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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH JUSTIN PUGH:

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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH JOHNATHAN HANKINS: (Video – Giants.com Interview)

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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DAMONTRE MOORE:

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) (Video -NFL Network Interview)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH RYAN NASSIB:

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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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.

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

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

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.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

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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Apr 182013
 
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New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Tackle

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Defensive Tackles on the Giants Roster:

Linval Joseph – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Cullen Jenkins – 32 Years Old – Signed through 2015

Shaun Rogers – 34 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Mike Patterson – 29 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Marvin Austin – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Markus Kuhn – 26 Years Old – Signed through 2015

Bobby Skinner – 28 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

The Giants are deep along the inside of the defensive line with a good blend of youth and experience.  This is a group, when healthy, that could give opposing offenses a lot of problems because of the versatility they bring to the table.  The Giants run defense in 2012 was a problem when looking at the big picture.  The root of that problem resided at tackle where injuries piled up and lack of quality depth was exposed.  Linval Joseph is the reliable mainstay of this group.  He brings a Keith Hamilton type approach, occupying both space and blockers which can free up linebackers to roam free and make tackles.  There is actually some upside as a pass rusher and playmaking presence with him as well considering the size/quickness combination.  Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins were brought in via free agency to join 2012 acquisition Shaun Rogers to add a sense of physical presence inside.  Between those three, there could be a economic rotation of reliable and effective line-of-scrimmage-controllers.  Both Austin and Kuhn have the upside to make a difference as role players within a rotation.  They are coming off injuries and entering a crowded and competitive group of guys that are vying for roster spots and playing time.  Neither are locks to maintain a roster spot.  Skinner is a training camp body that has minimal chances of making this team.

Top 10 Grades:

Star Lotulelei – 6’3/311 – Utah: 91

Sheldon Richardson – 6’3/294 – Missouri: 87

Sharif Floyd – 6’3/297 – Florida:  84

Kawann Short – 6’3 /299– Purdue: 78

Jesse Williams – 6’4/323 – Alabama: 76

Josh Boyd – 6’3/310 – Mississippi State: 76

Johnathan Hankins – 6’3/320 Ohio State: 75

Brandon Moore – 6’5/317 – Texas: 75

Montori Hughes – 6’4/329 – Tennessee-Martin: 74

Sylvester Williams – 6’3/313 – North Carolina: 73

Early Round Target (1st-2nd):

Sheldon Richardson – Missouri

Top tier explosion off the snap.  Plays low, strong, quick.  Repeatedly beat some of his best competition one on one.  Demands a lot of attention as a pass rusher.  Quick hands with refined rush moves.  Avoids the meat of blocks, plays slippery.  Mobile behind the line of scrimmage, hard to believe he can move this way at nearly 300 pounds.  Versatile.  Plays inside and outside, handand in dirt and standing up.  Angry player that brings it week in, week out.  Can be blown off the line of scrimmage when run defending.  Does not handle the double teams well.  May not be suited for a lot of assignment football.  Background and coachability need to be looked at closely.

Richardson ends the grading process with a higher grade than Floyd on my grading sheet.  Most of what I see out there leads me to believe that Floyd will be taken way before him though.  While the need isn’t a glaring one, Richardson may have to be the pick if he somehow falls to #19.  The character concerns are there but he’s been praised by the Missouri staff for how much he has turned it around over the past year and a half.  Richardson would be a tremendous inside presence against the pass early on.  His athletic ability could make him a weapon against the popular stretch running plays and pistol offense.  He is a guy that can get in to the backfield consistently and disrupt the action.  There is always room for this kind of difference maker on any roster as long as his off the field concerns are looked in to.

Mid Round Target (3rd-5th):

Josh Boyd – Mississippi State

May lack the elite size, but Boyd is a big time presence against the inside run.  Controls the point of attack with a low, strong base and powerful punch.  Can keep blockers away from his numbers.  Quick reaction guy that can make plays along the tackle box.  Hustler that plays with excellent stamina throughout a game.  His best games were against his toughest competition.  Won’t be a pass rusher at the next level.  Doesn’t have the moves to beat guys one on one.  Doesn’t stand out as a high upside guy on any level.

