Apr 282016
 
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Eli Apple, New York Giants (April 28, 2016)

Eli Apple – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With the tenth pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’1”, 199-pound cornerback Eli Apple from Ohio State University.

SCOUTING REPORT: Third-year sophomore who turns 21 in August. Apple started 27-of-28 games for the Buckeyes. Apple combines good size with excellent overall athletic ability, speed, and quickness. He has the physical tools and plays a physical game. He demonstrates very good aggressive man coverage skills and makes plays on the football (22 pass defenses the past two seasons). However, Apple needs to improve his overall coverage technique and reading routes. Apple makes a lot contact with receivers in coverage, drawing flags. He has a big upside.

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

Reese: Eli Apple, cornerback, Ohio State. A really good, young player. Height, weight, speed. Big school. Only 20 years old. Has all the tools. He holds all the tools to be a starter. He was the highest graded player on our board, beyond the guys with issues. I’ll take any questions about Eli.

Q: Did you take Tunsil off your board after the video?

A: I’m not talking about that. I’m not talking about who’s on our board, who’s off our board.

Q: How surprising was it the way this played out?

A: We’ve got scouts who did a nice job with our board and the board came off very similar…the names came off very similar to how we had them stacked up.

Q: Was trading down ever a possibility?

A: I don’t know if it was ever a possibility. We got a call, we didn’t like it, and we stayed where we were.

Q: Was there ever a possibility to trade up?

A: Was there ever a possibility to trade up? There’s always a possibility to trade up if you want to pay the price to trade up. Yeah, there’s always a possibility to do that.

Q: Was the price too high?

A: Yeah, absolutely the price was too high.

Q: Were you concerned going in that the Titans and Bears might do what they did?

A: You never know what people are going to do during the draft. We knew there were going to be nine picks in front of us. People say they knew or thought something was going to happen in front of us, you don’t know that, nobody knows until the name is turned in. We’re very happy to have this player, this is a good player. He’s a terrific young player, and it’s a need pick. It’s a value pick where we had him ranked, and it’s absolutely a need pick. Look out there and see our corner depth, you guys can see that.

Q: You mentioned big school…does that upgrade a prospect?

A: You like to get kids who’ve played in big time programs. It’s not the end all, but kids that come from big programs are usually more ready to jump in and play at this level.

Q: Can he play in the slot? Is that something you envision?

A: I think he can play all over. He is big, he’s over six foot. He’s a 200 pounder, ran 4.4. He can play somewhere back there for us.

Q: Do you envision him starting immediately?

A: Everybody has to come in and earn their spot for the New York Giants, but we think he has starter caliber tools.

Q: Do you look at him as only a cornerback or do you think he’s a guy who can play safety?

A: No, he’s a corner.

Q: Did you have to alter your board at the last minute here today?

A: I tell you guys every year…every year during the draft, something funny happens. It’s no different this year.

Q: I know you don’t want to speak specifics about players you might take of the board, but you said “the highest player on our board, beyond the guys with issues.

A: I’m not calling anybody’s name. I said just beyond the guys who had some issues, he was the highest guy on our board. It’s not fair to call anybody’s name.

Q: Because Vernon Hargreaves plays the same position and went one pick later, can you explain to us from a scouting perspective the difference in the two players?

A: We thought (Eli) was a better player, that’s all you need to know. We thought he was a better player. We had him ranked higher, we thought he was a better player. We think Hargreaves is a good player, we thought this guy was a better player.

Q: Prospect-wise, how would this guy compare with Prince Amukamara when Prince came out?

A: Yeah, that’s been so long ago…I’ve looked at hundreds of guys since Prince came out. I don’t know if it’s fair to try to couple him with Prince. We just know that he’s a terrific young player with a huge upside, highest guy on our board, and a need pick. We’re very excited to have him.

Q: No disappointment at all when the Bears jumped ahead of you and took Floyd?

A: No, you don’t get disappointed up here. You just stay with your board and when they come off, they come off. Nobody’s crying in there when somebody gets picked. You know, “Okay, who’s the next best guy available?” We think we got a really good player.

Q: When the Bears traded up, did you assume that that’s who they were going for?

A: Well, you never know. You never know what guys do. People can say, “Yeah, we knew or we thought something was going to happen.” There were some possibilities that it could happen, but it happened and we’re not looking back.

Q: You go through scenarios non-stop in the days leading up to the draft. Is this one that you went through?

A: We try to go through every scenario.

Q: Did you go through this one?

A: Yeah, we try to go through every scenario.

Q: You talked about a need…most of the time there’s only two cornerbacks on the field. Are one of the other two corners possibly a safety—DRC or Jenkins?

A: No. When you have two corners in this league, you’re short one because the offensive teams throw the ball so much and you’ve got to have three quality corners to really get out there and function at a high level, I think. This guy gives us three quality guys that we think we can play with anybody around the league with these three kind of guys.

Q: If teams were willing to deal tonight, perhaps if you got another first round pick, would you entertain the offer?

A: We keep all our options open.

Q: Eli Apple was talked about recently in the last 24-48 hours and referred to by an anonymous scout questioning his life skills. Is that anything that you guys worried about?

