November 27, 2013
by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
The New York Giants’ most important player, Eli Manning, did not play as well in 2012 as he did in 2011. In 2011, Manning finished the regular season with a 61 percent completion average, 4,933 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Manning finished 2012 with a 59.9 percent completion average, 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Other than yardage, the numbers were not all that different. However, in 2011, Manning led the Giants to seven come-from-behind 4th quarter victories, including two in the playoffs. That late-game magic was not as apparent in 2012. And there were several games where the passing game (and offense) really struggled, particularly in the second half of the season. That was not all on Manning, but Manning simply did not look as sharp. Unlike 2011, he did not play like a top five quarterback in 2012. Regardless, Manning is probably the best quarterback the Giants have had in their long and storied history. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and when he is on his game, one of the most clutch performers in the NFL. Physically, Manning has excellent size and a strong arm. He is extremely tough and has never missed a game. Manning can make all the different kinds of throws. He is a 60+ completion percentage quarterback in a vertical passing offense. As important as his physical skills are, 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 sometimes 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. Manning was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011, and played in the game in 2012 as a second alternate.
The Giants signed Curtis Painter to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. Painter was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts waived him in March 2012. The Baltimore Ravens signed him in April 2012 but waived him in August 2012. In 2011, Painter started eight games for the Colts, completing 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,541 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Painter has good size and arm strength, but has struggled at the NFL level in terms of his decision-making and accuracy.
Ryan Nassib was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Nassib lacks ideal height and mobility, but he is a well-built quarterback with a good (not great) arm. He is very smart and has the mental capacity to handle a complicated pro passing offense – Nassib played in two pro style offenses in college. Nassib is also mentally and physically tough. Nassib can make all of the NFL throws. He demonstrates good velocity, touch, and accuracy on his passes. He does need to improve his overall footwork, and accuracy on deep passes. Nassib has very good intangibles – mature, hardworking, confident, and competitive. He is a clutch player who has a history of winning games on the last drive. Football is extremely important to him. A leader on the field.
Andre Brown was having a breakout season as a quality #2 running back in 2012 until he broke his leg in November. Brown finished the season 385 yards and eight touchdowns on 73 carries (5.3 yards per carry). He also caught 12 passes for 86 yards. Brown was originally drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Brown missed all of 2009 with a torn Achilles tendon that he suffered in training camp and the Giants waived Brown in September 2010. Brown then spent time with the Broncos, Colts, Panthers, and Redskins before coming back to the Giants in August 2011. Brown spent the 2011 on the Giants’ Practice Squad. Brown has a nice combination of size and athleticism. More of a north-south, cutback runner than elusive, Brown has some power to his game. Brown performs well in short-yardage and goal line situations. He has good hands as a receiver.
The Giants re-signed Brandon Jacobs in September 2013 after the team released him in March 2012. Jacobs then signed with the San Francisco 49ers but only played in two games in 2012. Jacobs was drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Giants. He played with the team from 2005-2011 and became the fourth-leading rusher in team history with 4,849 yards and 56 touchdowns. After rushing for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2007 and 2008, Jacobs’ rushing figures declined for three seasons in a row. In 2011, he rushed for only 571 yards on 152 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown. Jacobs is an enormous running back with surprising athletic ability for his size. Tall, Jacobs runs with an upright style. Not terribly quick to the line, Jacobs usually will have problems if the blocking up front breaks down. Once he builds up a full head of steam, Jacobs is an intimidating runner who can punish defenders. He is not a terribly elusive or creative runner. He also gets tripped up around the ankles more than he should. Jacobs is very competitive and brings toughness to the offensive team. He is a physical presence in pass protection, but his hands as a receiver are suspect. Jacobs can be a bit of a loose cannon both on and off the field.
The Giants signed Peyton Hillis as a street free agent in October 2013. Hillis was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. The Broncos traded Hillis to the Cleveland Browns in March 2010. Hillis signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in March 2012 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2013. The Buccaneers released him in September. Hillis has experience at both halfback and fullback. Hillis’ best season was in 2010 when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Browns and caught 61 passes for 477 yards and two touchdowns. Hillis is a big back and a decent athlete for his size. He’s a tough runner between the tackles and has very good hands in the passing game. He has had some fumbling issues. Hillis has been bothered by nagging injuries in his career and there have been red flags regarding his attitude.
Michael Cox was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Michigan transfer. Cox is a big, strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well.
