Sep 222013
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Kevin Boothe (77) and Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 22, 2013)

Eli Manning Sacked Seven Times – © USA TODAY Sports Images

No Pride and No Fight – Carolina Panthers Annihilate New York Giants 38-0: The Carolina Panthers embarrassed the New York Giants 38-0 on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. With the loss, the Giants fell to 0-3, their worst start since 1996. The 38-point margin of defeat was the most one-sided loss by the Giants in the Tom Coughlin era. The Giants are now 3-8 in their last 11 regular-season games and 1-5 in their last six regular-season games, including three uncompetitive blowout losses.

“We never gave ourselves a chance, competitively, to be in the game,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin after the game. “I expect everybody in that room to fight with the same passion I have. And I’ll be looking hard for those who are not.”

For all intents and purposes, the game was over at halftime as the Giants were trounced by an injury-riddled, undermanned, and win-less Carolina team. More disheartening than the score was the lack of fight showed by what should have been a desperate and angry New York team.

The Panthers led 17-0 at halftime as Carolina out-gained New York 13 to 2 in first downs, 163 to 18 in total net yards, 66 to 17 in net yards rushing, and 97 to 1 net yards passing. QB Eli Manning was sacked six times before intermission, with LT Will Beatty giving up three sacks.

“That is not by any means, New York Giants football. I’m embarrassed,” said OC David Baas. “We take a lot of pride in keeping Eli clean. That was definitely not the case today.”

“The NFL season doesn’t wait for anybody,” said OG Kevin Boothe. “Whatever it is we have to fix it. For some reason we’re not playing at a very high level at all.”

After that first-half drubbing, the Giants decided to lay down like dogs and take simply accept another beat down with QB Cam Newton firing three second-half touchdown passes. By the end of the game, the Giants were out-gained 402 to 150 total net yards. The Giants were held to 60 rushing yards (14 by Manning) while the Panthers rushed for 194 yards.

Ex-New York Giants’ linebacker Chase Blackburn said he helped his new team decipher the Giants’ offense.

“I had an idea of what they run and what they like to do in situations,” Blackburn said. “We had a great game plan going in. I’ve been sharing all the information all week. Guys, all of us, linebackers were out there knowing what to do; (defensive backs) knew what kind of routes they were going to get off the route combinations. It makes for a big difference when you can play the game at that speed. We were able to play fast because we were aware of what they were going to do.”

The Panthers’ secondary was riddled with injuries, but Carolina was able to exert tremendous pressure on Manning with just their down four defensive linemen.

“Obviously they didn’t put their secondary out there on an island much and were able to get great pressure with just bringing four guys,” Manning said. “When you can drop seven guys and rush four and get pressure, it’s going to make it hard for any offense to have a successful passing game.”

“Words aren’t going to fix anything,” said Manning. “It’s about us having great practices and going out there and playing better on game day.”

“There’s something missing right now,” said DE Justin Tuck. “Guys need to look at themselves in the mirror, because if it isn’t ugly now, it can get uglier from here.”

Video lowlights are available at

Injury Report: FB Henry Hynoski fractured his left shoulder in the game. “I never had a significant shoulder injury, I don’t even know myself the extent of this,” said Hynoski after the game. “We’re going to find out tomorrow, we’re getting more tests done and we’ll go from there. Like I approached my last injury, I’m just going to try and get back at the earliest convenience to be there for my team.”

S Cooper Taylor also injured his shoulder in the game. He needed help getting dressed after the game; there is no word yet on the severity of the injury.

Post-Game Press Conferences: Video highlights from the post-game press conferences with Head Coach Tom Coughlin, QB Eli Manning, and DE Justin Tuck are available at

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were QB Ryan Nassib (foot), RB Michael Cox, TE Adrien Robinson (foot), OT David Diehl (thumb), OG Brandon Mosley (back), DT Johnathan Hankins, and CB Corey Webster (hip).

Sep 202013
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Justin Tuck, New York Giants (September 20, 2012)

Justin Tuck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Carolina Panthers, September 22, 2013: First off all, hopefully stating the obvious, the sky is not falling. Yet. The New York Giants are 0-2, but the Dallas Cowboys are 1-1, Washington Redskins 0-2, and Philadelphia Eagles 1-2. There are 14 regular-season games left to play. The Giants will have to make up that loss to the Cowboys in the Meadowlands, but despite being winless, they are very much in the chase for the division title.

The immediate goal is to get that first win this weekend against the Carolina Panthers. Get to 1-2. Then get that second win against the Kansas City Chiefs and get to 2-2. Do that and the Giants will have weathered the early storm.

The problem for the G-Men is that their margin for error right now is very slim. The Giants should beat the Panthers, but on any given Sunday in the NFL, a lesser opponent can beat anyone. And an 0-2 New York Giants team had better not be too blase and it had better take care of business or it will be time to panic.

The negative-nellie will point to the fact that the Giants are 3-7 in their last 10 regular-season games. Eli Manning has regressed. The running attack is dead last in the NFL. The Giants have committed 10 turnovers in two games. The offensive line is not playing well. The defense, while improved, is still not dictating to opponents and the Giants only have two sacks.

The fan wearing rose-colored glasses will point to the belief that the Giants still have the best coaching staff, quarterback, and wide receivers in the division. Believe it or not, the defense may also be the best in the division. Barring injury, the offensive line should improve as it gains cohesion and that in turn should help the running game improve as David Wilson is still lightning in a bottle. The secondary and defensive tackles are playing well and the productivity of the defensive ends should pick up.

This game is not so much about who the Giants are playing but about the Giants themselves. The team needs to stop shooting itself in the foot. Cut out the turnovers and the Giants will be OK. “First you have to stop beating yourself before you expect to go out and beat the opponent,” says Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

New York Giants on Offense: The Panthers have been giving up a lot of yards (over 800) but not a lot of points (36). The Giants are facing a defensive opponent that is far stronger in the front seven than it is in the secondary. The problems for Carolina in the defensive backfield have been exacerbated by injuries.

So the Giants are a far more dangerous passing team and Carolina struggles much more defending the pass. What would your game plan be?

The Panthers know this as well. They’ll probably play a lot two-safety high coverage and dare the Giants to beat them on the ground. That’s what I would do. So the big question is do the Giants take advantage of that and try to get untracked running the ball against a good front seven? Or do they attack through air against a defense expecting it?

I would do the latter. I don’t think the Panthers can cover the Giants’ receivers. But if the Giants go with that strategy, the Giants need to keep Eli upright. RT Justin Pugh will face a tough test against against LDE Charles Johnson. RDE Greg Hardy is no slouch rushing the passer either. LDT Dwan Edwards (bothered by a thigh injury) and first-rounder RDT Star Lotulelei man the inside.

The Giants do need to run the ball some too in order to not put too much pressure on the passing game. They also need Eli to rebound from two disappointing performances.

“There is a balance,” says Coughlin. “One of those balances is run it better so we’re not throwing it 49 times a game. Let’s get this thing back into a reasonable number and then let’s run the ball so the play action passes allow us to have more people open. And then we have to take care of the football and realize, again, that patience is a virtue. Sometimes you’re not going to get the big play, you’re going to be able to get five and seven and eight yards and so on and so forth. And that’s fine, that’s what we want to do. We want to stay within ourselves, take what the defense gives us.”

That seems to suggest Coughlin thinks Eli has been forcing things down the field too much.

The Panthers are solid up front. And they are very strong at linebacker, led by impressive MLB Luke Kuechly. Kuechly is the type of linebacker Giants’ fans currently crave. Jon Beason (bothered by a knee injury) and Thomas Davis round out an athletic group that can hit and tackle. It is tough to run against this group.

“It’s shocking to us when we don’t play well,” says OG Kevin Boothe. “You can’t have zero and negative yard rushing plays and expect your offensive coordinator to continue to call running plays. If we can get positive yards (Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride will have) more incentive to call it, will be more likely to call it. We’re anxious to get out there and give it another shot.”

The Panthers are really beat up and undermanned in the secondary, having to rely on some players who were recently signed off of the street. I’d attack early and often through the air, even if there is an early turnover. Take the wind of the 0-2 Panthers, and then come back later in the contest with the ground game.

New York Giants on Defense: Carolina is not scoring a lot of points, but they can run the football.

“Their offensive team is sixth in rushing,” says Coughlin. “They’re fourth in the league on third down. They’re doing an outstanding job of that. Over the past two seasons, they’ve had the most plays in the league over 20 yards, so they do have that capability as well. They do not beat themselves. They only had seven penalties, two fumbles and an interception in their first two games.”

The three keys on defense are (1) stop RB D’Angelo Williams, (2) keep QB Cam Newton from hurting you on the ground, and (3) don’t allow WR Steve Smith to beat you deep.

The other guy to keep an eye on is TE Greg Olsen, who Newton has been looking for early and often through the first two games.

The #1 goal is really to stop the run. The Panthers probably won’t be able to do much damage between the tackles on the Giants, but they surely noticed the two big outside running plays the Giants gave up last week.

“Our defense was playing so well against the run for so long and (then) giving up two really cheap touchdowns outside,” says Coughlin. “Where were we? Where was the leverage? Where was the contain? Where were the people knifing in?”

The ends have to play far tougher at the point-of-attack, the defensive backs need to come up in run support, and the linebackers need to avoid blocks and flow to the ball carrier. Both in terms of run defense and dealing with Olsen in coverage, this is a big game for the linebackers. If Mark Herzlich struggles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see newcomer Allen Bradford replace him soon.

The good news for the Giants is that the Panthers’ offensive line is a bit shaky with additional injury issues and Newton will hold onto the football. So the pass rush should finally emerge this weekend as long as the Giants get the Panthers into obvious passing situations. Given Newton’s mobility, however, the first responsibility is to contain him. LT Jordan Gross is probably the steadiest of the group.

Stop the run. Contain Newton. Don’t let Smith beat you deep.

(Late Note: CB Corey Webster is “doubtful” for the game with a hip flexor injury).

New York Giants on Special Teams: Ted Ginn is a dangerous punt and kickoff returner. Steve Weatherford needs to bounce back from probably his worst performance as a Giant.

Sep 192013
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Denver Broncos 41 – New York Giants 23

Game Review: Zero point zero. If Dean Wormer walked into the Giants meetings this week, he’d likely hand out his lowest of GPA’s, but it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor and it ain’t over now. The Giants were right there, right there, just as they were in Dallas a week ago…within range, a chance to compete and win a football game and they once again imploded when it mattered the most. After a Brandon Jacobs 1 yard plunge in the 3rd quarter that brought the Giants within a single point of their Super Bowl XXI opponent, the Denver Broncos scored 21 unanswered points and sent the Giants home with a lopsided 41-23 drubbing that put the G-men in an 0-2 hole. The pre-season sluggishness this team exhibited on offense has yet to be shaken off, not a very good sign for a team with so much veteran talent at key spots.

The Giants defense started with a thump and ended flat on its back after watching Eli Manning toss four back breaking interceptions. After a Justin Tuck thumping of RB Knowshon Moreno on the game’s opening play, Peyton Manning and his mates marched easily to the Giants six yard line, until the DL rose up again this time in the form of DT Cullen Jenkins, who knocked the ball free from rookie RB Montee Ball and gave Eli and company a chance to start with some momentum. Right on cue, Eli fed off the turnover and dropped a perfect 51 yard post into the outstretched arms of WR Victor Cruz and the Giants seemed to be shaking off the rust that plagued them a week ago in Big D.

After Jenkins’ strip, the defense found its bearings and had the elder Manning working for every completion, before the wheels came off in the 3rd quarter after more costly Giant turnovers. For most of the afternoon, the Giants were going toe to toe with a Bronco passing attack that had Baltimoreans drowning their sorrows in Natty Bo after a 7 touchdown thrashing on opening night. It wasn’t until a Knowshon Moreno 20 yard run over right end early in the 2nd quarter that the Broncos had their first end zone visit of the day. Red zone frustrations kept the Giants from doing much scoring, but they did manage three Josh Brown field goals in the first half while limiting the Broncos to 10 points and an all too familiar 10-9 halftime score.

After a first half in which each defense dared the other to run, John Fox and the Broncos finally accepted. Nineteen of the Broncos 53 yard scoring drive came on the edges yet again as Giant DEs were victimized on back to back to runs to open the second half. With Giant DBs now inching up to support the run on the outside, Peyton Manning finally found a crack in the armor (I would have said chink if I worked for ESPN but I’m smrt!) (sic). Manning worked the edges of the defense, first running Moreno then passes to WR Eric Decker before Wes Welker was suddenly the forgotten man and was left alone for an easy TD to start the second half.

Eli answered yet again, taking the Giants 81 yards to the end zone in nine plays, capped off by the odd sight of Brandon Jacobs wearing #34 and plunging up the gut for six. Manning took advantage of a very handsy Bronco defense, that was flagged for two pass interference and one defensive holding penalty on the drive. With a slim 17-16 edge, Peyton and company got lucky on a Demarius Thomas fumble that was recovered by Moreno and ended up with a 17 yard gain after Prince Amukamara jarred the ball loose and the Giants had a shot at a turnover. Manning quickly set his team and snapped the ball, giving the Giants no chance to review the play. Seven plays 63 yards later, Moreno found the goal line again, racing around right end for a 25 yard TD and a 24-16 Denver lead that would not be threatened again.

The Giants coughed up the ball on a bad Manning pass that glanced off the foot of WR Rueben Randle, and 5 plays later, Manning hit TE Julius Thomas for an 11 yard TD and a 31-16 lead. With a chance to climb back in it, the Giants offense stalled and was forced to punt to the 5’5” Trindon Holliday, who did his best DeSean Jackson impression and blew right through the Giants coverage team on the way to a 38-16 lead that ended up turning a solidly played three quarters into a 4th quarter disaster and an ominous 0-2 start for the boys in blue.

Quarterbacks: After hitting everybody’s favorite dancer with a 51 yard strike to start the game, Eli Manning had another forgettable afternoon. Manning had a few solid throws in a row as the Giants opened the 2nd quarter but was victimized by Hakeem Nicks and his middle finger on a big 3rd and 6 as the Giants were starting to heat up through the air. Eli contributed to the teams red zone woes by over shooting WR Victor Cruz on a play action pass in the end zone, and #10 then fired over TE Brandon Myers’ finger tips and the Giants were forced to settle for 3 yet again. With just 43 seconds in the first half, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in begging the Giants to sit on the ball at their own 15 yard line and go in down by one. After badly overthrowing Myers in the slot, Eli played Dr. Jekyll to his Mr. Hyde, hitting Hakeem Nicks on another deep in (dig) route for 34 yards. Knowing the Broncos were playing a lot of bump and run and trying to knock the Giants off of their routes, Eli didn’t stop working the ball downfield and it paid off with a 21-yard penalty on the heels of Nicks big gain. Unfortunately Mr. Hyde returned on the very next play and Eli badly overshot Hakeem Nicks and was intercepted by another 3 named Bronco, costing the Giants a chance to take the halftime lead. Never one to get down though, Eli drove the Giants to within a point of the Broncos, orchestrating a solid drive at the outset of the third quarter, taking advantage of a very aggressive and penalty-prone Broncos defensive backfield. Down 24-16 though, the dagger may have been another odd miscue, as Mannings pass for Rueben Randle ricocheted off the WRs shoe into the hands of a Bronco defender. Eli wasn’t awful, but 4 interceptions, despite one being a late first half heave and one flying off of a shoe, is not going to get it done when your team simply cannot run the football or hold on to it. The daring that makes Eli so great when it counts is the same daring that makes him maddening when the game is not on the line. We know what we have here, it’s just a matter of those around him doing more so he can do a little less.

Running Backs: RB David Wilson’s first carry was a solid 5 yard effort on a counter to the left, which was followed up with a 5 yard power by old and new Giant Brandon Jacobs and it looked like the running game may be coming to life. Jacobs displayed solid burst on his initial tote, falling forward for a first down, but followed that up with a ball bouncing off of his hands in the flat for an ugly incompletion that reminded me of oh so many reviews of days past. Idiotic TD dances aside, Jacobs’ return was much of the same before he left, a lot of noise, not much production and the announcers marveling at how tall he looked in practice. Give the big fella a pass this week, his OL did him no favors and he’s been out of the game for about for a year. Before this season ends, I promise you Jacobs does a few things to win a game. It may have been a 2-yard run, but David Wilson’s acrobatic Barry Sanders like hand spin late in the first half was the best 6 feet I’ve seen since the first time I saw a party sized sub. Da’Rel Scott chipped in a garbage time TD, but otherwise not much from the former Terp.

Wide Receivers: WR Victor Cruz opened the Giants afternoon with a 51 yard deep post that was perfectly thrown and ended the day with 8 grabs for 118 yards. Jerrel Jernigan may just never get it. On a 3rd and 13 inside the Giants 10, Manning set up outside and delivered a solid ball to Jernigan, who instead of going for the ball and fighting for what should be his, started to slide towards the ball which gave CB Antonio Rodgers whatever (I’m really sick of all of these stupid names, someone has to take a stand) the space he needed to reach over Jernigan and knock the ball away. Hakeem Nicks dropped a wide open dig route on a 3rd and 6 to kill a promising Giant drive, but a dislocated middle finger on the play gives him an out. Nicks did return and ended up with 83 yards on 4 catches but most of his damage was done underneath in the seam areas. Give the Broncos credit, they kept Nicks in check and in front of them for the most part, but that amount of attention should show anyone watching who teams fear the most, and it is Nicks. WR Rueben Randle appeared to have scored after Myers’ catch and fall, but as is the blue print, if you’re a Giant with the football just give it away somehow. Randle finished with only 3 grabs for 14 yards after posting 101 in the opening loss to Dallas.

Tight Ends: TE Brandon Myers seems to be waking up a bit. After a miserable pre-season, Myers seems to be getting his footing, with 6 grabs for 74 yards and a noticeable improvement in blocking effort. Perhaps footing is a bit generous as Myers took what could have been an easy TD and stumbled forward for a 27 yard gain instead of a TD. TE Larry Donnell finished with 31 yards and 3 grabs, but again, mostly after the game had been decided. Give Donnell credit for an athletic penalty on the Giants onside kick that ultimately failed, #84 looked great doing it, but as with most of the effort in this game, it came up a bit short.

Offensive Line: Twenty-Three Yards. Say that to yourself a few times, let it sink in. Twenty-three yards on the ground with a team that forces its opponent to match up with 3 and 4 WR sets and defend the deep ball to keep WRs Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks from eviscerating their defenses. Look no further than the Giants first play on their second possession in which C David Baas seems to forget that it’s a football game and watches as DT Kevin Vickerson blows past him to drop David Wilson for a 3-yard loss. And in case you’re wondering yes, THAT Kevin Vickerson…you know the guy on his 3rd team in 9 years with a total of 62 games played out of a possible 144. (That would be a .430 batting average, not too shabby). You mean the Kevin Vickerson who once made 14 tackles in a single season for the Tennessee Titans, the same one who returned an interception 4 yards once in 2010? Yeah, try blocking that guy! RT Justin Pugh didn’t fare much better against the unstoppable Robert Ayers, who tossed Pugh aside and dropped Brandon Jacobs for another 3 yard loss on the first play of the Giants 3rd possession. In Pugh’s defense, it’s not fair to ask a rookie 1st rounder to take on another .420+ hitter. In Ayers first four seasons he has ripped off 24 starts in a 64 game stretch….pretty…pretty….pretty good. Against players in their 30s who routinely start 40% of their teams’ games, you can only sit back and hope your OL is alive by night’s end. Perhaps more impressive than Ayers ability to start, was his White Goodman like celebration after dropping Brandon Jacobs like it was the Dodgeball Regional Semifinals. For good measure, Baas let Terrence Knighton throw him aside to make a stuff on David Wilson on the Giants’ first drive of the second half.

Overall, solid pass protection, abysmal run blocking against a cast of veritable super stars that the Broncos line up at DT.

Defensive Line: DL Justin Tuck started week two off by knifing in on the game’s first play from the DT spot and dropping K (no more stupid names just letters from now on) Moreno for a 3 yard loss. Tuck’s pass rush was mostly neutralized by the repeated bear hugs from Denver RT Orlando Franklin, but the vet still finished with 8 stops. I won’t blame Gene Steratore, mostly because I think he may have me whacked, but Franklin was using the Hillbilly Jim bear hug as his go to pass blocking move. On the Broncos first scoring drive, DE Mathias Kiwanuka had a bead on Manning, only to be suplexed out of the way by Franklin as Steratore’s crew stood by presumably oblivious to the Giants frustration and possibly ignoring a foreign object. It must be noted though, that the DL seems content to whine about being held instead of trying to create separation with some hand punch and keeping the OL from getting so far inside. Tuck was absolutely the culprit though on K Moreno’s first TD as he allowed, once again, the OL to get inside his pads and keep him from extending his arms down the line of scrimmage to push the play wide enough for help to arrive. This is fundamentally bad football on that play, Tuck simply has to be more aware of where he is and what his job is as the play side DE and he looked quite frankly bored on the play as Moreno scampered by. Franklin was later seen spooning Tuck on a pass rush as Manning misfired on a 3rd down late in the 2nd half.

Rough game for DE Mathias Kiwanuka who was brushed aside all too easily on Moreno’s 2nd TD of the day and was victimized repeatedly on edge runs right at him. Reportedly Jason Pierre-Paul played, but I saw no signs of it. Give credit again to Giant big men, DT Shaun Rogers, Linval Joseph and Mike Patterson. The big three made it tough sledding inside for the Broncos, forcing the Broncos to go wide if they had any designs on ground yardage. Rogers had a 3 play stint in the 3rd quarter with two QB hurries, two hits and one bear paw swatting of Moreno who fell forward after being pawed by the Sumo sized Rogers. Sumo..that gives me an idea…maybe I’ll bring that up next week but it involves hockey and guaranteed shutouts.

Linebackers: LBs Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams started as the only two backers against the Broncos pass happy attack and in those roles both played well. Paysinger and Williams combined for 14 stops and had decent coverage, keeping TE Julius Thomas in check for the most part with 47 yards and limiting Wes Welker’s damage over the middle to 39 yards on only 3 catches. Williams and Paysinger however both got completely swallowed on both of Moreno’s TD runs and once again, it looked like a glaring lack of effort on their part. Both play well in spurts but those edge runs, all afternoon, just had the Giants defenders looking like they were beaten before the play started, color me confused. Mark Herzlich managed to look like Bambi on a frozen pond as Holliday zoom zoom zoomed (damn you Mazda jingles) right past the former Eagle to pay dirt.

Defensive Backs: The Giant DBs have to get a lot of credit here, they came to play with another big challenge. Miscommunication is simply killing this secondary. On the game’s opening drive, Prince Amukamara seemed to be sinking in a Cover 2, ready to leave the deep half for S Ryan Mundy, who hesitated and jumped inside to follow TE Julius Thomas. The problem was, that WR Andre Caldwell AND Thomas were both open, allowing Caldwell to haul in a 36 yard gain down to the Giants 6 yard line on the game’s opening drive. Essentially Mundy covered no one, Amukamara covered no one and the Broncos were in business as the Giants failed to execute a simple coverage switch. Fortunately for the Giants, Prince was able to knock away a deep pass to WR Eric Decker in one on one coverage on an identical play, the difference is, the Giants blitzed and #20 expected no help, and didn’t need any.

Overall, despite the final score, a workman-like effort by Antrel Rolle, Ryan Mundy and Terrell Thomas, who totaled 19 stops and kept the Broncos trio in front of them for the most of the day.

Special Teams: Trindon Holliday is fast, Josh Brown kicks real good. Give LS Zak DeOssie credit, he must have been praying to…well nothing he’s an atheist, that he’d nab a shoelace on Holliday as the former LSU sprinter was racing to a back breaking TD. Outstanding effort by the Giant long snapper, despite the horrific result.

Cram it in your cramhole award: I mentioned to our fearless Editor Eric Kennedy how often I now have to look up names of the players while I am writing these diatribes. This week’s award was close, I almost gave it to Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie because for farts’ sake, enough with the hyphens and no more Cromarties! The winner though is the heretofore known as Snowshoe Moreno. I have renamed him Snowshoe because every time I typed his name, Microsoft Word squiggly red underlined it and suggested the following words instead: Know Shon, Knows On, Knowhow, Know-how or Snowshoe. I think you’ll agree with my choice.

(Boxscore – Denver Broncos at New York Giants, September 15, 2013)
Sep 172013
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Work Out Kerry Rhodes, Jonathan Goff, and Leroy Hill: According to media reports, the Giants worked out safety Kerry Rhodes (ex-Cardinals) and linebackers Jonathan Goff (ex-Redskins) and Leroy Hill (ex-Seahawks) on Tuesday. Goff was originally drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft

Giants on ESPN Radio: Audio clips of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interviews with the following players are available at

  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • DE Mathias Kiwanuka (Audio)

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at

Article on DE Justin Tuck: Justin Tuck on Giants Pass Rush: ‘We Have to Find a Way to Get to the QB’ by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Rolle: Giants Face ‘Must-Win’ to Avoid 0-3 by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Broncos Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Broncos game is available at

Notes: The New York Giants have rushed for only 73 rushing yards this year – the fewest the Giants have ever had through the first two games of a season.

The Giants have also turned the football over 10 times this year – the highest the Giants have ever had through the first two games of a season.

Sep 082013
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 24, 2013)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jason Pierre-Paul, Henry Hynoski, and Damontre Moore Make Trip to Texas: FB Henry Hynoski (knee), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back), and DE Damontre Moore (shoulder) all traveled with the team on Saturday to Texas for the Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys. All three are officially listed as “questionable” for the game.

The only players to not make the trip – OC David Baas (knee), OT David Diehl (thumb), and TE Adrien Robinson (foot) – have already been ruled out of the game.

CB Prince Amukamara on ESPN Radio: The audio of Friday’s ESPN Radio interview with CB Prince Amukamara is available at

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: The NFL’s Old Fuddy-Duddies by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: THE PERFECTIONIST: A Look at Giants Coach Tom Coughlin Through His Regimented Daily Schedule by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Giants’ Defense Wants Out of Its Rut by Dan Graziano of

Articles on RB David Wilson:

Article on RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle: Two ‘Country Strong’ Giants Are Finding Way in the City by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Giants’ Victor Cruz Staying Humble Despite Stardom by Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Giants Rookie Tackle Justin Pugh Gets Start for Opener, and He’s Got a Serious Case of Jitters by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on S Ryan Mundy: Signed as Depth, Mundy Looms Larger for Giants by Tom Pedulla of The New York Times

Jul 082013
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Graphic images courtesy of Bill Schaefer, artist, and Tim Brulia, historian, of the Gridiron Uniform Database.

Graphic images courtesy of Bill Schaefer, artist, and Tim Brulia, historian, of the Gridiron Uniform Database.

Becoming Big Blue – A History of the New York Giants Uniforms

1925 – 1936: Basic Beginnings

A fact obscured by history is that the New York Football Giants were anything but the “Big Blue” Giants we root for today. Red was the team’s primary color for the majority of their first 31 years in the NFL, including their entire residence at The Polo Grounds.

When the Giants took the field in Providence to face the Steamrollers, they wore an outfit that looked nothing like the modern uniform system worn by football players today. Most teams in 1925 looked very similar with unadorned brown leather helmets and baggy, tan or beige pants that included hip pads high above the waist. The only distinguishing elements between opponents in this era were the team colors displayed on the jerseys and socks. The Giants wore red bodied jerseys that featured royal blue shoulders and a broad blue band around the body. White block numbers were only on the back of the jersey. The socks were red with the blue band trimmed by white stripes. Midway through the season the helmets changed to white. This uniform set would be the Giants primary look (save for some minor modifications) for the majority of their first eight seasons, including their first NFL Championship in 1927.

A new pair of jerseys were introduced in 1928. One was solid blue, the other solid red. Both featured oval leather patches covering the player’s ribs. The patches on the blue jerseys were plain brown leather, the patches on the red jersey were blue.

Hap Moran (22), New York Giants (October 19, 1930)

The Giants added numbers to the front of the jerseys in 1929.

Through these years the Giants rotated helmet styles, often in mid season. The plain brown helmets and white helmets gave way to a red shelled helmet in 1929 that featured a blue crest and blue cross pattern over the crown. The blue banded red jersey returned in 1930 with a white number half in and half out of the band. This was supplemented in 1932 by a similar one that had a small white number centered in the band and trimmed with white stripes. A new helmet was introduced, which featured a blue shell with eight red stripes covering the crown (sometimes called “spider stripes”).

The Giants won their second NFL Championship in 1934, the season they made their first significant uniform overhaul. The new white helmets featured a blue crest and rear base. The red jerseys had a blue collar with white vertical stripes running the length of the sleeves. The side panels were royal blue, and the small white block numbers had a royal blue outline. The pants no longer had the high hip pads, but did have black stripes down the back of the legs (a feature common to many teams of this era). The red socks had blue and white stripes lower down the calf.

Chicago Cardinals at New York Giants (October 27, 1935)

The Giants first white jersey appeared during the 1935 season as an alternate.

After defeating the powerful 13-0 Chicago Bears in the frozen Polo Grounds in the NFL’s second-ever Championship Game, the 1935 Giants supplemented the red jersey with a white one. It was basically a negative of the red version: a white body with red sleeve stripes, blue side panels and red-trimmed blue block numbers. In 1936, this was the Giants full-time jersey, but the new pants, colorful for that season, were royal blue with white and red stripes down the back of the legs, and the socks were white with red and blue stripes.

1937 – 1952: Honing in on an Identity

Following 11 seasons of experimentation and discovery, the Giants began to find what would become their signature look. The helmet was a royal blue shell with a red “Michigan Wing” pattern. The primary jersey was solid red with plain white block numbers. The pants were beige and the socks were solid red. This is what the Giants wore in 1938 when they became the first NFL team to win two Championship Games, defeating the Green Bay Packers in the Polo Grounds, and Center/Linebacker Mel Hein won the NFL’s first MVP Award. A blue alternate jersey and socks were worn occasionally, usually when the Giants opposed a team that also wore red like the Chicago Cardinals or Washington Redskins. This uniform set remained mostly unchanged through the next 15 years, save for a set of grey pants joining the rotation (initially worn with the blue jerseys before becoming full-time), and evolutions in helmet technology.

Blue and red jerseys, along with tan and grey pants, alternated throughout the 1940’s.

In 1948 the “Michigan Wing” was replaced with the Giants final leather helmet. This model featured a more robust base to protect the player for impacts to the side of the head. The base was red, the crown blue with a red cross-pattern. Charley Conerly wore this uniform when he set a rookie record that would last for 50 years: most touchdown passes in a season with 22.

The majority of the NFL changed over to hard, plastic-shelled helmets in 1950. Immediately the Giants found another major component of their appearance: a solid blue shell (navy blue for many decades) with a single, red stripe down the center.

1953 – 1960: The Classic Era

Television began to have an impact on how teams presented themselves on the field so viewership following on black-and-white screens could easily tell the teams apart. More teams instituted the use of a second jersey in their rotation that was white. To accommodate their fans at home, the Giants inverted their primary jersey: red numbers on white with solid red socks. Although the alternate blue jersey would still appear a few times each season, the Giants were primarily a white-at-home team from 1953 through 1956 (including all home games in 1954).

In 1954 the Giants added “Northwestern Stripes” to the sleeves and in 1956 “TV Numbers” to the sleeves and red numbers flanking the red stripe on the back of the helmets. The Giants defeated the Chicago Bears in Yankee Stadium wearing these uniforms, and halfback Frank Gifford was the NFL’s MVP.

The NFL mandated all teams equip their uniform ensemble with two jerseys in 1957: one a primary color and the second white. The Giants took this opportunity to augment their uniforms with more classic features.

Frank Gifford (16), New York Giants (November 29, 1959)

The Giants were the first team to prominently display player numbers on the front of the helmet in 1958.

The helmets now featured bold, white player numbers both in front and back, and the grey pants had three thin separated stripes, red – blue – red, down the side. This was also the season the Giants became “Big Blue.” The Giants (like most NFL teams) wore their primary color jerseys at home full-time over the next 10 seasons, including two famous games with Yankee Stadium as their back drop in 1958 that created their now iconic look: Pat Summerall booting his 49-yard in the snow against the rival Cleveland Browns to force a playoff to decide the Eastern Conference Champion. Two weeks later the Giants heroically bowed to Johnny Unitas’ Baltimore Colts in the NFL’s first sudden-death Championship Game.

1961 – 1965: Continuing Refinements

Following on the heels of a growing trend, the Giants introduced their first helmet logo in 1961, the lowercase “ny”. For most of their existence, the Football Giants official logo was a Giants sized football player towering over the Manhattan skyline, while they borrowed the varying uppercase, interlocking “NY” logos of the baseball Giants and Yankees for the players and coaches sideline overcoats. Now they had one of their own. The Giants would win the NFL Eastern Division the first three seasons with this new logo, as Y.A. Tittle set team and NFL records that would last over 20 years. The pants also had a new stripe pattern, two slightly broader red stripes.

Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, New York Giants (1958)

Vince Lombardi wearing the Yankees “NY” and Tom Landry wearing the Baseball Giants “NY” in 1958.

In 1962 the pants stripes changed again, three contiguous red-blue-red stripes. The “Northwestern Stripes” were removed from the white jerseys in 1964.

Red remained the prominent accent color on the Giants white uniforms through the 1965 season.

1966 – 1974: Red Takes a Back Seat

The Giants made some significant changes in 1966. The home uniform did not change much. The helmet and blue jersey did not change, but the pants were now white with a reversed blue-red-blue stripe pattern.The away uniform featuredwhite jerseys with blue numbers, the sleeves had a broad blue-red-blue stripe pattern that matched the pants. White socks with that same stripe pattern were worn through 1967, when this was the Giants uniform of choice for home games.

Minor changes for the 1968 season included solid blue socks worn with the white jersey, and the helmet numbers changed to a thinner but much larger font (to the point where the players’ numbers were almost as prominent as the “ny” logo). Along with the rest of the league, the Giants wore “NFL 50” shield patches on their jersey shoulders the shoulders of their jerseys for the 1969 season.

Fred Dryer, New York Giants (December 21, 1969)

Large helmet numbers, white pants, and the “NFL 50” shield patch were part of the Giants look in 1969.

In the early 1970’s many NFL teams had two jersey sets of jerseys. One was durene, for cold weather games and the other mesh. Often there were differences between the two. For the Giants, the noticeable difference was the sleeve stripes. The durene jersey was unchanged, 3/4 length sleeves with broad stripes, until it was eventually phased out after the 1972 season. The mesh jersey had thinner blue-red-blue stripes at the bottom of the short sleeve and was a permanent away jersey through 1974.

1975 -1979: Stripes and Logos

The Giants appeared to experience a bit of an identity crisis during the mid to late ‘70’s. To say the uniforms were a drastic departure from the norm is an understatement.

In an attempt to appear more modern, the classic “ny” was replaced with a double-line, uppercase “NY”. White stripes bracketed the helmet’s red center stripe, and the player’s numbers were removed from the front of the helmet.

Doug Kotar, San Diego Chargers at New York Giants (November 1, 1975)

The uniform overhaul of 1975 was a radical departure from the Giants traditional look.

The blue jersey had a five-stripe pattern, two broad white stripes flanked by three thin red stripes, and the white numbers had red trim. The pants had an extra-wide blue stripe that was bordered by two red stripes. The blue socks had a matching stripe pattern as the sleeves for most of the season, until they were replaced late in the season by a white sock with a somewhat inverted blue-red-blue-red-blue pattern.

The white jerseys were a negative version of the blue, and were worn with the Giants first set of blue pants in 40 years. The white socks worn with the blue pants had a set of stripes that matched the sleeves stripes.

Phil Simms, New York Giants (October 14, 1979)

The Giants uniforms of the late ’70’s featured an abundance of stripes.

The “NY” helmet logo was short lived. In 1976, when the team first stepped onto the field at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, they had another new logo, the italicized and underlined “GIANTS”. It was somewhat reminiscent of the simpler “ny” of the Yankee Stadium era, though the rest of the uniform was not. Some refinements and changes occurred with the socks during the next four seasons. Stripe patterns inverted, white socks were interchanged with red ones (worn with the blue pants only), before blue was settled on permanently in 1977. In 1979 the blue pants were gone and the socks were adorned with an 11-stripe white-red-white pattern.

1980 – 1999: Revision and Stability

Simplicity returned in 1980 as the New York Giants uniforms reflected their early 1970’s look but still retained a modern feel. The white stripes were removed from the helmets and the socks were once again solid blue. The blue jerseys had red-white-red piping along their V-necks and sleeve cuffs. The white pants returned to their familiar blue-red-blue pattern. The blue jerseys had a blue-red-blue pattern. This basic uniform, save for minor number font changes and ceremonial patches, would go unchanged for 20 years. The Giants worn white-at-home for the entire 1980 season, before settling on blue for good, andwould wear those blue jerseys as they won Super Bowls XXI and XXV following the 1986 and 1990 seasons.

Mark Bavaro, New York Giants (September 21, 1986)

The Giants first full-season memorial patch was the “Spider 43” worn during the championship year of1986.

Variations occurred that served as memorials – black shoulder stripe was sewn onto the jerseys in 1983 in honor of late RB Coach Bob Ledbetter, and the “Spider 43” patches worn during Lawrence Taylor’s MVP 1986 season (with a white background on the blue jersey and a blue background on the white jersey), or anniversaries – the Super Bowl XXV patch, the “NFL 75” patch in 1994, and the Giants “75th Silver Anniversary” patch in 1999.

The entire NFL wore throwback uniforms in 1994. The Giants chose replicas of their 1962 season, and they were mostly authentically replicated. White pants were used with the blue jerseys instead of the traditional grey, changed at the last moment at the league’s behest.

2000 – 2013: Echoes of the Past

Similar in theme to the previous uniform overhaul, the Giants looked to the past while still maintaining a current feel. A mostly traditional “ny” logo returned to the helmet (it was slightly larger and bolder than the original), as well as the player numbers (now block style matching the jerseys). The matte, navy blue shell was now a metallic royal blue.

The blue jerseys were free of all striping and the numbers were solid white. Given the trend of constantly shortening sleeves, the “TV numbers” moved up to the shoulders. The pants were grey but kept the blue-red-blue stripe pattern. The white jerseys had red numbers again, but now featured blue trim. Solid red socks were worn with the white jersey through 2001, when the Giants added a white “GBY” patch for the late George Young. The Giants wore an “80th Anniversary” patch on the blue jerseys for the 2004 season, and also the new alternate red jersey they would wear once each season the next four years.

Jessie Armstead, New York Giants (September 30, 2001)

The Giants have featured a classic-but-modern look since 2000.

New retro white jerseys were introduced for the 2005 season. Plain red block numbers were accompanied with “Northwestern Stripes” on the sleeves. Two memorial patches were worn to honor the passing of owners Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch. The grey pants worn with the white jerseys also had the thin, separated red-blue-red stripes last worn in 1960. These are the uniforms the Giants wore when they twice upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI following the 2007 and 2011 seasons.

These pants received a full-time road designation and were also worn with the blue jersey during away games beginning in 2009, before they became the Giants sole pants in 2012. An alternate set of white pants, with an inverted blue-grey-red-grey-blue stripe pattern, was introduced in 2013 and were worn on occasion with the blue jerseys. A 90th anniversary patch will be worn on both jerseys for the 2014 season.

(To see the Giants uniform history in greater detail, please see the Giants page at the Gridiron Uniform Database.)

Jul 012013
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David Wilson, New York Giants (November 4, 2012)

David Wilson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Running Backs

In the long and storied history of the Giants, five of the franchise’s top six all-time rushers have played in the last 30 years. There was the Joe Morris (5,296 yards) era, the Rodney Hampton (6,897) era, the Tiki Barber (10,449) era, and the Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw (9,081) era.

Are David Wilson and Andre Brown mentally and physically prepared to pick up the mantel? Not only were Jacobs and Bradshaw productive running backs, but they provided a lot of emotion and leadership to the team. “We’ve got a tradition of great running backs here that have established themselves as leaders on this team,” said Running Backs Coach Jerald Ingram.

In addition, who else will round out the backfield? There are currently five running backs (not counting fullback Henry Hynoski) vying for three or four roster spots. Let’s look at the candidates:

Andre Brown: Many assume David Wilson will start, but Andre Brown was ahead of him on the depth chart last year and Head Coach Tom Coughlin may feel that Wilson is better suited as a change-of-pace back and someone who should get fewer touches given his size. On the other hand, Coughlin may trust Brown more with blitz pick-ups on third down and thus Brown may be the one coming off of the bench.

After rupturing his Achilles’ tendon with the Giants in 2009, spending time with four different teams in 2010, and spending all of 2011 on the Giants’ practice squad, Brown surprised everyone by winning the Giants’ #2 running back job in 2012. Indeed, at times, Brown seemed more productive running the football than Ahmad Bradshaw. Before Brown broke his leg in November, he had accrued 385 yards and eight touchdowns on 73 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Brown has a nice combination of size (6’0’’, 227 pounds) and athletic ability. He is no-nonsense, north-south, downhill runner with some power to his game. Brown performed well in short-yardage and goal line situations last season. He has good hands as a receiver. Brown’s biggest issue right now is that he has to prove he can stay healthy.

“Andre is healthy,” said Ingram. “(Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie Barnes has done a great job with him right now. He’s motivated. It’s an opportunity for him. He’s been waiting a lifetime around here for that. We brought him in here because he can catch the ball, he can run, he can do a lot of things and be a complete running back here and he’s definitely a true every down kind of guy because he’s got size, speed and quickness. We saw some things out of him a year ago, which was great and it’s a great opportunity for him.”

“Andre has continued to grow,” said Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride. “And he has continued to get better (this spring). You feel more and more confident (about him). He has actually gotten to a point where you feel better about third-down. First and second-down is one important step. But the next step is can you be a third-down back because of the complexity of what people are doing with their defensive schemes?”

Brown realizes the tremendous opportunity in front of him. “I still feel like I’ve got a lot to prove and first I just want to have a healthy season and then go out there and just be productive and help this team win games and championships and that’s what it’s all about,” said Brown.

Early in the offseason, Brown stated that he wanted to rush for 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2013. He has since toned down his remarks. “I ain’t worried about the carries, I’m not worried about yards, or who’s got the most touchdowns,” said Brown. “I’m just worried about both of us (Wilson and Brown) working together and being effective for the team and having a positive running game.”

But Brown still thinks the Giants are capable of having two 1,000-yard rushers on the same team, a feat accomplished by Jacobs and Derrick Ward in 2008. “It ain’t like they haven’t produced two 1,000-yard backs before in the same season,” said Brown. “I believe that we’re capable of doing that.”

Brown also recognizes there is a leadership void that needs to be filled. “The first couple years we had Brandon, we had Ahmad – those guys were more of the vocal leaders in the room,” Brown said. “I’d just sit back and watch and listen. But now it’s like OK, they showed me the way, and now I’ve gotta step up and be more talkative in the room.”

David Wilson: Last season, Wilson did not see double-digit carries until December and finished the season with 358 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries (5.0 yards per carry). He only caught four passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. Most of Wilson’s damage came on special teams where he set a team record with 1,533 kickoff return yards, averaging 26.9 yards per return.

David Wilson is very young, having just turned 22 in June. Wilson did not play as much as expected his rookie season, but when he did, he flashed great explosive ability. He also demonstrated a more physical running style than you would anticipate from a 5’9’’, 205 pound running back. And that’s the biggest worry with Wilson – is he big enough not only to take the pounding at the pro level as a ball carrier, but is he big and physical enough to take on blitzing linebackers? The coaches also won’t play him a lot until they believe that he is mentally ready to decipher the complicated blitz packages opposing teams will throw at him, especially on third down.

“I have to be really precise in practice and give the coaches confidence,” said Wilson. “Pass blocking…that’s an area that I definitely need to show the coaches that I can handle.”

“You see a guy like David Wilson who started with no clue on who to block, much less how to block, to a pretty good understanding of what it is that he has to do (during spring practices),” said Gilbride. “Now it is a matter of doing it. And it is a matter of getting better at it. He is still not 100%. He still makes mistakes but there has certainly been some significant, some significant growth. Now until you get the pads on – and he has to show that he, as a smaller guy, can do the things necessary that other small backs in this league have done – you are still kind of holding your breath when you see him.

“But his approach has been great; his attitude in terms of trying to work on that aspect of the game. As a running back, what do you want to do? You want to run the ball. That is all you want to do. You don’t want to do anything else. But he realizes that in order to get the playing time that he wants to get that he is going to have to become a pass receiver; he is going to have to become a good pass protector. And he is going to have to do the things that maybe don’t fall into the strict definition of running the football. But the good thing is that he has been working his tail off.”

“I definitely see progress (in his pass protection),” said Ingram. “I think he’s got a clear understanding as far as what our protections are, what is expected of him, but until you actually physically ask that individual to do that full speed and full gear, we’re not exactly doing that right now. But I think when we go to camp, he knows what his goals are right now and what he has to accomplish to be a complete running back and contribute on our team. I think we’ll get that out of him. He’ll be a much improved player from that situation this year.

“(Wilson) has the talent, has the speed, has a few plays from a year ago underneath his belt. Once we put the pads on, we’ll see who is physical, who’s determined to make plays out there… I think he’s a playmaker… I think we’ll take advantage of his natural ability as much as we can…He’s got to be a guy that Eli can trust in every situation possible and we’ll go from there, but right now I think he’s on track.”

“I’m a lot less nervous, and more comfortable with the offense,” Wilson said. “Going out there now, I can just play football, and run the play that’s called, and not really have to stress as much.”

Speaking of his friendly competition with Brown, Wilson said, “We’re both working hard, and we’re going to play off each other. He’s a bigger back, and I’ve got breakaway speed. We can make things happen.”

Wilson does want to continue to return kicks, but it is unknown whether the Giants will give him that role in 2013. “On kickoff return I definitely want to be a part of that,” said Wilson. “I really enjoy that part of the game and any way I can help the team I’m willing to do it and I definitely want to be back there.”

“(Wilson) would like to (return kicks),” said Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn. “He’s done it very well, but we’ll have to see how it all comes down with where he is on the depth chart and what he’s doing on offense… I don’t think it’s too much to do both, but I’m not making all the decisions.”

Da’Rel Scott: Andre Brown and David Wilson are clearly 1a and 1b in terms of the running back pecking order (and it’s not clear who “a” and “b” are at this point). The #3 job is wide open. Da’Rel Scott is the forgotten back on this team, mostly because he has hardly played in the last two seasons since being drafted in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants.  In two years, he has a total of 25 yards on 11 carries. Scott was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2012 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee.

Scott has adequate size (5’11’’, 210 pounds). He is very fast and is a threat to break a big play every time he touches the ball. However, it still remains to be seen if Scott has the instincts, toughness, elusiveness, and power to succeed at the NFL level on a consistent basis. There simply is not enough to go on yet in order to fully evaluate him.

Coughlin did mention Scott during the June mini-camp. “Da’Rel Scott has had a few good days,” said Coughlin.

Last August, Ingram was asked about Scott. “We saw some things out of Da’Rel (in 2011),” said Ingram. “He’s linear, he can get up field, he’s got good finish speed when he gets going. Where he is right now, he hasn’t been on the field an awful lot. We haven’t played him in a game. Hopefully, we can get him in the game and see what he can do. I want, and we want to see an every down kind of guy, who has some size, who has some quickness, who has some finish speed, who can catch the ball out of the backfield, but can he be a continuous play maker? Can he take care of our quarterback? That’s what we want to see out of him. Until we actually get into these games, who knows?”

Ryan Torain: The Giants signed Ryan Torain in November 2012 as a street free agent. He played in two games but did not touch the football. Torain was originally drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Torain was waived by the Broncos in August 2009. He signed with the Washington Redskins in 2010 and spent time on both Washington’s 53-man roster and Practice Squad. The Redskins waived Torain in December 2011. Torain’s best year was in 2010 with the Redskins when he rushed for 742 yards and four touchdowns on 164 carries (4.5 yards per carry) and caught 18 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

Torain is a tough, physical runner with good size (6’0’’, 220 pounds). He lacks ideal speed and elusiveness. Torain also has been somewhat injury prone, something that popped up again in the spring as Torain was sidelined with a hamstring issue.

Michael Cox: Michael Cox was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. He originally played at the University of Michigan before transferring to the University of Massachusetts. Cox is a big (6’0’’, 220 pounds), strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well.

“He’s a big and powerful elusive guy with speed, so he’s got a lot of things that we like about him,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on the day the Giants drafted Cox.

“Runs hard, he’s got size, he’s got really, really good hands, excellent hands, got a little burst to him,” said Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross. “Real good kid. Our coaches were impressed with him so we were happy we’re getting a big, fast guy who runs hard that late in the draft.”

Cox was regularly mentioned by the Giants’ beat writers as someone who flashed during the spring workouts, showing more nimbleness than anticipated. Coughlin also mentioned him the June mini-camp. “The young kid (Cox) continues to do some good things,” said Coughlin.

Summary: There really are two running back competitions heading into training camp. The first is to determine the “starter” – David Wilson or Andre Brown – though in reality, both will play a lot so the label probably does not mean as much to the team as it does to the fans. The second competition is who will be the #3 back and will someone show enough to convince the Giants to keep four running backs?

Jun 172013
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (August 18, 2012)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Linebackers

The linebacker position on the Giants has been unsettled for quite some time. For the older fans, who had the pleasure to watch players such as Sam Huff, Harry Carson, Brad Van Pelt, Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, and Jessie Armstead, it has been frustrating.

When the Giants shifted from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense in the 1990s, the personnel emphasis naturally shifted from spending premium resources on linebackers to defensive linemen. And that trend has continued under General Manager Jerry Reese.

Since Reese became general manager of the Giants in 2007, in seven drafts, the Giants have drafted seven linebackers, including players in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. Only two remain on the roster – sixth-rounders Adrian Tracy and Jacquian Williams. Tracy, a defensive end in college, was drafted as a linebacker and has since been moved back to defensive end. Gone by the wayside are Bryan Kehl, Jonathan Goff, Clint Sintim, Phillip Dillard, and Greg Jones.

In free agency under Reese, the Giants have signed Kawika Mitchell, Danny Clark, Michael Boley, Keith Bulluck, Dan Connor, Aaron Curry, and Kyle Bosworth. The latter three were signed this offseason.

The Giants also traded away their fifth round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for Keith Rivers.

It’s obviously too early to comment on Connor, Curry, and Bosworth, but of all of the rest, since 2007, only Boley became an established, multi-year starter for the Giants. (After four seasons as a starter, Boley was released this offseason). If we’re being honest, to date, Reese’s track record in addressing the linebacking position has not been good.

With Boley and free agent departure Chase Blackburn no longer on the roster, and Mathias Kiwanuka moving back to defensive end, the Giants will have three new starters at linebacker in 2013. That’s quite a turnover. And it is conceivable that the three new starters in 2013 will be castoffs Rivers, Connor, and Curry. In fact, if you could turn back the clock and tell a Giants fan in April 2008 that the Rivers, Connor, and Curry would be starting for Big Blue in few years, the response would have been, “How the hell did Reese pull that off?” We’ll have to see if they can turn their careers around and regain former collegiate glory.

The Giants currently have nine linebackers on the roster. They will probably keep seven on the 53-man roster, especially since linebackers usually make good special teams players. But it is possible that they could keep as few as six.

“(Our linebackers) actually had a good spring,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin at the end of mini-camp. “And the good thing about them, they are very unselfish. They work hard; they study hard. If I called for a one hour meeting, those guys were probably going to meet for an hour and a half to two. It is just the way that group is. They have been good. So we’ll see. I have seen some growth and I have seen a lot of good things happen out here. They are going to have to. It’s going to have to happen.”

Let’s look at each of these nine players:

Dan Connor: A highly-regarded Penn State linebacker coming out of the 2008 NFL Draft, Connor was originally selected in the 3rd round by the Carolina Panthers. He signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in March 2012. Connor was then signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Dallas. In five NFL seasons, Connor has played in 56 regular-season games with 27 starts. In 2012, Connor started eight games for the Cowboys and finished the season with 56 tackles and one pass defense. Connor has decent size, but lacks athleticism. He is more of a tough, blue-collar, two-down run defender who sometimes struggles in pass coverage. Connor is not overly physical at the point-of-attack, but he is quick to locate the ball, avoids blocks well, and is a good, solid tackler. He can play inside or outside, but he definitely is more comfortable in a 4-3 scheme. Connor’s biggest problem has been staying healthy.