Boyd was a guy that I was pleasantly surprised with when I took a closer look at him as an individual.  I saw a lot of Mississippi State in 2012, but rarely noticed him in live action.  He is one of the better blue-collar defensive linemen in this class.  There is a constant physical presence that controls the point of attack and demands attention.  He will be the kind of guy that linebackers love to play behind.  He is smart in the way he reads blocks off the snap.  Very good body control and positioning allow him to swallow double teams.  He lacks the upside of a notable player on the stat sheet, but good defensive fronts always have a guy like him in the mix.

Late Round Target (6th-Undrafted):

Brandon Moore – Texas

Has elite upside.  Huge frame that carries 315+ pounds comfortably, minimal bad weight.  Can really move in pursuit, has a quick burst and light feet.  Long arms that he uses well to keep blockers away from his numbers.  Can fire out of his stance and gain the initial advantage at the point of attack.  Strong bull rusher that collapses the pocket consistently.  Doesn’t shed blocks with his hands.  Plays too high, but it is more of a technique issue rather than a physical limitation.  Raw athlete that shows signs of dominance on one play but will look like a 3rd stringer on others.

Moore has had an interesting path to the 2013 NFL Draft.  He started off at Alabama, primed to take over for Marcell Dareus and Josh Chapman.  He was suspended and ended up in junior college prior to transferring to Texas.  He had one more year of eligibility left, but he left for financial reasons.  Moore is a diamond in the rough.  He has the tool set and athletic ability to be a terror in the NFL.  He needs to be coached up and the work ethic has to be there for him to reach his potential.  He certainly looks the part when considering his height, length, and girth.  He has shown flashes on tape of being a complete presence inside that needs to be accounted for on every down.  If he puts his best effort in to becoming a better player, Moore will be a long time starter in the NFL.

The Plan:

The Giants are host to a very deep and versatile unit along the inside of their defensive line.  With two free agent additions and the hopeful return of Rogers, Austin, and Kuhn from their respective injuries, Reese could afford to ignore this position on draft weekend.  If there is a tremendous value that falls in to their lap at any point, they will have to consider bringing one more guy in.  While the current depth chart looks strong, there are some aging veterans being relied upon.  You can never have too many defensive linemen.  Ideally, the Giants can look elsewhere during the first 5-6 rounds and look to add a Brandon Moore type in round 7 or during the undrafted free agency period.  Intra-squad competition never hurts, especially when some of the younger players in the picture have yet to prove anything that warrants a roster spot set in stone.  This is a pretty deep class of defensive tackles and a patient approach will likely be the best strategy to use.

Apr 162013
 
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New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive End

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Defensive Ends on the Giants Roster:

Justin Tuck – 30 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Jason Pierre-Paul – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2015

Mathias Kiwanuka – 30 Years Old – Signed through 2015

Adwale Ojomo – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Adrian Tracy – 26 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Justin Trattou – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Matt Broha – 23 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

What was once considered to be the one area the Giants stood out among the rest of the league has become a situation with several long term question marks.  Justin Tuck still brings the versatility to play inside-out, creating mismatches across the point of attack.  Even though his production dipped and his injuries seem to be intensifying, he still brings value because of the presence he has against blockers.  As he enters his 30 year old season, his role has changed from focal point to role player.  Where he will be over the next couple years is up in the air.  Pierre-Paul and Kiwanuka may be the starting duo we see over the next few seasons.  Both have the length, athletic ability, and power to stay on the field for a lot of snaps and produce at a high level.  Is Pierre-Paul still considered a top tier talent?  Or is he closer to the guy we saw last year?  The one that finished with 6.5 sacks and had a hard time beating tackles on on one is not what we thought he would be at this time last year.  The backups leave a lot to be desired.  They offer a current level of sub-par performance and minimal long term upside.  This is now a unit one must worry about if an injury or two arise at some point.  Ojomo and Tracy have the tools and can hold their own, but neither will be big time pass rushers.  Trattou and Broha might make the team, but won’t factor in to the team’s plans over draft weekend.