David Wilson was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2013 with a neck issue (herniated disc). He only played in five games with four starts, and finished 2013 with 146 yards on 44 carries (3.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Wilson also fumbled the ball away twice. As a rookie, in 2012 Wilson did not see much action from the running back spot until late in the season. He finished 2012 with 358 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries (5.0 yards per carry). But he excelled as a kick returner in 2012 as he set a team record with 1,533 kickoff return yards, averaging 26.9 yards per return. Wilson is an explosive, big-play threat with very good speed, quickness, and acceleration. Wilson lacks ideal size and isn’t built for heavy-duty service, but he is a well-built back who is strong for his stature. Wilson has had some fumbling issues in his career and he needs to continue to learn and improve his pass protection. To date, he has not been used much in the passing ame. Wilson is obviously a dynamic kickoff returner.
Da’Rel Scott was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2013 with a hamstring injury after he was waived/injured. Before the injury, he had been waived and then re-signed a week later when injuries hit the running back position hard. Scott played in five games with one start in 2013, finishing the season with 73 yards on 20 carries (3.7 yards per carry) and 102 yards and one touchdown on 11 catches. Scott has only seen very limited action since the Giants drafted him in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL Draft with only 11 total carries in 2011 and 2012. He was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2012 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. Scott has decent size and speed, but he was guilty of some costly mistakes in key moments of football games in 2013 including fumbling a hand-off and dropping passes.
The Giants signed John Conner in September 2013 after Henry Hynoski was placed on Injured Reserve. Conner was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. The Jets waived him in October 2012. The Cincinnati Bengals signed him in December 2012 and waived him in August 2013. In three NFL seasons, Conner has played in 37 regular-season games with 10 starts. He has rushed the ball 21 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Conner is well-built with good size. He is a good blocker. For a fullback, he is a decent runner but he isn’t overly adept at catching the football.
Henry Hynoski was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2013 with a fractured left shoulder. Hynoski also missed most of the offseason work, including training camp and the preseason, when he suffered an injury to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a chip fracture to the lateral plateau in his left knee in May. Before the injuries, Hynoski was developing into one of the NFL’s better fullbacks. In 2012, he played in all 16 games. The strength of his game is his run blocking. He’s a big, strong, aggressive, and physical fullback with the right temperament for the position. Hynoski is not used much as a runner or receiver though in 2012 he did have five carries for 20 yards and also caught 11 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Hynoski does have good hands as a receiver. He’s a bit stiff and straight-linish as an athlete in the open field.
Victor Cruz had another strong season in 2012, though it was not quite as spectacular as his Cinderella-like season in 2011. Cruz finished 2012 with 86 catches for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2011, he caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. The big difference was his yards-per-catch average fell from 18.7 to 12.7. Some of this had to do with Cruz receiving more much more double-team attention due to Hakeem Nicks’ injury-plagued season, but Cruz also did not break off as many big plays as he did in 2011. Cruz was voted to his first Pro Bowl in 2012 after being named second-alternate in 2011. 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.
Hakeem Nicks had a year to forget in 2012. He broke his right foot during non-contact OTA drills in May. The injury required surgery and sidelined Nicks for all of training camp and the preseason. When he returned on opening day, it was obvious that Nicks was nowhere near 100 percent. Despite that fact, in Week 2, the still-hobbling Nicks had his best game of the year, catching 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, but also suffered a serious left knee injury. The new injury, which he said after the season was a tear, not only caused him to miss the next three games, but more importantly, seriously limited him physically for the remainder of the season. Nicks never regained his movement skills, missed most team practices, and often disappeared on the playing field. In hindsight, the Giants should have forced Nicks to rest the knee more before he came back. Nicks finished 2012 with 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns. This was after catching 155 passes for 2,244 yards, and 18 touchdowns in the 2010-11 regular seasons (despite missing four games) and another 28 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns in the 2011 playoffs. When healthy, 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. Nicks adjusts well to the football and attacks the ball when it is in the air. Although guilty of some drops, Nicks is a natural pass-catcher and he can make the circus catch. He is not afraid to run over the middle and he is elusive after the catch. Nicks is a very confident player with All-Pro ability. His biggest negative is that he has proven to be injury prone, missing games in each of his first four seasons in the NFL.
As a 21-year old rookie drafted in the second round, Rueben Randle did not play as much as anticipated and finished the season with only 19 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns. But his future looks bright as he has a nice combination of size and athletic ability, and he flashed the ability to be a big-time play-maker. While Randle is not a burner, he is a fluid and smooth receiver with good foot quickness and acceleration for a big receiver. Randle can get off press coverage and he can threaten a defense vertically down the field. Like most young receivers, he needs to improve his route-running. Randle adjusts well to the football in the air and has very good hands.
Louis Murphy was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Carolina Panthers in March 2013. Murphy was originally drafted in the 4th round of the NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders traded Murphy to the Panthers in July 2012. In four NFL seasons, Murphy has played in 57 games with 24 starts. In 2012, Murphy played in all 16 games with five starts with the Panthers. He finished the season with 25 catches for 336 yards and one touchdown. Murphy has good size for a receiver. He has very good speed and can get deep. Murphy lacks “natural” hands and can be inconsistent catching the ball.