“I think (middle linebacker is my best) position,” Connor said. “That’s the position where I’m comfortable. I played it in college, I was in the middle of a 4-3 in Carolina. So I feel most comfortable in the middle. But I do have some experience on the outside.”

“It’s all about being technique-perfect and being able to call the defense, make the checks and be spot on,” Connor said. “As a new guy in the locker room, that’s how I’m going to earn respect – by knowing not only my position but everyone else’s position. So studying is big for me right now, being vocal on the field, and basically earn the respect of guys who I met (only recently).”

Connor’s chief competition at middle linebacker, Mark Herzlich, has been impressed by Connor. “Dan is a very intelligent player,” said Herzlich. “He’s very good with his reads and his fits. He’s very precise.”

“Run fits have been a point of emphasis, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time,” said Connor. “The coaches have done a great job teaching us the mistakes that were made last season.”

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Connor. “We have a lot of young guys. They’re hungry. Each one of us feels like we want to put our name on the map. I really like this defense. It lets you play fast and play aggressive.”

Aaron Curry: In the 2009 NFL Draft, Curry was widely-regarded as one of the best linebacking prospects in years and “the safest pick” in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks made him the fourth player selected overall in that draft, but Curry never lived up to his draft hype and was traded to the Raiders during the 2011 season for a 7th round pick and conditional 5th round pick. Curry played better in Oakland, but he was hampered by chronic knee issues and was cut.

Physically, Curry has excellent size and strength. Although he lacks ideal lateral agility, when healthy, he is a very good athlete who runs well. For some reason, it hasn’t come together for Curry at the pro level. Critics have pointed to the lack of big plays, inconsistency, poor coverage, and too often being out of position.

Curry says his problem in Seattle was that he was not focused on football. “Early in my career, I was just selfish and self-centered,” said Curry. “I was more about me than I was about the Seahawks. It was immaturity, and I’m glad I got past that stage…It was like I knew I could do it and I knew I would do it. I just don’t think at the time I was interested in doing it. I think I was interested in other things and at the time football just wasn’t my top priority, just to be honest…(Now) I approach everything differently. I see details now. Football is important now. It has a priority in my life that I’m willing to do whatever it takes that’s going to help the Giants be successful and I’m not so selfish…Now I’m more about finding a way to just put out a lot of effort and a lot of energy and just cause havoc.”

Curry’s biggest issue now may be the health of his knees. Curry underwent stem-cell therapy on both of his knees during the 2012 offseason. He only played two games before he was cut in November. He then underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in December.

Curry’s former linebacker coach in Seattle, Ken Norton, is still a believer if Curry is healthy. “He was a 4-3 linebacker playing off the ball and you’re not going to get sacks,” Norton said. “He’s probably the best linebacker I’ve ever had to play over the tight end and just dominate him. There were a whole lot of expectations. You don’t see the sack numbers and people say this guy isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing. At the end, his legs and knees were hurting a lot and he was unable to stop on a dime. He couldn’t do all the things he was supposed to do.”

“If Aaron’s health isn’t an issue, if he can run and stop and hit, I mean, this kid hasn’t scratched the surface,” Norton said. “He can do a lot of amazing things. He does things that Carl Banks used to do on the tight end. Once he gets his mind set on something, he can do it. The only issue with him has been what’s going on between the ears. If everything is in order and he’s to the point where he has something to prove, the Giants might have caught him at the right time.”

“I hope to be able to offer some positive energy (to the defense),” said Curry. “I just want to run around and hit things that are moving and I want my teammates to get excited. I want the defense to be excited at all times and I hope to be able to just uplift everybody and do what’s asked of me and do it full speed…My job and my only motivation is to go out there, play hard, play fast, be physical and get my teammates to just be fired up with me and just bring a positive energy every day.”

Keith Rivers: If Curry was supposed to be a “sure thing”, then Rivers was pretty damn close. Rivers was the ninth player taken in the 2008 NFL Draft. But the injury-prone linebacker was traded by the Bengals to the Giants in 2012 for a 5th round draft pick.

While Rivers never lived up to his draft hype in Cincinnati, he was a solid player for the Bengals when he played. The problem was that he couldn’t stay healthy and that trend continued with the Giants in 2012. Last season, 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. 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 an 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.

Interestingly, Giants’ beat reporter Paul Dottino, who also does some work for the Giants, says Rivers was clearly the best linebacker in training camp last year. During spring workouts, Rivers was starting at weakside linebacker in Mathias Kiwanuka’s old position. (Note: In Perry Fewell’s system, the weakside linebacker is called the strongside linebacker).

During OTAs, Coughlin said, “The other day Keith Rivers made a heck of a play.” Rivers has the ability to be a very steady performer for New York if he can just stay on the football field.

Mark Herzlich: Herzlich was regarded as one of the better collegiate linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season at Boston College with bone cancer. Because of the illness, a titanium rod was inserted into Herzlich’s left femur. Herzlich has very good size, but the key question is whether Herzlich now has the overall athletic ability to excel at the pro level. Last year, it was anticipated that Herzlich would provide more of a serious challenge to Chase Blackburn for the starting middle linebacker position, but Herzlich underwhelmed.

Herzlich has had a very good spring. It was Herzlich, not Dan Connor, who started at middle linebacker during spring workouts and the coaches appear to have come away impressed.

“Very commanding,” said Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. “He’s taken a leadership role out there and I think he has some good respect from his teammates in some of the things he’s done in the OTAs. Obviously, we want to find out what happens when the pads come on.”

“After the first OTA, (Spencer Paysinger and I) always go and watch the films,” said Herzlich. “Me and Spence were watching film, and we’re like, ‘We’re gonna know this defense better than the coaches.’ So we went to Costco that day, got dry erase boards. I was on the dry erase board all day, just reviewing everything from OTAs, getting ready for mini-camp. That way, when you eliminate the mental mistakes, you can play faster and more physical.”

“As linebackers, you never want to be called ‘soft,’” said Herzlich. “There were some people saying that we were playing soft last year. So we have a mentality to change that this season…We’ve talked about how we couldn’t stop the run when we needed to last season. People say, ‘It’s the defensive line.’ But it starts with the linebackers. We have to fill our gaps and play downhill.”

Connor may overtake Herzlich in training camp and the preseason, but right now, it’s Herzlich’s job to lose.

Spencer Paysinger: 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 has a nice combination of size and athleticism.

Paysinger appears to be flying under the radar scope of many fans. In spring workouts, Paysinger has been starting in Michael Boley’s old strongside linebacker spot. If Paysinger fails, it will not be for lack of hard work. In the offseason, he initiated an intense workout program that not only included weight training, but hot yoga, acupuncture, stretching, and martial arts.

“I came into the league two years ago at 233 pounds and now I’m about 245 pounds and I feel like I haven’t lost a step,” said Paysinger. “When you get heavier, bigger, and bulkier, it’s natural for you to lose a step or two when it comes to agility. By doing yoga and acupuncture and revving up my on-field work, it’s allowed me to counteract any lost steps.”

“(Paysinger) is doing a good job,” said Linebackers Coach Jim Herrmann. “He has a great opportunity to get snaps. And he is competing for the job. He has matured over the last two years. To me, the biggest thing I have seen was his maturity level, because he is comfortable with the formation. Now he is going to go out and take the next step forward because he is anticipating the plays faster and faster. He’s not worried about ‘What do I do in this defense – What do I do in that defense?’ It is, ‘Okay, I know what I am doing – now what is the offense going to do?’ And he is anticipating. And all of those guys have done a much better job of that.”

“Me and Mark (Herzlich), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to learn the defense in and out, studying together,” said Paysinger. “Buying dry erase boards to take home and just draw up plays. Pretty much internalizing the playbook to where it becomes second nature – cause if you know your stuff, you can play that much better.”

“I feel like it’s my time, Mark’s time, even Keith (Rivers’) time to step up and show we can handle this,” said Paysinger.

Jacquian Williams: Williams was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. He was a very raw player coming out of the University of South Florida, 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.

Williams’ 2012 season was sabotaged by a PCL knee injury he suffered in October that caused him to miss six games. He finished the year with just 30 tackles, down from the 78 he accrued in 2011. Though Williams returned to the playing field in December 2012, the PCL injury surprisingly limited him in the spring workouts this year. Hopefully, he will be closer to 100 percent when training camp starts.

Kyle Bosworth: The nephew of former Seahawks’ linebacker Brian Bosworth, Kyle was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Jaguars in May 2013. Eligible to be a restricted free agent, Bosworth was not tendered by Jacksonville. Bosworth was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jaguars after the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury. He also missed much of 2011 after being placed on Injured Reserve in November with a broken hand. In 2012, Bosworth played in all 16 games. He started five games but was later benched. He finished 2012 with 37 tackles and one interception.

Bosworth is smart, hard-working, and versatile – he can play all three linebacking spots. However, despite having decent size, strength, and some speed, Bosworth is a limited athlete who struggles in space. Bosworth is a very good special teams player and that – combined with his versatility and intelligence – may give him a leg up in the competition for backup spots.

“We felt like he would make a nice fit as a linebacker and a special-teamer,” said Coughlin after Bosworth was signed.

“I can definitely play all the (linebacker) positions,” Bosworth said. “I’ve still got to do a lot of learning in the playbook, but I’m able to fit in with the (weakside, middle, and strongside linebacker). I’m very versatile. I’ve played and started. I’ve been on every single special team, so basically wherever they need me I’ll be able to do it. Whatever they ask and I’ll be ready to go.”

Jake Muasau: Muasau was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the May 2012 rookie mini-camp. The Giants waived him in late August, but decided to give him another shot in training camp this year and re-signed him in January 2013. Muasau was voted Georgia State University’s most valuable defensive player by his teammates in 2010 and 2011 when he played the “bandit” DE/LB hybrid position. Muasau has good size and plays with good intensity.

Etienne Sabino: Sabino was signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Sabino was a highly-recruited high school linebacker who had a disappointing overall career at Ohio State, but he started to come on as a senior despite breaking his leg. He could project to either middle or outside linebacker. Sabino is a well-built athlete with good agility, quickness, and speed. He flashes ability to run-and-hit as well as take-on-and-shed. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts. Sabino should do well on special teams. He supposedly has good intangibles – mature and coachable.

Summary: The starters heading into training camp are Rivers, Herzlich, and Paysinger. But they will be challenged by Curry, Connor, and Williams. It will be interesting to see if there are three viable starters and play-makers within this group, and if the three new starters can integrate themselves with each other and the other eight members of the defense quickly. Not many teams completely revamp their starting linebacking corps in one offseason. For a defense that finished 31st in 2012 and was equally bad against the run and the pass, it is imperative that the linebacking play improve.

May 202013
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Corey Webster (23), Kenny Phillips (21), Justin Tuck (91), New York Giants (September 5, 2012)

Corey Webster, Kenny Phillips, and Justin Tuck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The State of the New York Giants Defense

Memories are often short for NFL fans. The long offseason, with excitement of numerous roster subtractions and additions, can overshadow recent failure. It’s an exciting time for fans, but it is important to remember that the ultimate goal is not to make noise in the offseason, but to make noise on the playing field when the games count.

Aside from a six-game stretch at the end of the 2011 season, the New York Giants defense has been putrid for the last two seasons. It was 27th in yards allowed in 2011 and 31st in yards allowed in 2012. It has had trouble stopping the run (25th in 2012) and the pass (28th in 2012). Indeed, if it were not for 35 takeaways (2nd in the NFL), the defensive stats, including scoring defense (12th in 2012), would surely have been much worse. Personally, I never think it is wise to count on being a league leader in takeaways. Too much luck is involved.

For better or worse, many of core defensive players are now gone: DE Osi Umenyiora, DT Chris Canty, LB Michael Boley, LB Chase Blackburn, and S Kenny Phillips. DT Rocky Bernard also will not be re-signed.

New faces include veteran free agents DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson, DT Frank Okam, LB Dan Connor, LB Aaron Curry, and S Ryan Mundy – all but Jenkins signed to only 1-year contracts. Also added to the mix were rookie draft picks DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Damontre Moore, and S Cooper Taylor.

There still may be a move or two, but the roster heading into camp is largely set. More tweaking could occur in late August and early September when teams make their final cuts.

Obviously, there has been a lot of change. But will change lead to improved results on the playing field both in the short-term and medium-term? Has the talent actually improved? Moving beyond 2013, key veteran holdovers such as DE Justin Tuck, CB Corey Webster, and S Antrel Rolle are aging and taking up too much salary cap space. DT Linval Joseph will be a free agent and DE Jason Pierre-Paul will want a new contract soon. Who will the front office and coaching staff determine to be the core defensive players to build around on this team moving forward? Who will be the defensive leaders? Can Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell restructure the various moving parts into an effective, cohesive unit in 2013 and beyond? Yes, there is change in every offseason, but there is a pretty significant changing of the guard on defense. Can it all come together quickly?

Defensive Line: Except for Pierre-Paul’s play in 2011 and late season flashes from everyone else that same season, this unit has largely lived off its reputation rather than consistent play on the football field. And because of that, gone are Umenyiora, Canty, and Bernard. Tuck could be next in 2014.

On paper, the defensive line is still the strongest position on defense. There are 16 bodies present and all of them have talent. The Giants will probably keep five defensive ends and the sure bets are Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Damontre Moore. But Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo, Justin Trattou, and Matt Broha have all flashed as players. Based on early impressions, it appears that Tuck is reinvigorated to have a big season, if for no other reason than his next contract with the Giants or another team. But he has been physically beat-up and quite moody in recent years. JPP also needs to rebound from a sackless second half if he wants a big-money contract. Kiwanuka should move back to his more natural position with something to prove as well. Moore has exciting potential, but he needs a lot of work in the weight room. If the Giants think Tuck is likely to depart in 2014, can they find a way to hold onto six defensive ends this year?

The Giants added a lot of new bodies at defensive tackle. Due to injuries and declining play, this was necessary. Linval Joseph returns. He has a lot of talent but he needs to be more effectively consistent on the playing field. Cullen Jenkins should add veteran leadership and a pass rush presence. Johnathan Hankins is the type of stout, double team-eating nose tackle that this team has lacked. That leaves one or two spots for Mike Patterson, Shaun Rogers, Markus Kuhn, Marvin Austin, and Frank Okam. Austin is the three-technique, pass rusher of the group. Rogers and Okam are huge nose tackle types. Patterson and Kuhn offer flexibility and can play the run. Moving forward past 2013, if the Giants can re-sign Joseph (a big if), then the Giants will be in good shape with him and Hankins. The real wild card is Austin. Is he a bust or can he become the player the Giants hoped he would when they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft?

Linebacker: Most Giants’ fans seemed to be more concerned with this position than any other. For quite some time, the Giants have rarely addressed this spot high in the draft (with the exception of Clint Sintim). The team has been more proactive in free agency with additions such as Michael Barrow, Antonio Pierce, and Michael Boley to name a few. The same pattern continued this offseason. The Giants did not draft a linebacker but added Dan Connor and Aaron Curry in free agency. They also re-signed Keith Rivers.

This position is the most unsettled on the team despite the fact there are only eight linebackers on the current roster and it is conceivable that the Giants could only carry six heading into the regular season. There is little stability right now. Not only is there no sure starter at any of the three spots, but five of the eight players will see their contracts expire after the 2013 season. Dan Connor is probably the favorite to start in the middle, but he could be challenged there by Aaron Curry or Mark Herzlich. Curry will also vie for one of the outside spots along with Rivers, Jacquian Williams, and Spencer Paysinger. Long shots include Jake Muasau who was with the Giants in camp last year and rookie free agent Etienne Sabino.

One wonders how much the Giants will actually use three linebackers on the field. Obviously, a three-linebacker set will be their base defense. And one would think that having more linebackers on the field would be a good thing against a run-centric team like the Washington Redskins. But Perry Fewell and many other defensive coordinators are using more nickel-type defenses in today’s passing league, and Fewell, in particular, favors the three-safety look.

Rivers has talent, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. Williams can run like a deer, but is he physical enough? Paysinger has been working like a dog this offseason to get his shot. But both he and Herzlich need to prove they are more than just special teams players. The real wild cards are Connor and Curry – two highly-touted collegiate prospects who have had their ups and downs in the NFL, each with two different teams.

Defensive Back: It’s not the linebacker position that worries me the most, but cornerback. This was the position I was more shocked the Giants did not address in the draft. On paper, the Giants look deep and talented with Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley, and Aaron Ross. But Webster and Ross are over 30 and obviously on the downside of their respective careers. Thomas is coming off his third ACL tear on the same knee. If Webster rebounds from a bad 2012, if Thomas’ knee holds up and his overall athleticism hasn’t suffered, and if Ross can serve as a steady backup, then the Giants should be in good shape. But those are all huge “ifs”. Things could get really ugly if the answers to those questions are negative. Moreover, the Giants need Prince Amukamara to build upon a decent 2012 with a better 2013. And they desperately need Jayron Hosley to improve; he struggled quite a bit as a nickel corner in 2012.

Is there any potential gem in the other unknown cornerback candidates? Terrence Frederick, Laron Scott, Trumaine McBride, Charles James, and Junior Mertile are all vying for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Safety is more settled, but the Giants will be without Kenny Phillips. It’s hard to envision Stevie Brown duplicating his 8-interception season again in 2013, but we shall see. Rolle is steady and athletic, but he does not make many plays on the football and his cap number may become untenable in 2014. Will Hill flashed a great deal of promise and the Giants drafted Cooper Taylor. Ryan Mundy is a veteran free agent addition, but he was often viewed as a liability in coverage in Pittsburgh. Tyler Sash has not demonstrated anything more than special teams ability and may be on the hot seat. Veteran David Cardwell and rookie free agents Alonzo Tweedy and John Stevenson are the long shots.

Summary: So there has been a great deal of change. But will these changes improve their dreadful defensive rankings? There is talent on the defensive line, but it has to stop living off its reputation. Everything seems to be in a state of flux at linebacker. Are there three quality starters in that group? In the secondary, much depends on the questions surrounding the cornerback spot. Can Webster rebound? Can Thomas come back healthy and strong? Will Amukamara prove to be worthy of a #1 pick?

And can Perry Fewell and his defensive staff successfully mold together all of these changing and evolving parts into a cohesive, aggressive, and physical defense?

The Giants’ 2013 season probably depends on it.

May 162013
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New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2013 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
1 19 19 OT Justin Pugh (Video)
2 17 49 DT Johnathan Hankins (Video)
3 19 81 DE Damontre Moore (Video)
4 13 110 QB Ryan Nassib (Video)
5 19 152 S Cooper Taylor (Video)
7 19 225 OG Eric Herman (Video)
7 47 253 RB Michael Cox (Video)

2013 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – OT/OG Justin Pugh, Syracuse, 6-5, 307lbs, 5.14
Justin Pugh - © USA TODAY Sports Images

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a three-year starter. 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.


Reese: We’ve got offensive tackle (Justin) Pugh from Syracuse, terrific football player. We think he’s really versatile. The Giants, we like guys that can do multiple things. We think this guy can play left tackle, right tackle, either guard, and actually (offensive line coach) Pat Flaherty thought he could even play center. He thought he had that kind of skill set. It’s hard to pass up those kinds of guys, really good football player. People ask about his arm length and that wasn’t an issue for us. We looked at him and when you see guys with 32-inch arms playing the offensive line, especially the tackle the position. I looked at tape after tape after tape and I never could see the arms come into play because I was looking for an excuse to downgrade him but you can never find that. This guy is really productive against the run, against the pass and he was too good of a value. As a matter of fact, he was the highest guy on our board, so we got value and the highest guy on our board. You guys think I’m joking when I say that, but it’s absolutely true, the highest guy on our board.

Q: What position do you think he’s going start out at?

A: I think he’s a tackle. I think he’s going to start out at tackle but I think he is one of those guys during a game that you can plug him in anywhere. He’ll play and he’ll play good for you. Smart, big, smart, high test score, team captain, all those things. Those are the things you like, our kind guy, clean.

Q: Any concerns with the shoulder he had in college?

A: No concerns, our medical staff saw him and they have no concern over the shoulder. He did miss four games early in the season.

Q: Do you think that he can start week 1?

A: We’ll see. I think it’s going to be a lot of competition and that’s what we try to do. We try to create competition and I think he will definitely come in and create competition.

Q: Did you get any calls to move up or move down?

A: There are always some calls and some thoughts about moving up and down. We had some calls to move up, some calls to move down, but nothing really materialized. Nothing really came close to being materialized for us to move.

Q: Did you expect a lot of offensive lineman to be drafted early?

A: Well, there were a lot of good offensive linemen in this draft up there at the top of the draft. Obviously you see them come off the board really quickly. Everybody predicted that this would be an offensive line big boy draft and it kind of held true to form. The big boys came off early.

Q: What do think George Young would think about the pick?

A: George, I’m sure he’d smile about it. George (said) you win with big people. You win with big people and you’ve got to have them. We are going to have another young guy in our offensive line fold that we really like. Again, when people talk about the short arms a little bit I think about Rosie Brown, who was a great player here and Hall of Famer and was a scout for a long time. One thing Rosie said to me one time was that you can never find a perfect player and so he’s not perfect, but he’s a really good football player and we‘re glad to get him.

Q: He’s not a huge guy; can he be a right tackle?

A: Yeah, he can be a right tackle. He played left tackle for them. He’s not a little guy. He’s a big man. He’s a big football player. He’s not little by any stretch of the imagination.

Q: Did you plan on taking an offensive lineman at some point early in the draft?

A: Obviously, we could see that the offensive line is aging a little bit as well, but we go into the draft like always and we look for the best player and we got that combination. We were sitting there at 19, and really sweating it a little bit because those guys were coming off pretty quickly and he came right to us, right where we had him and a good player for us at that spot.

Q: Were you surprised to see Sharrif Floyd drop?

A: Nothing surprises me in the draft. That’s one thing that I learned as young scout, don’t be surprised by anything in the draft so I’m really not surprised.

Q: So the 49ers jumping up really didn’t affect you at all?

A: No, not really. It didn’t affect us, no.

Q: Was there a particular game that you saw that made you think he was a possible draft pick?

A: I watch a lot of tape. I can’t pinpoint a game that I watched but I watched a lot of tape on him though because again I saw the 32-inch arms and I was like ‘I’m going to find something wrong with this guy,’ and there’s nothing wrong with him.

Q: Does it excite you that he seems to be a good run blocker?

A: The thing about him is when I make my notes: productive. This guy is really productive. He’s productive in the run game. He’s technical in the run game. He plays like a high test score. He’s high percentage on pulls, on second blocks, on downfield blocks. You get excited about a guy that brings all that to the table because a lot times when you get offensive lineman they are little bit one-dimensional. This guy is technically sound on all levels. At the point of attack he’s technically sound. He’s got that finish ability that you like in your offensive linemen and in the second level he’s a high percentage getting out on the pulls. He’s a high percentage on the second level in the linebacker area and even downfield he’s a high percentage productive run and pass-blocker.

Q: What’s the one thing that he needs to improve on when you get him in?

A: All young players can get stronger when you bring them into the National Football League. When you start in the offensive line, all young players can get stronger and they do get stronger. They get here and they get in a pro weight program. Their bodies mature a little bit more so they get stronger as they mature as get older in the league.

Q: You said he was “our” kind of player and you also said he was “clean”…

A: Yeah, clean player. He doesn’t really have any warts on him like off-field issues or he’s not a good athlete. He was a clean guy. He had everything you look for. He’s not an aircraft carrier. He’s not that guy but he’s a big solid football player and you win with those kinds of guys. I think you win with solid football players. We’ve won a couple Super Bowls with David Diehl, a solid football player, with Kareem McKenzie on the other side, a solid football player. You win with those kinds of guys, our kind of guys.

Q: Could you have waited until a later round to take a solid player?

A:  It is hard to wait when a guy is sitting right there – the highest guy on your board. We always try to wait a few minutes and see if somebody wants to come up there and knock us over with a trade that we can’t refuse. We always do that. But he was sitting right there so there really wasn’t a lot to wait for with respect to him.

Q:  Was he the last offensive lineman in your first round?

A:  I can’t tell you that but he was  – along with some of the guys that got picked ahead of him – he was right in the pack with those guys.

Q:  How much time did you spend with him pre-draft?

A:  Same amount of time as we spent with all of them. It is not a significant amount of time. You have heard this from me before – you don’t have to spend a lot of time with guys that are clean. Those guys – clean guys – there really wasn’t a lot to spend time with him for. We did spend some time with him but there wasn’t a lot of digging that we had to do with this player.

Q:  You said “32-inch arms” – what should a lineman’s arms be?

A:  Well, it depends. If you play inside, if you play center, if you play guard you could have shorter arms; you have shorter arm length. People like for your tackles to have longer arms. When you start talking about 33-inch arms it is really what I think about when I think about arms being long enough on the outside. I think about 33 inches. And so you are talking about this much. But it is just the way it is. We have our standards – what we like – and again, Rosie said there was not perfect player. He is not perfect. If there is anything wrong with him, that is it. But again, I looked at a lot of tape and wanted to see his short arms come into play – I never did; I never did.

Q:  What do you see in the second round?

A:  It will be interesting. With the draft you see players – the value seems to be similar in a lot of different positions. So you will see players coming out all over the board. We think we will get — there are still a lot of good players left on the board. We think we will get a couple of more really good players to come in and contribute for us right away. And we will get guys in the fourth and fifth round as well that we hope can hit on some guys in those rows. But there are still a lot of good players up there.

Q:  What is the next position you plan to address in round two?

A:  A good football player – that is what we would like to address; good football player.


Q: What were your general impressions of Justin Pugh?

A: Justin just is, I’m sure Coach and Jerry have said, is clean – is just a clean player. For us that means he was productive on tape, he plays hard, he’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s physical, he’s a great kid, he doesn’t have any issues and he has a lot of upside. When you go down the checklist of positives that you look for, he had most of those attributes.

Q: Did you think some of the tackles that were taken earlier in the draft were going to be available at 19?

A: No, we thought pretty much that some of those guys were going to go quick, that the four who went were going to go pretty much where they did, and even the guards.

Q: Is it a strength that he can play a number of positions?

A: For us, I think he has the skill set to play anywhere along the line, and whatever our coaches feel is the biggest need to put him at next year, I think he can do that – from left tackle to center to right tackle to guard, he really has… because he’s so smart, so technique-sound and so athletic, it’s definitely a positive to be able to do that.

Q: Do you normally see a guy like that go in the first round?

A: No. Most of these guys are what they are – they’re a right tackle, they’re a center. This guy is the most versatile offensive lineman in our eyes. Other teams may feel differently, but that’s the way we felt, that he was the most versatile.

Q: Why did you like this kind of player?

A: Because in a year who knows what our needs will be. Just having a guy that even during a game, if your center goes down, he can go in there and move wherever you want him to go. And there’s nothing wrong with having a top notch left tackle, if that’s what he is. This just added to it. This isn’t the only reason why we liked it. It just added to him.

Q: Jerry Reese said he needs to get stronger, but there are a lot of players like him. Is there a goal in mind?

A: That’s up to our strength coaches once they get here. And he was coming off a shoulder injury earlier in the year. He missed the first four games. We don’t think this year was a true indication. He kept getting better, getting stronger throughout the year and into his whole career, I think his body will fill out more and get stronger once he can fully workout with the shoulder. But even in today’s game, those top tackles that got taken, power’s not really their game. (D.J.) Fluker was the power guy, but those other guys were more athletic types of tackles.

Q: What makes you confident that he can play multiple positions?

A: He did it at the Senior Bowl. He played a bunch of different positions at practice and during the game. And then his intelligence, he had one of the higher test scores this year. Just talking to him, communicating with him at the Combine, it will be an easy transition for him.


Coughlin: We are excited about this pick. We had an opportunity throughout the course of our meetings here to sort of analyze the players that we thought would be available to us at this particular spot in the draft if something didn’t happen to shock us out of that position. There was a run on the tackles early, as you know. It kind of backed off – Fluker was taken and then it kind of backed it. There was a trade right in front of us. We didn’t think San Francisco would take an offensive lineman. We didn’t know for sure, but we didn’t think so. And so in the group of players that we really liked that we hoped would be available to us at 19, we had this young man right at the top – Justin was the guy on the board who was on top. So we are real happy to get him. I have been asked, ‘Do you think it is time for you to take a hard look at your offensive line in terms of young talent?’ Well, there always is. Some years it is just not available to you. So we do feel like the addition of some young talented players in our offensive line is going to help us going forward in the future. We think we have a young man who has demonstrated the ability to learn. He is a very technically sound player. He has performed at the left tackle position. We think he can play right tackle. We have even talked about the versatility that he presents because he has big hands and perhaps he is even a guy that could be considered as a center if we thought we needed that. So versatility – smart – technically sound – a guy that we think can grasp the system right away and be in a position to help us out as a young player in a position that is not easy to play right away. And that is the offensive line at the professional level.

Q:  Would you like him to wind up on day one at right tackle?

A:  Well, that is probably what will happen. But we will look at the rest of the draft and see what happens to come our way. And at the end of that we will assess our depth and see where we think we should start him out. He has been a tackle. I would expect him to stay there. Whether he goes over to the right side or not, and how fast he goes over there – we will have to decide.

Q:  Could he be an opening day starter?

A:  I’m sure that competitively he will have that opportunity. If he wins the job, then he would be the starter.

Q: You and others in the organization talked a lot this offseason about fortifying the trenches on both sides of the line.

A:  Very important.

Q:  How big a priority…top of your list?

A:  Well, it certainly was a strong consideration. I have always believed that if you are strong in the offensive and the defensive lines, you have a great chance to be competitive. And this is certainly consistent with that theory. We have got good young players here that are going to compete. We have veteran leadership here as well. It is a good situation to be in. Let’s let them compete. As best we can, we would like to be competitive and have challenges at all positions. As more competition as we can place, no matter what the position is, the better off as a team we are going to be.

Q:  Did you have a chance to talk to him?

A:  I did.

Q:  What impressed you about him?

A:  His first answer; the first question he was asked.

Q:  Which was?

A:  ‘Who is the Syracuse alum that you are most familiar with?’  He didn’t say Jim Brown, he said ‘Coughlin.’  He passed the IQ test right away at the Combine. That was a Marc Ross (question) – you knew that was coming when Marc took the floor. I knew something was coming.

Q:  Was his run blocking what jumped out at you in watching the Syracuse offense?

A:  Run and pass. We certainly saw the bowl game in which they did a tremendous job of rushing the ball. But there have been numerous games where that good young quarterback up there had big days as well. So we have been able to see Justin as a pass protector and as a run blocker and have been equally impressed.

Q:  The way the defense struggled last year, was it hard to go with an offensive player with your first pick?

A:  It wasn’t hard, but if you know the way that we conduct our business, it is going to be the best player. You may think that there is a need – a greater need somewhere else – but the history of this organization has always been as far back as you can remember, take the best available player. And I think that was consistent with the first pick of the 2013 Draft.


Q: What was it like when you first got the call from the Giants telling you that they were going to select you?

A: It was surreal. This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid playing tackle football in my backyard. I got the phone call and there was about four minutes left on the clock. I saw that 201 number and knew who it was. I turned the TV down, I got a big smile on my face and it was crazy. Coach Coughlin was like ‘Welcome to the Giants.’ It was amazing.

Q: The Giants said they really liked your versatility. Would you be comfortable moving to right tackle after playing left tackle as a starter?

A: The biggest thing the coaches have told me and I’ve tried to present to teams is I can play all five offensive line positions. Coming in, I’m just going to compete wherever they want me to. I think I can play all five positions on the offensive line. I really just want to come in and show what I’ve got. I know coach has said that he likes my versatility and my football smarts so I’m definitely ready to get in there in minicamp next week and start competing.

Q: Did you have a lot of contact with the Giants before the draft?

A: I talked to these guys at the Combine but never had a private workout. I had a decent amount of contact but not as much as with some of the other teams. It wasn’t a surprise. I kind of heard that they liked me at that spot. It was awesome to get that call. Obviously with Coach Coughlin being a Syracuse guy, that makes it even better.

Q: Do you think you could be a starter as a rookie?

A: Yes. I think I can come in and compete. I’m confident in my abilities to start but also, at the same time, whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m willing to do and take on that role happily.

Q: They said at the Combine, the first question you were asked was about the most notable Syracuse alum you knew…

A: Yeah, the first thing that came out of my mouth was Coach Coughlin. Everybody started laughing and they said, ‘Welcome to the New York Giants.’ I guess I should have seen that as a little bit of a sign that they might be targeting me. So I guess it turned out real well. As soon as I got the phone call, my stepdad said ‘it was a good thing you answered that question the way you did because obviously it got them very interested in you.’

Q: RE: Shoulder Injury

A: My shoulder is 100%. Obviously, I came back and played in the last nine games, was All-Conference and played in our bowl game. I did 225 (lbs) 22 times, which is what I was at before (the injury). Obviously, I’m working on getting stronger, I did more reps since that, I’ve done 24. So my shoulder is a 100%, no worries there.

Q: With six offensive linemen going early, did you start to wonder if you were going to go in the first round?

A: When you see six offensive linemen get taken, obviously it shows the depth of the tackle class this year, the offensive line in general. So I knew there was a possibility that I would be the next offensive lineman/tackle off the board. You never want to get too overconfident because football has a way of humbling you. I was getting nervous as every pick went by, saying ‘is this going to be the one?’ I saw that 201 area code and my buddy is right from that area, so I knew it was from the Giants.

A: Are you a fan of the Giants by any chance?

A: I grew up in Philadelphia as an Eagles fan, but last year I told myself, I’m not a fan of anyone else anymore, whomever I’m going to, I’m going to become a fan of that organization. I’m a fan of winning, so I’m ready to get there and compete and win.

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2nd Round – DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, 6-3, 320lbs, 5.31

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a two-year starter. 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.


Reese: We’ve got two defensive linemen, we’ve got a defensive tackle and a defensive end. Two really good football players. We’ve got a big guy that can hold the point inside, tough against the run game – big bodies. Both of these kids are really young players, so you like that about them. Big Hank is just a powerful inside presence, played a lot of snaps. They played him a lot. You like that about him that he can have the stamina to stay and play. That probably affected his game a little bit on the back end because I think he ran out of gas sometimes when we watched him, but early on when he gets going, he’s a tremendous inside big thick young player against the run game and against the pass. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he gets some pressure up the middle. He can push the pocket up the middle. He can snap some heads back with his initial contact so he can push that pocket back. We think he can be a great addition, a young player. The defensive end (Damontre Moore), he is sacks. When you think about him, he’s a young kid, he’s 20 years old. In three years he got almost 26 ½ sacks, 26 ½ sacks is what he’s got, had 12 ½ this past season, I believe. He’s an edge rusher, tremendous upside for us- too good a value for us to pass up.

Q: Was it a goal in this draft to get bigger and better in the trenches?

A: Well, that’s always a goal. Again, if you don’t have bigs it’s so hard to win up here, so the more bigs you have it gives you the opportunity to win football games.


Q:  Tell us about Johnathan

A:  Johnathan is a big, wide-bodied space-eater on his side. He is young. He is 21 years old. He has a lot of upside. He is not a glamorous type of guy inside but he does the dirty work that you need in there to occupy people – hold the point. He is a powerful upper body – snatch blocker for a 320-pound guy. Plus he plays the whole game, which you rarely see. You see most of these defensive tackles – defensive linemen – rotate in and out every series. This guy plays the whole game and plays with energy. He has got enthusiasm for the game. He is only going to get better.

Q:  Coach Coughlin has mentioned that a priority this offseason was getting better on the run defense. Was this guy a person you targeted as the person who would be a force in improving that area?

A:  Yeah, to us his skill set was real easy to identify. You watch him play and that is what he does. He just shuts people down when they try to run the ball. Whether it is taking on one block, two blocks – he just bangs inside and he holds the point. You need those guys to win. It helps everybody on your defense. It helps your linebackers get free. So we really like that about him. And you don’t see that much anymore with the types of defensive tackles that are coming out. You see more of the athletic, quick edge, movement-type of guys. So this guy is kind of a rarity nowadays where just somebody that does that dirty work in a big body inside. And he likes it.

Q:  How are his arms?

A:  He could give a couple of inches to Pugh. They balance out each other – they will play off each other well.

Q:  How big is he?

A:  He is wide…He is just wide. He is just wide. He is about 6-3, 320 pounds. He probably played over that during the year. But he got into shape obviously throughout the postseason – all of the training. So, yeah, he is a wide body. When we use that expression, he is that.

Q:  Is that where you want him – 320?

A:  He probably could lose a few pounds. He is young, so he is still growing into it. He probably hasn’t had as much of full-time training and conditioning and nutrition that he will get up here. And he is only going to get better – he will grow into his body. He will become more of a man and shed some pounds and the sky is the limit for him.

Q:  As young as he is, is he polished enough to be a starter?

A:  Yeah, he has played a lot of football at Ohio State. He started and he plays with good technique. He plays with good hand use. He plays with good leverage. He has got really good awareness inside to find the ball – recognize blocking schemes. So this is not just a raw guy that doesn’t know what he is doing. This guy knows how to play football. And he has played a lot of it and started a lot of it at the highest level.

Q:  Does he kind of compliment Linval (Joseph) and (Cullen) Jenkins?

A:  Right – you like a blend inside there. You would like a defensive tackle that is big and athletic and fast and can do everything. But that is just not the reality nowadays. A guy is either one or the other. And so this is a big, wide-bodied presence inside.

Q:  What would you say is the knock on him?  Mike Mayock said he has first round talent so he slips to the second round – good for you if that is where you wanted to get him anyway. But why do you think he might have slipped?

A:  We had him identified as a first round guy. Some people might have been scared off by his lack of sack production. He just had one. Some people might have questions regarding his stamina. Okay, the guy is 320 pounds and he plays every snap, like I said earlier. So if he wears downs at the end of a 60-play game, I could understand that. So you have to look at his body of work. You have to dig deep into who he is. The kid is a great kid. He loves football. He is going to work his butt off. So those concerns that others might have, we didn’t have.

Q:  He is a three-down player?

A:  Yeah. He has to develop his pass rush. That wasn’t his strength as a pass rusher. Right now we would throw him in there as a two-down run stopper and develop his pass rush.

Q:  You wanted to get bigger – last year you picked up Shaun Rogers. This year you brought in Hankins.

A:  You always want big bodies. You have to win with big bodies in this league. It starts up front on both sides of the ball. We think we have done a good job with that – with our first two picks. We will see what happens the rest of the draft. But we wanted to get bigger, more physical up front, and we really think we have done that with these first two.


Coughlin: Two defensive players today to help our defense – take care of the front. Run stopper in Hankins, a young kid. They are both young; one being primarily a defensive tackle that has outstanding first and second-down run-stopping ability. The other kid, Damontre Moore, has great production – 12 ½ sacks – 26 ½ over his career, 21 TFL’s; a very, very good effort player on Saturday. He has some issues, I think, during the week, which we will have to address in terms of preparation and practice mentality, that type of thing. But he is young, just 20 years old. Hankins just turned 21. So we have three young guys in the fold – an offensive lineman, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. And so at the end of the day we feel good about where we are.

Q:  What about last year’s performance by the defensive line…?

A:  Well, you have to continue to build. We were 31st in the league on defense. I think that is enough said.

Q:  This is like a return to old time football – big bodies up front.

A:  Like to. Yeah, for us – for me – I’ll speak just for me – that is where it starts – up front. And you have to continue to develop and build. Be strong up there – competitive. We have good players here. We have just added some players to the mix and hopefully the competition will make our team better.

Q:  You see other trends going – teams going in a different direction – small players up front. Why, for you, is it important to stick with the big guys up front?

A:  Well, we are in the NFC East. We do have two teams now – one of which has established itself as running the option. However, if you  look at their offense, the plays that hurt you the most are the power-type plays – the dive, the zone run, and of course when the quarterback keeps the football. In Philadelphia that will change a little bit as well. But we still have Dallas and the Giants in this division that are primarily the run game that we have to come to acknowledge here as the professional football running game. We don’t run the quarterback – at least we try not to – and leave the running game to the front and the runners.

Q:  Last year there were some issues on defense at linebacker and the secondary. Do you think addressing up front helps take care of some of these issues?

A:  That is what has presented itself right now. We know it doesn’t take care of your linebacker issues; it doesn’t take care of your secondary issues. But if we can do a better job of stopping the run, those two areas will be naturally affected in a positive way. But we have addressed what we can. We have had three picks and the three picks have been represented by linemen. So that is a good thing. So where can we go and what can we do to continue to invest in some new talent; some competitive players that can come in and challenge, so we’ll see throughout the rest of the draft and what is left of free agency.

Q:  Are these two guys polished enough to be able to make immediate contributions?

A:  Basically they have to. You have to bring them in and they have a lot to learn. They have to understand principles and values and how you do things. They are young but the nature of the business in the game today is they have to help us.


Q: What were you anticipating tonight?

A: I was just anticipating hearing my name get called on TV. I’ve been working hard for this moment and all my family and my support – my coaches. I felt like this was a good pick for me and I’m ready to work hard and keep going.

Q: Did you know the Giants were interested?

A: Yeah, I knew they had a little interest in me and I talked to them a couple times but it was just so much building up to this moment. Just to get that call from the New York Giants and just be able to play for them and the history they have of winning championships. I’m ready to come along and help as much as I can.

Q: Can you rush the passer?

A: I feel like I can rush the passer. One of my strong points is stopping the run so I’m working on my pass rushing techniques. I’m working on getting that a lot better so I can be a complete D-tackle.

Q: What did the Giants talk to you about?

A: They basically talked to me about coming in and contributing to the defense and doing the best that I can and hopefully be a starter one day but just come in and make a good impression and help the team out.

Q: How did your career at Ohio State prepare you to play in the NFL?

A: It helped tremendously well from just my physical aspect with my weight and getting me stronger. Then when it comes to the game, just watching film and knowing what the offense is going to do before the play even happens and just the tradition there just getting guys to the league was just a great asset for me and they prepared me really well.

Q: Have you compared yourself to DT Shaun Rogers?

A: We have a nice comparison. He’s a dominant defensive tackle in the league. Playing, I feel like we both have kind of a sort of a similarity to our game but I’m going to learn from him and try to get better.

Q: Do you see yourself as a rarity as a player?

A: Yes, I see that. I feel like being the way I am, 325 pounds. You don’t really see too many big guys running from sideline to sideline making plays. Just playing defensive end and all of the positions on the defensive front, I feel like I’m probably one of the best and I feel like I’m the best so I’m going to keep working hard to help the team be good.

Q: How many plays were you on the field for in a college game?

A: I basically this past season played the whole game. With Coach Meyer, he never wanted his starters off the field so that’s one thing while I was getting ready for the offseason I was trying to get in better shape because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to come off the field. Plus, I love the game. I really don’t want to come off the field so I took the challenge of playing all of those snaps and I feel like I did pretty well at it.

Q: Did you think you had a chance to go in the first round?

A: It was a chance but things happen. Some teams saw who they wanted and who they wanted to pick but right now I’m just happy and blessed that I get the opportunity to play right now.

Q: Where are you right now, are you with your family?

A: Yeah, I’m with my family back home in Detroit.

Q: Are you able to come to the rookie minicamp?

A: Yeah, I think I’ll be there for the rookie camp.

Q: I assume you grew up a Lions fan?

A: Not really, I was really a defensive guy. I liked teams with good defense. I liked to watch the Patriots and the Steelers. I’m just more of a football player, not just a fan of a single team.

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3rd Round – DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, 6-4, 250lbs, 4.95

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a two-year starter. 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.


Reese: We’ve got two defensive linemen, we’ve got a defensive tackle and a defensive end. Two really good football players. We’ve got a big guy that can hold the point inside, tough against the run game –big bodies. Both of these kids are really young players, so you like that about them. Big Hank is just a powerful inside presence, played a lot of snaps. They played him a lot. You like that about him that he can have the stamina to stay and play. That probably affected his game a little bit on the back end because I think he ran out of gas sometimes when we watched him, but early on when he gets going, he’s a tremendous inside big thick young player against the run game and against the pass. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he gets some pressure up the middle. He can push the pocket up the middle. He can snap some heads back with his initial contact so he can push that pocket back. We think he can be a great addition, a young player. The defensive end (Damontre Moore), he is sacks. When you think about him, he’s a young kid, he’s 20 years old. In three years he got almost 26 ½ sacks, 26 ½ sacks is what he’s got, had 12 ½ this past season, I believe. He’s an edge rusher, tremendous upside for us- too good a value for us to pass up.

Q: Why did Moore slip to the Third Round?

A: I’m not sure because early on people had him ranked pretty high. You listen to the people who rank college players and he was ranked pretty high. We were a little surprised he was up there that long with his sack production, but you can’t pass guys with that kind of sack production so it was a decision we made to go and go get him right there with that pick.

Q: Is his history with marijuana a concern at all?

A: Well, we’re always concerned if that’s an issue with players. We do extensive background information, get extensive background information. I think that it’s a situation where we can handle that. His off-field issues, which I don’t think are significant, I think that we can handle. If he has any issues, I think that we can handle it.

Q: Does the youth of Damontre Moore make him a project?

A: It makes him a kid that has a lot to learn. He’s got a tremendous upside. He plays three years, he’s a junior, so he can come in here with (Defensive Line Coach) Robert Nunn, who does a tremendous job with our defensive line. He’ll learn a lot right way. He’s one of those kids that can play on your special teams. He’s got a pretty unique skill set.

Q: Will Damontre Moore play exclusively on the defensive line?

A: I think he’s probably going to be penciled in as a defensive end and again all young players we get that can run; they play on special teams for us as well.

Q: Do you think a guy like Moore has the ability to step in as a rookie and be a situational pass rusher?

A: We hope so. It’ll create some competition. It’s going to be great competition all over our football team and I love that because it only makes your football team better when you have competition at a lot of different positions- we will have that. We will definitely have that.

Q: With Moore’s measurable, is there any comparison to DE Mathias Kiwanuka ?

A: He was 260 at his Pro Day so he’s a little bit heavy and again he’s 20 years old, so guys mature, their bodies mature, and they’ll get stronger. He’s already gained 10 pounds since the Combine. I think Kiwi is a bigger frame. Their lower body is probably similar but obviously Kiwi has been around for a while. He’s definitely matured and filled out, but there could be comparisons drawn if you look at their lower body. Yeah, that’s not a bad comparison.

Q: Did he play some linebacker during his college career?

A: Not a lot, I don’t think he played a lot of that linebacker stuff. When you see him a lot of times, they do rush him inside a lot but he’s off the edge most of the time. The thing I like, he plays hard. Guys that play hard, you can coach them to do the rest because this guy plays hard. He plays with a nasty streak and we think he’s got a tremendous upside.


Ross: Highly productive, well that’s the first thing. The guy’s production is off the charts when you compare him to people who got picked ahead of him at his position. Just look at the stats. In our view, the things we liked, we think good NFL players were good college players; productive NFL players were productive college players, and this guy epitomizes that. He’s only 20 years old. He has a world of talent. He’s athletic. He plays hard. A little bit leaner body frame, he has to grow into his body. He has 35-inch arms. He’s physical at the point of attack with the upper body. Tons of upside, but this guy, he’s a football player who makes plays.

Q: How good is he against the run?

A: He’s good. Right now with his body, the lower-body stoutness needs some development but he’s powerful and strong in his upper body using his arm length to snatch guys. When he gets his hands on guys, he can really control them. He does get swallowed up some if they get on him but if he gets his arms on people, he’s hard to handle and he’s really athletic in space. He makes plays all the way down the field and in the backfield. You look at his tackle for loss production and it’s amazing. So he’s really athletic once he gets in the backfield.

Q: Sacking ability is a highly coveted skill. Why did he last so long if that is one of his strongest traits?

A: Some people may have gotten scared off at the Combine when he ran so slow and didn’t lift that well. A Terrell Suggs, a Trent Cole, a Derrick Burgess ran really slow but played fast on tape; things off the field that people may not have been comfortable with where he just needs to grow up. He’s only 20. He needs to be a professional a little bit. He’s a good kid who loves to play. Those may have been a couple of reasons.

Q: Did he interview okay at the Combine?

A: Yes, he interviewed okay for us. But when you see a guy run 4.9 when guys are running 4.5s and 4.6s, people jump all over that number as opposed to the 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss numbers.

Q: Did you target him as a guy who might fall because of these issues?

A: Yes. We felt good that he wasn’t going to be a first round pick. I thought he might go at the end of two, so we had him in a good spot. But, again, nothing surprises you in the draft. You have to be prepared for everything. You have to stack your board for how you like the players. We were glad he was there. He was too good to pass up at that point.

Q: Is he strictly a defensive end?

A: No. He stands up there and does everything for them. They (Texas A&M) had a special joker role for him, they kind of called it there. He had his hand on the ground, he stood up. Our coaches are excited to use him in different ways. You’ve seen some of our guys do that hybrid role. Kiwi’s been up and down. He has a skill set to do a little bit of both. But he won’t be strictly a linebacker for us. It’ll be more of a hybrid role.

Q: Who does he remind you of?

A: Damontre Moore. He has his own type of unique skill set. He’s athletic, has really long arms, can bend. He’s explosive with his closing burst—nobody who I can say… When I watched him, it didn’t jump out that he reminded me of anybody. He was pretty unique.

Q: He didn’t lift or run well, so what made you like him?

A: Twelve and a half (sacks) and 21 (tackle for losses).

Q: Then why test him?

A: That’s a good question. That’s a good question. At the Combine you have to do it. Every year there are Combine stars and there are non stars, And there are always good players who get to the Combine who don’t fare as well and that fall off the board, and there are always guys who maybe aren’t good players and go to the Combine and tear it up and they get ascended. It’d be good to track those guys and see at the Combine to see how the guys who run the fastest, how they turn out, the guys who lift the most, how they turn out. It’d be a good thing for you guys to check out.

Q: Coach Coughlin mentioned his work ethic, specifically during practice. What did you gather on that topic?

A: Well, he just needs to learn how to be a professional to know what it takes day-in-and-day-out – what it takes to prepare. When you’re a star in college, sometimes you try to get away with a little bit more. He has to learn to do that. We feel we have a support network with, number one, Coach Coughlin, his position coach and our player development staff that will help him out.

Q: With your first three picks, it looks like your approach was to get bigger and stronger in the trenches. Was that basically the philosophy?

A: Yes. Earlier when we were talking about the other guys, it’s always good to get strong up front. But we didn’t go into our draft meetings saying ‘We’re definitely going to take two defensive linemen or two offensive linemen.’ Those just happened to be the guys there and who we coveted at the time.

Q: Did you get a chance to ask Damontre about his workout numbers at the Combine?

A: Yes, (defensive line coach) Robert Nunn was down at his workout, his Pro Day. Our area scout Donnie Etheridge was there. We’ve been in communication with him. Charles Way has talked to him a lot, so we’ve invested a lot of time into him. We’ve talked a lot to him, we like him as a person and we’re comfortable with bringing him here.

Q: Were those his true numbers or was he just having a bad day?

A: He upped his bench press when he got to his Pro Day. He tweaked his hamstring trying to run his 40 (yard dash) so he didn’t get to run that but he is a lot better. His shuttles are very high. His jumps and shuttles are very high, it was just his 40 didn’t correlate to his explosiveness on the field, but his 20-yard shuttle, his 3-cone shuttle, his vertical-jump, and his broad-jump were extremely high.

Q: Will he play at 260 pounds?

A: Even more, his body has got to fill out. He’ll get thicker in the upper body so he might get up to about 265, 270, eating right, training, full-time job. I mean these guys always get bigger.


Coughlin: Two defensive players today to help our defense – take care of the front. Run stopper in Hankins, a young kid. They are both young; one being primarily a defensive tackle that has outstanding first and second-down run-stopping ability. The other kid, Damontre Moore, has great production – 12 ½ sacks – 26 ½ over his career, 21 TFL’s; a very, very good effort player on Saturday. He has some issues, I think, during the week, which we will have to address in terms of preparation and practice mentality, that type of thing. But he is young, just 20 years old. Hankins just turned 21. So we have three young guys in the fold – an offensive lineman, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. And so at the end of the day we feel good about where we are.

Q:  What about last year’s performance by the defensive line…?

A:  Well, you have to continue to build. We were 31st in the league on defense. I think that is enough said.

Q:  This is like a return to old time football – big bodies up front.

A:  Like to. Yeah, for us – for me – I’ll speak just for me – that is where it starts – up front. And you have to continue to develop and build. Be strong up there – competitive. We have good players here. We have just added some players to the mix and hopefully the competition will make our team better.

Q:  You see other trends going – teams going in a different direction – small players up front. Why, for you, is it important to stick with the big guys up front?

A:  Well, we are in the NFC East. We do have two teams now – one of which has established itself as running the option. However, if you  look at their offense, the plays that hurt you the most are the power-type plays – the dive, the zone run, and of course when the quarterback keeps the football. In Philadelphia that will change a little bit as well. But we still have Dallas and the Giants in this division that are primarily the run game that we have to come to acknowledge here as the professional football running game. We don’t run the quarterback – at least we try not to – and leave the running game to the front and the runners.

Q:  Last year there were some issues on defense at linebacker and the secondary. Do you think addressing up front helps take care of some of these issues?

A:  That is what has presented itself right now. We know it doesn’t take care of your linebacker issues; it doesn’t take care of your secondary issues. But if we can do a better job of stopping the run, those two areas will be naturally affected in a positive way. But we have addressed what we can. We have had three picks and the three picks have been represented by linemen. So that is a good thing. So where can we go and what can we do to continue to invest in some new talent; some competitive players that can come in and challenge, so we’ll see throughout the rest of the draft and what is left of free agency.

Q:  Do you foresee (Damontre) Moore as a big production sack guy in the NFL?

A:  That is why we brought him in here. He has outstanding quickness. You look at his 40 time and you are going to say well, it is not what you would think. But there was a big split in those times in Indianapolis and he does play faster than the time you are probably going to refer back to. But his quickness and his shuttles were outstanding. So from me to you, he is as quick as it is.

Q:  Are these two guys polished enough to be able to make immediate contributions?

A:  Basically they have to. You have to bring them in and they have a lot to learn. They have to understand principles and values and how you do things. They are young but the nature of the business in the game today is they have to help us.

Q:  There are different styles of pass rushers, defensive ends. Do you see Moore as more of a Strahan or Osi?

A:  I wouldn’t do that to him or to any player that has been here. Let’s see what he is.

Q:  It seems as if your picks were pretty quick. Were the picks pretty clear cut?

A:  No, there were long discussions. We usually start four, five or six players out and discuss those players that surround our pick just in case we would lose somebody. So there was deliberation and discussion about each of them. But the conclusions were made with plenty of time on the clock.

Q:  With three rounds in the books, how would you grade out the first three rounds. I know you always look for the best player available.

A:  That is what you do. For us it has come in that capacity. We did talk about – really at length a number of players that presented themselves in the second and the third round taking into consideration from some other spots. But in reality the highest graded player is where we went.

Q:  Each time?

A:  Each time

Q:  Is it a challenge to get the different pieces to be able to do different things defensively as you may go week to week?

A:  It is always a challenge. The faster you are, the better you are. Then your adaptability is quite obvious. But you have your position specifics and you do have to be flexible enough to defend and attack whatever the opponent presents.


Q: How did it feel when you found out the Giants were taking you?

A: It was a breathtaking moment. It will be something that I will always remember.

RE: On adding to the history of the Giants successful defensive line…

A: Yes. I’m looking forward to just coming in and learning from the best in the game. There are so many talented people there. I just want to come in closed-mouth and open-minded and let everything soak in because they have such a successful history and so many talented people there.

Q: How good of a pass rusher do you think you are?

A: I think I’m pretty good but that was in the past. I’m just looking forward to coming in and proving myself right now.

Q: Do you compare yourself to anyone as a pass rusher?

A: No. I just compare myself to me. I go in and try to do what I do and not try to be anyone else. I just try to go out there and give the best effort I can.

Q: How did it feel to drop to the third round?

A: I wasn’t expecting it but in the same token, anything can happen so I wasn’t expecting to wait but this is a great opportunity for me to play the game that I love. Just because I didn’t go as high as other people thought I was going to go, it doesn’t really make a difference because at the end of the day, I still get to play the game I love. It really didn’t matter.

Q: Did you think your Combine performance was the reason you slipped?

A: To be honest with you, there could be many a reason and that probably is one of the reasons but that all happened in the past and I’m ready to look forward and start anew.

Q: Do you think your college production will translate to the NFL?

A: I would like to hope so. I’m going to go in there and give the best I can and listen to everyone there and take in all the knowledge. Hopefully it can (translate). I just want to contribute to the team and just help the team win.

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4th Round – QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, 6-2, 227lbs, 4.95

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-year starter. 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.


Reese: (Ryan) Nassib, the highest player on our board, so we talked about it early this morning that if he was still there, there was no way we were going to pass him up again because he has too much value. We’ve been thinking about developing a quarterback behind Eli (Manning) for a while now and we think this is a perfect opportunity for us to get a young quarterback with a lot of talent – very smart, high test score, very productive, and again the value was too high for us to move on from. When (USC Quarterback Matt) Barkley went, we were like, ‘Wow, this guy is not going to be there’ and so we thought it was in our best interest to move up a few spots if we could and we made several calls and finally got somebody who wanted to make the trade and we did it.

Q: It’s interesting that you pick a guy who is highly rated, but I assume you hope he doesn’t ever really play for you?

A: Yeah, if he doesn’t ever play, that would be great. That’s a good problem to have. If he needs to play, we’re hoping that whatever time that is that he’ll be up and ready to go if it ever happens that way. With respect to how many quarterbacks we’ll keep on the roster, we don’t know. We used to keep three quarterbacks all the time and I think we went to two for the last several years and usually have a guy on the practice squad. We could very well keep three quarterbacks, so we’ll make that decision when it’s time. Right now we have four quarterbacks on the roster.

Q: Does he have special teams value?

A: No, he’s just a quarterback. I don’t think it’s in our best interest to play him on special teams.

Q: You said that you have been trying to develop a young quarterback for years and you actively moved up to get this guy…

A: Well, the value was there. He was just too much value. To be honest, we thought the kid would probably get picked in the second round over there and we over here in the fourth round and he’s still on the board so it just makes sense for us to take the value.

Q: Did you talk to him?

A: (Head) Coach (Tom) Coughlin talked to him.

Q: I imagine it was an unusual conversation?

A: Again, you can never be surprised during the draft. Anything can happen and they can happen quickly, so he may be a little bit surprised but I think he’s very excited about coming over here.

Q: What grade did you have on him?

A: I can’t tell you that. We had a good grade on him.

Q: Why do you think he dropped?

A: I’m not sure. You never know why guys drop but we think he has the skill set to be a starter at some point in the league. We think he could be a terrific backup but we’ll see where it goes.

Q: Do you expect to take four quarterbacks to training camp?

A: We’re not sure yet, we’ll see. We’ll see how the spring goes. We’re not sure we’ll take four quarterbacks to camp. I can’t answer that right now.

Q: Would you have traded up to get USC quarterback Matt Barkley if he was available?

A: We didn’t have Barkley rated as high.

Q: What is it that you like about his game?

A: He’s got the arm strength. We like the accuracy about him. We like that “it” factor on him. When I first watched him he reminded me of the quarterback at Cincinnati (Andy Dalton) that played at TCU. He reminded me of Dalton in some ways when I first saw him, but our scouts liked him. Our coaches like him. Our quarterbacks coach (Sean Ryan) likes him. Too much value, we pick the highest guy on the board. He’s the highest guy on the board, we picked him.

Q: Was he your highest rated quarterback?

A: He was not.

Q: How do you determine when the right time is to develop a quarterback?

A: Well, you never know. Again, you always think about we have Eli in the prime of his career and you actually hope this quarterback never plays. Again, what if something happens? We want to have a guy ready to go and this guy fits the pattern that we need.

Q: Do you think he can challenge David Carr for the backup job?

A: Well, it’ll be some competition, there that’s for sure. We like competition at every position.

Q: It’s a different dynamic now in the QB room with a younger guy there…

A: Yeah, well I don’t think that’s a big deal one way or the other but it’ll be competition for that number two spot, that’s for sure.

Q: With Eli and Carr over 30 years old, was there some desire to get younger at backup quarterback?

A: We’re just looking for a good player to be the backup quarterback and we’re fortunate enough to secure this young guy and we’ll see where it goes. Again, maybe he’ll never play here. We hope Eli plays for long, long time and maybe this young man will never play but if he has to play, we think he has a good skill set to help us win football games.


Ross: Ryan Nassib, the quarterback, where we were picking, he was just too good of a value. We came in this morning and he was sticking out there and we talked about it, went over it, and just said if this guy is still around or close to our range, we should really consider something happening with him. The guy, when I look at quarterbacks, I don’t look at arm strength and all that. That stuff is secondary to me. I look at guys who are leaders and winners and raise the level of their team and when they’re on the field they have a presence about them and some moxie to them. Those are the attributes to me that stood out with him. I saw him play twice this year when USC played here and then up in the snow in the bowl game up in Yankee Stadium. Then at the Senior Bowl. This guy just has a presence about him around his team, and then at the Senior Bowl around guys he didn’t know. Those are the winning attributes for me that I look for in quarterbacks.

Q: Do you think Ryan Nassib should have gone in the 1st or 2nd round?

A: In our process, in our meetings, we obviously ranked the quarterbacks and kind of project where they’re going to go and I was surprised he did not go higher than he did. I would not have thought that he would have lasted this long.

Q: Is it strange to draft someone that you hope doesn’t play as in the case of Ryan Nassib?

A: Of course, every draft pick you want to be a Hall of Famer even though that’s not the reality, but with taking Ryan, there’s nothing like having a security blanket like that where we think he can be an excellent backup with the ability to start in time. Whether that’s here or for someone else, we don’t know. I understand what Jerry (Reese) is saying. Of course you want an Eli Manning to play and stay healthy and be there, but we think Ryan has a starter upside and starter ability. Hopefully that flourishes while he’s here.

Q: Do you adjust your priorities when you see a player like Ryan Nassib still available?

A: Well, you don’t adjust your priorities. Last night you’re aware, you’re looking at the board, then when you come in, you’ve got a good night’s sleep, you’re a little more focused, we get together, Jerry (Reese) and I get together, Coach (Tom Coughlin), John Mara, we get together and say ‘alright, well, we can’t ignore what we’re seeing.’ We go through this whole process of ranking guys and our scouts go on the road to get all this information and write reports and we do all this for a reason and it’s not just to be grabbing because we think we need a person here or there but because this is who we think is the best player. It was obvious he was the best player by far that we had, so is he the most needed person? No, but if something happens to the guy that’s starting, yeah, he was the highest priority in the draft for us.

Q: Is it fair to say that Ryan Nassib really didn’t become a part of the conversation until you met this morning?

A: Well, we just didn’t really talk about it last night. It was just this morning we talked about it but last night was just let’s close up shop and let’s get home and get some rest.


Coughlin: We were pleased with the quarterback move. We thought we had to do that. The value was there beyond a doubt for us in that round. So we moved up to take him…What we had to do to get the quarterback was well worth the other pick.

Q:  You have been a two-quarterback roster team. Is there room for three now?  Do you want these veterans and rookie battling it out for the No. 2 job?

A:  That will be the best thing that we can get is the competition. And then we will make a decision as we go through camp in terms of whether we would want to be a two- or a three-quarterback operation. And that is all in front of us. But the competitiveness will be good for us in that regard. And I like the fact that we will go to camp, we will see where we are numbers-wise at that point in time.

Q:  You have had a stable quarterback situation. Does this change the dynamics at the quarterback position?

A:  It is still very stable. Stable is a great word. It is probably even more stable. That is all we have done is bring a young guy to learn from our exceptional quarterback and that is where we are.

Q:  You traded up for him?

A:  In the fourth round.

Q:  Do you prefer two, if possible?

A:  Well, you do if you can save the roster spot. Sure, you do. But you always have to make that decision as you go forward. What is in the best interest of the team?

Q:  You are a quarterback guy. What do you think of this quarterback – what is his upside?

A:  I like the kid. The kid was graded really basically right where we took him. He could have gone in the third round, I’m sure. We were worried about that. But he has got outstanding leadership qualities. And the way in which he directs and leads his team, the intangibles, he does have a strong arm. Those are the things that attract. He is a very, very intelligent young man. Of course, he went to a great school.

Q:  At the same time right after that pick Jerry came in here and said that he hoped that he would never play. Is that how you see it?

A:  Well, maybe 10 years from now. I like the guy we have playing. That is what Jerry meant.

Q:  What made you interested in him?

A:  I think it was value. I think it was the value of the player and where he sat. Timing is everything. There could be a year when you walk in and you need something desperately, but you can’t arrange it. So by being able to – the philosophy that has always been practiced by the New York Giants is ‘best player, best player, best player.’  And that is what happened here.

Q:  You have always had a backup that is older than Eli. Would it be interesting to you if you have a backup that is a rookie?

A:   Paul, I have said what I am saying about that. We will see what happens. We will see how that works out at camp. This is a great opportunity for Ryan because he is going to be in the classroom with Eli Manning. That is going to be a tremendous learning experience. There is no way you can put a value on that for him. Now on top of that, he is a really sharp kid. He will learn; he will grow. He will learn by watching Eli. And when he gets opportunities in camp he will take full advantage of that and we will go from there.

Q:  Have you reached out to Eli today?

A:  No, I haven’t talked with him. I’m sure I will, I will see him tomorrow when he comes in to work. He knows he is our guy – he is our quarterback. He will be that way for hopefully a long, long time. He is coming into his prime, maybe. Maybe in a couple of more years, he will be in his prime.

Q:  I guess what I am asking – you are kind of asking him to take on a newer role.

A:  No. I’m asking him to win a world championship and take the rest of us with him – that kind of thing.


Q:  How are you doing?

A:  I’m doing well.

Q:  Are you surprised both that how long you lasted in the draft and the team that ended up taking you?

A:  I’m a little bit surprised at how long I lasted. Everyone was just hyping me up, I guess. But I was even more surprised by the Giants. Brief to nearly any conversations with them. So it all came as a big surprise.

Q:  How does it feel being the backup to a guy who hasn’t missed a game since 2005?

A:  I’m just so excited for the opportunity. I understand that he is a durable quarterback. I always compared myself to Eli. And it is crazy that I’m going to be playing with him. He is a tough, durable, smart guy; doesn’t say much. That is the kind of quarterback I always wanted to be. Being able to sit behind him and learn from him – like some great quarterbacks did in the past – learn from an elite veteran like the Aaron Rogers of the world – it is going to be a great opportunity for me.

Q:  Early on in this process there was a lot of talk about you being a first-rounder and a lot of people pared you with your old coach up in Buffalo. Did you think that that was a possibility with him to go that high?

A:  Yeah, I always thought that I was a first round talent. That is just the way you think of yourself when you are confident and you are… I thought the situation with Buffalo was going to go a little bit different, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t be happier where I am now. I won’t have to step in right away and play. It is a place where I can sit behind an elite quarterback and learn from him and just keep developing and just be ready to play if, God forbid, anything were happen.

Q:  What does it mean to you to be playing relatively close to home?

A:  It means a lot. My family is ecstatic right now. They were all nervous that I was going to be going far away. So now I’m going to be only an hour and a half down the road. So it will be great.

Q: When Buffalo took a different quarterback in round one, what was your reaction?  Did you speak to Doug at all afterwards?

A:  When they picked a different quarterback, going into Thursday night, I braced myself for that actually. I braced myself for the fact that they not only might take another position, but another quarterback. So going in, I kind of had a good feel for that. It could happen and it ended up happening. I would be remiss to tell you that I was a little disappointed. But at the end of the day when one door closes, another one opens. So I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am for now being a New York Giant.

Q:  Do you get along with Justin (Pugh)?

A:  Very well. We have been together for the last three or four years. We are from the same area. And we have had many a drive home from Syracuse together. I can’t believe that out of all the situations, he and I are going to be back together.

Q: When Tom Coughlin called you what did he say to you when he called?

A:  To be honest with you, I blacked out a little bit. I didn’t really get everything but what I could get from him was that first off I have to cut my ties with the Philadelphia Eagles, which won’t be a problem. And he just complimented me on coming from a good school and being a good football player. And he told me about the great opportunity I have for playing behind Eli.

Q:  What is your scouting report on Justin Pugh as your former left tackle?

A:  He is one tough football player, I’ll tell you that much. God honest truth – there wasn’t a game I went in where I didn’t trust his ability that I knew he was going to have my blind side taken care of. Right now he has been trying to be versatile so he could play wherever. He is smart and can play wherever they need him.

Q:  There was a quote by Justin a few weeks ago where he said one of the things he likes to do was make his opponent quit. I guess the insinuation is that he has got a bit of a mean streak in him. Do you see that in him as well?

A:  Yeah, absolutely. He is one tough dude. There were many times he made his opponent quit. It is almost humorous. One guy stopped rushing him at the end of the game.

Q:  Jerry Reese said this morning they talked about trying to get you today. Did you have a sense that they would make a play for you today or did you not know until they called?

A:  I haven’t watched TV in three days. So I couldn’t tell you one thing of what was going on. So when they called it was a complete surprise.

Q:  You sound a little weary – and trying to process everything. How do you feel right now?

A:  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Going into the third day you can image how strenuous it can be on a player; especially when my expectations were a bit higher. But that is just the way it is. With the uncertainty and all of the uncertainty of where you may end or the situation you may be in, it is more of… I’m extremely relieved that I am going to one of the best organizations in the league. And I’m going to be playing behind an elite quarterback.

Q:  I know it has been a bit of a whirlwind the last half hour or so, but do you see yourself as the quarterback of the future for the Giants, or do you think your future in the league is going to ultimately wind up being somewhere else?

A:  To be honest with you, I think either one. If something were to happen to Eli, I feel like I can step in and be prepared enough to be able to take over the position. It is going to be huge shoes to fill but I’ll be ready for that. I’m ready for the challenge. He is a durable guy. God knows how he plays every game; plays every snap. And if the opportunity outside of the New York Giants happens. But right now all I’m worried about is being a New York Giant. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it.

Q:  Are you home now?

A:  I just got home. I’m in West Chester, PA.

Q:  Have you ever had a football season in which you didn’t take a snap?

A:  Yeah, my freshman year in college. It was kind of similar.

Q:  How did you handle that?

A:  It went pretty well. Because… my high school where I had really had next to no feel for the knowledge of the game coming from high school to college. So I really took my redshirt year as a year to develop, not only physically but mentally. And even though I feel like I can step in and play right now, just because of the lessons and experience I have had in college, I’m going to take this rookie year as kind of my redshirt year and develop. And be ready and be prepared like I am going to be a starter because football is a crazy game and… anything can happen.

Q:  You talked about Justin being tough. That is one of the things that keeps coming up when your name is mentioned – you are a tough quarterback. For people who haven’t seen you play in this area – Giants fans and so on – how would you scout yourself?  What do you think you best attributes are?

A:  I think my toughness is definitely one of my strongest attributes. Like Eli, I have never missed a game in college. When I was a starter I started every single game; never missed a snap. So I’m proud of the fact that I’m a durable quarterback. Also, I’m very attentive to detail. And I’m always learning; always willing to learn; always looking to learn. So I’m just trying to get better.

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5th Round – S Cooper Taylor, Richmond, 6-5, 229lbs, 4.49

SCOUTING REPORT: 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.


Reese: Cooper Taylor from Richmond is a transfer from Georgia Tech – big size-speed safety that we think has a really nice upside. I can envision him honestly on special teams with that size and speed. I can envision him being that third safety in some the three-safety looks that (defensive coordinator) Perry Fewell likes to use sometimes. A big, tough guy, we like his skill set. He’s got some redeeming qualities that we liked and he’ll create some competition in the backfield with our safety group.

Q: Is Cooper Taylor’s heart condition a concern?

A: Nothing significant for our trainers and doctors right now. They cleared him and they don’t really have any real concerns.


Ross: Cooper Taylor, just at that point in the draft we think we got a hidden gem there. This guy is big, fast, smart, plays the game the right way. He does a lot of things for Richmond. They line him up at multiple positions. You’ll see him in the box; you’ll see him back deep. He covers the slot. Productive there. He transferred from Georgia Tech, but we think this guy has got a lot of upside. Sent our (secondary-safeties) coach (David) Merritt down there to work him out-a private workout and he was really impressed by him. We had him in for a visit. The kid is really smart. Loves football, so we think he has a ton of upside.


Coughlin: Cooper Taylor is the young safety who has the great, great numbers – 6-4 plus, 228. Really good test score – 4.45 range. He had four interceptions, 78 tackles this past year. We are hoping that he is going to come in and apply all of the tools that he has right away there in the secondary for us.

Q: It sounds like some teams were interested in Taylor as a linebacker. Do you see him more as a safety?

A:  Well, he is a safety by trade but you drop him down in that three-safety package or whatever you want to do in terms of – you substitute a defense whether he plays an outside backer or whatever. That is all going to have to be determined when we get him in here.

Q:  Jerry (Reese) talked about his heart condition. Are you guys confident that is not going to be an issue here?

A:  Yes. That was all discussed. We had our medical meetings and all that was indicated and discussed. The doctors gave us the green light.

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7th Round – OG Eric Herman, Ohio, 6-4, 320lbs, 5.21

SCOUTING REPORT: Four-year starter. Herman is a big, strong mauler who is a better run blocker than pass blocker. He lacks ideal athleticism and arm length. Herman can overpower opposing defenders, but he sometimes struggles with quickness and speed. Aggressive, physical, and competitive. Herman is a better in-line blocker than space player – not great at pulling or getting to the second level. Hard worker who could develop into a solid right guard.


Reese: Eric Herman, guard from Ohio, a big, tough, nasty guard. We really liked him. We’d been looking at him on the board for a while there and we were hoping that if he could get to the seventh row he’d be a nice pick for us at that spot. He’ll create some competition at the guard position – tough, hard-nosed, big football player.


Ross: Eric Herman, from Ohio University, is just a tough, nasty brawler as a guard. I mean this guy is just physical. He likes contact. He plays hard. Not the most gifted athlete, but he’s just a tough guy and he’s big. A big, smart, tough guy and we think he’ll bring a physical presence to the line.


Coughlin: Eric Herman, a tough guy, another offensive lineman. He is a guy that will slug it out and battle with you. So a great spot for him right there.

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7th Round – RB Michael Cox, Massachusetts, 6-2, 220lbs, 4.60

SCOUTING REPORT: Michigan transfer. Cox is a big, strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well.


Reese: Last pick we made was (Michael) Cox, the running back from UMass. We brought him in for one of our visits here and we really like him. I think their team is moving up a division and they were really kind of out-manned this year and you don’t see a lot of production, but if you look closely and do what us scouts do, we’re excited about him. We think he’s got a chance. He’s a big and powerful elusive guy with speed, so he’s got a lot of things that we like about him.

Q: Did Michael Cox play much at the University of Michigan?

A: Yeah, he’s a transfer. I’m not sure what his background is from Michigan but I know he definitely transferred. Marc Ross could probably give you more information and background on that.


Ross: Michael Cox, another guy we think is a little bit of an under the radar guy. If you look at his stats at UMass, they aren’t that impressive but he gets the ball and there are two guys in the backfield, he’s trying to make everything on his own there. Runs hard, he’s got size, he’s got really, really good hands, excellent hands, got a little burst to him. We had him in for a visit, real good kid. Our coaches were impressed with him so we were happy we’re getting a big, fast guy who runs hard that late in the draft.

Q: Is Michael Cox 6’3” 214 pounds?

A: He’s all of that, yeah. He’s around that 6’1 ½ , 6’2” range. He’s big and strong.

Q: Did he play at all for Michigan?

A: He was a backup there. He probably got about 19 carries while he was there.


Coughlin: Michael Cox, the good sized running back that puts together the size and the speed. He will come in here and battle and compete. And that is what we need is competition at that spot as well.

Q:  The first three guys you drafted were pretty young. Is Cox really going to be 25 in November?

A:  What I have is 24 so it could be. He transferred so he went through that process. But I have 24.

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Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

* Failed physical at Giants’ rookie mini-camp in May.

RB Jeremy Wright, Louisville, 5-10, 205lbs, 4.49 (Video)
Junior entry. Wright lacks ideal size but he has good speed. He catches the football very well out of the backfield. Wright has experience as a return specialist.

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 233lbs, 4.55 (Video)
Davis is an extremely well-built, fluid athlete with very good size, leaping ability, and long arms. He has an impressive size-speed package and can get deep with his long strides. Davis is not explosive in his initial release and he needs a lot of work on his route running. Davis lacks natural hands, but runs well after the catch. Davis’ biggest issue may be his character. He does not give much of an effort when blocking and his maturity and competitiveness have been questioned.

TE Morgan Newton, Kentucky, 6-4, 240lbs, 4.83
Newton played quarterback for most of his career at the University of Kentucky before switching to tight end early in his final season. He did not catch any passes as a senior.

* TE Chase Clement, LSU, 6-5, 265lbs, 4.86
Clement converted to tight from defensive end. He has good size and strength and could develop as a blocking-type tight end with better technique. He was not used much as a receiver in college with only 14 career receptions in four seasons. Lacks speed.

LB Etienne Sabino, Ohio State, 6-2, 247lbs, 4.72 (Video)
Sabino was a highly recruited high school linebacker who had a disappointing overall career at Ohio State, but he started to come on as a senior despite breaking his leg. He could project to either middle or outside linebacker. Sabino is a well-built athlete with good agility, quickness, and speed. He flashes ability to run-and-hit as well as take-on-and-shed. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts. Sabino should do well on special teams. Good intangibles – mature and coachable.

LB Charles Dieuseul, Mount Union, 5-11, 235lbs, 4.58 (Video)
Dieuseul lacks ideal size, but he is a fast linebacker who hits like a ton of bricks. Dieuseul was used at both linebacker and defensive end at Mount Union.

CB Charles James, Charleston Southern, 5-9, 176lbs, 4.50 (Video)
Two-year starter. 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.

CB Junior Mertile, Florida International, 6-1, 197lbs, 4.49
Mertile has good size and excellent speed.

S Alonzo Tweedy, Virginia Tech, 6-1, 197lbs, 4.40
Part-time starter in LB/S role at Virginia Tech. Tweedy is a special teams stud.

S John Stevenson, Georgia Southern, 5-11, 197, 4.38
Stevenson lacks classic safety size, but played both safety and linebacker in college. Stevenson has very good speed. He is smart and hard working with good leadership traits.

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Eric’s Take on the 2013 Draft

With only eight picks heading into the draft, the Giants were not going to be able to address all of their “need” areas. That’s just the way it is. And by trading away one of their picks (sixth round selection) and drafting a quarterback at what was widely-regarded as a non-need position, that left only six picks to address perceived needs.

What I liked about the Giants draft is they spent four of their seven picks addressing the offensive and defensive lines. In addition, at one time or another, their four top draft picks were projected by many to be first round selections.

I usually say the success of a draft hinges on rounds 2-4. I don’t feel that way this year.  I think the success of this draft hinges on the Giants’ first pick: offensive lineman Justin Pugh. Let’s be frank, if D.J. Fluker had somehow managed to fall to #19, most of us would be claiming this draft was a homerun. But whether we want to admit it or not, the Giants were forced to settle for Pugh. That does not mean Pugh can’t become a very good player for the Giants, but many of us are wondering if the Giants reached for a tackle at #19 because they probably correctly assumed the tackles who they really liked in this draft would not make it to the second round. Pugh was probably going to be drafted in the first round, possibly by the Bears with the very next pick, so trading down would have been a huge risk if the Giants were set on getting at least Pugh out of this draft once Fluker was gone.

Drafting the seventh offensive linemen taken in the first 19 picks, and a guy who many “experts” did not consider to be a first round pick, does not sit well with many. The key question is, was this a need-over-value pick? The Giants have always claimed that need comes into play if the value is similar. If true, then the Giants are saying that they had similar grades on TE Tyler Eifert, DT Shariff Floyd, CBs Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant, and DEs Datone Jones and Bjoern Werner. Since the Giants were able to draft Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore in the next two rounds, missing out on Floyd, Jones, and Werner does not bother me that much (plus, I think the Giants had a bigger need for a 1-technique tackle like Hankins than a 3-technique tackle like Floyd). But one of those corners sure would have looked good in Blue. Same with Eifert. That said, if the Giants draft Eifert, Rhodes, or Trufant, they might not have been able to get a decent, non-developmental offensive tackle in this draft. Imagine the reaction by Giants’ fans had the Giants not drafted a quality tackle?

So maybe the Giants made the right move even if they slightly reached. Let’s look at the player. Pugh does not have ideal size, especially if he is going to play at right tackle. He’s just a little bit lacking in the height, weight, arm length, and power departments. He is a good athlete for the position. Aside from footwork, Pugh’s biggest strengths are his intelligence, on-field demeanor, and technique. He was coached by Doug Marrone, a former NFL offensive line coach, at Syracuse. And Marrone, who is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, is a big supporter of Pugh.

“Every single year he was at Syracuse, he’s been, in my opinion, the best lineman in our conference,” said Marrone. “He’s been a very productive player. I don’t know what other guy who will be drafted that can pay all five positions on the line as well as he can. You can put that kid anywhere and he’ll play well…For me, (Pugh) has all the intangibles I always look for. He’s versatile, tough, smart, plays hard, plays hurt, and finishes.”

And Marrone saw Pugh battle DE Chandler Jones (2012 Patriots #1 pick) in practice every day. He also saw him handle DE Bruce Irvin (2012 Seahawks #1 pick) and Nick Perry (2012 Packers #1 pick) in games.

“He’s a guy who usually has a smile on his face, someone who was smart enough to graduate from our university early,” said Syracuse Strength and Conditioning Coach Will Hicks. “But in practice or games, he flips a switch. He’s not one of those coolly efficient offensive linemen. He’s fierce. And at the end of a play, you better have your head on a swivel because he’s always looking to put somebody on the ground.”

“He is one tough dude,” said QB Ryan Nassib. “There were many times he made his opponent quit. It is almost humorous. One guy stopped rushing him at the end of the game.”

There are concerns. Pugh will never be a classic “power” player. He’s more technician than mauler. Pugh struggled at times at the Senior Bowl. There is also a concern that he may be a bit of a tackle/guard ‘tweener. Pugh may be able to play all five offensive line spots, but is he a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player? That remains to be seen. But because his technique is more advanced than the average rookie, and because he is so smart, Pugh should be able to compete for a starting position sooner rather than later. He is a junior and his body is still developing so he might need a year in the weight room. However, once Pugh starts, either this year or next, he is the type of guy who won’t make mental mistakes. He’ll block who he is supposed to block and usually erase that man from the play. And he is very good in space, blocking at the second level, blocking on pulls and screens. That style meshes well with HB David Wilson. The Giants will be able to call a lot of plays where Pugh is called upon to make the key block in space.

DT Johnathan Hankins. This is my favorite player the Giants drafted. He’s a classic, space-eating run stuffer. The Giants have not had this type of player on their roster in recent memory. Hankins will never be a big sack guy, but he is a better athlete than advertised and he can push the pocket.  Hankins can take on and defeat double teams and hold the point of attack. He’ll make life easier for everyone around him. The defensive ends and linebackers will miraculously all of the sudden look better because of him. And if the Giants can re-sign Linval Joseph next offseason, New York will have a big, strong duo inside for the next few years. Hankins is another young guy whose body is still developing.

DE Damontre Moore. Once considered a sure-fire first-round pick, Moore plummeted in the draft because of his poor Combine performance and off-the-field concerns. He is very young (20) and will have to grow up fast. This coaching staff and veteran defensive line should be the right fit for him however. Moore has “it”…if you don’t know what I mean by that, look at this highlight reel. He is a natural pass rusher and he is “relentless” on the playing field. “Relentless” is probably the best adjective you could ever use to describe a defensive player. Moore has not spent enough time in the weight room. That will change under this regime. Look for Moore to get bigger and stronger without hopefully losing that short-area quickness that makes him so dangerous.

QB Ryan Nassib. I have mixed emotions about this pick. The downside is that unless something terrible happens to Eli Manning or he retires before he is 36, there is a good chance that Nassib never plays any meaningful snaps for the Giants. In four seasons, Nassib will be an unrestricted free agent. So Nassib is basically an insurance policy or possibly future trade bait. Giving up two draft picks for an insurance policy may be the smart move, but it doesn’t satisfy our need for immediate gratification. The upside to this selection is that Nassib was viewed by many as a 1st-2nd round value. He has good tools, but more than that, he has the intangibles you look for in a quarterback: he’s very smart and tough, and he has a knack for making plays in the clutch.  You look for quarterbacks who make those around him better than they really are, and that’s Nassib.  It makes no sense to have a draft board and evaluate every single draftable player unless you adhere to that draft board. When the Giants began the third-day of the NFL Draft, Nassib was sticking out like a sore thumb at the top of their draft board. If you believe in the process, you make the pick. Who knows, maybe someday Nassib comes off the bench and wins a Super Bowl for the Giants just like Jeff Hostetler did.

S Cooper Taylor. Taylor is a size-speed package at safety who made a lot of plays against the run and pass in college. Whether he has the necessary fluidity/agility to eventually start at safety remains to be seen, but at the very least, given his intelligence and physical ability, he should seriously compete for the Giants’ third-safety spot (a sort of safety/linebacker ‘tweener position). On more than half the defensive snaps, many teams, including the Giants, simply get out of their base defense. It’s one of the reasons why the linebacker position has been minimized.

OG Eric Herman. If this guy can ever learn to pass block at the pro level, the Giants may have a steal. But there are questions about his overall athleticism. What we do know is Herman is a big, tough, road-grading guard who loves to not only block people, but drive them into the ground. Watch his highlights against Penn State. Pass protection is the key. If he can’t do it, he won’t make it. That’s why he lasted this long in the draft.

RB Michael Cox. Cox is a big back with some elusiveness and speed to his game. He also catches the football very well, which should help him compete for the third halfback spot behind David Wilson and Andre Brown.

What the Giants Did: The Giants invested heavily in the lines, both need positions. New York added two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen, and three of those four players were premium picks. They also added a big, smart, athletic safety and that was a need too.  Depth at running back was also addressed.

What the Giants Did Not Do: If you told me before the draft that the Giants would not draft a single cornerback or linebacker, I would have said you were nuts. But they didn’t. So while the Giants may have numbers at corner, one wonders how desperate they will be for a cornerback next offseason given the contract/performance/injury situations of Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas. At linebacker, there are quality and quantity concerns, especially if Mathias Kiwanuka is moved to defensive end. The Giants also did not add another two-way tight end.

The Giants tried to address some of this after the draft with rookie free agent signings. Ohio State linebacker Etienne Sabino was once one of the most highly-recruited players in the country. And he was coming on in his senior year. He could surprise. Charles Dieuseul is a long-shot, but I can’t get over the way this guy hits. CB Charles James is a small-school prospect who has a knack for making plays on the football. But is he big and fast enough? TE Chase Clement is a blocking tight end. WR Marcus Davis is an intriguing combination of size and athleticism. The Giants gave him a $15,000 signing bonus which tells you they really wanted him.

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