A: You hear everything. It’s all people talk about, the draft, it’s a phenomenon now. Half the stuff people we’re talking about, they don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s stuff spewed all over the place. We listen to our scouts, we do the work. Hey, this guy is a good player, he’s clean. We don’t have any issues with him.

Q: Do you care about his cooking?

A: I don’t care about his cooking.

Q: Can you clear up the perception about whether you could have gotten him further down in the round?

A: You can always say that and you’ll say, “We’ll be cute and we’ll move back,” and the next pick is the guy you want. You can always speculate on about where you could have got him. People might say, “Well, they could have moved back later and got him.” Nobody knows that…nobody knows that.

Q: Eli has some great experience on college football’s biggest stage. He was the MVP of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, he has a Big Ten championship, he has a college football national championship. How much did that play into your decision?

A: All that’s part of the equation, but what he does on the field, how he played, he’s a big time player, big time program. He’s 20, he’s got a huge upside, he was the highest player on our board, it’s a need pick. We’re very happy to have Eli Apple on the New York Giants football team.

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

Q: Did the draft unfold the way you expected?

A: We plan out scenarios basically the last couple of days leading up to the draft with how we think it will play out and who we’ll be comfortable drafting. It just played out kind of like we thought it would.

Q: What was it about Eli Apple that stuck out to you guys?

A: We like Eli just because he’s the number one corner on our board. The guy is big. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He’s clean off the field. He’s got tremendous upside. He played at a high level on a quality defense with a lot of other playmakers and guys that were going to be drafted. We just felt this guy would come in, and with the cornerback group we have, fit in right away and give you some versatility. It was a need position. It was value and need and it worked out good for us.

Q: Did you think there were going to be a couple of teams that would trade up ahead of you before you picked?

A: We don’t worry about what other people do or think or plan. We do our plan. We do our work. We’ve got great scouts. The coaches are heavily involved. We do a lot of planning. We’re comfortable with how we do it and it’s what we thought would happen.

Q: Were you comfortable sitting at the 10th pick or did you consider trading up?

A: No. We were comfortable sitting right there. That’s part of the thing that gets discussed the last few days. Should we move up? But this guy is here. Should we move down? What happens there? This was a scenario where we were comfortable just sitting right there where we were.

Q: When did Eli first catch your eye?

A: In the fall, when you go to Ohio State, you know you’re coming there for some seniors, but you’re coming for this star-studded class of juniors that they have there that are coming off the board and more to come. You’ve got your eye on them, and then obviously once he declares, then you hit it hard. We’ve got three area guys going to Ohio State. I’ve been there for the Pro Day, Combine, and the whole deal. He’s been vetted thoroughly.

Q: Was there a specific game when you were there that stuck out to you at all?

A: No. Practice was my first exposure to him.

Q: One of the surprises of the draft was Laremy Tunsil sitting at 10. Was his video a factor?

A: We factor everything in.

Q: What about Myles Jack?

A: We factor everything in.

Q: Is Eli a guy that can play in the slot right away or is he an outside guy?

A: No. He can do both. The guy can bend. He’s very flexible. However Spags wants to use those guys, it’s up to him. But I think all three of those guys can give you a little something different. I’m talking about the two starters we have and now Eli. We’ve got some big, athletic, fast guys.

Q: With the way the league is throwing the ball, is it almost a necessity to have three guys who can play corner?

A: For sure. What is it up to, 60% now, that teams are in three wide or more? So your third corner is essentially a starter now and that’s the way you’ve got to look at it. A guy like Eli, with size, is almost more than a third corner. You can use him in different ways.

Q: What do you think when you hear the cooking comment about Eli?

A: It’s ridiculous. You look at players and you scout them for the qualities that are important. Somebody asking about cooking is ridiculous.

Q: If someone sees this as a reach, what would you say?

A: We’ve heard it before. We’ve taken other players that (were called) a reach. Nobody knows. If you get a dime for every expert, I could retire. Come on. Experts? People analyze. People have opinions. What’s it based on? Nobody has seen the tape. Nobody goes to practice. Nobody puts in the work like the scouts do. It’s easy to second-guess and pick and say get everybody’s pick right and tell them what they should do, but you’ve just got to put in the work and trust what you do.

Q: You said you’d use him in different ways. Do you see him at the line of scrimmage?

A: Spags was excited. Our corners coach was excited because he’s got a really good feel for the game. I’m sure in different packages we can move those guys around. This guy, although he’s only played two years, has a really good feel. He’s not raw in terms of his football mind. His film study is excellent as far as analyzing the game on the tape. He studies tons of film. He’s got a smart football mind.

Q: He didn’t have a high interception number the past year. Does that bother you at all and how does that factor in?

A: No. Sometimes stats lie. There’s true stats and when you watch the film, there’s production. So stat production and then real production. If you watch this guy, he can lock people down and they don’t even throw his way. Whereas you have some corners where balls just fall on them and they could be standing there and balls fall on them. The guy that set an NCAA record in interceptions last year went undrafted. We think (Eli’s) production was more so shutting people down as opposed to getting interceptions.