Jerrel Jernigan was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants and has not done much in two seasons. Jernigan had no catches in 2011 and only had three catches for 22 yards in 2012 (plus one rushing attempt for six yards). Jernigan has returned 10 kickoffs for a 24.6 yards-per-return average in two seasons. Jernigan lacks size, but he is a quick, fluid athlete. In college, Jernigan was an extremely productive receiver who was dangerous with the football after the catch.
Julian Talley is currently on the Practice Squad. Talley was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Giants waived him in August, but re-signed him in August a year later. Talley has decent size and overall athletic ability. He lacks ideal speed, but is smooth, fluid, and very quick. Talley has experience returning punts and kickoffs.
Marcus Harris is currently on the Practice Squad. The Giants signed Harris as a street free agent in August 2013. 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. The Lions waived him in July 2012. The Titans signed him in August 2012 but waived him a few weeks later. Harris played in the Arena League this year and had 94 catches for 1,223 yards and 19 touchdowns. Harris has a decent size-speed combination. He also has experience returning kickoffs.
Kris Adams was placed on Injured Reserve in August with a broken left ankle he suffered in a preseason game. Adams was originally signed by the Chicago Bears and an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but spent time on the Practice Squads of the Bears, Rams, and Vikings in 2011. The Colts signed him in June 2012. He made the 53-man roster but was moved to the Practice Squad in October. In 2012, he played in three games with the Colts and had two catches for 26 yards. The Giants signed Adams to a Reserve/Future deal in January 2013. Adams has a nice combination of size and athletic ability, but he needs a lot of technique work.
Brandon Myers was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2013. Myers was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Raiders. Myers had a breakout season for the Raiders in 2012, starting all 16 games and catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. Myers lacks ideal size and athleticism. He works hard at his blocking but lacks the size strength to excel in that area. Myers has developed into a productive and reliable target in the passing game, but he won’t threaten a defense deep and does not run well after the catch.
Bear Pascoe is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player whose strength is his overall versatility. Pascoe plays tight end, H-Back, and even some fullback for the Giants. He does not stand out as a blocker or receiver, and needs to improve his productivity and consistency in both areas. Pascoe finished the 2012 with only four catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. In four seasons with the Giants, he has 26 catches for 252 yards and one score. Pascoe was originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft, but he did not make the team.
Larry Donnell went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the Giants’ Practice Squad. Donnell has excellent size and is a good athlete. However, he is raw and needs a lot of coaching.
2012 was mainly a redshirt year for Adrien Robinson, who the Giants drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Robinson made the 53-man roster, but was only activated for two games. He did not catch a single pass. Robinson combines good size with excellent athleticism. He has very good speed and agility for a big tight end. However, he is a very raw player who will need a lot of coaching up. He was not targeted much in college (only 29 receptions in four years), but he displayed an ability to get down the field, adjust to the football, and make the difficult catch. Robinson has the physical ability to be a good blocker.
Will Beatty had a solid season at left tackle in 2012 after issues with his back caused him to miss a lot of practice time in the offseason and at training camp. He regained his starting job early in the season and was a steady performer for most of the year. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Beatty became the new starter at left tackle in 2011, but was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2011 after having surgery to repair a detached retina in his right eye. Beatty also started four games at right tackle in 2009 and two games at left tackle in 2010. Beatty missed half of 2010 with a foot fracture. Beatty is a big, athletic linemen with quick feet and long arms. He is a better pass protector than run blocker, but has improved his consistency in both areas. Beatty has been somewhat injury-prone although he did play in every game in 2012.
Justin Pugh was drafted by the Giants in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Pugh has a nice combination of size and athleticism, although he lacks ideal arm length for a tackle. Pugh has the quick feet and fluidity to play left tackle, but he is versatile enough to play any of the five offensive line positions. He is more of a technician and position blocker than mauler, but Pugh is a very good technician with little wasted movement. Consistent and efficient. He plays with very good leverage. Pugh is very solid in pass protection and will surprise defenders with his strong hands. His mobility allows him to effectively block defenders at the second level – Pugh can pull, trap, and block on screen plays. Pugh is extremely smart, competitive, and hardworking. Unlike most rookies, Pugh could press for a starting job right away. He should get bigger and stronger in an NFL training program.
