland Browns about the Giants trading down from the #9 spot in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Browns have two selections in the first round at #12 and #19. The Browns are supposedly interested in trading up for University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota if he slips in the draft.

Giants Targeting Offensive Tackle Andrus Peat?: According to DraftInsider.net, the New York Giants are targeting Stanford University offensive tackle Andrus Peat in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. DraftInsider writes: “League insiders tell me right now it looks as though the first round selection for the New York Giants will be Andrus Peat of Stanford. The game plan would be to line up Peat at right tackle then push 2013 first round pick Justin Pugh into guard.”

Articles on the New York Giants Safety Position:

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft:

Article on Giants Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Chris Mara: Giants Exec’s Kentucky Derby-draft dream day of chaos by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Apr 272015
 
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New York Giants Waive Running Back Michael Cox: The New York Giants have waived running back Michael Cox.

Cox was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2013, he played in 14 games as a rookie with one start, carrying the football 22 times for 43 yards (2.0 yards per carry) and catching three passes for 12 yards. Most of his work came on special teams where he returned 20 kickoffs for a 21.8 yards-per-return average.

In 2014, Cox was on the Practice Squad of the team until October, played in four games, and was then placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a fractured lower leg. He finished 2013 with four carries, two catches, and 11 kickoff returns.

The Giants now are currently carrying five halfbacks on the roster, including Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and Chris Ogbonnaya.

Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on QB Eli Manning and WR Victor Cruz: Eli Manning hopeful Victor Cruz will be able to return by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR/Returner Dwayne Harris: What the Giants saw in Dwayne Harris by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Giants look for attitude in linemen, not necessarily finesse or beef by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on Former New York Giants OG Chris Snee: Chris Snee helps Giants evaluate offensive linemen by Tom Rock of Newsday

Apr 232015
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 21, 2015)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Reese’s 2015 Pre-Draft Press Conference: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference today. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Q: Who are you picking?

A: A good player at nine.

Q: In a year like this and with some of the things that went on last year in the NFL, how much more important or different is the way you look at a player’s character and behavior when you are assessing them? Has that changed?

A: I think we are always mindful of a player’s character and background. That always goes into the equation. It is not really anything new for us. Obviously, like all teams, we have taken some guys on the back end of the roster, more risk-reward kind of situations on the back end of the roster. We are very conscious and have been for a long time about backgrounds and character.

Q: That seems to have changed last year when you guys wanted a lot of clean players… Whereas in the past you would have taken…?

A: The thing you have to think about when you are thinking about these young players is that they are young. They do young kid stuff. You can’t just absolutely kill them. You wouldn’t have anyone to draft. Kids do kid things and do college things and it happens. If a guy has a long list of issues, that is when you have to throw the red flag in there. Is this guy going to stop? If you have a couple things that college kids do, you can’t just throw it away.

Q: Is there anything concrete you do with that or is it just an eyeball test?

A: We do all the background checks and our scouts go out and dig the information that we can. We interview them and try to put it all together and make a decision on it.

Q: Is it kind of three strikes and you are out?

A: Not necessarily, it depends on how egregious the off-field issues are, more than anything else probably.

Q: Last year you seemed to have a guy pegged or a couple guys you thought would be available… Is it more unpredictable being at nine?

A: I think you always have a good idea, but it is always unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen. You can look up and some of those quarterbacks they think are going to be in the first couple picks could be – not off the board until 15 or 20. You never know. I learned that a long time ago in the draft. Funny things can happen, so expect everything to happen.

Q: Last year the wide receiver corps turned out to be a really good group… There are a lot of thoughts that this wide receiving corps could be just as good… Thoughts?

A: I think there are good receivers, just as there were last year. I think that is every year. I think there are good players at every position every year. I don’t know if that is a good answer or not, but I think there are good wide receivers…I think there are good players at every position.

Q: Given you have a lot of depth at receiver, would you have any qualms about drafting another receiver?

A: First of all, as soon as you say you have a lot of depth at any position, you don’t have depth. I know better than to say that. We will draft the best player available for us. It really doesn’t matter what position it is.

Q: How do you look at your offensive line at this point? Do you look at it saying you need to supplement it at least during one day of the draft?

A: Every position. We want to try and upgrade every position as best we can every opportunity we get. Offensive line won’t be excluded from that as well.