Q: How were his ball skills when you saw him at the combine?

A: Really good.

Q: Was he destined to be here as the other Eli?

A: We’ll see. Hopefully he makes a name for himself. He’s got the perfect name for New York and here.

Q: Was that a factor in picking him?

A: Of course. Just like the cooking was and ironing and laundry.

Q: You joke about that, but how much of a concern is it when you draft a kid who is that young?

A: This guy came from a good family, went to college and we’re asking about cooking. We’re talking about practice… Come on. The guy plays football. He shows up to practice. He goes to class. He’s got great parents and we’re talking about cooking? It’s not a factor at all. It’s that he does things that are football related that work out.

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

McAdoo: Hope you are all doing well tonight. [It is an] exciting time for us.  [We] drafted a young man, Eli Apple, have a chance to bring him home, exciting time, young player, 20 won’t be 21 until, I think, August 9th. [He is a] combative, physical corner who interviewed great. [He] tackled well on tape. We like his size, we like his length, good ball skills — that showed up, which is something that he is working on, and we are excited to get him in here.

Q: What was the experience like for you watching everything happen in the nine picks before you?

A: That was exciting. I mean it is like anything else, you go through the process, trust your board, you see how things come off and you hope you have somebody sitting up there you like when it comes time to pick, and we obviously did and we are excited we have Eli.

Q: It did not look from an outside perspective that things went according to plan. Is this a scenario you planned for?

A: We planned to pick the highest guy on the board and Eli is a guy who is an outstanding young man, high character, good football player, his best days are ahead of him as a player and we are excited to have him.

Q: When you have a young guy, do you give him a little bit of a longer leash when you coach them up because they may not be as developed as a 22 or 23 year old?

A: He is young but he is mature. He showed that in the interview where he could — he did a great job communicating with us about football, about things that weren’t about football, about his personal life. He did a great job when the film was on. He can jump on the board and communicate that way, so he is a mature young man who comes from an outstanding program that has a lot of great players and he shined there.

Q: His interception total went down this year. Were people staying away from him or what?

A: That is a good question. I think he has some things that he needs to work on. I think he shows that he has the ball skills to do it. It is tough when you are playing press man coverage to intercept the ball if you are playing a man not with vision. When you play with vision, it is a lot easier to intercept the ball than it is when you are playing press man. That is where we like him. When he learns to catch the flash of the ball a little bit better, which he will and he showed he improved on, he will have more opportunities for picks, for sure.

Q: Do you see his skills as somebody who can play in the slot?

A: He can play in a variety of roles for us. We will take a look at him everywhere and we are not going to pencil him into any role right now. We are going to get him in here, get a feel for his skill set — he will be in here for two weeks in phase two after this week. We will get him in the rookie minicamp and he will have an opportunity to get out there versus Frank Air in phase two and work on his skills that way, without anyone across from him, and then we will get a chance to look at him there.

Q: Is he similar to DRC in any way?

A: I think they are a little bit different of a player. He may like to press a little bit more but I think he is a — I’m not going to compare him to anybody at this point but I think he is a young, combative, physical guy. He likes to tackle, he can make plays pressuring off the backside edge to the boundary. He is aggressive in the run game and again, it is hard to find guys of that size, that young, that have his skill set.

Q: You mentioned a few times how well he interviewed. The one anonymous scout stated that his life skills weren’t great. Are you telling us that that was not your experience with him?

A: As far as the life skills, I am not sure what you are referring to. I just know from the interview, I thought he did an outstanding job at the interview. He was very well read, he knew football, he got ball and that was important to us, and he seemed like a high character young man and I’m sure he is and we look forward to getting him in here.

Q: Was there any temptation from you to maybe roll the dice based on how crazy those first nine picks were?

A: No, I think you trust your board and we got exactly what we wanted, where we wanted.

Q: What was your interaction with him during the process? Where did you meet him, where did you talk to him and did you send someone to go work him out at Ohio State?

A: Yeah, we have had plenty of opportunities to look at him. We viewed him in a bunch of different situations and at a bunch of different locations and he made a great impression on us.

Q: You personally met with him multiple times?

A: We had a variety of looks at him at a variety of different locations and he made a great impression.

MEDIA Q&A WITH ELI APPLE:

Q: Did you think the Giants at number 10 could be a possibility?

A: Not really, honestly.  They talked to me one time at the combine, but that was about it. It’s kind of crazy to see myself on the screen (at) like number 10 and all that stuff, but I’m excited.

Q: You’re going to have a chance to work with a great coaching staff here in New York. Who have you talked to so far and how confident are you that you can contribute immediately to this team?

A: I’m very confident. I talked to the defensive coordinator and a couple of the other guys as well on the phone. They’re just very excited to have me come, and I am as well.

Q: How does it feel to be part of something that’s absolutely historic right now going on at Ohio State? So many guys being picked in the first round here…

A: It’s the greatest feeling. Those are guys that you battle with, guys that have just been through so much. So to see us succeed right now and go through all this good stuff is a great celebration.

Q: I know it’s 90 minutes or so from where you grew up, but you’re kind of coming home.

A: I know.

Q: Did you think about that at all?