David Diehl’s long run with the Giants may be coming to a close. For the bulk of his career, Diehl has been a versatile, overachieving rock on the Giants’ offensive line. In his 10 years with the Giants, Diehl has started at both tackle and guard spots. In 2012, Diehl started the season at right tackle, but suffered a knee injury (MCL) in Week 2 and didn’t regain his starting position until Week 9. Diehl then suffered a shoulder injury in Week 12, but returned to right tackle for the rest of the season in Week 13 after Sean Locklear tore his knee. Once the ironman of the team, Diehl has suffered significant injuries the last few years, including a torn hamstring in 2010, a fractured hand in 2011, and the knee and shoulder injuries last season. Never an overly athletic player, Diehl turns 33 in 2013 and is reaching the point of his career where his diminishing athletic skills are affecting his ability to pass protect quick outside pass rushers. The problem for Diehl is that he has always seemed more natural at tackle than guard. Diehl is a big, strong, smart, and aggressive lineman with long arms. He still is a serviceable run blocker.
Steven “Sam” Baker is currently on the Practice Squad. Baker was originally signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Arizona Cardinals’ Practice Squad in 2012 and he was with the Kansas Chiefs in training camp/preseason in 2013. Baker is a huge player with decent athleticism for his size.
In 2012, Kevin Boothe started all 16 games at left guard for the Giants. In 2011, Boothe demonstrated his tremendous versatility by starting seven games at left guard, five at center, and one at right guard. Boothe was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Raiders and started 14 games for Oakland at right guard as a rookie. The Raiders cut him in September 2007 and the Giants immediately claimed him off of waivers. While he lacks ideal agility and movement skills, Boothe has good size and strength. He is a solid, consistent performer as a run blocker and pass protector.
James Brewer was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Brewer made the 53-man roster, he did not play in 2011. He played in eight games in 2012, but did not start. Brewer combines excellent size, arm length, and overall athleticism. He is a somewhat raw player who has not played much football. He started 12 games as a junior and 9 games as a senior at right tackle (missing three games with an ankle injury). Brewer is very light on his feet and has the tools to develop into a good pass blocker. He needs experience that will only come from playing time.
Brandon Mosley was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2012 with an ankle injury. Mosley was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Mosley has good size and size potential. A former tight end, he also is a good athlete. With only two years of experience on the offensive line in college, he is still learning to play the position and could take some time to develop. He has the tools and demeanor to become a good player. The Giants have also had Mosley play guard in training camp and the preseason.
Stephen Goodin was signed to the 53-man roster in late November 2013 after spending the bulk of the season on the Practice Squad. Goodin was orginally signed as a rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but also spent time on the Giants’ Practice Squad that season. A former tight end in high school, Goodin is versatile and has played tackle, guard, and center for the Giants in preseason games. Goodin has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism.
Eric Herman is currently on the Practice Squad. Herman was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Herman is a big, strong mauler who sometimes struggles with quickness and speed. Aggressive, physical, and competitive.
After starting the first three games at right guard, Chris Snee was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2013 with a torn labrum in his right hip. Despite the fact that Snee was voted to his fourth Pro Bowl in 2012, he had two down seasons for the Giants in 2011 and 2012 and did not look particularly sharp in 2013 before ending up on IR. In 2011, Snee was bothered by an elbow injury that required offseason arthroscopic surgery. In 2012, he was bothered much of the season by a partially-torn hip labrum and bone spurs in his left hip that also required offseason surgery. Snee’s body seems to be breaking down and it remains to be seen if his career is over. When on top of his game, Snee is a strong, physical run blocker who gets movement at the point-of-attack. Snee is also athletic enough to pull and engage linebackers at the second level. He is a very solid pass protector, but he occasionally will be beaten by quick defenders.
The Giants signed Dallas Reynolds in October 2013. Reynolds was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2009 NFL Draft. From 2009-2011, he spent time on the Eagles’ Practice Squad. In 2012, Reynolds played in 16 regular-season games with 14 starts. The Eagles waived him August 2013. Reynolds is a tough, smart lineman with good size. Versatile, he has experience playing at center, guard, and tackle. Reynolds lacks ideal athleticism.
David Baas was signed as a high-priced free agent by the Giants in 2011, but has struggled with injuries since he arrived. In 2011, he missed five games with neck, knee, and migraine issues. In 2012, he started all 16 games but his play was negatively impacted by hand, ankle, elbow, hip, and shoulder issues. In 2013, Baas injured his left MCL in the preseason, missed the opener, returned for two games, missed the next three with a neck injury, and then re-injured the MCL in Week 7. He was then placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. Baas was originally drafted by the 49ers in the 2nd round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In both 2009 (left guard) and 2010 (center), he was named the 49ers’ top offensive lineman, starting all 32 games. Baas is a big, strong lineman with decent overall athleticism. Baas is tough, smart, competitive, and can play with a nasty attitude. His biggest problem is he can’t seem to stay healthy and that reduces his effectiveness as a player.
Jim Cordle was placed on Injured Reserve in late November 2013 after tearing the patella tendon in his left knee. Before he was hurt, Cordle played in 11 games with seven starts. Cordle originally signed with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent all of his rookie season on the Practice Squad but was active for nine games in 2011 and all 16 games in 2012 as a back-up. Cordle is a versatile lineman who can play center and guard. Though he lacks ideal power and athleticism, Cordle has steadily improved.
Jason Pierre-Paul had a solid season and was voted to his second Pro Bowl, but his sack numbers declined from 16.5 in 2011 to 6.5 in 2012. More troubling was that he did not register a sack during the last seven games of the season. Pierre-Paul’s overall tackle total also declined from 86 to 66, though he did pick off one pass that he returned for a touchdown. Pierre-Paul has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism. An explosive and disruptive player, Pierre-Paul is fast, quick, and agile. His tremendous wingspan helps him to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage. Pierre-Paul is also athletic enough to drop into coverage. As a pass rusher, he can beat blockers with both power and movement skills. However, he would become a more productive pass rusher if he would improve his initial quickness off the snap (he’s often the last lineman to move). Pierre-Paul is a very good run defender both at the point-of-attack as well as in backside pursuit. In order for him to reach the next level, Pierre-Paul must learn how to deal with double teams on a consistent basis.
Justin Tuck has had two down seasons in a row, raising questions whether injuries have taken their toll on his game or whether his heart is still in football. Tuck had double-digit sack totals in 2007 (as a reserve), 2008 (Pro Bowl), and 2010 (Pro Bowl). But injuries, especially in the shoulder/neck areas, seriously affected his play in 2009 and 2011. And the shoulder was causing him to miss practices and one game at the end of 2012 as well. Despite starting 14 games, Tuck finished the season with only four sacks, his lowest figure since 2006. Tuck has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism. In his prime, when healthy, Tuck was a very good two-way player who could rush the passer and stuff the run. However, not only has his pass rush productivity declined, but Tuck has not been as stout against the run the last couple of seasons. Tuck appears to be a reluctant team leader and somewhat moody.
Since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants, Mathias Kiwanuka has split his time between defensive end and linebacker. He played primarily defensive end in 2006 and 2008-09, and he played primarily linebacker in 2007 and 2010-12. For the last three seasons, under Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell, Kiwanuka has played a hybrid linebacker/defensive end “joker” role – starting at linebacker but often also being rushed from a down position in obvious pass rushing situations. In 2012, Kiwanuka played in all 16 regular-season games, starting five, and finished with 37 tackles and three sacks. Kiwanuka’s tackle number was way down from a career-high 84 in 2011. Kiwanuka has had two major injuries with the Giants. In November 2007, he suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damaged in an ankle. In September 2010, a potentially career-threatening neck injury (herniated cervical disc) ended his season. Kiwanuka combines very good size and overall athleticism. However, his size, agility, and speed are probably better suited to defensive end where he seems more natural. As a linebacker, his size and strength make him a good run defender, but he can still be exposed in pass coverage. Kiwanuka flashes as a pass rusher but has only averaged 4.3 sacks per season.
Damontre Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Moore lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he is an athletic disruptor who plays hard and makes a lot of plays in the backfield. He has good first-step quickness, agility, and change-of-direction skills. Moore has very long arms. Moore is a better pass rusher than run defender. Relentless getting after the quarterback, but he can be handled at the point-of-attack on running plays. He needs to get stronger and add some bulk – still growing into his body. He tested and interviewed very poorly at the NFL Combine, but the production was there on gameday. Moore has some character concerns, including a drug possession charge. He needs to improve his off-the-field work ethic and commitment to the game. Moore has the tools to become a very good player if he wants it.
Linval Joseph started every game in 2012 and finished the season with 59 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble. His numbers were up from 2011, but like everyone on the defensive line, he did not play as well as expected. Joseph has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athletic ability. He is very strong and, when at his best, difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage on running plays. Joseph has decent quickness for a big man and flashes on occasion as a pass rusher. He has the ability be better than he did in 2012.
Cullen Jenkins was signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in February. 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. From 2004-10, Jenkins played with the Packers until he signed with the Eagles in 2011. Jenkins lacks ideal size and is on the downside of his career, but he still is a solid two-way defensive tackle who can play the run and rush the passer. Versatile, he has experience in the 4-3 as a defensive tackle and as an end in the 3-4. In the last four seasons, he’s averaged over five sacks a year. Jenkins is a tough guy who plays with an attitude.
