by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
2011 Draft Pick Scouting Reports
1st Round – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska, 6-0, 206lbs, 4.43
SCOUTING REPORT: Amukamara was widely-regarded as the second-best cornerback in the draft and it is a bit of a surprise that he fell to the Giants’ pick at 19. Amukamara has good size and strength for cornerback. While not a blazer, he is a very fluid athlete with quick feet and good speed. Amukamara changes directions easily and rarely loses a step in transition. He is natural, aggressive, and instinctive in coverage. Amukamara usually blankets his opponent. He is a well-coach and technically-sound player, and he has experience in both zone and man coverage. Good tackler and will hit. Amukamara has very good intangibles – he is smart, competitive, and hard-working. The biggest negative is his lack of elite speed. He did not make an interception as a senior. However, in 13 games opponents had targeted Amukamara just 53 times, and completed only 18 passes against him. He is sometimes susceptible to double moves due to over-aggressiveness.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) We were really surprised that he was there when we picked. We thought he would get picked a lot higher than that. But it happens like that sometimes in the draft. Guys can fall right in your lap. We think that is what happened. Everybody is excited up there. Our defensive staff is really excited up there. Our entire room is excited about it. His height, weight, speed – this guy is big and he is fast. There was some concern about his production on the ball this past season because he had more production on the ball the year before. But we think he can still play the ball really well. He is a good tackler; physical player. So there are a lot of things we like about Prince.
Q: With Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas, was this a need pick or value pick?
A: He was too much value. And it is a need pick as well for me. He will come in and he will play right away. He will be in the mix in our secondary right away.
Q: When a player drops like that, do you worry that maybe people knew something about him that you don’t?
A: There is always a concern but we go by what we have on him. Our scouts scout him and our scouts are out for 200 days out of the year. And our coaches do the work. Marc Ross does some work. I do some work on him. We thought he was a terrific player and we never dreamed that he would be there at that point – where we picked him. So you get lucky like that sometimes and a really good player can fall to you like that.
Q: Why did his production fall off?
A: I think he had the reputation of being one of the better corners in the NCAA. I think that was part of the issue. The other thing is, the best player in college football was drafted in their defensive front last year. So when you have a guy wreaking havoc up front like Suh you get interceptions back there. So that really helps.
Q: When he was sitting there, did you consider moving back a bit?
A: We always think that – do we need to move up; do we need to move back. We waited for awhile. We always try to wait and see what is going to happen – get an opportunity to move – somebody might want to really move up there. But nobody had a decent enough offer for us to give up a quality pick like that.
Q: Why is this a ‘need’ pick?
A: Because you always need corners; you always need corners and you always need pass rushers. Those two positions you always need on your defense. So it is always a need pick. Anytime you can get a corner, it is a need pick.
Q: Was this a slam dunk pick, or did you talk about it?
A: We always talk it out. Nothing is ever a slam dunk. We always talk it out. We always talk about why is he still up there? What were the grades on him? Everybody made a comment that saw him. We had him graded really high; thought he would be gone. So we always talk it out. That is part of our routine up there. We talk it out what we are doing.
Q: At what point did you think this guy might fall to the Giants?
A: We had already talked about that. We put all of the scenarios together. And that was one of the scenarios. We talked about the latter part of our conversation of who could fall. But we had no idea that he was going to fall to us at that point. We really didn’t. But it wasn’t the conversation about him – “what if this guy falls down; what if these two guys are on the board; what if these three guys are on the board?”
Q: What was the interview like; how is his football IQ?
A: He is going to be a quick study. He is a terrific guy. He is exactly what you want on the field, off the field. He is a terrific young man. We are excited about him. We really are. We are really excited about Prince.
Q: Is he a Darrelle Revis type?
A: He will have to prove that. He has some qualities probably like that but he would have to prove that. Darrelle Revis has done it. This guy hasn’t played a snap yet. But we think he has a really good skill set. And again, he is in the rotation right away. Obviously height, weight, speed guys always play on your special teams. But he is in our rotation right away challenging for a job – for the nickel, for a starting position. So I love that competition. There is going to be some good competition at that corner position.
Q: Was there any debate in the room or was it, “I can’t believe this guy is here?’
A: There was some debate. There is always debate. We always talk about a couple of guys…and there is always a couple of guys to talk about. So there is always debate.
Q: How long did it take?
A: We were ready to go. We had talked about the scenarios unfolding – the draft unfolds right before your eyes. We started talking about those scenarios – “What did this guy do and what did this guy do?” So we pretty much had it talked out.
Q: Any consideration of Mark Ingram?
A: There were several players up there.
Q: Was he one of them?
A: There were several players up there.
Q: Was he in your top 10?
A: We had him high in our draft. We had him high on our board.
Q: Did you see Prince in person and watch tape on him?
A: Sure, yeah, absolutely.
Q: What stuck out?
A: Well, he played at a very high level. He is very productive. All of the background was outstanding on him. He has just been a really good football player. And again, we just never thought the guy would be there.
Q: Is he similar to anyone other than Darrelle Revis?
A: It is hard to compare him. It really is. It is hard to compare him. We just think he is going to be a terrific corner. I hope he just finds his own identity. But I don’t have anybody in mind off the top of my head who he reminds me of.
Q: Any consideration to the fact that his arms are not long?
A: He is 6 ft tall so it really doesn’t matter how long the arms are if you are 6 feet tall. You always like guys that have tremendously long arms but if you are 6 feet tall – if you are 5’8 and you have short arms, that is a problem. But if you are 6 feet tall and your arms aren’t as long as you would like for them to be, you can still get by with that.
Q: Was he far and away the top guy left on the board?
A: He was the top guy left on our board, correct.
Q: Was there a big separation?
A: I don’t know if there was a big separation, but he was the top guy on our board.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Were you surprised to see Prince there?
A: It was a shock. It was a shock. It was a shock. I know we come in and say, “We picked the best player, and we were surprised.” This one truly was a shock. Because you go through scenarios leading up to the draft where you kind of have realistic scenarios, somewhat unrealistic scenarios, of what could happen. And this one was just completely out of left field. We never thought this kid would have been still on the board at 19.
Q: Why do you think he fell?
A: I think that run on quarterbacks really pushed some good players down. And we had talked about that leading up to it – just that teams are going to start going after these quarterbacks. And that is what was happening. The kid is a great kid. He is big; he is fast. He has never been in any trouble, which for a corner is rare. So it was really surprising.
Q: At what point did you start thinking that you really had a chance to get him?
A: We kind of started really getting in depth talking about guys about 7 or 8 picks ahead of time. And he was still up there – we just kind of go over again. But you just assume – I just assumed that somebody would have taken him. With each pick you kind of put him in the back of your mind. You are talking about him but at the same time, “Well, he is going to get picked.” We kept getting closer and closer and he was there.
Q: Did you field calls when it was your pick?
A: They don’t tell you the player when they call about trades. They never say, “Hey, we are trying to get this guy, do you want to trade.” They just come with, “We will trade you this for that.” So we don’t know who they want.
Q: But you did get calls?
Q: Was that the delay, or was there discussion regarding Prince?
A: No, it was pretty much a consensus. But you don’t want to just throw the name in right away. You want to just kind of wait and let everything settle down and make sure that everybody is still on the same page.
Q: Who would you compare him to?
A: Nobody. Usually when I watch players I write in my notes that he is similar to this guy. There is nobody that jumps out at me that I could really compare him to strongly. He is kind of unique in that a guy with this size – and he is fast, fast – he is strong and plays with great instinct. And he has tossed the guys in the gunner on special teams clean off the field. And he is kind of unique.
Q: You have three high picks back there now. Do you feel you can’t have enough cornerbacks?
A: Pass rushers and corners – you can never have enough. Because you always have to go with the best player – if you take the best player, they will play. You can’t force things. When you try to force things and jump over guys, that is when you get burned. When you pick the best player, they will find a way on the field. And it just adds depth. It brings competitiveness to the group. You can never have enough.
Q: Any concerns with the dip from his junior year to his senior year?
A: Of course we talked about that. The guy had six picks as a junior. He didn’t have any this year. So you are thinking, “Why, what is going on?” So that is something that we talked about. He was in position a lot – he just didn’t finish on the ball as much this year as he did in the past. But we don’t see that as being a concern. Because the guy has natural hands and he can play the ball. So we don’t think that is a problem.
Q: Isn’t that a low career interception number for a guy who started that many games?
A: We don’t think so. You have to look at the circumstances. Stats – you can make them any way you want to make them. And stats wise…and you have to watch the tape and see what the circumstances are. Some guys will have four picks and they are just standing there and it falls into their laps. So you have to watch and evaluate how they come about.