Top 10 Grades:

Ezekiel Ansah – 6’5/271 – BYU: 83

Datone Jones – 6’4/283 – UCLA: 82

Malliciah Goodman – 6’4/276 – Clemson: 80

Bjoern Werner – 6’3/266 – Florida State: 78

Sam Montgomery – 6’3/262 – LSU: 78

Cornellius Carradine – 6’4/276 – Florida State: 75

Margus Hunt – 6’8/278 – SMU: 75

William Gholston – 6’6/281 – Michigan State: 74

DaMontre Moore – 6’5/250 – Texas A&M: 74

Alex Okafor – 6’5/264 – Texas: 70

Early Round Target (1st-2nd):

Datone Jones – UCLA

Incredibly strong hands that can control and shed.  Exerts power from his base and delivers a violent punch that jolts the blocker.  Versatile.  Can play multiple spots, multiple roles along the front line.  Played in the 3-4 and 4-3 scheme.  Surprising quickness and speed off the edge.  Smart player after the snap that reads blocks well.  Follows the action and gets in on a lot of plays.  Not a true edge rusher that will beat blockers to the edge.  May need to play an inside role to be effective.  A little slow to pursue in space.  Plays too high at times, taking away power advantages.

Jones earned a first round grade on my board last fall because of his power presence and versatility.  This is a game of matchups.  Jones is a guy that can overpower the pass blocking tackles, but out-quick the interior blockers.  Either way, he is a productive and effective player that can stay on the field no matter the situation.  Finding a guy with this kind of versatility is exactly what the Giants defense is looking for after the departure of Osi Umenyiora and the future of Tuck being unknown.  He is certainly worth a top 20 pick and will likely be my choice for the Giants at #19 overall.

Mid Round Target (3rd-5th):

Malliciah Goodman – Clemson

Freakish tool set with incredibly long arms (36+ inches), big hands (11 inches).  Has a developing frame that will need more girth, but has plenty of room for it.  Mechanically sound with consistent approach.  Plays a violent game with strong hands a plenty of knee bend.  Quick arms and quick feet.  Initial pop off the edge is average.  Loses his power presence when playing the run.  May be a situational guy rather than an every down player.

I gave Goodman a 1st round grade as well, much higher than anything I have seen out there.  He is the kind of college player that NFL coaches will fall in love with because of the upside and coachability.  Goodman is well known and respected for his work ethic between seasons.  There is some natural talent here and a tool set that some NFL players only wish they had.  Goodman played behind some NFL defensive ends early in his career but has impressed me enough over the past two seasons to convince he can be a productive starter.  He will be on the radar starting in round 2 or 3 for the Giants, as this would be an ideal situation for him to play in.

Late Round Target (6th-UDFA):

Quanterus Smith – 6’5/250 -Western Kentucky –  (Grade: 68)

Top tier quickness and fluidity in a phone booth.  Very effective in short space with quick feet and active hands.  Bends well and can play a low, strong game.   Well-developed rush moves that can make him a terror to deal with.  Stronger against the run in between the tackles than you would think by looking at him.  Tore ACL in November, but should be ready by training camp.  Loses track of leverage at some points and gets pushed around.  Will allow blockers to get inside too often.  Not a quick reaction player.  Questionable on-field IQ.

Smith led the nation in sacks (12.5) prior to the injury to his knee.  While he played against a lower level of competition, he did put together a 3-sack game against Alabama.  He showed in that game that he has the NFL caliber athleticism and power to play at a high level in the league.  Smith may not time well in workouts, but he is clearly a guy that can beat blockers with his feet and hands.  He is very quick and balanced with enough upper body power to become an effective pass rusher.  He needs to recover from his knee and add some bulk before he can play in a 4-3 though.  The upside is there to be a starter and he should be available late.  If the Giants want to address other spots on the depth chart early, Smith should get a hard look late.

The Plan:

If the Giants want to bring their defense back to a respectable level, they need to strengthen their group in the trenches.  They have already brought in a couple veteran defensive tackles via free agency, but they remain thin outside with some serious questions when looking at the future.  Bringing in multiple defensive ends via the draft year after year was a great approach that helped bring a lot of success to New York.  With that in mind, Reese will likely look to add another quality piece that can contribute early.  The draft’s top defensive end, Ezekial Ansah, will be gone prior to them being on the clock.  As I said earlier, Jones is a picture-perfect fit for the Giants defense and if he is available at 19, he should be the pick barring a big time value elsewhere falling in their lap.  If they do in fact go elsewhere with that first rounder, there will be enough value somewhere in the middle rounds.  This is a pretty deep class of defensive ends when looking for guys that can fill multiple roles.  There are not a lot of true edge rushers but this is a scheme that will rotate a lot of guys inside and out.  Bringing in competition will push the current contributors and add a sense of long term security to the most vital position on the defensive side of the ball.