Q: In your mind right now, what does your offensive line look like? Is Justin Pugh still at right tackle?

A: That is something for Tom. You have to talk to Tom about that. Obviously Pugh has been a starter and is going to be a starter somewhere more than likely. [Geoff] Schwartz is coming back from injury. Hopefully he can fit in there somewhere. What we want to do is get as many good players as we can and create as much competition as we can in the offensive line.

Q: When you are picking as high as you are, is there a sense of a guy having to fit in at a premium position? In the past, you wouldn’t have drafted linebacker in the first round, but guys like defensive backs, wide receivers and left tackles… Is that part of your thinking when you are as high as you are?

A: If you draft at nine, whoever it is, is a premium position, regardless of the position that he is. If you draft at nine, it is a premium position, regardless of what it is. It doesn’t matter what position. If you draft him at nine, he is a guy you expect to come in and play and play quickly.

Q: Has the profile of offensive linemen changed at all in the last decade at all?

A: We just look for good players. Good profiles. Good players. Strong. Big, strong, fast and smart.

Q: The big lineman from Iowa is a guy everyone seems to love as a guard prospect… What do you see from him?

A: I think he can play both. I think he can play tackle and he can play guard. I think he can play somewhere.

Q: Where do you see him?

A: The coaches will have to figure that out.

Q: How do you look at this group of pass rushers?

A: There are some good pass rushers and edge rushers available.  Are you asking me to stack them or something like that? I can’t do that, but I do think there are some good pass rushers in this draft.

Q: You haven’t made a ton of trades as compared to other teams throughout the years… How do you explain that? Is that the way things worked out?

A: We will keep all of our options open on the draft. We can trade up and we can trade down. That doesn’t change. We are not looking to trade just to try to be cute to trade up or down. If we think we have an opportunity to move up, then we will move up. If we have an opportunity to move back, then we will do that as well.

Q: Back around the combine, in regards to Victor Cruz, you said you couldn’t think of him as a sure thing… Have you seen anything from him where you can have some kind of certainty of how he will be when he comes back?

A: I don’t think you can have certainty. [Cruz] looks good. He is running pretty good right now. He is scheduled to be back for the opener for us, but until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. He looks great right now.

Q: Are you still approaching whatever he can give you guys next year as a ‘bonus?’

A: I am not counting it as a bonus, but I want to be prepared if he is not here.

Q: Is there any change in your perspective in the preparation on your part when you pick ninth instead of 12th like last year and going back to the Super Bowl when you picked last?

A: We just stack the board. Whoever we think the best player is in the first row, it doesn’t matter what position, which is how we do it. We stack them the same way. If you pick inside 12 picks, you should get a good football player.

Q: Does the expectation change as far as impact goes?

A: The higher you pick – that is how the system is. If you pick high in the draft – that is the way the whole system is built. If you pick high in the draft, you are supposed to get better players to help you have a better football team. If you are picking last in the draft, you get penalized for being successful. You get penalized, so you get lesser players. Whoever you pick at nine should be a better player than you pick at 32. That is the way the system is and obviously we are picking nine and expect to get a good player.  A really good player.

Q: Another general manager said there were eight to ten players who were real difference makers above other guys… Do you have a point in your estimation of how many guys are at a higher level than the rest of the group?

A: I think there is always a break. Everyone in the first row – that is why we call them rows; they are not first round picks. There are natural breaks. There may be eight and then there may be five more players, then there is another break. There are always breaks in the first row where you stack them, but you have to have 32 players in the first round.

Q: Where is that first break?

A: We’ll see.

Q: How are you looking at your safety position right now? Do you think it is a position of need?

A: We are not going to make do, just like any position, we are going to try to upgrade that position. Just like the rest of the positions. We are not going to make do. We have some young players that we think have some talent, but we are going to continue to try and upgrade that position as well.

Q: Last year we were saying you needed to get a tight end and you felt confident with some of the young guys… Is it the same thing now?

A: Every position we want to upgrade. We want to upgrade safety. We want to have competition at that position like we want to have at every position and we will try to do that.

Q: Tom talked about the possibility of converting Chykie Brown or Bennett Jackson to safety… Is that realistic in your mind and what goes into that?

A: It happens all the time. One of the best players we tried to get in free agency was the corner from New England. He was a corner and played safety. You see those conversions. That is not new to see something like that happen. That is a possibility as well.