A: Yeah, that was like the first thing I thought about. When I saw them calling me and it was a New Jersey number, it looked kind of familiar. I didn’t know if I had to pick it up. I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is probably one my friends trying to prank call me.” My mom was like, “Yeah, don’t pick it up.” My coach was like, “What you mean? Pick it up.” So I pick it up and it was one of the Giants coaches and I was very happy.

Q: When you picked it up first were you worried it could still be a prank?

A: Yeah, I was just a little guarded like, “Okay, this better be a coach or something.” I didn’t know who it was, but then it was the dude from the Giants, so I was very happy.

Q: Who was it? Do you remember who it was?

A: I believe it was the head coach, McAdoo.

Q: You said you were surprised…did you ever think you’d go this high?

A: I didn’t know where I was going to go, honestly, you hear a lot of things. My sister was telling my all the different stuff, my parents were telling me all this different stuff…you never know. I was just playing it by ear, just expecting everything.

Q: How do you see yourself fitting in right away with this team and this defense? Have you given yourself an opportunity to look over the depth chart, look at the names, see the guys who are here?

A: Yeah, I got it. It’s DRC, it’s going to be Janoris Jenkins. I’m excited to get with those guys and really get to work and try to build a great secondary and be legendary, that’s the goal.

Q: You had a couple of sort of weird controversial things come up in your pre-draft process back at the Combine and then again yesterday. What was it like to go through that and be at the center of those couple of things?

A: It’s all good. That’s the part of the process, I knew it was going to be crazy. I didn’t think it was going to be like this crazy, but now that it’s over, I’m happy. I can’t wait to start playing football and do something I actually love to do, so I’m excited.

Q: What’d you think of the cooking comment when you first saw it?

A: I just laughed at it…it was something very funny. You don’t think too much of it, it’s just something funny, I guess. It’s whatever.

Q: Do you know where that came from? Did you mention that to anybody in an interview or something?

A: No, I never talked about it. I never talked about it. It’s weird.

Q: You’re from Voorhees…were you an Eagles fan?

A: I was not an Eagles fan, I was kind of a fan of a lot of players. My dad was an Eagles fan, he still is a little bit, but he’s not going to be for too long. I wasn’t really a fan of anybody.

Q: Have you talked to Urban Meyer at all since the selection?

A: Of course. He was showing me good love, he told me he loved me and everything after I got selected. So yeah, he talked to me.

Q: Have you ever played in the slot. If so, how much and when and where?

A: Only when I was tracking the number one receiver. So I played it a couple times, and that’s something I can be comfortable in. As long as I’m out there on the field playing man or playing anything—just playing corner, playing football—I’m cool.

Q: They joked about your name a little bit as being suited for being here, obviously with Eli Manning but also the Big Apple. What are your thoughts about that? I would imagine it would make for some attractive headlines.

A: Yeah, of course. I guess it fit. Changing my name coming out of high school and now being drafted by the New York Giants, going to the Big Apple, it’s definitely going to mean a lot.

Q: The NFC East has a lot of elite receivers—you’ve got Dez Bryant, you’ve got Jason Witten, you’ve got Pierre Garcon, you’ve got Jordan Reed, you’ve got Jordan Matthews. How do you think playing in the Big Ten against some pretty good offenses prepared you for that?

A: That definitely will prepare me a lot, just going against great guys, especially in practice as well, like Michael Thomas. A lot of the guys in the Big Ten, they’re physical and that’s how the receivers in the NFC East are. I think I’ll be ready.

Apr 282016
 
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Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP ENDS…
The New York Giants held their third and final practice of their 3-day, voluntary mini-camp on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, there was no media access to the practice, Head Coach Ben McAdoo, or the players.

INJURY UPDATE ON WR BEN EDWARDS…
The Bergen Record reports that the injury suffered by wide receiver Ben Edwards during mini-camp drills on Wednesday is not believed to be serious. The paper says Edwards’ injury has been diagnosed as a mild left knee sprain. He is expected to resume offseason workouts.

Edwards was eligible to play in the NFL in 2014, but sat out the year recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury. The Giants originally signed Edwards after the 2015 NFL Draft, but waived/injured him in July after he pulled his hamstring during the June mini-camp. The Giants re-signed him to the Practice Squad in November 2015 and then signed Edwards to the 53-man roster in December 2015. He played in the final two games and finished the season with one catch for nine yards.

Edwards lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he is a quick receiver who plays faster than he times. Edwards runs very good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He has experience playing in the slot and returning punts.

ARTICLES…

Apr 232016
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

VICTOR CRUZ SAYS HE’S 100 PERCENT…
NJ.com spoke with New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz on Friday. Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It was the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“I’m feeling great,” said Cruz. “Workouts have been going amazing. Each day, it gets better and better. I’m excited to continue to train, continue that pattern, and see where it takes me…I’m 100 percent. I feel good. No injuries, no ailments, nothing hurts, no pain.

“This offseason program is using the OTA days as building blocks. We’re using these days to build up as we go along, and then when I go on my own (in the summer), my personal trainer will have a rapport with the Giants staff in order to keep that building block process going. By training camp, I should be pretty much ready to go.”

GIANTS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN JOSH NORMAN…
National Football Post reported that the New York Giants were one of nine teams that expressed interest in unrestricted free agent cornerback Josh Norman (Carolina Panthers). The Panthers recently removed their Franchise designation from Norman. However, the Washington Redskins signed Norman to a 5-year, $75 million contract on Friday.

ARTICLES…

Apr 212016
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 25, 2016)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JERRY REESE’S 2016 PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Opening Statement: Good morning. It’s draft time again. The scouts are (upstairs) working hard on the draft board. Coach (Ben) McAdoo is in there, Marc Ross, Chris Mara and all of our personnel people. It’s an exciting time for us like always and we’re looking forward to next week to try to help our team in the draft. Before you ask the question, we’re open to moving up, we’re open to moving back, and I’ll take any questions.

Q: Last week John (Mara) said that this draft is more important than others have been. Do you share that philosophy?

A: Not for me. All the drafts are important for me. I understand why John would say something like that, but all of the drafts are very important to me and I think all of the drafts are important to John as well. I think when you say something like that, I think it gets taken out of context a little bit, but I understand what he was saying. All of the drafts are important.

Q: You said you were willing to move up and move down. Have you had any offers?

A: I can’t talk about that, but we’re willing to move up or move down.

Q: Do you sense more activity in the draft this year? There already has been three trades in the top 10.

A: Not really. In the draft you never know what’s going to happen. You just try to prepare yourself for everything. There could be a lot of movement. There can be not much more movement. Who knows?

Q: In regards to trades, you’ve traded up more than you’ve traded down since you’ve been General Manager. Is that you’re philosophy?

A: It’s just how it unfolded. The draft changes after every pick. Sometimes you can move up and sometimes you can move back and so it happens we’ve been able to move up a couple of times.

Q: Back at the combine you said you would pick the best available player. Have you stuck to that philosophy?

A: Best player available.

Q: Two of your last three first round picks have been used on offensive linemen. Do you take that into consideration at all of how much of your resources you can put in a short period of time into one specific position group?

A: No. We’re just trying to put the guys up there in the best order that we can and pick the best player available when we pick.

Q: What is your philosophy when you look at rounds three, four and five?

A: It’s the same thing. We put guys in the first row. We put guys in the second row and the third row. When it’s our time to pick, we try to pick the best player in the row. Sometimes we can get two players out of the first row. We like it when we can get two players who we’ve got in the first row. We like it like that. In the first row, all of those guys are not really first round picks because we call them rows.

Q: How much of a difference has it been working with Ben and his staff versus former head coach Tom Coughlin’s staff?

A: Our coaches have always been a part of the process since I’ve been with the New York Giants for 21 years and nothing has changed in respect to that.

Q: After the season you and John Mara said you would study what went right and wrong in past drafts. How extensive was that self-analysis?

A: We looked at a lot of things. I’m not going to sit here and divulge what we talked about and what we discovered and what we looked at, but we worked hard on some things. I know this. I know our scouts work their behinds off. They do all of the work. They’re on the road for almost 200 days out of the year. They do the legwork for us and they do a tremendous job for us.

Q: Did you find anything interesting or things you can tweak moving forward?

A: There’s always things that you find interesting when you do some research and there were some interesting things that we found.

Q: How much does your team’s recent history with injuries affect the way that you evaluate the draft process?

A: I think we’ve had some bad luck with injuries. We had a medical meeting last night and we talked about the guys that are injury risks. We try to minimize our risks, but it’s football. It’s grown men hitting each other with helmets. Guys get injured. It’s a part of the business.

Q: There are some guys in the draft who have had injuries and missed a significant portion of the year. What kind of factors go into assessing that type of player?

A: We listen to our doctors. If our doctors say the risk is too high or reject guys, we don’t take them.

Q: You wouldn’t just drop guys in the round?

A: If the injury is so significant… It’s like school. F is bad and A is good. Anything in between… If it’s a C, there’s some risk. If there’s a D, there is a lot of risk, and if it’s an F, we’re not going to take them. It’s hard for us to take a D. We rarely take a D.

Q: Does it matter where you’re picking? Is it more likely you would take a risk if you were picking at the bottom of the first round?

A: You’re not going to take a risk on your first round pick if your guy is a D. You’re not going to take a risk like that with your first round pick. If you’re in the sixth round and you’ve got an extra pick or if you’re in the seventh round and have an extra pick, you can take more risks in the later rounds because the value is not the same.

Q: What was your impression of the trades that the Rams and Eagles made?

A: What other teams do is not really my business. I’m just worried about the Giants. If they felt like they needed to do that, they did what they had to do. That’s their business.

Q: Does that change your projections of who might be available to you?

A: We always thought that there were a couple of players up top that would push some players down to us and give us more players to pick from.

Q: If you stay at your current position in the draft, will you get a player who can instantly start and can be a contributor?

A: We sure hope so. If you pick inside the first 10, 12 picks, you’d like to get a starter who you can put out there to start to play right away and we sure hope we can get one. We believe we can.

Q: Aside from punters and placekickers, is there any player who you wouldn’t take with the 10th pick because of his position?

A: No.

Q: That includes the quarterback?

A: That includes any position, except punter and kicker.

Q: Do John Mara’s comments put any sense of urgency on this draft?

A: No. I put the urgency on myself. I know I come to work everyday and I work my behind off and that hasn’t changed since day one. I see how hard our personnel people work. The pressure is always there. Nobody puts more pressure on me than me.

Q: Do you take the criticisms of recent drafts personally?

A: You guys have your own opinion on the draft and you get paid to do that. It’s okay with me.

Q: What’s your opinion on recent drafts?

A: We work hard every time we draft and my opinions are my opinions and your opinions are your opinions. I’m not going to get into that.

Q: You have a lot more information at your disposal than we do. So your opinion on how you drafted is probably going to be much more valid than ours.

A: That’s your opinion.

Q: Ben McAdoo has been with the franchise for a couple of years now and has been involved with the draft. Now that he’s the head coach, what would you say is the biggest difference in terms of his involvement in previous drafts and this one?

A: He was the coordinator last year. In this draft, he’s in on all of the meetings. He’s in the defensive players, offensive players and the special teams. He’s in all of the meetings. Last year, he was just in the offensive player meetings. So that in and of itself is different.

Q: Some people have said there is a drop in talent after the 10th pick. Do you agree with that?

A: I think there are good players in all seven rounds.

Q: With what you were able to do in the beginning of free agency, does it become more challenging to not look at the draft and free agency as separate entities as far as building the roster or is it still possible to say it this serves one purpose and the draft serves as another?

A: We’re not oblivious to what we did in free agency, but the draft stands alone. We’re just trying to pick the best players out of this draft when we’re picking.

Q: How important is football character and personal character when you’re looking for guys who can come in and be sound draft picks, but also contribute to a winning and healthy culture?

A: That’s a part of building a football team. You want to get guys who are good team players and who want to be good locker room guys. Not a lot of “me” guys. A bunch of team-oriented players that are big, tough and smart guys who want to play together as a team. You win as a team and if you don’t play as a team, it’s hard to win in this league.

Q: Do you think you have a starting caliber right tackle who you’d be very comfortable with on your roster right now?

A: Sometimes the answer is on your roster. We do have some guys that we like. We’ll see moving forward.

Q: Do you view Bobby Hart as a guard or tackle?

A: I think Bobby has the ability to play guard and tackle.

Q: Are there any players in this draft who are off your board for non-football reasons?

A: Not right now. We’re still in the process and I’m sure there will be some guys that we take off.

Q: You used three high picks on that offensive line the last three years. Is that a position where you will target in this year’s draft?

A: We’re just trying to get good players every time we pick.

Q: Is your objective to leave the draft with players at a certain position?

A: No. We’re looking at it that we need help on offense. We need help on defense. We need help on special teams and we’re trying to get good players in every aspect of those positions. Offense, Defense and Special Teams.

Q: The top two quarterbacks in the draft seem like they’re going to go one and two in the draft. If you’re not looking at a quarterback, does it make it better for you?

A: If two quarterbacks get picked in front of us, that pushes some players down to us. That gives us a better chance to get the player that Kim (Jones) talked about, a player that can come in and impact our team.

Q: Eli Manning is getting up in age. Are you close to the point where you need to start thinking about drafting his replacement?

A: We think Eli has plenty of years left, but we’re always conscious of if there is a player in this draft or previous drafts or a draft coming up that there is a quarterback available because you always want to try to have a quarterback in line ready to go as your quarterback gets older and is on the backside of his career. You’re always conscious of that.

Q: How do you assess your running backs?

A: We think all of those guys are good enough to play in the league. All of these guys are pros. I think we have five guys that can play in this league.

Q: Josh Norman is a free agent. Is there any interest there?

A: We investigate everything.

Q: How surprised were you to see he became a free agent?

A: Nothing surprises me in this business.

Q: Are you basically finished with free agent signings?

A: There are still some free agents out there. Free agency really never stops. It’s the way we’re wired. Everyday there are guys on the waiver wire, but there’s a few more veterans out there that are still waiting around and we’re still taking a look at that we can do something.

Q: Will money play a factor?

A: Money always plays a factor.

Q: We haven’t had a chance to talk to you since free agency started. What was it about those three guys that made you go out and get them?

A: Those guys were really good players. We had them high on our free agent board. We had some money this time. We felt like we had a chance to go out and get some guys with the caliber of the players that we got. We went for them and we were fortunate enough to get some of the guys that we targeted.

Q: How important was it to you to bring back Jason Pierre-Paul for another season?

A: Jason is a terrific football player and we’re hoping that the procedure that he had on his hand after the season will continue to feel better for him and he will be able to play with that hand in the condition that it is and we expect him to do that. I said at the (combine) that it was kind of a miracle for me that he played last year. He’ll be that much better now, we think.

Q: Do you think you have a starting free safety on your roster right now with all of those young guys you brought in recently?

A: We have some guys. We’ll see. In every position somebody has got to be developed and at some point we hope that one of those young safeties can step up. There are a few more guys out there in free agency that we’ll take a look at, but we’re hoping that some of those young guys can step up and play a role here.

Q: Where do you stand at linebacker?

A: We’re still going to upgrade every position. Linebacker, safety, corner, defensive line, offensive line, tight end, receiver, running back and quarterback. All of them. If I left out something, those guys, too.

Q: How is Victor Cruz doing?

A: So far so good. He’s been out there. I’ve been peeking out the window and watching him run outside. We had our medical meetings last night and all of our doctors are pleased with his progress so far and we’re hoping that he’ll be the Victor that we know.

Q: What’s the plan with Victor Cruz moving into the summer?

A: We’re going to take it easy with him and make sure that he’s ramped up a little bit at a time and when training camp comes around, we’re hoping that he’s a full go. We’re expecting him to be full go.

Q: Last year at this time you weren’t counting on Cruz. Is that different this time?

A: He hasn’t played in two years. But he’s probably more healthy now than he’s probably been in the last couple of years. What we get from Victor will be a bonus and we’re hoping it’s a great bonus for us.

Q: How much does age play a factor for you guys in the draft?

A: We’re conscious of players’ ages, but how many players have played over four, five, six years? Age is not a huge factor. We don’t want to draft a 30-year-old in this draft, but I don’t think there are any 30-year-olds in this draft. We do look at what the age is.

Q: In spite of all you did in free agency, how much do you need the guys from the last couple of drafts to step up and become what you expected them to be?

A: We always expect those guys. You’ve got to develop players. In the last few drafts that we’ve had, we expect players to step up and continue to develop and be a core part of our football team.

NEW YORK GIANTS PLAYER MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following New Giants players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH JOSH BROWN…
The video of an exclusive interview with New York Giants place kicker Josh Brown is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Apr 192016
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

LARRY DONNELL SIGNS HIS RESTRICTED FREE AGENT TENDER…
The New York Giants have officially announced that restricted free agent tight end Larry Donnell has signed his 1-year, $1.671 million free agent tender. Donnell also received medical clearance from team doctors on his neck, which he injured last season and caused him to be placed on Injured Reserve.

After a breakout season in 2014, Donnell had a disappointing 2015 campaign as his production dropped from 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns to 29 catches for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He started all eight games in which he played in 2015.

Donnell originally went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent the 2012 season on the team’s Practice Squad. Donnell made the 53-man roster in 2013 and was active for all 16 games, starting one contest, but he only caught three passes for 31 yards.

Donnell is a big, athletic target. A former collegiate quarterback and a very raw player when he came to the Giants, Donnell is still a work in progress. As a receiver, Donnell has a good catch radius, adjusts well to the football, and is capable of making the circus catch. He needs to do a better job of holding onto the football (four fumbles in 2014) and gaining yards after the catch, where he often looks clumsy. While Donnell gives a good effort, he still has a lot of work to do to improve as a blocker.

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Apr 182016
 
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Josh Brown, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Josh Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN KICKER JOSH BROWN…
The New York Giants have officially re-signed unrestricted free agent place kicker Josh Brown. The contract is reportedly a 2-year, $4 million deal.

“This is right where I wanted to be, this is the team I wanted to continue to play for,” said Brown. “I love the organization, and would enjoy playing here for the duration until I’m done…It worked out for both sides…I’m comfortable here, I kick well here.”

Brown’s two best seasons have come with the Giants past the age of 35. Brown made 30-of-32 field goal attempts in 2015, a franchise-record 93.8 percent success rate, and topping his own record of 92.3 percent (24-of-26) in 2014. He has also hit long field goals of 53 yards in both seasons. In just three seasons, Brown has scored 350 points, ninth best in franchise history. The only downside is that two of Brown’s misses were factors in late-game losses. In the past two years, over 61 percent of his kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks.

Brown was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Before coming to the Giants as a free agent in 2013, he kicked for the Seahawks (2003-07), St. Louis Rams (2009-11), and Cincinnati Bengals (2012). He made the Pro Bowl as an alternate after the 2015 campaign.

The Giants are currently carrying two place kickers on the roster, Brown and Tom Obarski.

INSIDE THE GIANTS NEW STRENGTH & CONDITIONING PROGRAM…
A video overview of the New York Giants new strength and conditioning program is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Apr 142016
 
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Brad Wing, New York Giants (October 4, 2015)

Brad Wing – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 2016 SCHEDULE RELEASED…
The New York Giants 2016 regular-season schedule has been released. The schedule includes five prime time games: two Monday nights (at Minnesota, home vs. Cincinnati), two Sunday nights (at Green Bay, home against Dallas), and a late-season Thursday night game in Philadelphia. It is the fourth time in five seasons the Giants will open against the Cowboys.

The Giants will play six games against 2015 playoff teams: Washington (2), Minnesota, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 – at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 – vs. New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 – vs. Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 4: Monday, Oct. 3 – at Minnesota Vikings, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9 – at Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m.*
  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 – vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m.*
  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 – at Los Angeles Rams (London), 9:30 a.m.
  • Week 8: BYE WEEK
  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 – vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m.*
  • Week 10: Monday, Nov. 14 – vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 – vs. Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m.*
  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 – at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m.*
  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 – at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m.*
  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 – vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m.*
  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 – vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m.*
  • Week 16: Thursday, Dec. 22 – at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:25 p.m.
  • Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 – at Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m.*

* Subject to flexible scheduling.