May 132012
 
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New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2012 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected
1 32 32 HB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
2 31 63 WR Rueben Randle, LSU
3 31 94 CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
4 32 127 TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
4 36 131 OT Brandon Mosley, Auburn
6 31 201 OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham
7 32 239 DT Marcus Kuhn, N.C. State

2012 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – HB David Wilson, Virginia Tech, 5-10, 206lbs, 4.49

SCOUTING REPORT: Wilson is a junior entry who is only 20 years old. He only started 16 games in college. Wilson lacks ideal size, but he is a well-built back who is strong for his stature. He is a hard runner who can break tackles and finish runs with his powerful legs. Wilson is very athletic with very good speed, quickness, and acceleration. He runs with good pad level, has very good balance, and is elusive. Good cutback runner. Wilson is an explosive, big-play threat. Wilson sometimes tries to bounce things outside when he should stay with the designed play. He is not a strong short-yardage runner. Wilson needs to protect the football better and he needs a lot of work in pass protection. He catches the ball well. Wilson is a dangerous kickoff returner. Competitive.

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

(Saturday Remarks) A running back – we talked about him earlier. We think he is a terrific player. It was reported that Tampa jumped in front of us. That is not true. This guy was the second-rated running back on our board and the highest player on our board. So that part is not true. We think he is a really good player to add to our running back group; return specialist as well.

(Thursday Remarks) Opening Remarks: David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech. Terrific football player. This guy loves to play football. We like all of that stuff about him. He’s fast. He’s productive. He can do anything you want him to do. He can catch the ball. He can return kicks. I think he was the overall ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year there. He’s an early out junior. Terrific football player. He’s a good piece to put in our running back stable along with some of the other backs that we have and we’re happy to have a player of his caliber.

Q: Did you have more choices than you thought you’d have at 32?

A: We did. There were still several players on the board that we liked, but David was rated our highest player there and he was the best value because he was the highest player there at the time and a little bit of a need pick for us as well. So we got a combination of both. You like to get a combination of both things and we were able to do that tonight.

Q: Was there concern that Tampa Bay was going to take your guy when they traded up?

A: There was some thought that if they take that guy we have two or three other guys that we like. So it wasn’t a panic situation for us because we had some more guys that we liked at that spot.

Q: Was there another running back in that group too?

A: We had him stacked close. We liked him as well. We had him stacked pretty close.

Q: Seemed like you took a while to make the pick.

A: We just wanted to stay on the clock and make sure that nobody was in love with that spot and wanted to move up and give us the mother lode.

Q: Is it fair to say he was the second running back on your board?

A: I think it’s probably pretty fair to say that.

Q: He was a kick returner too.

A: Yep. He has been a kick returner, yeah. As a sophomore he had 22 kickoff returns for 584 yards, 26.5 average, 92 long and two touchdowns as a sophomore. Again, he’s an early-out junior.

Q: Is that a projected role for him?

A: He can do everything. He can be a kick returner for you. He can play on the cover team. This is a hard-nosed football player and we like this guy. He’s going to earn his stripes on special teams like most young players do and he’ll be in the mix with the rest of our running backs for playing time from scrimmage as well. We like this guy.

Q: Is there a guy in the league that he reminds you of?

A: It’s too late to try to think of something like that. Ask me tomorrow so I can sleep on it.

Q: Will Ahmad’s role change to that of a bigger back with this guy?

A: This kid’s a hard-nosed player. He can run inside. He can run outside. I don’t think Ahmad’s role is going to change. He’s going to be our lead dog and again, this guy is going to be a nice piece in our running back stable. It’s up to the coaches how they want to use him.

Q: You haven’t picked a running back this high in a while.

A: The only reason that hasn’t happened is because there hasn’t been a running back at the time [that was] the highest player on our board. We’re not afraid to pick a running back high. We’ll pick any player high that’s the highest player on our board. It just hasn’t happened that way. It’s been other players at that spot.

Q: Seems like a colorful guy.

A: Yeah he’s an enthusiastic player. The guy loves to play football. He’s going to bring a lot of personality. You guys will like him. He’s wound tight.

Q: With so many trades, were you close to trading up?

A: No, we were never close to moving up. We knew that there were going to be some good players down at 32. And again, some players came off from different spots on the board. We were a little surprised about a few picks, but we said that in the pre-draft presser, that we thought some players would come off all over the board. We saw some of that tonight.