Q: Are [Brown and Jackson] guys who could possibly convert in your eyes?

A: I think so. You never know. You have to experiment in the spring. Obviously you would like to get a guy who has played there and done the job, but you have to be creative in this day and age with your personnel.

Q: You went after [Devin] McCourty, so you wanted to upgrade that position… What happened after that? Do you look at Josh Gordy as a safety?

A: That is what he plays.

Q: What was the plan at that position after McCourty?

A: We thought he was the best player in free agency [at his position] and after that we thought there was a drop off and that is what happened.

Q: Now that Eli is back in the building and he said his attitude is to play the year and go from there… What is your thought on his contract?

A: It is inappropriate to talk about a contract right now. Eli is back in the building. He looks great. He is happy to be back. We are glad he is back. We will address that when it is appropriate.

Q: Do you sense that this a real opportunity for Eli this offseason, given that he is not coming off ankle surgery and he has already been in this offense for a year?

A: Yeah, I am excited. It should be a big year for him. He is not learning the offense. A lot of the players were in the offense last year. He’ll get another piece back hopefully with Victor Cruz coming back. The tight ends will have a little bit more experience. I hope the offense – we got [Shane] Vereen, who we think is a good piece to help our offense as well. I think our offense should be a pretty good offense.

Q: Re: Thought process in the signings of Vereen, [Dwayne] Harris, [J.T.] Thomas… What were you after?

A: We were trying to upgrade some positions that we already had. We knew we were going to lose some players. We felt Vereen was a really nice piece. Everyone knows what he does as a receiver out of the backfield, he can run the ball. He is a professional football player back there. He is really good on third down. Really good on any down, to be honest. We thought he would be a nice piece. Went after him and the two linebackers. We thought they were upgrades. They will battle for starting positions. Dwayne Harris, we thought the guy was kind of a four to five tool type player for us. We thought we were getting a lot of players out of one position. We played against him for a long time and he has been a good player for [Dallas]. Hopefully he will bring it over here to us and he will play for us in those capacities.

Q: Where do you view J.T. Thomas’s best position?

A: I don’t know. It is up to the coaches. He looked like a WILL linebacker to me, but that is up to the coaches.

Q: Are you still hoping to get Stevie Brown back?

A: We are going to keep all our options open.

Q: As one of the teams in the league that isn’t quarterback-needy, do you even look at those top two guys?

A: We look at everybody. You never say you aren’t quarterback-needy. You can’t say those kinds of things. Ralph just said we were deep at receiver and you are saying we don’t need a quarterback. I know better than to say something like that.

Q: What is your take on the two quarterbacks at the top of the draft?

A: They are good players. They are both good players. They are both different, but I think they are both, in what they do, I think they are both good players.

Q: Is your expectation that they are going to go one and two?

A: I don’t expect anything. Expect the unexpected in the draft. They may not go until 15, who knows?

Q: You have gone offense the last three years in the first round… Does that go into any decision making?

A: I didn’t even know that. Whoever the best player is at nine – we are going to pick them.

Q: Do you have any concern over Jason Pierre-Paul not being here for the offseason program and not signing the tender yet?

A: It is voluntary and it is inappropriate to talk about player contracts at this point in time. It is not mandatory that he should be here.

Q: After you get an Odell [Beckham Jr.]  and everything that he did in his first season and now you are picking at nine, are there heightened expectations?

A: You always want to get good players in the draft. Sometimes you hit on a guy like Odell and he is a terrific player, but the higher you pick, the better the player should be. When you are picking on the back end, it is obviously not the same caliber.

Q: When you look back at last year’s draft, from top to bottom, how do you evaluate it?

A: We don’t really look back on that draft that much. We draft them and that draft is over. We are moving on to this draft and we are excited about the players in this draft. We go back after two or three years and look and see why a guy made it or why a guy didn’t make it. After one year, it is really hard to evaluate.

Q: Was the approach different in the past two drafts?

A: No.

Q: This week, have you checked in with Odell and how his hamstring is feeling?

A: I just saw Odell a couple of minutes ago down in the weight room. He looks great and he didn’t say a word about his hamstring.

Q: Do you have any injuries that are long-term concerns?

A: There will be a couple guys we have concerns with, but we feel good about the vast majority of our players being ready to go for training camp.

New York Giants Player Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com: