Scouting Reports Last Updated: November 23, 2015
Eli Manning rebounded from arguably his worst season in 2013 with one of his best seasons in 2014 under a new offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and West Coast Offense-based system. The latter required him to reprogram his footwork and become accustomed to new route depths run by his receivers. Despite a year-long learning curve, Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in his career and in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009). And all of this despite the fact that Manning played behind a sub par offensive line that allowed 28 sacks and only generated 3.6 yards per carry (tied for 28th in the NFL). Manning was the first player selected in the 2004 NFL Draft and immediately traded to the Giants by the Chargers. The 34-year old Manning owns practically every quarterback record in franchise history. He is 8-3 as a playoff quarterback and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. His best season was 2011 when he carried the Giants to the playoffs, highlighted by seven come-from-behind victories on a team with a poor regular-season defense (27th in the NFL) and running game (32nd in the NFL). Manning has excellent size and a strong arm. He is extremely tough and has never missed a game in 11 seasons. He only has a 59 percent career completion percentage though that figure should improve with the offensive emphasis shifting from a down-field, vertical attack to the West Coast system. Manning excels in the mental aspects of the game. He has the perfect temperament for playing in the New York metropolitan area as the intense media spotlight does not seem to faze him. He is very smart and hard-working. Manning reads opposing defenses extremely well. The coaching staff trusts him to make complicated pre-snap reads for both the running and passing games. On the negative side, Manning is still guilty of making the ill-advised, head-scratching throw when the smarter decision would be to throw the football away or take the sack. His gun-slinger mentality also causes him to make some risky throws in tight windows. A true pocket passer, Manning is not a threat to harm a defense with his feet. Manning was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011, and played in the game in 2012 as a second alternate. When Manning is on his game, he is one of the most clutch performers in the NFL.
Ryan Nassib was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. He made the team as the #3 quarterback that year but was never active on game day and did not play. In 2014, Nassib played well in the preseason and became the #2 and only other quarterback behind Eli Manning. He saw limited time at the close of four games, completing 4-of-5 passing attempts for 60 yards in a blowout loss to the Eagles. Nassib has average height and mobility, but he is a mentally and physically tough, well-built quarterback with a good arm. He is very smart and played in two pro style offenses in college. At the college level Nassib was a team leader and clutch player who had a history of winning games late.
The Giants signed G.J. Kinne to the Practice Squad twice in September 2015. Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. Kinne lacks ideal size for a quarterback but he is a very good athlete with a decent arm. Tough, hard working, and competitive.
The Giants signed Rashad Jennings as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2014. Anointed the starting running back, Jennings was limited to 11 games with nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. He finished the season with 639 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 167 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and 226 receiving yards on 30 receptions (7.5 yards per catch). Jennings was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed with the Raiders in 2013. Jennings is a big, physical, no-nonsense, north-south runner who does his best work between-the-tackles or off tackle. He is a solid pass blocker and has good hands as a receiver. Jennings only has lost two fumbles in his career. He is a hard worker and a good presence in the locker room.
The Giants signed Shane Vereen in March 2015. Vereen was originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In four years in New England, Vereen played in 42 regular-season games with eight starts (six of those coming in 2014). In the 2014 regular-season, Vereen carried the ball 96 times for 391 yards and two touchdowns and caught 52 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes in Super Bowl XLIX. Vereen lacks ideal size and power, but he is an elusive back with good vision and speed. Vereen is one of the better pass-catching backs in the NFL as he runs good routes and has good hands. He is also solid in pass protection. Vereen has been somewhat injury prone, completing only one 16-game season.
The Giants drafted Andre Williams in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Williams began the season as the #2 back behind Rashad Jennings, playing in all 16 games with seven starts. He finished the season with 721 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries (3.3 yards per carry). He also caught 18 passes for 130 yards (7.2 yards per catch). Williams is a big, powerful, north-south runner with decent speed. He is not terribly quick or elusive, and does not present much of a threat as an outside runner. Williams seemed less instinctive running the ball at the pro level his rookie season than he did in college. Smart. Williams improved as a pass protector as the season progressed. He’s not a natural pass receiver, but he works at it.
The Giants signed Orleans Darkwa off of the Practice Squad of the Miami Dolphins in November 2014. He played in seven games with the Giants, mostly on special teams, but he did carry the ball five times for 21 yards and one touchdown as well as catching two passes for 17 yards. Darkwa was originally signed by the 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. Darkwa has average size and overall athletic ability, but he is a steady, hard-working football player with good intangibles.
The Giants signed Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Whitlock, who played defensive tackle in college, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bengals in their final round of cuts and then signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. Whitlock was converted to fullback by the Bengals and he flashed in the preseason as a lead blocker with good size.
Despite missing virtually all of training camp, the entire preseason, and the first four games of the regular season with hamstring tears, Odell Beckham, Jr. had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history in 2014. Beckham finished the season with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, all franchise rookie records. He also set a franchise record and NFL rookie record averaging 108.8 yards per game. Beckham set NFL records for most catches and yards in the first 12 games to start a career and tied an NFL record for with at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. He was voted first-alternate to the Pro Bowl and played in the game. He was also voted Pro Football Writers of America “Rookie of the Year.” Beckham was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Beckham lacks classic size, his long arms, big hands, and jumping ability give him a very good catch radius. Beckham is a tremendous athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and agility. Explosive. For such a young player, he can already play multiple positions and runs good routes. Beckham is very quick out of his breaks, adjusts exceptionally well to the football, and regularly makes the circus catch. He is dangerous with the football in his hand after the catch. Competitive, smart, and hard working. Beckham also was a very dangerous return man in college. He averaged 8.1 yards per punt return with the Giants in 2014.
Rueben Randle, a 2nd round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, remains an inconsistent performer. But he had his best season in 2014, catching 71 passes for 938 yards and three touchdowns. He played in all 16 games with 13 starts with his two best games coming at the end of the season. Randle was benched for the first quarter of two games for disciplinary reasons. Randle has a nice combination of size and athletic ability, and he has flashed play-making skills as a vertical receiver. While Randle is not a burner, he is fluid and smooth with good foot quickness and acceleration for a big receiver. He needs to improve his ability to read defenses and improve his route-running. Randle adjusts well to the football in the air and has good hands. Most of all, he needs to become a more consistently reliable performer so his quarterback can trust him. Randle can also return punts, averaging 7.8 yards per return in 2012-13.
The Giants signed Dwayne Harris in March 2015. Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. In four seasons with the Cowboys, Harris has played in 52 regular-season games with three starts, catching 33 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns. He has also averaged 26.6 yards per kickoff return on 77 kickoff returns and 11.1 yards per punt return on 87 punt returns. Harris has returned two punts for touchdowns. Harris has decent size, speed, and quickness. He is a very good special teams players, not just as a returner but on kick/punt coverage. Harris has won the “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” three times, including once against the Giants.
Geremy Davis was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. 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. He 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.
The Giants signed Myles White to the Practice Squad after he was waived by the Green Bay Packers in September 2015 and to the 53-man roster in October 2015. White was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Packers after the 2013 NFL Draft. White played in seven games as a rookie, catching nine passes for 66 yards. He spent the 2014 season on Green Bay’s Practice Squad. White led the Packers with 16 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the 2015 preseason. He is an average-sized receiver with good speed.
The Giants signed Hakeem Nicks to the 53-man roster in November 2015. Nicks was originally drafted by the Giants in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft. His two best pro seasons came in 2010 and 2011 when he compiled 155 catches for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns in 28 regular-season games. However, after two disappointing seasons in 2012 and 2013 where Nicks’ production fell to 109 passes for 1,588 yards and three touchdowns in 28 regular-season games, Nicks departed in free agency for the Indianapolis Colts. Nicks’ production in Indianapolis was disappointing as he caught 38 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He tried to catch on with the Tennessee Titans in training camp in 2015 but did not make the team. Nicks’ demise has largely been attributed to injuries. Nicks has never fully completed a 16-game season with the Giants. He suffered from compartment syndrome in 2010. In 2012, he broke his right foot during non-contact OTA drills in May and then injured his knee (PCL) in Week 2 in September. Both injuries required surgery, the foot before the season and the knee after the season. Nicks has a nice combination of size, strength, and athletic ability. He has long arms and big hands. While not a burner, Nicks plays faster than he times and can make big plays down the field. When on top of his game, Nicks adjusts well to the football and attacks the ball when it is in the air. He has good hands. But even though he’s only 27 years old, he just hasn’t been the same player since injuring his knee in Week 2 of the 2012 season.
The Giants signed Tavarres King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15). King was waived by the Buccaneers in early September. King lacks ideal size, but he is a fast receiver who can get deep. He is not a physical player and is best suited as an outside receiver.
The Giants signed Ben Edwards to the Practice Squad in November 2015. The Giants originally signed Edwards after the 2015 NFL Draft. Edwards was eligible to play in the NFL in 2014, but sat out the year recovering from an ACL knee injury. The Giants waived/injured wide receiver Ben Edwards in July after he pulled his hamstring during the June mini-camp. 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.
Marcus Harris was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2015 after having microfracture surgery performed on his right knee. Harris also missed the entire 2014 season after being placed on IR in August 2014 with a hip injury that required surgery on his labrum. Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent time on Detroit’s Practice Squad in 2011, but the Lions waived him in July 2012. The Titans signed him in August 2012 but waived him a few weeks later. Before the NFL season started in 2013, Harris played in the Arena League caught 94 passes for 1,223 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Giants signed Harris as a street free agent in August 2013 and he spent most of the season on the team’s Practice Squad. Harris has a decent size-speed combination. He flashed with the Giants during training camp and the preseason in 2014, even earning time with the first-team offense.
Victor Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury that he suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. It is 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. It still remains to be seen if Cruz can completely regain his pre-injury physical ability. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, the rags-to-riches Victor Cruz story is well known, culminating with his impact season in 2011, first Pro Bowl in 2012, and big offseason contract in 2013. In 2011-2012, he compiled 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. However, in 2013 Cruz had his least productive season since becoming a starter in 2011, playing in 14 games and finishing with 73 catches for 998 yards and four touchdowns. Cruz has ordinary size and timed speed. However, he has very good quickness and plays faster than he times. Cruz reads coverages well, runs good routes, and has a good understanding of how to get open against both zone and man coverage. Cruz has good hands and is capable of making the circus catch, though he sometimes will drop the easy reception. He is elusive after the catch and usually isn’t caught from behind. Cruz is a hard worker. He can play outside, but has really developed into one of the NFL’s better slot receivers.
Larry Donnell went from a little-known player to the team’s primary tight end in 2014, playing in all 16 games with 12 starts. Donnell finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Donnell originally went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the team’s Practice Squad. Donnell made the 53-man roster in 2013 and was active for all 16 games, starting one contest. He finished the season with only three catches for 31 yards. Donnell combines very good size and overall athleticism. A very raw player when he came to the Giants, Donnell is still a work in progress. In the passing game, Donnell is a big target, adjusts well for 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. While Donnell gives a good effort, he still has a lot of work to do to improve as a blocker.
Will Tye was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in early October 2015. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. Tye lacks ideal height but he is well-built athlete with very good speed for a tight end. Versatile, Tye lined up at tight end, in the backfield, and split out wide at Stony Brook University where he was a very productive receiver.
Jerome Cunningham spent the first five weeks of the 2015 on the 53-man roster, was waived and signed to the Practice Squad in October, and then re-signed to the 53-man roster in early November. Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he was not with an NFL team in training camp until August 2014 when the Giants signed him. He did try out with the Indianapolis Colts in May 2013 and Arizona Cardinals in May 2014, but was not signed by either team. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back. But he is a good athlete with decent speed who catches the ball well.
Matt LaCosse was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2015. LaCosse was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Giants waived/injured him on August 1st with a hamstring injury. He then spent some time with the Jets before being waived before the season started. LaCosse is a versatile player who has played tight end, H-Back, and fullback. LaCosse has a good frame, but needs to add bulk and get stronger. He does not get much movement as a blocker, but he works at it. LaCosse has good speed and catches the football well.
Daniel Fells was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2015 after multiple surgeries were required to address a staph infection that developed in an injured ankle. He only played in two games in 2015 and finished with six catches for 60 yards. Fells was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2006 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Falcons, Raiders, Buccaneers, Rams, Broncos, and Patriots. The Giants signed Fells to a reserve/future contract in January 2014. He played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2014 with nine starts, accruing 16 catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns. Fells has good size and average athletic ability. He is a decent blocker. He does not really threaten defenses as a receiver, but he is reliable.
Ereck Flowers was drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. 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.
The Giants signed Marshall Newhouse in March 2015. Newhouse was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He was the starting left tackle for the Packers in 2011 and 2012 before losing his starting job in 2013. Newhouse signed with the Bengals as a free agent in 2014 and he started five games for the Bengals. However, he struggled at right tackle for Cincinnati and was benched. Newhouse has a very good combination of size and overall athleticism, and he is versatile. But Newhouse has been a very inconsistent player who has lost starting jobs twice in his NFL career.
Bobby Hart was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. Hart played right tackle at Florida State but could project 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.
The Giants signed Emmett Cleary to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in November 2015. Cleary was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has since also spent time with the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Bengals. The Giants signed Cleary to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2015. Cleary has good size but he’s not really a powerful, mauling-type player. He is a decent athlete who has played both right and left tackle.
Will Beatty was placed on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List in September 2015 as he was still recovering from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in May lifting weights. He remained on the PUP the entire season as a rotator cuff injury that required surgery also became an issue. Beatty started all 16 games at left tackle for the Giants in 2014 and had a solid season. He rebounded from a terribly inconsistent 2013 season, as well as a fractured tibia that he suffered in the regular-season finale at the end of that year. Since Beatty was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Giants, Beatty has had issues staying healthy, including a broken foot in 2010, a detached retina in 2011, a back injury that caused him to miss offseason work in 2012, and the broken leg in 2013. Beatty is a big lineman with long arms and a very good athlete. When on top of his game, Beatty can mirror and slide with the best pass rushers, and is athletic enough to pull and engage defenders at the second level in the run game. However, Beatty is more of a finesse player. He does not play with a lot of strength and power and he is not a very physical or aggressive blocker. Beatty still has consistency issues.
In his second season with the Giants after being drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Justin Pugh regressed a bit and had an inconsistent season at right tackle. Sporting a brace on his left elbow, Pugh struggled in the first half of the season and then missed two games with a quadriceps injury in November. He played much better in the final four games in December. In 2013, Pugh started all 16 games at right tackle and was voted to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie Team for his performance. Pugh doesn’t look the part as he lacks ideal size and has short arms for a tackle. But he is a good athlete who plays with fine strength, technique, and leverage. Pugh is smart, aggressive, and tenacious. Though not a mauler, he can get movement on his run blocks and he has the agility to do well in pass protection, though he needs to become more consistent in that area. He can pull and block defenders at the second level. Versatile, the Giants think he can play both tackle spots, guard, and possibly even center.
In his first season with the Giants, Geoff Schwartz suffered through an injury-plagued season that saw him play in two games at right tackle because of serious toe and ankle injuries that both required surgery. He missed both the first 10 and last four games of the season, ending up on Injured Reserve in December. Schwartz was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has spent time with the Panthers (2008-10), Vikings (2012), and Chiefs (2013). He signed with the Giants as a free agent in March 2014. Schwartz has excellent size and can maul people as a run blocker. He is very solid in pass protection. Schwartz is versatile – he is able to play guard or right tackle.
John Jerry started all 16 games at right guard for the Giants in 2014. He was a wildly inconsistent player who alternated far too much between solid and poor play. Jerry was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Dolphins where he started 45 games in his first four seasons in the NFL. The Giants signed Jerry as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Jerry looks the part with very good size and long arms, and he flashes both as a run and pass blocker. But he simply is not consistently reliable, technique-oriented, and physical enough blocking for both the run and the pass. Simply put, Jerry needs to work harder at keeping his opponent from making the play. He also seemed to struggle at times mentally with recognizing stunts and blitzes in pass protection.
Brandon Mosley was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 with a back injury after being waived/injured. Mosley has not developed since he was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He missed his entire rookie season with an ankle injury. Mosley was active for 22 games the last two seasons, including nine in 2014. His only start came late in the 2013 season. Mosley has good size and athletic ability. He is also versatile, having experience at both guard and tackle. But on a weak offensive line, he has not been able to gain any serious playing time.
The Giants drafted Weston Richburg, a 4-year starter at center in college, in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Most of his practice reps with the Giants came at guard in training camp and when Geoff Schwartz suffered a preseason toe injury, Richburg became the starter at left guard. He started 15 games at the position, being benched for one game in November. Richburg had an inconsistent year as a rookie as both a run and pass blocker. Richburg is a good athlete with decent size, but he needs to get bigger and stronger. He is not a mauling type of lineman, but he plays with good leverage and tenacity. Mobile and agile, Richburg, can block at the second level and pull on outside runs. He is smart, tough, and aggressive. His best position is most likely center though he is obviously versatile enough to play guard.
Dallas Reynolds was active as a reserve linemen in 15 games in 2014, but he did not start. Reynolds was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2009 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Eagles’ Practice Squad from 2009-11. In 2012, Reynolds played in 16 regular-season games with 14 starts with Philadelphia. The Eagles waived him August 2013 and he was signed by the Giants in October of that year. A limited athlete with good size, Reynolds is smart and tries hard. He has experience at both center and guard, but he has struggled when called upon to play.
The Giants signed Shane McDermott to the Practice Squad in November 2015. McDermott was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Cowboys cut him in early September. He spent a week on the Practice Squad of the Carolina Panthers in September. McDermott is a blue-collar, overachiever who lacks ideal athleticism and strength.
Brett Jones was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after spraining the MCL in his knee on the preseason finale. Jones was originally drafted by the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 2013. He was named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Rookie” after that season. Jones was also named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman” in 2014. Jones signed by the Giants in February 2015. Jones lacks ideal height but he is well built with good overall athleticism for the center position. He is a tough, aggressive lineman and very smart.
Jason Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger. It remains to be seen how the injuries will impact his playing career. In his fifth NFL season in 2014, Pierre-Paul had his second-best season, starting all 16 games and finishing with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six pass defenses, and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul played the run well most of the year and finished up strong as a pass rusher after a slow start, with nine of his sacks coming in the last five games of the season. Pierre-Paul was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft. His best season came in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. 2012 and 2013 were down seasons for him with a total of only 8.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of that season. Pierre-Paul has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism. When healthy and focused, Pierre-Paul can be an explosive, disruptive difference-maker. His tremendous wingspan helps him to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage (28 career pass defenses and 2 interceptions). As a pass rusher, he can beat blockers with both power and movement skills. He could improve his initial quickness off the snap. Pierre-Paul is a very good run defender both at the point-of-attack as well as in backside pursuit. He can be vulnerable to misdirection such as on read-option plays. To become a truly great player, Pierre-Paul needs to be consistently great on a game-to-game basis and not disappear in some contests.
Robert Ayers proved to be one of the team’s best pass rushers as key rotational player who could play both end and defensive tackle in pass rush situations. Before he was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2014 with a torn pectoral muscle, in 12 games with one start, Ayers accrued 22 tackles, five sacks, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Ayers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL by the Broncos. In five seasons with the Broncos, Ayers played in 72 regular-season games with 27 starts. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in April 2014. Ayers has good size for a defensive end and his quickness and overall athleticism presents problems for guards and centers when he lines up at tackle in pass rush situations. He is an average run defender at best and would earn more playing time if he could improve in this area.
The Giants signed George Selvie as an unrestricted free agent from the Dallas Cowboys in March 2015. Selvie was a collegiate teammate of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at the University of South Florida. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Since that time, he has played with the Rams (2010), Carolina Panthers (2011), Jacksonville Jaguars (2011-12), and Cowboys (2013-14). Selvie also worked out for the Giants at a mini-camp in 2013 but was not signed and then signed with the Cowboys. He started 29 regular-season games for Dallas in the last two years, accruing 75 tackles and 10 sacks. Selvie has good size (6’4”, 270 pounds). He is a solid run defender who flashes at times in the pass rush, particularly in 2013 when he registered seven sacks.
An undrafted rookie free agent signed after the 2014 NFL Draft, Kerry Wynn was a pleasant surprise. Not only did he make the 53-man roster but he received significant playing time in the final month of the season and finished the year with 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defense, and one interception. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. He appears to be a smart, heady player who performed well against the run. He did not really stick out as a pass rusher and will need to improve in this area.
More was hoped for and expected from Damontre Moore in 2014. Moore played in all 16 games but he had no starts and finished the year with 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Moore lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he flashes as a pass rusher. His biggest issues are his sub-par play against the run and mental mistakes, the latter two causing him to be by-passed on the depth chart.
The Giants drafted Owamagbe Odighizuwa in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft. 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.
The Giants signed Brad Bars to the Practice Squad in September 2015. Bars was signed as a rookie free agent by the Giants in August 2015. Bars missed the entire 2013 season at Penn State after tearing his Achilles’ tendon. He played in all 13 games in 2014 but was only credited with 10 tackles. Bars lacks ideal size for the position, but he is a decent athlete who plays hard.
In 2014, Cullen Jenkins was troubled by a calf injury, missed four games, and had a sub-par season, finishing with only 16 tackles and one sack in 12 games with 11 starts. Jenkins was originally signed by Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but spent time in NFL Europe and then re-signed with the Packers in 2004. Jenkins played with the Packers (2004-10) until he signed with the Eagles (2011-12). He was signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles. Jenkins lacks ideal size and is on the downside of his career. In his prime, he was a solid two-way defensive tackle who could play the run and rush the passer. Versatile, he has experience as a defensive tackle and defensive end in the 4-3, and as a defensive end in the 3-4.
In his third season with the Giants, Markus Kuhn saw his most playing time, playing in 14 games with one start. He finished the season with 19 tackles and one sack. Kuhn was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Giants. He suffered a torn ACL knee injury that season and began the following season on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List before being activated to the 53-man roster in November. Kuhn was born in Germany and was only a one-year starter in college. Kuhn has good size and he is a hard worker, but he does not really stand out as either a run defender or pass rusher.
The Giants drafted Jay Bromley in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. While active for eight games, he did not see a lot of snaps and only finished the season with five tackles and no sacks. Bromley combines decent size and strength with good athletic ability. Bromley is more of a 3-technique disruptor than 1-technique run stuffer. He needs to improve his play against the run.
The Giants signed Montori Hughes to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in November 2015. Hughes was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his two seasons with the Colts, he played in 16 games with one start. The Colts waived him in September 2015 and the Giants then signed him to their Practice Squad. Hughes is a strong, mammoth nose tackle-type lineman who can hold his ground against the double team. He is a decent athlete for his size with some quickness to his game.
Louis Nix was signed by the Giants after he was waived by the Houston Texans in September 2015. He was active in four games but rarely saw any action. The Giants waived him in November and then signed him to the Practice Squad. Nix was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Texans. He has been plagued with injuries, having knee surgery in 2013 at Notre Dame, knee surgery in the summer of 2014 with the Texans, and then a wrist issue that landed him on Injured Reserve in September 2014 with the Texans. He never played in a regular-season game with Houston. Nix is a strong, mammoth nose tackle-type lineman who can take on the double-team and hold the point-of-attack when healthy. Although Nix is a good athlete for his size, he is more of a run defender than pass rusher. Nix’s professionalism and work ethic were questioned in Houston.
Johnathan Hankins was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 after tearing his pectoral muscle in a Week 9 game against the Buccaneers. The injury required surgery. Hankins started all nine games in which he played and finished the season with 30 tackles, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Hankins became a full-time starter in 2014, a year after he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft and played in 11 games as a reserve. In 2014, Hankins started all 16 games and finished the year with 51 tackles, seven sacks, three pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Hankins has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. He is a stout run defender. Hankins flashed more as pass rusher in 2014 than in 2015.
A fifth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Devon Kennard was a pleasant surprise. Kennard missed three games in September with a hamstring injury and the season-finale with a toe injury, but he played in 12 games, starting six. He finished the season with 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one pass defense, and two forced fumbles. A bit of a ‘tweener who lacks ideal speed and quickness for linebacker, Kennard has collegiate experience playing both 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker. He played at outside linebacker in the 4-3 for the Giants. Kennard has good size and strength for linebacker. He is a stout player against the run and flashes as a blitzer. He is not as good in pass coverage. Kennard is a very smart player, but he has been injury prone at both the college and pro level.
The Giants signed J.T. Thomas in March 2015. Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thomas played in 16 regular-season games in 2014 with 10 starts at middle linebacker. He finished the season with 84 tackles, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Thomas lacks ideal size, but he’s an athletic linebacker who can play all three linebacker positions. He is also a good special teams player.
The Giants signed Jonathan Casillas in March 2015. Casillas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played for the Saints (2009-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-14), and Patriots (2014). Last season, Casillas played in five games for the Buccaneers before being traded to the Patriots in late October. In eight games for the Patriots with three starts, Casillas accrued 28 tackles. Casillas lacks ideal size and has issues against the run, but he is speedy linebacker who is good in coverage. He is a good special teams player.
In his fourth season with the Giants, Mark Herzlich had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with eight starts at outside linebacker. He finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack, and two pass defenses. Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. Herzlich was regarded as one of the better collegiate linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season with bone cancer, which led to him having a titanium rod inserted into his left femur. Herzlich has very good size but is a sup-par athlete for the position. He is a good run defender, but struggles in coverage and is not much of a blitzer.
Uani ‘Unga was signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2014. ‘Unga suffered a serious injury to his right knee (ACL, MCL, and meniscus) his last year in college in 2013 and was not drafted. ‘Unga lacks ideal size and overall athleticism but he is a smart, instinctive, physical, and competitive football player who plays the run well.
The Giants signed Jasper Brinkley in September 2015 after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. Brinkley was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Since that time, he has spent time with the Vikings (2009-12, 2014), Cardinals (2013), and Cowboys (2015). Brinkley has played in 79 regular-season games with 33 starts. He missed the 2011 season due to hip surgery. Brinkley started 11 games with the Vikings in 2014 and finished the year with 74 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Brinkley is a big linebacker who lacks ideal overall athleticism. He is a physical, two-down run defender who struggles at times in pass coverage.
The Giants signed James Morris to the Practice Squad in September 2015, signed him to the 53-man roster in October, and then re-signed him to the Practice Squad in November. Morris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Patriots placed him on Injured Reserve in August 2014 after tearing an ACL in the final preseason game against the Giants. The Patriots waived him in September 2015. Morris lacks ideal size and overall athleticism, but he is instinctive, tough, hard working, and competitive.
The Giants signed Nico Johnson to the Practice Squad in November 2015. Johnson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs waived him in August 2014 and signed him to their Practice Squad. The Bengals signed Johnson to their 53-man roster in October 2014, but waived him in August 2015. The Redskins signed Johnson to their Practice Squad in September, but terminated his contract a month later. Johnson has played in 17 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 22 tackles. Johnson is a big linebacker (6’2”, 249lbs) who plays the run well, but isn’t as adept in pass coverage. He is a hard worker.
Jon Beason was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 with ankle and knee injuries. Beason missed the first two games of the 2015 season with knee issues, played in five games, and then missed another before going on IR. He finished 2015 with just 18 tackles. Beason has been an injury-prone player since 2010, not playing in more than five games in four of the last five seasons due to various injuries. Beason was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Panthers. He is a three-time Pro Bowler (2008-2010). Beason missed most of the 2011 season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. He also missed most of the 2012 season with a torn right ACL, an injury that required microfracture knee surgery. The Giants acquired Beason in a trade with the Panthers in October 2013. He played in 12 games with the Giants in 2013, starting his last 11 at middle linebacker. In those 12 games, he finished with 93 tackles and one interception. Beason’s 2014 NFL season was basically wiped out due to a ligament tear and fracture to the sesamoid bone in his right foot during an OTA practice on June 12. He ended up playing in only four games in 2014 and finished the season with just 11 tackles. Beason lacks ideal size, but he is a decent athlete with very good intangibles. He is smart, instinctive, energetic, and productive, and brought leadership and gravitas to a linebacking corps in 2013 sorely needing all of those qualities. Beason is a better run defender than in coverage, where he sometimes struggles against better athletes in space. Beason is a good hitter and tackler. He obviously has been a very fragile, injury-prone player in recent years. His time with the New York Giants may be over.
Although Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in all 16 games, hamstring, back, side, and shoulder injuries limited practice and game snaps for much of the season and impacted his play on the field. Nevertheless, Rodgers-Cromartie remained the team’s most physically-talented defensive back and he often shut down his opponent. Rodgers-Cromartie finished the season with 38 tackles, two interceptions, and 12 pass defenses. Rodgers-Cromartie was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and signed with the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and the Giants in 2014. Rodgers-Cromartie combines superb size and overall athletic ability, including speed, size, and leaping ability. When motivated and focused, Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the better cover corners in the NFL. But he needs to be more consistent, and he s not a very physical player as a hitter or tackler.
Prince Amukamara was having his best season before being placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a torn biceps muscle. Amukamara started eight games and finished the season with 45 tackles, three interceptions, and 11 pass defenses. Amukamara was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants, but his initial season was a virtual wash due to a broken foot that required surgery. Amukamara also battled a high ankle sprain and hamstring injuries in 2012. Amukamara is a well-built corner with good overall athleticism and speed. He usually does a good job of keeping his opponent quiet during a game and he finally started making more plays on the football in 2014. Amukamara flashes in run defense with his hitting and tackling.
The Giants signed Trevin Wade to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2015. Wade was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns released him in August 2013 and he was then signed by the New Orleans Saints in November 2013. He spent time on the Practice Squads of the Saints and Lions in 2014. Wade has played in 15 NFL regular-season games and two post-season games. Wade is a decent-sized corner with only average athletic ability and speed.
Trumaine McBride was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2014 after thumb surgery. He finished the 2014 season 21 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defense, and 2 forced fumbles in six games with one start. McBride was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in September 2009. He has also spent time with the Cardinals, Saints, and Jaguars. The Giants signed McBride to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. That season, McBride played in 15 games with 10 starts, and he finished the season with 37 tackles, 15 pass defenses, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. McBride lacks ideal size and speed, but he plays with good quickness and instincts.
Jayron Hosley has not developed since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He not only received a 4-game suspension for drug use at the start of the season, but he was quickly by-passed on the depth chart by guys signed off of the street when injuries hit the secondary hard. Hosley ended up playing in just six games with two starts. He finished the season with eight tackles and one pass defense. Hosley lacks ideal stature, but he is athletic with good speed and quickness. However, despite his athletic ability, Hosley’s play against the pass actually seems to have deteriorated since being drafted. He has also been very injury prone, missing significant time in both 2012 and 2013.
The Giants signed Leon McFadden off of the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in October 2015. McFadden was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played in all 16 games as a rookie with two starts. The Browns waived him in August 2014. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets, 49ers, and Cardinals. McFadden played in seven games with no starts for the 49ers in 2014. The 49ers waived him in September 2015. McFadden is an average-sized corner with good quickness.
The Giants signed Tramain Jacobs to the Practice Squad in September, promoted him to the 53-man roster in early November, and re-signed him to the Practice Squad nine days later after he had played in two regular-season games. Jacobs was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in three games as rookie after spending nine weeks on Baltimore’s Practice Squad. Jacobs finished the season on Injured Reserve with a thigh injury. The Ravens waived Jacobs in August 2015. Jacobs is an average-sized corner with good speed and quickness. He is also instinctive and competitive.
Landon Collins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. 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.
The Giants signed Brandon Meriweather in August 2015. Meriweather was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has played with the Patriots (2007-10), Chicago Bears (2011), and Washington Redskins (2012-14). Meriweather was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010 with the Patriots. In 2014, he started all 10 games in which he played for Washington. He finished with 55 tackles, three sacks, four passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. A very tough and physical player for his size, Meriweather is big hitter and good tackler. He also does a good job of reading opposing formations. However, Meriweather lacks ideal speed and range to cover the deep center field. Meriweather has missed a lot of games in recent years due to injuries and suspensions for illegal hits.
The Giants signed Craig Dahl in September after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. Dahl was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2007 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Giants (2007-08), Rams (2009-12), and 49ers (2013-15). Dahl has started 43 regular-season games in his career, but only one in the last two seasons with the 49ers, where he was primarily a back-up safety and special teams player. Dahl has decent size but lacks ideal overall athleticism.
Cooper Taylor was signed to the 53-man roster in November from the team’s Practice Squad. It was his second stint on the 53-man roster. Taylor made the roster in September and was on the active game-day roster for three-of-six games before being waived in October. He was then signed to the Practice Squad in November. Taylor was selected in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Taylor missed six games in 2013 with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He played in 10 games that year, serving almost exclusively on special teams. Taylor missed the entire 2014 season with a semasoid bone issue in his foot that required surgery. Taylor is a big safety with decent overall athleticism.
Mykkele Thompson was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2015 after rupturing the Achilles’ tendon in his right foot. Thompson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. 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.
Bennett Jackson was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the second preseason game. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was waived and then signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014. He was placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List in October 2014 with cartilage damage to his left knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame. The Giants shifted him to safety during the 2015 offseason. Jackson is a bit of a corner/safety ‘tweener. While he he has good speed and coverage skills for a safety, he lacks ideal size and physicality for the position. Before he was injured, Jackson was receiving first team reps at safety and as the team’s nickel corner.
Nat Berhe was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after having surgery to remove a blood clot in his calf that caused him to miss virtually all of spring and summer practices. Berhe, a 5th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, played in all 16 games his rookie season. Although he was mainly relegated to special teams, Berhe did see some time on defense and finished the season with 10 tackles. Berhe lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a smart, aggressive competitor who plays hard all of the time. In college, Berhe made a ton of tackles against the run, but was not as active in pass defense.
Justin Currie was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2015 after fracturing his right tibia and ankle in the second preseason game and being waived/injured. Currie signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. Currie is a big safety who is better against the run than the pass. He is a good hitter and tackler. Currie is a decent athlete for his size.
Punters, Kickers, and Snappers:
The Giants acquired Brad Wing from the Pittsburgh Steelers by trade for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in September 2015. 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. He finished that season with a 43.7 yards per punt average (38.8 net). Wing averaged 48.2 yards per punt (39.3 net) in the 2015 preseason. Twenty of his 61 punts in 2014 were downed inside the 20-yard line. Wing also held for field goals and place kicks for the Steelers.
In his 12th season, Josh Brown had his finest season, making 24-of-26 of his field goals (92.3 percent) with one of the misses being blocked. He made all 44 extra point attempts. And 45 of his 82 kickoffs 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 Bengals (2012). Brown now owns the Giants records for both single season and career field goal percentage. In his two seasons with the Giants, Brown has succeeded on 47-of-52 field goal attempts (90.4 percent).
Zak DeOssie is one of the NFL’s most consistent and better long snappers, being voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010. DeOssie was drafted as a linebacker by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He is now strictly a special teams player. Aside from his long snapping duties, DeOssie also excels in punt coverage.