Q: Was the way he was consistently productive attractive to you?

A: Absolutely, yeah. He’s definitely a productive player. 1,700 yards. A six yard average. We think we have a good player here.

Q: With the injuries at tight end, did you consider drafting a player at that position?

A: We just tried to pick the best player up there and this guy’s the best player for us. So he was a pretty easy pick for us.

Q: Were you surprised that the picks were occurring so quickly?

A: I’m not surprised. Guys have a long time to figure out who they want to take and people were ready to pull the trigger. Nobody wants to be up after midnight doing the draft.

Q: Cordy Glenn from Georgia was projected really high. Were you surprised he dropped?

A: I’m never surprised by anything in the draft. I learned that a long time ago as a young scout. Don’t let anything surprise you in the draft. So I’m not surprised by that.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: An easy pick?

A: Yeah, very. Very easy.

Q: Why?

A: In the draft there are certain players that you evaluate when you go through the process that despite differences on what you think his speed or toughness or this and that is, you come away at the end of your report saying this guy’s a good football player. There are only a handful of those guys in the draft every year and in our meeting this was one of those players where everybody, despite what you may have thought, came away at the end of the report and said this guy’s a good football player. That’s very intriguing.

Q: At what point did you say, ‘If he’s there we need to pick him’?

A: When the reports come-in in the fall about the guy and the grades are coming and then once we start meeting and then everything merges together and we start stacking the board then it becomes more clear about the pecking order between all of the positions about who is going to go higher and how you like them.

Q: When did you see him play?

A: I saw him play against Virginia, their big game this year at UVA. He tore those guys up pretty good.

Q: Is he similar to anybody?

A: No. He’s kind of unique because he’s smaller in stature, but real thick thighs. You’ll see him when he comes here. He’s real powerful for a little guy. His balance is incredible, just the way he can stay on his feet and get in awkward positions and still come out of it, but he also has speed. Nobody really comes to mind right away.

Q: Did he come on your radar last year?

A: He’s a guy you always noticed. Those good players you always notice them when their young. He’s a kid that they talked about – big recruit and he made big plays from when he was young, despite those other guys. He did the kick return stuff. He’s somebody you always noticed. When you see a guy running a 92-yard kickoff to win a game you kind of take notice of him.

Q: He’ll be an elite running back in the NFL?

A: I think so, yeah. I think so. He’s done it [at Virginia Tech]. Every game he’s [putting up] 100 yards. He is their offense and I think he can do the same thing here.

Q: In terms of off-the-field, what type of reports did you get?

A: Tremendous. Tremendous. ‘The best I’ve ever coached’ kind of reports. ‘Best worker in here.’ ‘Pound for pound strongest.’ ‘Loves the game.’ When you get those types of accolades from coaches, trainers, equipment people, whoever deals with the kid, and blend it together with a great football player you can’t go wrong.

Q: Seems like a colorful guy.

A: Yeah. He is. He’s a live wire now. Energetic. Personable. I thought I would get the back flip question earlier. I guess you guys haven’t done your research. When I called him I said, ‘You called JPP out so you better come up here and deliver on these back flips.’ But he’s that type of kid, just an energetic, live wire kid.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Opening Remarks: This young man was attractive to us for many reasons. Obviously his speed, you have a 4.4 running back. You have a guy who’s the ACC Player of the Year, 1700 yards rushing, kickoff returns for a career over a thousand yards, 1300-plus yards, caught the ball out of the backfield. Needs some work in some of the other areas. You know, pass protection and that kind of thing, as do a lot of these young guys. And also the question comes up about ball security and we’ll remind him of that right away. But I think every team has done that with him and he’s very, very much aware of that. He has great energy when you speak to him. He is knowledgeable. He presents himself very, very well. You’re probably well aware of that. But he’s the kind of guy that we felt would add very much to our present situation in terms of the big play potential. He’s one of the guys that has the speed and maneuverability to make the big play and that’s what was very important to us at this time. We were fortunate in that the players that we had set aside were all of need, need positions, and this guy was the highest rated.

Q: When you have a 5’9” running back with trouble blocking, do you feel better that Ahmad Bradshaw was similar and came along?