“It’s an exciting time in the offseason with the schedule being released,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We’re certainly going to take them one at a time. But playing the AFC North and the NFC North, two divisions that are very competitive, not to mention the NFC East, will be a huge challenge for us.

“It’s a great opportunity opening the season at Dallas. All of us in the building are looking forward to it.

“The bye comes at a perfect time, around the mid-point of the season, and after a trip to London, – which is a tremendous opportunity, and exciting for us. It’s good for the league, and it’s good for the Giants and the Rams to play overseas. The bye coming right after it, followed by three home games vs. three good opponents in a row will be exciting for us, especially with the Monday night game against Cincinnati.”

BRAD WING SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants punter Brad Wing has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

The Giants acquired Wing from the Pittsburgh Steelers by trade for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in September 2015, replacing the popular-but-declining Steve Weatherford. Wing responded with a strong season, averaging 44.5 yards per punt (38.9 net). He had 33 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line, tying a team single-season record.

An Australian, the left-footed Wing was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but he made the Steelers roster in 2014. Wing combines a strong leg with good directional placement skills. He also holds for both field goals and place kicks.

All of the team’s exclusive rights free agents are now signed. Tight end Larry Donnell is the only unsigned restricted free agent.

JOHN MARA SAYS IT’S TIME TO PICK IT UP…
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara spoke briefly with reporters on Wednesday.

“Every draft is important, but I would say this one moreso than usual,” Mara said. “Because we’re picking so high, and because we’re coming off of three-and-a-half losing years. It’s time to pick it up. We spent all this money in free agency, I think we got better, but we’re still not there. We need some impact players coming out of this draft.”

Speaking about the upcoming NFL Draft (April 28-30), Mara said, “If the coach and GM agree on the pick, chances are I’m not going to have anything to say about it. If there seems to be some disagreement in the room, maybe with some scouts or whomever, then that might be something I want to (get involved with). But a lot of times, they work those things ahead of time.”

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH JOHNATHAN HANKINS…
The video of an exclusive interview with New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Apr 122016
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (November 8, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ORLEANS DARKWA SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

Darkwa was the #4 running back on the Giants in 2015. He played in all 16 games with no starts and finished the season with 36 carries for 153 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.

Punter Brad Wing is the only unsigned exclusive rights free agent. Tight end Larry Donnell is the only unsigned restricted free agent.

NICO JOHNSON CUT AFTER FAILING PHYSICAL…
New York Giants linebacker Nico Johnson has been waived after failing his physical.

The Giants signed Johnson to the Practice Squad in November 2015 and the 53-man roster in late December. Johnson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Since then, he has spent time with the Chiefs (2013-14), Bengals (2014-15), and Redskins (2015). Johnson has played in 18 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 22 tackles.

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH SHANE VEREEN…
The video of an exclusive interview with New York Giants running back Shane Vereen is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Apr 112016
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 4, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS…
The New York Giants offseason program began on Monday, kicking off the 9-week “voluntary” program that by NFL rules is broken into three phases:

  • Phase One (Two Weeks): Consists of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  • Phase Two (Three Weeks): Consists of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  • Phase Three (Four Weeks): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The Giants will hold a “voluntary” mini-camp on April 26-28. The team’s OTAs will be held on May 23-24, May 26, June 1-3, June 6-7, and June 9-10. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 14-16.

NEW YORK GIANTS PLAYER MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Monday’s media conference calls with the following New York Giants players are available in The Corner Forum section of the website and at Giants.com:

QUOTES…
Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard on coming to the Giants: “This is my sixth year in the league now, so I know the different vibes you get when you go in a facility. When I came in this one, the aura, a lot of the players weren’t here, but the aura. Then with OV signing – my boy, Olivier (Vernon) – it was a no-brainer. He’s one of the closer people I was with down with the Dolphins; sitting next to me in all the meetings and everything. When he heard I was coming up (for a visit), he was like, ‘Man, you better sign. I need you up here, it’ll be good for the team and us.’…(Dwayne Harris is) my cousin on my father’s side. He lived probably about 15-20 minutes from me (when they were growing up). He went to East Carolina, I went to LSU. We went to separate high schools but we were close.”

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Apr 112016
 
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Byron Stingily, Tennessee Titans (December 18, 2014)

Byron Stingily – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN BYRON STINGILY…
The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent offensive tackles Byron Stingily (Pittsburgh Steelers). Following up on yesterday’s updates, the Giants have also officially confirmed the signing of unrestricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and unrestricted free agent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (Miami Dolphins).

The 27-year old, 6’5”, 318-pound Stingily was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans waived him in September 2015 and he then signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in October 2015. In five seasons, Stingily has played in 20 regular-season games with nine starts (eight at right tackle and one at tight end). Stingily is an athletic lineman with good size. He plays more of a finesse, positional game. A better pass protector than run blocker, Stingily is not a physical player.

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