Mike Patterson was signed by the Giants in April 2013. Patterson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. In eight seasons with the Eagles, Patterson played in 115 regular-season games with 99 starts. Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012 to repair an arteriovenous malformation. He played in just five games in 2012 before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list last year with pneumonia. The Eagles waived Patterson in February 2013. Patterson lacks ideal size, but he is a good athlete who can be disruptive with his quickness. He has experience in both 1- and 2-gap schemes. Tough, Patterson is a steady run defender and has 16.5 career sacks.
Johnathan Hankins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Hankins is a big, strong, run-stuffing defensive tackle with good athletic ability and agility for his size. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Hankins is very stout at the point-of-attack and can take on double-team blocks. When he plays with leverage and proper technique, Hankins is very difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage. Hankins also has the athletic ability to pursue down the line and will flash occasionally on the pass rush with quickness and power. He has good lateral agility and even dropped into coverage at times in college. The biggest knock on Hankins is his inconsistency. At times, he dominated in college; at other times, he disappeared from the action. However, he played a lot of snaps in each game and wore down. He should perform more consistently in a rotation and with better conditioning. When not out of gas, Hankins plays hard. Hankins has the tools (size, strength, power, quickness) to excel at the NFL level if he wants it badly enough.
Markus Kuhn spent the first half of the 2013 season on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List before being activated to the 53-man roster in November. As a rookie in 2012, Kuhn was an active member of the defensive tackle rotation before tearing the ACL in one of his knees. He was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2012. Kuhn played in 10 games in 2012 with one start and finished the season with eight tackles and four pass defenses. Kuhn was selected by the Giants in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Kuhn was born in Germany and was only a one-year starter in college. He has a nice combination of size and athletic ability. Kuhn is a high-energy effort player who can be disruptive with his quickness and intensity. Kuhn is a better run defender than pass rusher.
Shaun Rogers was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2013 with a knee injury. In 2013, he played in seven games with two starts, and finished the season with nine tackles. The Giants signed Rogers as an unrestricted free agent in April 2012, but he missed the entire season due to a blood clot in his leg. Rogers was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In 11 NFL seasons, Rogers has played for the Lions (2001-07), Browns, (2008-10), and Saints (2011). He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2004, 2005, and 2008. Rogers is a huge, powerful player. In his prime, he was a very strong run defender who could also push the pocket on the pass rush. Before going on Injured Reserve in 2013, Rogers was an important part of a run-stuffing defensive tackle rotation for the Giants.
Spencer Paysinger was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. While serving primarily as one of the Giants’ best special teams players, Paysinger has seen his playing time on the defense increase. He actually started three games in 2012 and finished the season with 39 tackles and one forced fumble. Paysinger is more of an athletic, run-and-hit type of linebacker. However, to-date, he has not stood out as a play-maker on defense.
Mark Herzlich was unable to beat out Chase Blackburn for the starting middle linebacker position in training camp and the preseason. In 2012, he played in all 16 games, with two starts, and finished with 30 tackles. 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 may now lack the overall athleticism needed to start in the NFL.
The Giants acquired Keith Rivers via trade from the Cincinnati Bengals in April 2012 for a 5th round pick in the 2013 Draft, but Rivers – once again – had trouble staying healthy. Hamstring and calf injuries caused him to miss five games and limited his playing time and effectiveness. Rivers finished the season with six starts and accrued 44 tackles. Rivers was originally drafted by the Bengals in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In four seasons in Cincinnati, Rivers started 33-of-35 regular-season games he played in. But he missed 29 regular-season games with injuries – including nine games in 2008 with a broken jaw and all of the 2011 season with a wrist injury that required surgery. Rivers also missed time in 2009 with a calf injury and in 2010 with plantar fasciitis. Rivers is a well-built, athletic, three-down linebacker. He is more of the run-and-hit type than physical presence at the point-of-attack against the run. Rivers has the overall athletic ability and range to do well in coverage, but he needs to become more consistent in that area of his game. He only has two career sacks. Rivers just can’t seem to stay healthy.
The Giants acquired Jon Beason in a trade with the Carolina Panthers in October 2013. 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. Before the trade to the Giants, the Panthers had benched Beason in favor of ex-Giant Chase Blackburn. Beason lacks ideal size, but before the Achilles and ACL injuries, he was an instinctive, athletic play-maker against the run and pass, averaging 135 tackles per season and intercepting eight passes from 2007-2010. However, he has struggled to recover from the injuries. Beason has experience playing at both middle and weakside linebacker, but was at his most productive in Carolina in the middle.
Jacquian Williams’ 2012 season was sabotaged by a PCL knee injury that caused him to miss six games. He finished the year with just 30 tackles, down from the 78 he accrued in 2011. Williams was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. He was a very raw player coming out of college, having started only one season. Williams lacks bulk, but he is extremely athletic, fast, and quick for the position. However, Williams is not very physical and due to his size, he can get mauled at the point-of-attack against the run. Williams flashes as a blitzer and he could develop into a good coverage linebacker with added experience.