A: When you look at the great runners that have come along in the last 25 years, you do have a few of those people that are in that category. I think, according to David tonight, he was 208. He’ll probably be 210, 212 when he gets in this program. I know Virginia Tech has an outstanding strength program. When he gets here and gets a little bit more physical maturity I think he’ll be a little bit heavier. But there’s a knack to these individuals, to these guys that don’t appear to have that kind of size to match up, there’s a knack and there’s a way in which they go about their business. It will be something that will be of a concern for us right away, but I think he’ll pick it up fast. He seems to be that kind of a young man and hopefully he’ll be as much a threat coming out of the backfield as it is for people to make decisions on whether they want to rush and how they want to go about rushing.

Q: Have you had a chance to see him in person or watch tape on him?

A: I’ve looked at tape and obviously the Combine stuff. We’ve done our homework.

Q: You were last in the league in rushing last season. Were you saying, ‘We need to fix this.’

A: That, but also we’re looking at the fact that Brandon [Jacobs] is no longer here and we do have to try to balance that out. We believe that you do have to have multiple runners or at least two that can effectively take the field at any time and this young man we thought was one of those that can be a big play threat.

Q: How does he fit with Ahmad Bradshaw?

A: He fits well.

Q: Will his skills compliment Ahmad Bradshaw’s?

A: I certainly think so and I think he presents problems for the defense just as Ahmad does, whether or not you’re going to be involved in the screen game or pulling him out of the back field, throwing him the go-screen as we have done many times with Ahmad. Ahmad is a physical, physical football player and a tackle-breaker and that type of thing. I think David is a guy that certainly has the yardage to prove that he can break tackles as well, but he also has the speed to give you the big play.

Q: What do you think of his personality?

A: He’s pretty outgoing and we’re probably going to have to tell him ‘David, you don’t have to wear a coat and tie to meetings every day.’

Q: Did he wear it to your interview?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: He said he wore it to class every day.

A: Wears it to class. All I say, he’s sharp.

Q: I would think you would like that.

A: I do like that, yeah.

Q: Do take into account Bradshaw’s issues with his feet?

A: You have to think of that. As I said, it would be a wonderful thing to have Ahmad be able to have a season without those issues, but if they do become an issue again then obviously you have to have some outstanding, talented people to take up the slack a little bit. I think Ahmad will always be there on game day and hopefully we’ll get to the point where he practices more often, but if that’s not the case then we have to get these other people ready to go.

Q: How difficult is it to make the pick?

A: Well we discuss all of those players that are put in that bunch, if you will, right before your take. You discuss them all. There’s discussion about each player. It’s not easy, but in the long run you hope you make the best decisions for the teams

Q: Is the ball security issue a problem with him trying to get extra yards?

A: Oh yeah, that’s just the flamboyant, all over the place kind of stuff. He just has to learn that that ball gets in a position, such as away from your body and good things do not happen.

Q: Is it a high and tight thing?

A: It’s a high and tight thing for sure.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: How much contact did you have with the Giants before the draft?

A: Speaking with a lot of guys who went through the process before that I’m close with from [Virginia Tech], [they said] that the team that drafts me will be shocking because it will be a team that hasn’t contacted you as much or hasn’t interviewed you as much. I had a meeting with the Giants at the Combine, but after that I didn’t hear much from them—I didn’t have a visit or I didn’t work out for them. At the same time my agent kept me informed and said it was a good chance that I could go there.

Q: Who’s your agent?

A: Joe Segal.

Q: What was your reaction when the Giants selected you?

A: I was sitting on the bed and the Giants had the last pick in the first round… And then Tampa Bay traded [up], and I thought, ‘Maybe they’ll get a running back. I know they need a running back.’ At that point, I was hoping for anything. The Giants are Super Bowl champions, and I’m like ‘They probably won’t pick me…’ I was just hoping that something would happen, and I get the New Jersey call and I start screaming. I answered the phone and it was the New York Giants. It was the best call that I got in a long time.

Q: Who called and what was the message that they delivered?

A: I was so excited that I don’t even remember their name, but the first question was how am I doing. After that I was just like I’m doing great now. I was sweating a while ago, but I’m doing great now.

Q: Do you think you could contribute right away?

A: Yes, and they have a good running back in [Ahmad] Bradshaw and another guy on the team. Those guys are veterans in the league and I’m entering the league. I’m going to learn as much as I can from them. My whole career I’ve been in a two-back system. At Virginia Tech I was a Ryan Williams and Derron Evans, which was three-back system. Even last year I was with J.O. Coming out of high school, me and another running back. I’m a good team player or else I wouldn’t be playing football. In this league one running back can’t do it all. I look forward to working with those guys and make the Giants closer to the top in the country.