Q: Do you think people thought his arms weren’t long enough?
A: Yeah, he is not very – the guy has 30 ½ arms or something like that. They may have knocked him on that. But we didn’t. I don’t know – I don’t know why other teams passed on him. He just might not have been a fit.
Q: Do you think he can start?
A: Yeah, oh yeah. He has the mindset for it. And that is the number one thing that college players…but don’t do it. This guy has done it. And he has the mindset to do it.
Q: RE: Comparison to Darrelle Revis.
A: (Revis) is one of the best corners in the League. It is unfair to do that to him. But if he turns out to be half as good as that guy, that would be great.
Q: What was his 40 time?
(On Saturday): Prince – we’ve talked about him, fell to us. We try not to be surprised in a draft because funny things always happen in a draft, but the guy fell right in our lap. We’re really pleased with that, that he could come in and start challenging for a spot, help us on special teams, play in the nickel, do a lot of stuff for us. We thought he was a top-ten talent.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)
Q: Did you feel everyone was on the same page?
A: No question. No question. The value of this pick, where he was ranked, there wasn’t any question about the fact that this player should be on the New York Giants. At one point there were probably four or five players in position there, where we felt real good about it. Then, as we got close and our pick matured, there was Prince and he was clearly the highest rated player that we could take on the board.
Q: Do you feel you can never have enough DBs?
A: I’ve always felt that way. You can never have enough cover guys because if you watch the way people play today with the addition of the receivers, they go one, two, three, four, until they figure out what you’re going to cover some of these third, fourth receivers with. The more cover people you have, the better off you’re going to be. Plus this young man is physical, he’s fast, he has very good size, he’s confident, which you have to be as a corner in this league. Sometimes when you look at him you say “Jeez,” he comes under control a little bit at the break point area. You say “Wow, you better continue to give yourself a little bit of a cushion there, young man,” but then all of a sudden he makes a break on the ball and picks one off. He’s physical. They bring him off the corner a lot. He’s played in a division where there’s all kind of wide open passing attacks, so you know he’s defended a lot over the years.
Q: In the notes on him it says “Often compared to Revis.” Is that fair?
A: I didn’t make that comparison, but he is an outstanding, young cover-corner who has a lot of very good attributes and we look forward to coaching him.
Q: At what point do you have to consider that a guy who was supposed to go top 10 might fall into your lap?
A: As it materializes. You’re very conscious of each pick and how it fits exactly. Whether you’re evaluating the team that picked so that you know well, this was a need for them and now that’s gone. So what’s the tendency for them to do the next time around? You’re very conscious of that. By the same token, you’re sitting there looking at your circumstance and then it starts to materialize on the board, as you get closer to where you are, who may very well be there. So then you begin to talk about each one of those players and you just hope that the quality is there when you have a chance to pick and in this particular situation, it was.
Q: Webster, Ross and Thomas – is this a guy talented enough to get on the field with them?
A: The more you can have, the better. It becomes very, very competitive and that’s the way it should be. But it also gives you great flexibility. There’s versatility in this pick in terms of being able to utilize this guy on special teams, to be able to utilize him in your various coverage packages. Whether it be nickel. Whether it be dime. We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to – we see him on tape as an outstanding pressure player – and how that’s going to fit in for us as well.
Q: You like DBs to take on the run, can he do that?
A: He’s done that in college and he has good size and we think he can.
Q: How will you not being able to spend time with him because of the current circumstances affect things?
A: We’re all waiting for further instructions, as you all know. But the issue that we received today is that you can give them material and you can spend some time with them. In the process of during the draft, you don’t have that much time. Let’s face it, you have a lot going on. According to the way the NFL instructs us, hopefully starting tomorrow, we’ll know more about the future.
Q: Were there questions about why Prince was still there?
A: No. We talked, very thoroughly, about each player that we have in a position – maybe five guys a time that we’re talking about and we go over all of the grades and the whole room gets a chance to chirp in. There wasn’t any question about how we felt about him.
Q: Was the debate fiery or uniform, this is our guy?
A: It was straightforward, informative. All statements were very supportive.
Q: Did you meet with his family?
A: I did not personally meet with them, no.
Q: Did you meet with him at the combine?
A: I didn’t, but our coaches did.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER: (Video)
Q: How surprised were you that the Giants picked you? How surprised were you that you lasted to 19?
A: I was very surprised that I lasted all the way to 19 just because I thought other teams needed a corner, that had earlier picks. But that wasn’t the case. I guess the Giants did and I haven’t worked out for them. I’ve never visited here and they never really contacted me. That’s just how the draft is. It’s pretty tricky like that.
Q: What are your thoughts about playing for the Giants?
A: It’s an amazing opportunity. It seems like the fans are crazy about their football and I’m just excited that I have a team that I can help win and help compete and try to play.
Q: What do you think that you bring to the table?
A: I’m definitely a physical corner that loves to get in on the run. I use my hands a lot with the wide receivers and I just really like to get after the ball.
Q: Can you explain five interceptions as a junior and none as a senior?
A: Just not a lot of opportunities.
Q: Did teams tend not to throw to your side?
A: Yes, that was the case.
Q: Talk to Phillip Dillard yet?
A: No, I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m sure that we’ll be well acquainted.
Q: Thoughts about being ready to play right away?
A: I’m excited. I know that’s given. I know I definitely have to get in and just learn the playbook. Hopefully I can get in and compete and help the team win.
Q: Are you optimistic there will be a season?
A: I have great confidence that both sides are going to get a deal done and when they do, I’ll be ready to come in and work.
Q: How many special teams have you played?
A: I played a lot of special teams and I love playing special teams. At Nebraska , we were taught you have to be special to play special teams. Special teams is a hidden spot of the game where plays can be made and I really like to contribute on special teams.
Q: Were you a gunner?
A: I played gunner, jammer and I played on the front line of kickoff return.
Q: Where does your first name come from?
A: It has royalty to it. My dad comes from a royal family, where his grandfather was a chief of a village in Nigeria and every son is actually a prince and they give them the first name Prince.
Q: Proud of your heritage?
A: Oh yeah, very proud of my heritage. My parents are very proud of it too. Right now they’re wearing their cultural attire. They love to show it off and I try to go back as much as I can.
Q: Next in line to be chief?
A: Yes, but it’s a funny situation. A lot of stuff would have to come into play. I would have to live there to be a chief.
2nd Round – DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina, 6-2, 309lbs, 4.83
SCOUTING REPORT:Austin did not play football in 2010 as he was kicked off of UNC after being ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for illegally dealing with an agent. Austin lacks ideal height but he has an outstanding combination of strength, power, and athleticism. He moves very well for a big man and has a touch of explosiveness to his game. He can play both the 1-technique and 3-technique tackle positions. Austin has the ability to be strong at the point-of-attack against the run and he has good initial quickness and agility as a pass rusher. He can be disruptive, but he needs to play more consistently with leverage, power, and discipline. At times, he is blocked too easily. Austin does have a reputation for having an inconsistent motor – he needs to play hard on every snap. He dominated at times at UNC but was considered somewhat of an underachiever. If he plays with better technique, consistency, and effort, Austin could develop into a very good player.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:(Video) Marvin Austin didn’t play this past season. We did a lot of work on him. He was very highly rated on our board. The value was tremendous at that point. Again, we did a lot of homework on him. We couldn’t pass him up.
Q: What kind of work do you do on someone who didn’t play last season?
A: All you can do is look at his season before. He played in the all-star game; really into individual stuff. He was dominant in those drills. You see that he hadn’t played all year long because I think he fatigued a little bit in the game because he wasn’t in football shape. It is hard to get into football shape if you are not playing football. But you go back and look at his tape as a junior and you see a really good football player. Again, we had him very highly rated. This guy is going to be a tremendous player for us.
Q: Were there any other issues with him – was the agent stuff the only problem?
A: No other problems. That is it; no other problems.
Q: Did you speak with Hakeem Nicks when you were evaluating him?
A: We get our evaluation. We take players’ evaluations of each other – that is a little bit dangerous for us. But we did talk to Hakeem a little bit. We always try to talk to players from the same school to just get their opinion on players. We always try to do that. But that could be dangerous in itself.
Q: It is crowded on the defensive line – do you anticipate it thinning out?
A: You never know. You just have to get as many good football players as you can, because injuries can happen. So good players – we try to get as many good football players as we can. And this guy is a very good football player. No knock on Linval Joseph – we think he is going to be a tremendous player.
Q: What was your impression of him when you sat down with him?
A: I think he was very remorseful. I think he was disappointed that he didn’t get to play. He really wanted to play. He made a bad decision. He really wanted to play. We were disappointed that he let his teammates down and his school down, that he wasn’t there to help them play and win more games. So we sat down with him and we interviewed him; we talked with him. The coaches talked with him. This guy is going to come in here with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove. I hope he will take it out on the opponent. But obviously, when he gets here we will keep a close eye on him like some other players we have had in the past.
Q: What did you see specifically see from the game tape of his junior year?
A: He is explosive; he is an explosive three-technique, a gap charger. This guy can get off the ball with tremendous speed. He has got a nasty motor – mean demeanor about him. He is going to bring that nasty attitude. Somebody described him as Keith Hamilton – not the body type but that nasty deamenor that Keith Hamilton used to play with when we had him here. So I like to have some big nasty guys in your front. I kind of like that.
Q: He hasn’t played this year and with the lockout now, will he need time to be ready to go?
A: All of the players will need some time. The lockout – it is what it is. I really don’t have a lot of comments about that but when it is time to play football I think he will be ready to go. He is definitely healthy. He didn’t get hurt. He didn’t have any injuries at all. He has gotten healthy and ready to go. We expect him to be up and running full go.
Q: Not playing might be an advantage – he should be fresh.
A: That is just what I am saying. He should definitely be fresh because he didn’t play. But he did lose a year of playing. So that is a negative. It kind of balances itself out. He should be fresh and healthy, but he lost a year of playing.
Q: What does this mean for Barry Cofield?
A: Barry is a free agent. All of that will take care of itself. So I’m not going to make any comments on Barry Cofield’s future.
(On Saturday): Marvin Austin – well documented off-field issues. Did our homework on him, thought he was a top 15 talent. We think he’ll be a terrific player on our defensive front in the rotation.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Surprised today with Marvin Austin being available to you?
A: I’m surprised again. I thought at the top of the second somebody would go after him, but not totally surprised or concerned. Obviously, the well documented issues. If you didn’t do you homework on him, you could easily dismiss him. I thought somebody would take a chance, but definitely not a surprise.
Re: checking out a prospect’s character
A: Our scouts, that’s why they go out there, away from their families for. I get out on the road. Those guys dig deep. They have contacts at all of the schools. Coaches, trainers, strength coaches, equipment people, that’s what they dig all year long, during the fall, pro days. We meet with these kids at the combine, bring them in. We do a thorough job. The scouts, they do all of that. Obviously, I’m a part of that as well, but we get all of that information.
Q: Players with character issues, why are certain ones okay?
A: Certain people, you take a chance on if they aren’t habitual problems. For instance, we took a chance on Mario (Manningham). We thought his were isolated incidents where he made bad mistakes. We thought he was a good kid. We did a lot of work on him. He loved football and he was a good kid who made bad decisions. Whereas other people, you don’t look at it the same way. With Marvin, we think this kid loves football. He loves to compete. He’s genuinely remorseful about what happened. I think he wants to prove to everybody – himself, his teammates, his new team – that he learned from that and that he’s going to go on from there.
Q: From football point of view?
A: The first couple tackles taken were Dareus and Fairley. Talent wise, he’s right up in the mix. If he was clean, he would have been a top 15 pick – I believe.
Q: Did you evaluate Marvin Austin last year?
A: This year, you had to go back to his tape to watch it. So, yes. We went back and looked at it after this year, but when he was a junior, no.
Q: Regarding Manningham and Bradshaw – the fact that you all have done a good job with them, does that give you confidence when you evaluate other college players that they will be okay?
A: Yeah, because I think we have the foundation in place with this organization – the coaching staff. You have to know your coaches, you have to know the support system you have. And I think we have a strong foundation with dealing with that. But again, we don’t want to go too far off and just bring in this guy we have just seen who is a bad, bad person. So we will never do that. The guys that we have taken, we don’t think they are bad people.
RE: College defensive lineman missing a whole year.
A: Yeah, you can only speculate. He did play in the East West All-Star Game. He did go to the Combine. He did have a pro day. And if you didn’t know anything about him, he would check out just like anybody else who had played a whole year. He looked good at each stage of it. He was one of the most impressive guys at the Combine. The guy ran a 4.89, 309 pounds, benched 38. At his pro day he and Quinn were working out together, tons of d-line coaches, people there. He is moving around, you wouldn’t know the difference. So postseason, everything looked the same. Now, of course he didn’t have a senior year tape, you have to go back and watch that. But we have seen a lot of things to think that this guy is going to get back in shape.
Q: He was benched for two games in 2008. What did you find out about that?
A: Yeah, we ended up figuring in all of that. We have great area scouts, we find out all of that information. Things that happened, we felt comfortable that it wasn’t going to be a problem.
Q: The defense got a lot better.
A: Definitely; definitely. When you can add a quality corner and a disruptive defensive tackle, I think Perry (Fewell) is happy right now.
Q: Did you have some offensive coaches knocking on your door?
A: It is an open door policy, they just walk right in. They don’t have to knock.
Q: Do you feel you have gotten two good top picks in the last two days?
A: Yes, we really do. We had those two guys very high up on your board and we are happy we got them. But, yeah, we think we did.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:(Video) With this second pick we took a very talented defensive lineman that has had some issues – without a doubt. We did a lot of studying on this guy. There were probably seven or eight of our people at the workout at North Carolina. There were some private interviews. We had a private interview with him at the combine. I spent quite a few minutes on the phone with him prior to telling him that we would be drafting him in the second round and that there were some very, very high expectations for him if he was to come here and be a New York Giant. I think he understood that, so we will get off on the right foot. A talented football player. Certainly has an opportunity now to show the world what he can do and to, hopefully, package all of the energy and disappointment and motivation based on the fact that he did not play this past year. Hopefully he’ll wrap all that up and come here and be the football player that we think he can be. Let me say this to you, his grade – strictly looking at his football ability – is very high.
Q: How much is the motivation a factor?
A: He wants the opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong. The fact that we do all kinds of tests on people and those tests were very good. A lot of people substantiated the fact that although you do have to have some borders in place, he’s basically a guy that’s sharp and, if focused, can be a very good football player.
Q: Consider him a risk?
A: I think anybody’s a risk. Until they come in and prove exactly what they can do, there’s risk involved for anybody. But we’re in a high-risk business.
Q: When you say borders in place, what are you talking about?
A: Just so he knows exactly what our expectations are and exactly what we don’t want to see occur and how strongly we would enforce.
Q: Similar to the talk Jerry Reese had with Bradshaw?
Q: Physically, how does he compare to Linval Joseph?
A: He is just under 6’2″, at about 309 and very quick. Comparable. I would say very comparable. His bench press now, you know what that was right? 38 reps on the bench at Indianapolis. He’s strong.
Q: Jerry said he plays with a mean streak…
A: We’ll encourage that.
Q: With Austin not playing for a year, do you have to give him a longer learning curve?
A: The fact that he hasn’t played in a year – he did play in an all-star game. So he has played some football.
Q: What does this say about Barry Cofield coming back?
A: The more, the merrier, that’s the way I look at it. The more quality football players you can have, the better off you are going to be. It’s a long season, as you know. It takes its toll.
Q: How long was Austin on your radar? Since he hadn’t played, when did you consider him a possibility?
A: We knew the whole story. Those players have been followed very closely, even though they haven’t had an opportunity to play this year. But they were a talented group. All of these people are evaluated in the prior season anyway. So you had a real good feel for them and then all of a sudden the disappointment of not being able to grade them this year. But it didn’t stop us from tracking them and from keeping tabs on them. You saw, they were invited to the various tryout functions, if you want to call it that, and they had their own pro days. They’ve been adequately and properly graded and taken into consideration with all players at their position. And that goes for all of the kids at North Carolina that didn’t play.
Q: At the combine, you said center was an area of concern, yet it hasn’t been addressed. Is that frustrating?
A: It’s the way it happens sometimes. True to form, we’re not going to reach. We’re not going to leave a value to go somewhere else. There’s more draft to go.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Q: Coach Coughlin said that one of the big things about you is that you clearly would like to prove people wrong and get the job done this year. How much is that a motivation for you?
A: It is extremely motivating. I feel like I am one of the best athletes that was in the draft and I feel like I’m just ready to go and perform and get a chance to play the game that I love so much.
Q: How tough was last year for you and what kind of lesson did you learn, if any, about what happened to you?
A: It was tough to sit back and watch and not be able to play, not to be able to go out and compete with my teammates. And I learned that every decision that you make is an important decision and you have to think everything out. And also not being able to play football – it makes you grateful for the game. It makes you appreciate the game.
Q: Coach Coughlin said that he spoke to you before they told you that they were going to pick you; sort of laid down the law and told you what their expectations were. Did that hit home to you; did that sink in?
A: Yeah, it definitely did. Coach Coughlin and I had a good conversation; very healthy conversation. He told me what was going to be expected of me. I told him that I am ready to be a professional. I’m ready to come in. I’m glad they invested a second round pick in myself. And I can’t wait to get to the facility and start working.
Q: Do you feel that when people talk about you, they kind of get the feeling that you are the bad guy?
A: Sometimes some of the things that are said and the way that people say them I feel like some people feel that I’m a bad person or something like that. And that is not the case at all. I’m a good guy who made a bad decision and I’m ready to move on. I am ready to become a Giant.
Q: Outside of the one all-star game last year, you haven’t played a whole lot of football recently. And now with the labor problem in the NFL, how much do you think that hinders your development in terms of trying to make an impact as a rookie?
A: I don’t really think it hinders my development if I come in there and listen to the coaches and get with the older guys, see what the veterans, try to cut the curve as much as I can. I don’t think it will hinder me. I think that I am in pretty good shape. I feel healthy so not being able to play football for the past year, it has it’s downside but it also had an upside. I feel as healthy as I have ever felt in my life.
Q: You also seem like you are saying that you have matured over the last year. What have you learned specifically? What is the difference between you now and a year ago?
A: My situation was an extremely humbling experience from being one of the top players in the country to going to be a guy who nobody wants to (draft). That was extremely humbling. I just learned that hard work will pay off. That is what I want to do. And when I get to the facility, I’m going to bust my tail.
Q: What did you do this last year with regard to football drills and those kinds of things? How much of that were you able to do? Who did you work with?
A: I was down in Tampa at Saddle Brook Resort working with Jason Riley, who was my trainer. And I pretty much did a lot of balance stuff. I did a lot of yoga; did a lot of defensive specific drills. And a lot of stuff to become more explosive.
Q: Could you describe for us what kind of player you are – a thumbnail scouting report?
A: I think I am a smart player. I am a passionate guy. A guy who goes out and gives everything he has for his teammates. And I think that by being coached by Coach Blake that I have knowledge of the position – the defensive tackle position. And I think that I can bring it to the New York Giants organization. I will bring that to the New York Giants organization.
Q: Had it not been for the problem of last year, do you think you were a first round pick?
A: I don’t know that. I can’t really worry about that. I am with the New York Giants now and right now I am so glad to be in the National Football League.
Q: In 2008 you were benched for the final two games. What happened there? Why was that?
A: One of the games I showed up in class late. And coach wouldn’t play me. He is a no nonsense type of thing and I had to sit out. So I suffered the penalty they assigned me. It was a learning experience.
Q: I know you are close with Hakeem Nicks. What has your former teammate told you about the Giants? How much did you have a chance to talk to him last year?
A: Actually he was the first person to call me up after they selected me. And he just said, “Come up ready to work.” And his goal was to get me up there. Because he knows what kind of guy I am and he knows what kind of player I can be and bring to the organization.
Q: You said you are a passionate guy when you play. Jerry Reese used the word, “nasty” three times when he was talking about you as far as how you play. Do you agree with that and where does that come from?
A: I do. I do agree that I am a nasty guy on the field because I have to go out there and just put it all on the line. From the way that I get off the ball, the way that I use my hands and stuff like that. I like to play violent. And being a defensive lineman that is just what you have to do.
Q: When you came out of high school you were one of the top players in the country. Is it a humbling experience to you knowing that everyone forgot about you?
A: It was extremely humbling. But I’m glad the Giants gave me a chance and they believed in me and they believed that I could come in and help their organization. So now it is just time to get to work.
Q: Do you think you are a big risk?
A: Not at all. I don’t think so. I don’t think I am a big risk. As I said, the things that happened are in the past. Now I am ready to be a professional and I think coming up to this point I showed that I can be in shape given that I was out of football for five months I can be…professional. Because I had to become a professional way before a lot of other guys because they were still in college. So I think I am ready and I don’t think I’m a big risk at all.
Q: How do you think Butch Davis prepared you for the pros?
A: Coach Davis, he ran the whole program like it was a professional program. And he just did things like a professional program would. From the meeting standpoint to the way the practices ran. I think I am well prepared when I come to the Giant organization. He really doesn’t put up with a lot of nonsense. So I think I will be well prepared to come in and help the organization out.
Q: Is there a pro player that you have watched at your position over the course of time that you try to model yourself after?
A: I like Warren Sapp. Warren Sapp is a guy who could get back to the quarterback and made plays and make big plays from the defensive tackle position. Also John Randall is the one who I think pioneered the three-technique, the other tackle position with the quickness and the speed. So those are two guys that I like to pattern my game after.
3rd Round – WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy, 5-9, 185lbs, 4.46
SCOUTING REPORT:Jernigan lacks height but he is well built. Jernigan is an explosive, quick, fluid athlete who makes big plays and was extremely productive in college. Jernigan is not a blazer, but he is very quick and sudden in his routes. He cuts well without losing speed, separating from defenders. Jernigan adjusts well to the football and has very good, natural hands and he is very dangerous after the catch. He does need to protect the football better. Very good intangibles – hard-working, tough, and competitive. Projects best as a slot receiver. Good special teams player who can return kicks and punts.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:(Video) Jernigan – wide receiver, return specialist, returns punts and kicks, fast, explosive player, will play in the slot for us probably. Hopefully he can give our special teams, our return game, a boost along with some other guys that we have. This guy gives us another option. But he is an explosive player. We really like him. We had him rated pretty high up there and we think he’ll do a good job for us.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: What did you like about Jerrel?
A: His versatility. He’s a little guy, but he’s extremely fast. He’s versatile. He’s a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver, returns punts, returns kicks. I think the conference’s all-time, all-purpose leader. High school quarterback. You love those types of guys. A great feel for the game. We had him in here. We did him at the combine. A great personality. A nice kid who’s going to add some speed to our team on offense and special teams.
Q: On special teams, will he contribute on returns only?
A: No, he’s tough enough to do the gunner stuff. They didn’t have him do it there. You watch them play, he’s on the field all the time – offense, wildcat, like I said. He’s got the speed and toughness to run down as a gunner. He’s going to have to earn it and he knows that. He has that mindset to do it.
Q: How much speed have you added to the team?
A: You always look to get bigger and faster. We didn’t consciously say we have to get faster. We just happened to get two really fast guys – really, really fast guys. It’s going to help us tremendously.
Q: Offensive linemen – weren’t that high on the board?
A: As we always say, we value, we put the value, we do the work, we put the grades on the guys. If they fall at the right time in the right spot, we’ll take them. We’re not going to force the issue. We had the guys we took, these three guys as sitting out there like guys we had to take. We considered other positions, we consider all positions. When we’re about to pick, we have a group of guys and we felt we took the best players, who had the most value at the time.
Q: Surprised about Jernigan?
A: We got him right where we thought he would go, in this range.
Q: Do you think you helped the team today?
A: Of course we think we did a good job. I think we helped our team in a lot of different ways. We got three completely different players, versatile players, competitive players. I think we got better.
Q: Usually you have free agency before the draft, but that flip flopped. Are you thinking, if we don’t draft a certain guy we can always pick someone up in free agency?
A: I don’t think like that. Jerry, Coach they might go over those scenarios. For us, we’re focused on the best guys we can get over this weekend. We’re not up there saying, let’s not take him because we’re going to sign such and such. We’re just going, taking the best guys.
Q: How fast are they compared to what you have now?
A: They are fast. Who is the fastest? They have to get here and play on the field – see who plays fastest on the field. I can say their times – just check their Combine times compared to guys we have had. But field speed and time speed are totally different. We hope these guys will play as fast as we have seen them play and…
Q: After the seven rounds, are you allowed to call undrafted free agents?
A: As of right now, I think we can’t do it. Just like the weather – see if it changes. Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully they tell us we can do it, but as of right now we can’t. We really hope we can do it.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
RE: Options that Jerrel Jernigan gives you on offense.
A: He has a lot of options – high school quarterback, wildcat, wide receiver. I know you all looked at his numbers with numbers of catches the number – but let’s face it, he was operating in a situation a little bit without a big arm at the quarterback position. And I think the type of routes that he ran were high percentage routes and not as many up the field routes. And of course, he does have that vertical speed.
Q: Would you consider wildcat with him?
A: That will remain to be seen. I have always been one – I don’t want to take the ball out of the quarterback’s hands.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Q: Your thoughts on coming to the Giants.
A: I look forward to it.
Q: One thing they talked about last night – Jerry Reese was talking about your versatility as a player. Do you agree with that being one of your better aspects?
A: Yes, sir, for the simple point of the fact that I played quarterback in high school. That helped me a lot when I came to college. They had me doing a little wildcat stuff. Then I played slot and I played outside and plus special teams with kickoff and punt returns.
Q: Do you enjoy that part, being able to play all over the place?
A: Yeah, I love it. People ask me that a lot, if I enjoy doing all that stuff. I tell them, I love playing with the ball in my hands, especially. So I don’t have a problem with that.
Q: I don’t know how much contact you have had with the Giants so far, but did the wildcat come up at all in your conversations with them?
A: On my visit it came up a little bit, not a lot. They asked me if I loved doing it. I told them yes, I loved doing it. But that was pretty much it.
Q: What does it mean to come from a small school? I know the school has produced a number of NFL players, but I think it is still considered sort of a small school?
A: It means a lot – all of the hard work I put in over the years and stuff. And just – like you said before we’ve got a number of players in the League, it says a lot about our University. And we keep putting people in the League, every year.
Q: How much do you like kickoff and punt returns and how much do you expect to do that here?
A: I like it a lot. Everybody always asks me what I would love to do, kickoff or punt returns. I tell them that it really doesn’t matter. I am more comfortable at kickoff returns because I have been doing it the longest. But I love punt returns, too. I expect to come in and do a lot, especially kickoff return and punt returns. But we will just see how things go.
Q: You look at your size and some people think, “Oh, he is not a big guy.” But it sounds like from what the Giants are saying that you play bigger. You are tough. Do you agree with that?
A: I agree. I don’t have problems going through the middle. It is all in the football game, get hit. I don’t care. So I go ahead and give my body up and do whatever I have to do to catch the ball.
Q: Do you know much about the wide receiver situation with the Giants?
A: Yeah, I know you have great receivers in Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks. I know Steve Smith is coming off a knee injury. And you don’t know how he’s going to come back off his knee injury. But I just plan on coming in and learning from them and sitting back watching, but eventually getting out there and help the Giants any way that I can.
Q: You talked about players from Troy that are in the NFL. Have you ever met Osi or Lawrence Tynes?
A: I haven’t met Osi before but I have met Lawrence Tynes. He and I have talked. Matter of fact, he came down to Alabama a couple of weeks ago. Our coach had a 20th anniversary dinner he spoke at and we exchanged phone numbers there. I tried to call him this morning but he didn’t answer. I left a voice mail for him so I’m pretty sure he’ll call me back.
Q: Getting back to the wildcat for a second. It is still somewhat of a new thing in the NFL. Have you enjoyed watching the last few years? And when you did, did you think, “Hey, maybe this is something that I can do up there?”
A: Exactly, I enjoy watching it, every time I see it, I say to myself, “That is something that I can see myself doing when I go up there.” But I just look forward to going out there and competing.
Q: Do you know an NFL player that you could compare yourself to?
A: I like Percy Harvin, I watched him all through college and stuff. That’s the person I try to (model) my game after, I would say.
Q: Have you ever been to New York?
A: Only on my visit. That is the only time that I have been up there. I keep telling everybody that it is going to be different but I will have to adapt to it. So I’m ready for it.
4th Round – OT James Brewer, Indiana, 6-6, 323lbs, 5.27
SCOUTING REPORT:Brewer combines excellent size, arm length, and overall athleticism. He is a raw player who has not played much football. Started 12 games as a junior and 9 games as a senior at right tackle (missing three games with an ankle injury). Brewer may project better to left tackle at the pro level. Brewer is very light on his feet and has the tools to develop into a good pass blocker. However, he needs a lot of work on his pass protection technique. There are conflicting scouting reports on his ability as a run blocker and his ability to play with leverage. The negative reports say he needs to get nastier and stronger. The positive reports say he has a strong lower base and gets movement in his run blocks. He has the athletic ability to engage defenders at the second level in the run game.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) James Brewer, Indiana – height, weight, speed, offensive tackle. A bit of a late bloomer, but we think he has a tremendous upside. He’s a really good athlete. Only had one year of high school football, but he’s played a lot of football at Indiana. Long arms, big man. Not as developed as much as you would like for him to be at this point, but this guy’s already 323 pounds. He can add 10 to 15 pounds in a blink, we think. With the long arms, he’s got 35.5 inch arms, he benched 25 times, which is good, and he ran really fast for a gigantic man like he is. So we think there is a lot of upside with him. We’ll get him in the mix.
Q: Left or Right Tackle?
A: He played on the right side for them because they had Saffold and they didn’t want to move him, but we think he can play left tackle. We think he can play either tackle, but he does have left tackle feet for us.
Q: How do you predict that if he didn’t play on the left side?
A: You look at his athletic ability. There are some guys who are not even really great athletes who can still play on the left side. Guys know how to set and know who their opponents are and you can get away without being a great athlete on the left side. You like for the guy to be a dynamic athlete on the left, but that’s not always the case. You see some very good players over there playing left tackle that are not dynamic athletes. But this guy is a very good athlete.
Q: Why was he so late to football?
A: Well he was a basketball player. He was a basketball player in high school. He just kept growing, he’s a big man. I think he initially thought he was going to be a basketball player. There’s not a lot of 330 pound basketball players around.
Q: Do you see this as a guy who needs time?
A: Yeah. Technique things, this guy is going to get so much better with the pro techniques and with this being his fulltime job. We see him coming in and developing. Not a lot of pressure to come in and play right away, but we always expect our guys to come in and be ready to play in case there are some injuries. He’s a smart kid, we think he can come in and do that. We would like for him to get a little stronger and learn better technique. We think his improvement is the upside for this guy.
Q: What about his physicality?
A: The thing about these guys who we call late bloomers, if they’re not competitive, you tend to shy away from them a little bit. But this guy is very competitive. He really wants to do it. We did all the interview stuff with him and asked him ‘do you want to play football?’ He convinced us that he did. Again, he’s played a lot of football for [Indiana].
Q: Did you expect to take an offensive lineman with your first pick today?
A: No. We don’t assume anything. We talked about some other guys. There were several guys in the conversation with strong consideration, but we went with the big guy today with our first pick.
Q: Have you felt any urgency to pick an offensive lineman?
A: Our urgency is to take good players. That’s what our urgency is. We try to take good players. If it happens to be an offensive lineman, that’s great, but our motive with this draft is to take good players. Obviously, there’s free agency after the draft this time. In essence, that’s a little odd, but free agency does come after the draft this time. We’ll see where our holes are after the draft.
Q: Are you concerned that his weight went up and down in college?
A: No. All of these kids are young kids. In college, most kids’ weight goes up and down, but that’s not an issue for us. He’s 323 pounds right now and again, he could be 335 in a blink.
Q: Is this kid solely a tackle or can he go inside?
A: No, I think he’s a tackle. I think he’s going to play left tackle or right tackle. I don’t think he’s an inside guy.
Q: Off the top of your head, any match-ups you saw on tape with this guy thate impressed you?
A: Looking at him against Iowa. Those are some of the tapes that I watched. They have some pretty good players in their front. Against Iowa. If you want to look at him, look at him against Iowa.
Q: Can you talk with these kids all weekend?
A: I don’t even know the rules at this point. We can talk to them today. There’s not a lot after that.
Q: Will you consider trading up and into the fifth round?
A: If we see there’s a guy that we like and we think we can make a deal to get up into the fifth round, we’ll definitely investigate that. That’s not out of the question, that we’ll try to get into the fifth round.
(After the Draft): Brewer – talked about him a little bit earlier today. Height, weight, speed, really kind of a common thread though of all of these guys. We try to upgrade our speed at every position. Most of these guys are height, weight, speed people. Jernigan is not a height, weight, speed, but he’s what we call a G-type. He’s small and fast. Brewer – height, weight, speed player. Has some developmental things that he can get better. A lot of technique stuff that he’ll get better at as a pro. But this is a gigantic man with long arms. You get excited about these kinds of guys.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video) James Brewer is a huge man. He is the same size as Kareem McKenzie. He was a former basketball player in high school. That is why he had the late development. He is real agile for a guy his size. He has to get stronger; get better with his fundamentals of football. But he has loads of talent. And I think, for us, the situation where we have some veteran guys, he will come in and learn and develop and won’t get thrown into the fire. It is a perfect situation for him.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video) With the Brewer pick you have a young offensive tackle. He was a five-year collegian but he only played one year of high school football. In high school he was a basketball player. He was an outstanding athlete. There are some aspects of, obviously, development in front of him. But he is talented and he is a massive size guy that can probably get even bigger.
6th Round – LB Greg Jones, Michigan State, 6-0, 242lbs, 4.75
SCOUTING REPORT:Jones was a super-productive tackler at Michigan State where he saw time both at strongside and middle linebacker. Jones also has experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Jones lacks ideal size and speed. However, he is a very instinctive player and a good athlete. Jones plays with excellent anticipation and makes a lot of tackles against the run. Jones does a good job avoiding blocks, but he can get mauled by big blockers and is not a big hitter. He is not as strong in coverage, but he is not a stiff in coverage either. Good blitzer. Excellent intangibles – competitive, tough, and a vocal leader. Good special teams player.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) Greg Jones – linebacker, has been incredibly productive over his time at Michigan State. One of the things that the late Tom Boisture taught me is when you scout guys, you respect production. This guy has tons of production. This guy has sacks. He has tons and tons of tackles. He’s played at a high level, very instinctive player. Another guy who’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder because I’m pretty sure he feels like he should’ve been picked a lot higher than where he got picked. He’ll come in here with something to prove as well, along with Marvin Austin.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video) Greg Jones – production. To get a guy who is this productive, this late, three-time all-Big 10, tons of tackles, sacks, tackles for loss, instinctive, plays hard, gets to the football. He is short but he is compact and thickly built, just is a football player.
Q: Do you see Greg Jones as an inside guy?
A: Yeah, we think he can play MIKE. He kind of played all three positions at Michigan State. But we see him as a MIKE, and the way he is built – compact, thick. And he plays best in there because he is so slippery; real quick laterally. And he has the instincts and vision to play inside.
Q: What did you think of the slip in his production from his junior year to his senior year?
A: It wasn’t like he was bad, just a little bit off. Nothing really directly involved with his play or effort or anything like that. Like you said, you have to watch the tape and see the circumstances. But nothing that jumped out that would say, “Man, this guy is not doing the same thing that he was doing before.” Pretty much he was the same player.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:(Video) Greg Jones, the highly productive linebacker from Michigan State, was our first pick in the sixth round. He is a three-time all Big 10 middle backer who has tremendous production and lots of tackles, any number of sacks over the course of his career as well. And so he was our first pick.
6th Round – S Tyler Sash, Iowa, 6-0, 211lbs, 4.63
SCOUTING REPORT:Junior entry. Strong safety-type. Sash has good size, but lacks ideal speed and agility. Instinctive, aggressive, and competitive. He is a good player against the run. Sash flies around the field and is a big hitter. He does need to improve his consistency as a tackler. He is not as strong in coverage – he is a decent athlete but somewhat stiff. Sash is better suited to zone coverage than man. He has decent range but he does not make a lot of plays in coverage. Sash should perform well on special teams.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) Tyler Sash – height, weight, speed safety, more of a strong safety. Played a high level of comp. Lots of interceptions, I think he had 13 interceptions in his career there. Smart player, he came in, he can line up the entire defense. He can put everybody on there and tell you what they should do. You love those kinds of guys. We think he will definitely come in and challenge for a spot back in our secondary, back at one of our safety positions.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video) Tyler Sash, the same thing. This guy has good size, he runs good enough. He is not your top flight athlete, but the guy has a feel for the game, instinctive, excellent ball skills. He has 13 career interceptions in three years, which is phenomenal. He has more than top corners combined. The guy is good in the box. We hope he will play special teams for us. He has that kind of toughness about him; reckless with his body. So we really like that about him. To get a guy like that, 13 picks, this late, size…We are happy about that.
Q: Sash seems like an in-the-box guy, but he has all of these interceptions.
A: Yeah, it is interesting. He just has a knack for getting around the football. At Iowa they play him everywhere. They play him back, they play him close, and they play him in the slot. And he can handle all of that. He calls the coverages. He will line up your whole defense for you. So those are the things that we really like about him, although his skill set for us may translate more to a box guy. There, they played him everywhere and he got to the football and he has excellent ball skills.
Q: Do you see him being used the same way you used Deon Grant last year?
A: We could, yeah, we could. He has that sort of same football mindset. That is how (Deon) survived was with the mind. And hopefully Tyler can do those to him.
Q: How does Sash compare to Chad Jones?
A: They are completely different kinds of players; completely different skill set. Chad was a different physical specimen almost. This kid is more – maximizes the talent he has. So they are totally different.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video) Tyler Sash, the second pick, the safety from Iowa who has an outstanding reputation for being a physical player – come on the box kind of guy, and once again, an individual that can help us on teams.
Q: Tyler Sash – Marc Ross said he is a smart guy, has nose for the ball, etc – is that a coach’s dream?
A: He did all of those things. He had 13 career interceptions, was an outstanding physical player down in the box. He played at a very, very high level in a physical program; a program that does put a lot emphasis on the strength aspect of the game.
6th Round – LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida, 6-3, 231lbs, 4.56
SCOUTING REPORT:Williams is an undersized but super athletic linebacker. Fast. Due to his size, he can get mauled at the point-of-attack. Raw – he only started one season in college. Hard worker who is committed to the game. Team captain. He should do well on special teams.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) Jacquian Williams – the linebacker from South Florida, fast, athletic. The guy will strike you, will give us some more speed on our special teams. Junior college kid, so he’ll be behind a little bit with regard to high level of play. Came there late, to South Florida, but he got into the mix really quickly there and just took off. A lot of people probably didn’t know him. Our scouts really did a good job digging this guy out. We think he can really give us a boost on special teams with his speed while he’s learning how to play up here at this level.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:(Video) And then Jacquian Williams is kind of an undercover guy who not many people have heard about him. He went to the same junior college as Jason Pierre-Paul and went to South Florida. This guy is almost 6-3, 235 pounds. He played about 220 or so because he has put on weight, growing into his body. He is fast. He ran 4.63 on grass at his pro day. He plays that way on the field. He plays with an edge, more of a run and chase kind of guy who plays hard, flies around and he likes to hit.
Q: Why do you think people don’t know much about Williams?
A: It was his first year there where he really played. Like I said, he only played around 220. So if you went in there, you saw a 220 linebacker, you might say, “Okay, we won’t look at him.” But he jumps off the tape at you because of his speed and competitiveness. And he flies around. And since South Florida had about eight guys on defense that you have to look at, he was just under the radar because of him being a developer, and just not a high profile name.
Q: Sounds like the sixth round is an instant help on special teams.
A: Yes, you are definitely looking for – when you get this late in the draft there is a reason why these guys are around. You are not looking for instant starters. You are looking for, “What can these guys do to help us?” And the first thing is special teams. Right away these three guys jump out. Of course, we want to expect more and we hope there is more. But these guys have been productive; have temperament, speed and toughness to play special teams. That is the way they are going to have to make their mark at first.
Q: How is the awareness for Williams with regard to football?
A: As a football player he plays with good instincts. He is good in the classroom. He won’t be one of the best, but on the field the guy plays with a good feel for the game.
Q: Still learning?
Q: Will Williams be much different than the guys you picked before him?
A: These guys played in the Big 10, started from Day 1 in the Big 10. They have been highly productive there. So a completely different set of circumstances – Sash and Greg Jones are more similar in their acumen and backgrounds as opposed to this kid.
Q: Is Williams more of a strong side/weak side?
A: He should be more in a weak side run and chase, nickel linebacker cover. That is the stuff that he does really well. Cover, get out in space, run – that is his deal.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video) Jacquian Williams, the linebacker from South Florida – we had him on the board. He is a little bit bigger than what you are going to see. He was 231 when we weighed him and he does have the outstanding speed. And he will be an outstanding contributor, once again, on special teams.
7th Round – HB Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, 5-11, 211lbs, 4.36
SCOUTING REPORT:Scott has good size and is a very good athlete. He has outstanding speed for the position and can take it the distance. There are conflicting scouting reports on his elusiveness, power, and ability to gain yardage after contact. Scott’s overall instincts for the game have been questioned. He has had some fumbling issues. Scott has good hands in the receiving game, but he needs a lot of work in pass protection if he is to see the field as a receiver at the pro level. Scott has been somewhat injury-prone.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) Da’Rel Scott – we took a flyer on the guy because he is big and fast. He is fast, he had a terrific sophomore season. His production fell off, but late in the draft this is what you look for. You look for guys with some redeeming qualities. This guy is big and fast. We hope this guy will come over here and do a Willie Parker, one of those kinds of things. We’re really pleased with our draft class. We look forward to having these guys in here and get going with it.
Q: You said you took a flyer on Scott, what needs to improve?
A: Again, his production fell off. As a sophomore, he rushed for over 1,100 yards, I believe. Then his production fell off for the last couple of seasons. The height, weight, speed, that’s what you take in the seventh round. Most of these guys, something is wrong with most of them. Really, in the first round, something is wrong with most of them. But these late rounds, what are the redeeming qualities? This guy was big and he was fast and he has proven he can be productive at a high level of competition. We hope he can get back to form and be that guy.
Q: Why do you think his production fell off?
A: I’m not sure. I’m not sure why his production fell off. We’ll see. David Meggett’s son plays there. He was in the rotation with him, he’s a good, little running back. Could be a combination of a lot of things. Regardless of why it did, it did. His production fell off, but we’re hoping we can catch lightening in a bottle with this guy.
Q: Similar to when you took Ahmad Bradshaw late?
A: Again, yeah. We took Bradshaw late like that. Probably why he fell, he had some off-field issues that probably put him down there because we thought he was probably more like a middle round pick. His off-field issues pushed him and took what we call a flyer, took the flyer on him as well. That worked out pretty good for us.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video) And Da’Rel Scott, who we just took in the seventh round, the running back from Maryland, who has outstanding speed. This guy is 5-11, his is 211 pounds. He has been clocked under 4.4. He had an extremely productive sophomore year at Maryland – not as much production in the final two years. There are a couple of reasons for that we believe. But at that point in the draft this was a outstanding pick in terms of the contribution of a running back and a very fast running back at that. So as you look at the draft, we drafted according to the most quality at each pick. We did not back off from that at any time.
Q: You mentioned reasons for the drop in production for the running back.
A: Yeah, I won’t go into it, but there was outstanding production early on. We had a very good workout with him. And he was very responsive. He worked his tail off; stayed extra, caught the ball well, shows you the kind of speed that he has. If you are even, he is gone. Let’s face it. What I looked at, I believe there was a 71-yarder, a 91-yarder and 61-yarder. And that is limited, shared play time.
Q: Da’Rel Scott – people say he fumbles a lot, did you notice it?
A: I didn’t overly notice it, but sometimes you see him carry the ball away from the side.
Q: Do you know anything about his wrist injury?
A: His medical was not an issue.
Q: Do you know what has been the issue, why was Scott not as productive in his junior and senior year?
A: Yeah, but I’m not going to tell you.
FB Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh, 6-0, 257lbs, 5.06: Junior entry. Hynoski has excellent size, but he’s an average athlete. He’s a physical run blocker and sound pass protector. Hynoski is a good receiver with soft hands. He’s a bit stiff and straight-linish. He is not much of a runner. Tough, smart, competitive, and instinctive.
OT/OG Jarriel King, South Carolina, 6-5, 317lbs, 5.04: King has good size with excellent arm length. He is very athletic with good feet. However, he’s not very tough, physical, or focused. Very inconsistent. King has the tools, but he needs a lot of technique work and increased commitment to the game.
OG Brant Clouser, Villanova, 6-2, 305lbs, 5.54: Clouser was a four-year starter at Villanova and voted first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association.
DE Justin Trattou, Florida, 6-3, 254lbs, 4.71: Trattou is a bit of a DE/LB ‘tweener. He lacks ideal size, but he is a decent athlete with good quickness. Trattou flashes as a run defender and pass rusher, but he is not strong at the point-of-attack as a defensive end due to his lack of size. He also lacks explosiveness as a smaller edge rusher. Tough and instinctive. Competitive and intense – he plays hard. Great character. He played well in the East-West Shrine Game.
DE Craig Marshall, South Florida, 6-4, 264lbs, 4.80: Marshall combines nice size and athleticism. However, he’s not real stout at the point-of-attack. Marshall flashes as a pass rusher.
DT Martin Parker, Richmond, 6-2, 303lbs, 5.03: Four-year starter in college who was voted defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. Martin lacks ideal height, but he is well-built with long arms. He is a good athlete with fine quickness and agility. He does need to play with better leverage and he can struggle with bigger linemen at the point-of-attack. Better pass rusher than run defender at this point. Martin was very productive in college at a smaller level of competition. Hard worker who competes and hustles.
DT Ibrahim Abdulai, Arkansas – Pine Bluff, 6-2, 301lbs, 5.15: Abdulai lacks ideal size but he is a strong lineman who plays with leverage. He is a decent athlete with good quickness and agility. Abdulai is a good run defender. Plays hard.
LB Mark Herzlich, Boston College, 6-4, 244lbs, 4.92: Herzlich was regarded as one of the very best linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season with bone cancer. He returned to the playing field in 2010, but he clearly was still recovering from his illness and a foot injury. Herzlich did not appear to be the same player in 2010 as he did in 2008. Herzlich has very good size and is a decent athlete. Great intangibles – instinctive, tough, competitive, and productive. Herzlich is a strong, physical run defender who sheds blocks well and makes plays. He has decent, but not great, range. He is a bit straight-linish and on the stiff side. He hits and tackles well. Herzlich demonstrates good awareness in coverage, but he is better suited to zone than man coverage. He makes plays on the football both against the run and the pass. Can he regain his 2008 form?
LB Spencer Paysinger, Oregon, 6-2, 228lbs, 4.70: Three-year starter at Oregon. Paysinger is an athletic, run-and-hit-type of linebacker who can struggle with blockers at the point-of-attack. Not very big. He is fluid and quick. Paysinger will hit, but he needs to become a more consistent tackler. Paysinger flashes in coverage. Good competitor.
CB/S Darnell Burks, Fort Valley State, 5-10, 185lbs, 4.59: Burks lacks ideal size and speed, but he is an instinctive, competitive, productive football player. Inexperienced at corner, Burks was actually used as a hybrid outside linebacker/nickel back in college at Fort Valley State. Despite his size, he is a good run defender.
S David Sims, Iowa State, 5-9, 200lbs, 4.53: Sims lacks height, but he is a good athlete, well built, and very strong. He is a good hitter and tackler. Sims is good run defender. Instinctive player in coverage – he lacks the tools excel in man. Competitive and plays with an attitude. Good leader.
S Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech, 6-0, 204, 4.60: Tarrant left Georgia Tech after his junior year; he was a two-year starter in college. He has experience at both corner and safety, but projects best to safety in the pros. Tarrant lacks ideal size, but he has the frame to add more bulk. He is an athletic player with decent speed and good quickness and range. Instinctive in coverage, Tarrant has good ball skills and soft hands for the interception. However, he does not have a lot of experience at safety and is still growing into the position. Tarrant is not a physical player. He is better in coverage than against the run. He is not much of a hitter and he must improve his tackling. Tarrant is a good punt returner.
Rating or judging a draft right after its completion instead of 3-4 years down the road is bit of a silly exercise. But we fans like to read reviews and analyze how our team did based on our own impressions or impressions on those “experts” who write the draft guides. So with that caveat, let’s take a very early look at what the Giants did and didn’t do in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Heading into the draft, as stated in my Draft Needs article, I saw the Giants top needs as offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs (both corner and safety), linebacker, and tight end. Unlike many who focused on the offensive line and linebacker positions, I saw the need to upgrade talent, depth, and competition on the defensive line and secondary. And these needs were not so much based on the 2011 NFL season but 2012 and beyond. You might reply, “Holy hell Eric, you’re saying the Giants had needs almost everywhere on the roster!” Welcome to the NFL. Every team has needs all over their roster whether fans recognize it or not. And as I’ve said over and over again for years, the draft is not so much about the upcoming season as it is for seasons beyond.
Heading into the first round, what I heard (whether it was smoke or not) was that the Giants were very high on OT Nate Solder and HB Mark Ingram. OC Mike Pouncey and WR Jonathan Baldwin were also supposed considerations. Both Pouncey and Solder were picked before the Giants selected at #19. Who was not supposed to be there was CB Prince Amukamara and when he dropped to #19, the Giants jumped all over him.
It is highly doubtful that Amukamara is the “shutdown” corner that some claim him to be. The reason being there are only a handful of “shutdown” corners in the entire history of pro football. But Amukamara was one of the very best players available in this draft and may develop into the best defensive back on the Giants. For those who say the Giants went for just “value” and not “need,” keep in mind that Aaron Ross is unlikely to re-sign with the Giants next offseason and that Terrell Thomas will also be an unrestricted free agent. NFL teams MUST have three quality corners. The third corner in today’s NFL is a de facto starter. Ideally, teams want to have four really good corners in case someone gets hurt. The Giants are now four deep at cornerback with four high draft picks. Getting Amukamara at #19 was a huge gift.
Those who have long read this site know I love drafting defensive tackles. I consider them the heart of the 4-3 defense and one of the most difficult positions to find quality players. In addition, Barry Cofield has been really unhappy with his contract situation for two offseasons. Right or wrong, it appears the Giants are unwilling to pay him top dollar (I personally think he is a nice player but nothing special). Based on pre-draft chatter and what the Giants did in the second round, it is pretty obvious that the Giants wanted to come out of this draft with a defensive tackle. DT Stephen Paea was a prospect often tied with the Giants. However, it appears that the Giants did not expect DT Marvin Austin to last as long as he did either. In fact, contrary to their usual norm, Giants’ team officials were basically beating their chests after the draft saying that they considered Austin a top-15 talent. Austin has a bigger upside than Paea (who was picked right after Austin) because of his athletic ability. It’s also interesting to note that Jerry Reese compared his on-field temperament to Keith Hamilton. If Austin plays with the same type of enforcer mentality and skill that the Hammer brought to the Giants’ defense, then this was a very good pick. Austin does project better to the 3-technique or penetrator DT position. Despite not playing his senior season (video), he gave interior offensive linemen fits at the East-West Shrine Game practices. If he develops as expected, the Giants should have a very good defensive tackle rotation of Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, and Austin. I’ve seen some ridiculous comments along the lines of picking Austin means the Giants don’t like Joseph. Bullcrap. 4-3 teams need three good defensive tackles. All three will play as long as Joseph and Austin beat out Rocky Bernard.
If the Giants were going to draft a wide receiver, it was likely going to be one that could make an impact in the return game like Jerrel Jernigan. I’ve seen comments that the Giants drafted another Sinorice Moss because Jernigan is 5-9. Saying that a player will be the same as another solely due to similar height may be one of the dumbest things I’ve read on BBI, which is saying a lot. Based on post-draft comments from Giants’ officials, it’s clear the Giants don’t see Jernigan as only a returner. They expect him to make an impact in the receiving game at some point in his career. Some draft guides consider Jernigan the best slot receiver in the entire draft. One anonymous pro scout said before the draft that if Jernigan was on the Patriots, he’d catch 100 passes a season. Jernigan supposedly has great hands, is very quick in and out of his cuts, and the Giants are contending that he is much faster than given credit for (video). Everyone seems to think he has a great locker room personality. The big question with this selection is not one of talent, but one of playing time. Wide receiver was not a huge need. If Steve Smith returns, the Giants are loaded at wide receiver with Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, Victor Cruz, and Devin Thomas. That said, the pick of Jernigan does protect the Giants if health is an issue (Smith, Hixon, Barden) or against future free agent defections (Smith, Manningham, Hixon). Jernigan is a different type of receiver – he’s one of those super-quick waterbugs who can cause match-up problems. Can they find a way to get him on the field? From a value perspective, Jernigan was drafted right around where he was expected to go (late 2nd-early 3rd rounds).
So as the Giants enter the fourth round, Giants’ fans are thinking, “When the hell are we going to do something about the offensive line?” In the 4th round, the Giants selected RT/LT James Brewer, a very big and athletic tackle who will take a couple of years to develop. After the draft, I saw comments on BBI that said the selection of Brewer must mean the Giants are down on Will Beatty. No. Kareem McKenzie is entering the last year of his contract. Shawn Andrews is a huge question mark. The Giants may want to move David Diehl inside. Regardless, teams need at least three quality tackles. Why take a project? Because once you get past the second round of the NFL Draft, all potential left tackle prospects either have athletic limitations or are developmental projects. If they didn’t fall into these categories, they would have gone higher. To me, Brewer is probably the most boom-or-bust pick in the draft for the Giants. He has talent. In fact, some ranked him as high as a second round-type prospect. Others did not like him as much. It’s a crapshoot when you’re talking developmental projects at tackle. The good news is that Brewer has the size (it sounds like the Giants expect him to play in the 335 pound range), long arms, and feet for the position.
The Giants had no 5th round pick because of the trade for Sage Rosenfels and Darius Reynaud. While Reynaud is going to have a very hard time making this team, if anything happens to Eli in 2011, we’ll be glad the Giants have Rosenfels.
In the 6th round, the Giants got a lot of value with two of their three picks and a very intriguing sleeper with their other sixth-round pick. LB Greg Jones and S Tyler Sash are not ideal athletes, but both were super-productive players and team leaders for major Big 10 schools. Indeed, many had projected Jones and Sash to go in the 3rd-4th round range. Athletically, neither are stiffs – they do have ability. And what I really like is that both were looked upon by their teammates as the studs of their respective defenses. The Giants also took LB Jacquian Williams in the sixth round. He’s an unknown, super-athletic linebacker who can run and cover. He’s now up to 231-235 pounds and can run like a deer. Is he a good football player (video)? We’ll see, but he seems to have been a very respected member of South Florida’s defense. Jones, Sash, and Williams should all contribute immediately on special teams.
I don’t think the Giants’ linebacker position is as bad off as some think. The key is for the young guys to accept the challenge and step up to the plate and deliver. Jon Goff had a decent first season as a starter. Michael Boley needs to make more plays, but he can run and cover (his coverage skills dramatically cut down the number of plays opposing tight ends made on the Giants). Phillip Dillard and Adrian Tracy have talent and will now be in their second year. The big question mark is Clint Sintim. But throw in Jones and Williams and the Giants have a lot of young linebackers with potential.
At safety, the Giants would be in super, super shape if Chad Jones had not suffered what is likely a career-ending accident last year. Much depends on if Kenny Phillips can regain more of his pre-injury form. But Sash helps the depth situation certainly at strong safety (video).
One of the guys who intrigues me the most in this draft is the last pick, 7th rounder Da’Rel Scott. Athletically, this guy is the complete package. He’s got good size, he has good moves, he can catch, and most of all, he has legit sub-4.4 speed. In watching the 2008 highlights of him, I was even more excited than after watching Ahmad Bradshaw’s highlights after the 2007 NFL Draft. They key thing for him will be pass protection. Rookie running backs will not play – especially on pass downs – if they cannot pass block. And Scott’s pass blocking is supposedly sub-par.
What the Giants Did: If you believe the draft experts, the Giants got value, value, value up and down the line. The only pick “out of left field” was Jacquian Williams and he appears worthy of the risk of a 6th round selection. The Giants really solidified the cornerback and defensive tackle positions, not just for 2011 but in future seasons. The kind of talent and depth the Giants now have at both positions is the kind that most teams can only dream about. They added a dangerous return man who also should create serious match-up problems at wide receiver if they can find a way to get him on the field. (At the very least they protected themselves if Steve Smith is damaged goods). They added more competition at offensive tackle, which was needed. And they addressed talent/depth issues at linebacker, safety, and running back with players who were supposed to be chosen far before they were picked by the Giants.
What the Giants Didn’t Do: In looking at the roster, my biggest concerns remain at tight end, interior offensive line, and fullback. There is absolutely no depth at all behind Kevin Boss. If he goes down, the Giants are in big trouble. Travis Beckum, even if he develops, is more of an H-Back. The Giants can’t really run a two-TE offense without using an extra offensive lineman (similar to 2010). Inside on the offensive line, injuries and/or age (Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert, Adam Koets) are a big concern. Mitch Petrus may have a bright future at guard or center and Diehl can play guard, but it would have been ideal to add a quality center/guard type. The problem is that guys like Pouncey and Stefen Wisniewski went before the Giants picked in rounds one and two, respectively. At fullback, Madison Hedgecock hasn’t had a productive, healthy season since 2008. Bear Pascoe played the position in 2010 but he doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer.
I feel strongly that those who contend the draft was not a good one because the Giants ignored these positions are not correct. You can only do so much in one draft. There are a finite number of picks and a finite number of players. Every team is not strong at every position, even the top teams. That’s just the way it is. If the Giants had drafted a center instead of a corner and a tight end instead of a defensive tackle, then fans would be complaining the Giants didn’t address the corner and defensive tackle positions.
Hopefully, the Giants can still add a veteran or two in free agency (if and when it is held), add one or two quality rookie free agents, and hope some young, unheralded player on the roster surprises like Jim Cordle or Jake Ballard.