The Giants claimed Allen Bradford off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks in September 2013. Bradford was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers waived him in October 2011 and he was then claimed by the Seahawks and then spent time on Seattle’s Practice Squad in 2011 and 2012. A running back in college, Bradford was converted to linebacker by the Seahawks. Allen lacks ideal size, but he is well-built and athletic. Bradford flashed at linebacker for the Seahawks in the 2013 preseason.
The Giants added Darin Drakeford to the Practice Squad in October 2013. Drakeford was originally signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2013 NFL Draft. The Chiefs waived him in August but Drakeford spent time on the Chiefs’ Practice Squad until early October when his contract was terminated. Drakeford lacks ideal size but he is a good athlete who runs and tackles well.
Marcus Dowtin was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2013. Dowtin was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent some time on the Jets’ Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2012 before he was waived in November 2012. Dowtin finished the 2012 season on the Philadelphia Eagles’ Practice Squad. The Eagles waived Dowtin in April 2013 and he was immediately claimed by the Bills. Dowtin played in five regular-season games with the Bills before being waived in October 2013. Dowtin lacks ideal size, but he is very athletic with good speed and agility. Good hitter.
Prince Amukamara had a very solid second year after a rough rookie campaign. 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 him suffering a broken foot that required surgery very early in training camp. Amukamara missed most of camp, all of the preseason, and nine regular-season games because of the injury. When he did return in November, he did not appear mentally or physically comfortable on the playing field and was burned on several occasions. 2012 did not start off well when he suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and missed the first two games of the regular season. He also missed a game and was limited in two others in December with a hamstring injury. But when Amukamara played, he was a very steady performer and arguably the team’s best corner. He ended up playing in 13 games, with 11 starts, and finished with 53 tackles, seven pass defenses, and one interception. Amukamara is an extremely well-built corner who is aggressive and physical. He has good speed and quickness. Amukamara needs to stay healthy.
After a very strong 2011, Corey Webster had a very poor 2012 season as he was too often victimized on deep passes. On some of these, his man got behind him, but on others, he was in good position to make a play, but did not. Webster did not miss a game despite a nagging hamstring injury that plagued him much of the season and then suffering a broken hand in September. Webster finished 58 tackles, 13 pass defenses, and four interceptions. Webster has a nice combination of size and athleticism. While not a blazer, he is smooth and fluid with good quickness and speed. Webster can play both man and zone coverage although he seems more comfortable in man. He is a confident and instinctive player. Webster is not terribly aggressive or physical against the run. The big question with Webster was 2012 an aberration or the beginning of the downside of his career?
Terrell Thomas was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2012 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee for the third time in seven years. The first tear occurred in college and the second tear happened during the 2011 preseason. The injuries obviously put his football career in doubt. Before suffering the second injury in the 2011 preseason, Thomas looked primed for perhaps his best season. Thomas was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2009 and 2010, Thomas was a very solid starting corner who made a lot of big plays but also occasionally gave up a few. In the 31 games he started during that time frame, Thomas accrued 186 tackles, 34 pass defenses, and 10 interceptions. Thomas is a big, physical corner who matches up well with bigger receivers. Pre-injury, while not a blazer, he was a good athlete with fine speed and quickness for his size. Thomas is very good in run support and a good blitzer. His NFL career could be over.
The Giants drafted Jayron Hosley in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Hosley had a rough rookie season, but the Giants are optimistic about his future as a player. Hosley played in 12 games with six starts, and finished the season with 40 tackles, five pass defenses, one interception, and one forced fumble. He did miss four games with hamstring, shoulder, and quadriceps injuries. Hosley lacks ideal stature, but he is an athletic coverman with good speed and quickness. He has very good ball skills as he reacts well to the football and makes plays. As long as he remains focused, Hosley should improve with improved technique and increased playing time. In college, he did have drug issues. Hosley can return punts. He seemed to get dinged a lot as a rookie, including in training camp.
The Giants signed Trumaine McBride to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. McBride was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in September 2009. Since then, he has spent time with the Cardinals, Saints, and Jaguars. Nine of McBride’s 10 NFL starts came as a rookie. He has played in 48 NFL games but only one last season with the Jaguars. McBride lacks ideal size.
Charles James was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in early October 2013. James was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. James lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a tough, instinctive corner who makes plays on the football. He has experience as a punt returner.
Junior Mertile was added to the Practice Squad in October 2013. The Giants originally signed Mertile in May 2013 after he impressed at the rookie mini-camp as tryout player. He was waived in late August. Mertile has good size and excellent speed.
The Giants signed Ross Weaver to the Practice Squad in late November 2013. Weaver was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft. Weaver has also spent time with the Seahawks, Cowboys, and Lions. Weaver has a very nice combination of size and athleticism. He plays with good speed. However, to date, his physical ability has not translated to the football field.
Aaron Ross was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2013 with a back injury. Before going on IR, Ross played in four games with two starts, intercepting one pass. Ross signed with the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2012, Ross played in 14 games with nine starts for the Jaguars. He finished the year with 46 tackles and three pass defenses. Ross was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Giants. In five seasons with the Giants, Ross started 41 regular-season games, including 15 starts in 2011, when he finished with career highs in tackles (60), pass defenses (12), and interceptions (four). Ross missed a lot of time in 2009 (hamstring) and 2010 (plantar fascia tear) with injuries. Ross combines good size and athleticism. He is fluid and smooth in coverage, but lacks ideal speed and quickness. There seems to be a few games every season where Ross struggles in coverage. He can be aggressive and physical in run support.
Antrel Rolle has never missed a game since coming to the Giants in 2010. For the second season in a row, he finished with 96 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He also had five pass defenses in 2012 (four in 2011). Rolle was originally drafted as a cornerback in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. After three inconsistent seasons at corner, the Cardinals moved him to free safety in 2008. Rolle was signed by the Giants in March 2010 after the Cardinals cut him in a salary-related move. One of the better coverage safeties in the game, Rolle has good speed and range. Due to his experience as a cornerback, unlike most safeties, Rolle can play man coverage and has often been called upon to play the slot corner position. That said, he only has five interceptions and 13 pass defenses in his three years with the Giants. Rolle is a good run defender. Rolle has become one of the key leaders of the defense.
Ryan Mundy was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers in March 2013. Mundy was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He spent time on the Steelers’ Practice Squad in 2008. From 2009-2012, Mundy did not miss a regular season game and started five times, including three starts last year when he finished the season with 39 tackles and two pass defenses. Mundy has good size and is very physical, but has struggled at times against the run and pass in Pittsburgh. Good special teams player.
Will Hill was signed as a street free agent after the May 2012 rookie mini-camp. He not only made the team, but became an important reserve, despite being suspended for four games by the NFL for using Adderall. Hill played in 12 games and finished 2012 with 38 tackles, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Hill was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL’s illegal drug policy. Hill was a top-ranked athlete coming out of high school in New Jersey, but off-the-field issues caused him to be undrafted and unsigned as a junior in 2011. Hill has average size for the position, but he is a very good athlete with fine speed and quickness. He is a physical player and tackles well. He is a very good special teams player. If he keeps his nose clean, he has a big upside.
Cooper Taylor was selected in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Georgia Tech transfer due to a heart condition. Taylor is a huge safety with very good timed-speed, agility, and overall athleticism for his size. Strong. Taylor is an aggressive, physical safety who will hit. Taylor impressed sharp during East-West Shrine Game practices, taking to coaching well and showing good instincts. He should excel on special teams.
Stevie Brown was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2013 after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Brown had a tremendous season in 2012, intercepting more passes in a single season by a Giant in 44 years. Brown played in all 16 games, started 11, and finished with 76 tackles, 11 pass defenses, eight interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Brown was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in 15 games as a rookie for the Raiders, starting one game. The Raiders released him in September 2011. After a brief stint with the Carolina Panthers, Brown was signed by the Indianapolis Colts. He played in eight games with the Colts in 2011. Set to become an exclusive rights free agent, Indianapolis did not tender him, thus making him an unrestricted free agent. The Giants then signed him in April 2012. Brown has superb size for a safety and is fast for his size. He lacks ideal quickness. In 2012, Brown not only became a ballhawk, but also became a dangerous returner after the interception, averaging over 38 yards per interception return. The big question with Brown was 2012 a fluke?
Punters, Kickers, and Snappers:
Steve Weatherford has done a very solid job for the Giants since he signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2011. In 2012, Weatherford averaged 47.5 yards per punt with a net average of 39.4 (both figures career highs). He also had 22 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Before coming to the Giants, Weatherford played for the Saints (2006-08), Chiefs (2008), Jaguars (2008), and Jets (2009-2010). Weatherford has a strong leg and is also a good directional kicker.
Josh Brown was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals in March 2013. Brown only played in the last four games of the season after he was signed by the Bengals in December 2012. He finished 11-of-12 on field goal attempts. Brown was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. From 2003-07, he kicked for the Seahawks. From 2008-11, he kicked for the St. Louis Rams. For his career, Brown is a 81.3 percent field goal kicker.
Zak DeOssie is one of the league’s 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.