Q: Where did you watch the draft and who were you with?

A: Just at home with my brother, Ronald Wilson, and my sister, Laura Wilson, my dad, Dwight Wilson, and my mom, Sheila Wilson. Just sitting in the house. No cameras. None of that. Just in my basketball shorts and flips flops watching the draft.

Q: Is home Danville?

A: Yes, that’s where I was born and raised.

Q: No suit and tie?

A: No. It was just me and my family kicking it in the house. Didn’t have any family members over other than my household. I Just wanted to just share the moment with my loved ones and close family.

Q: Has JPP called you yet and challenged you to a back flip contest?

A: Yeah, I put a video up a couple of days ago and now we are on the same time. When I was making the video I knew I was stirring up something. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.


2nd Round – WR Rueben Randle, LSU, 6-3, 210lbs, 4.55

SCOUTING REPORT: Randle is a junior entry who started 25 games in college. Randle combines excellent size with fine athletic ability. While Randle is not a burner, he is a fluid and smooth receiver with good foot quickness and acceleration for a big receiver. Randle can get off press coverage and he runs good routes. He can threaten a defense down the field. Randle adjusts well to the football in the air and has very good hands. He runs well after the catch. Good blocker.

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

(Saturday Remarks): Like we said the other day, he was in the conversation with respect to our first pick. I think we were fortunate that he was still there; terrific, big receiver; pro-ready kind of guy. We think he will really thrive in our offense.

(Friday Remarks) Q: What impressed you most about Rueben Randle?

A: He’s NFL-ready – he runs the entire route tree. In this day and age in college football, it’s all about the spread offense, and guys don’t run the full tree. This kid runs the full tree. He kind of looks like a big, pro wide receiver out there with how he runs routes. I think he’s going to be a quick fit into the offense with how he plays; he’s big, he can post guys up. People mentioned Hakeem Nicks when we talked about him in our room. He’s not blazing fast; I don’t think Hakeem is blazing fast either. He’s game fast and he’s bigger than Hakeem – very good hands, ball skills. A talented football player.

Q: How close were you at taking Randle with the No. 32 pick in the first round?

A: He was in the discussion. There were five guys in the discussion, and he was one of the guys who we spoke about as well. We were really surprised a little bit with him still being there because we thought he would’ve gone early in the second [round]. He was still there, and I think we’re fortunate to get a guy of his caliber.

Q: Are any of those five guys still available?

A: No. They’re all gone.

Q: Why not move up a couple of spots to ensure you get the player you want?

A: We like using all of our picks, and we’ve moved up to get guys before and it hasn’t worked out that great for us. We’re a little bit leery of moving up and taking guys. We’ve done that in the past and I don’t think our success has been very good.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: What were you thinking as he dropped and dropped?

A: I really didn’t think there was a chance we were going to get him. He was one of those where at the end of the [first] night you’re saying he’s going to be one of the first few guys taken in the top of the [second] round. Very surprising that he was still there. Just keep holding your breath, holding your breath. Nah, somebody will pick him. Until you start seeing some of these other receivers go. Alright there’s a chance and he was there.

Q: Do you think the quarterback play of LSU hurt him?

A: Definitely. The way LSU plays, they run the ball, they play defense and those two quarterbacks, to be quite honest, are not very good. So he didn’t get a lot of chances. When the ball came to him he was productive, but he just didn’t get a ton of chances to win games, to catch, but when they went his way he made plays.

Q: So how do you evaluate him?

A: There was enough to see his skill set and see his physical tools. Then you go from there. You see the practice, Combine stuff.

Q: Did you think about trading up?

A: No, because we still had a group of guys that we liked that were still there. We don’t panic. We were hoping. He was definitely the highest guy that we had on the board, by far, and we were hoping, but definitely not thinking about trading up to get him.

Q: Did you have a first-round grade him?

A: Yeah, he was in our stack there. Actually we talked about him a little bit yesterday at our pick. So he was in the discussion yesterday.

Q: What is it about his skill set that specifically impressed you?

A: Rueben is an NFL-ready receiver. I think with receivers a lot of it gets overblown with 40 times and speed and this and that. You need guys that are NFL-ready and what I mean by that is this guy is strong, he can catch the ball, he’s a good route runner and he’s position savvy – he knows how to get open. To me those are the successful receivers in the NFL. I think our guys who we have now – Hakeem and Victor – if you put them at the Combine you won’t notice them, but you put them on the football field and they just take their game to another level and this is how Rueben is in our eyes.

Q: How can you measure that?

A: Again, you can study the physical skill set, the speed, the strength, the quickness, the change of direction, his body control. You look at him running down the field wide open and then not being able to get the ball to him. But you just look at his individual gifts as a player, his physical gifts.

Q: Where do you see him fitting in?

A: That’s up to coach Gilbride and coach Coughlin. We just provide the players and then they coach them up.

Q: Rueben was the ninth receiver selected. Where did you have him on the receiver list?

A: He wasn’t ninth. He wasn’t ninth.

Q: Was he four or five?

A: That was so long ago I can’t even recall exactly, but he was up there.

Q: Former quarterback, does that help those guys?

A: Yeah and he plays that way. When they see the field and then they go to another position they have a great understanding for what’s going on. He fits into that mold.

Q: His games against Alabama – five catches, 32 yards.

A: Did you watch the National Championship game? The quarterbacks couldn’t even get from under center and get the ball off. Of course you’re not going to be able to get it down field. Just watch that game. It was impossible for them to run the ball, throw the ball, do anything. He just got smothered. There’s nothing the receiver can do if everything else isn’t going his way. He’s pretty much a byproduct of everything that’s going on.

Q: Can you get a feel for how quickly he can contribute?

A: Yeah, but I think his game will transfer well up here because of the way he plays. He plays like an NFL receiver – big, strong, physical, catch the ball – as opposed to a raw guy who needs a lot of development on routes and techniques or drops a lot of balls – needs to work on his hands. This guy pretty much has a skill set that fits in, will transfer pretty quickly.

Q: What have you done for your offense?

A: Hopefully made us better, more explosive. We just brought in two good football players, both of whom we really like. So hopefully we got better doing that.

Q: Does he have experience with Eli at the passing academies?

A: I’m not sure. I would think he would, being down there, but I’m not sure whether he has or not.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:(Video)

Opening Remarks: [Rueben Randle is a] big receiver, outstanding athlete, very smooth, quote unquote pro-ready, 97 receptions in the course of his career for almost 17 yards per. Size, speed. People said, ‘Can he get deep? He can get behind?’ Yes, he can. He doesn’t have that Olympic type speed, but he has the size and the speed and the power. He’s a smooth athlete. Very, very athletic guy and I guess Marc told you that we rated him very highly and when it came time for us to make our pick he was without a doubt the guy that had the highest grade.

Q: What’s it say that you work for an organization that does not panic and trade up, whereas some other organizations get antsy and do that when they have a chance to get a guy rated as highly as you had Randle rated?

A: Having worked with this group of men who are in our personnel department, I think we take a lot of pride in getting the proper grade on the player. A lot of pride in ranking the players properly and then stacking the board and believing that there is going to be a good player for us to pick by virtue of showing patience and not doing a lot of maneuvering. As an organization, when we go into a draft we look at the number of picks we have and we certainly expect to come out of the draft with that many or, if we’re fortunate, more, but we don’t do a lot of trading. We don’t do a lot of maneuvering. We do have a number of calls that come into the room offering to maneuver, a lot of which are ‘Are you interested in?’ Of course, as you know, to move substantially, particularly if you’re going to move up substantially, is going to cost you some picks. So we believe that we’ll have an opportunity to draft a good football player, whether you’re talking third, fourth round or whether you’re talking even later in the draft.

Q: When you see a guy like Randle drop, do you second-guess yourself?

A: No because I think the homework has been done. I think there have been a lot of personal calls made into that particular school, talking with coaches who have worked with Randle. Thomas McGaughey was with us as a special teams coach here and he is currently on the LSU staff and gave Randle a very strong recommendation and we have a lot of faith in Thomas’ ability to judge. Also, I think Jerry Reese has an individual that he has known for a long time on that staff who verified and talked about this player and his ability. Nobody is perfect. You have some things you have to be able to work with, but he will respond to good, solid coaching and that’s what he’s going to get.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Were you surprised that you lasted as long as you did and were you aware of the Giants’ interest?

A: I guess it was pretty surprising. I knew that the Giants had a lot of interest in me. I got a few phone calls from the guys. A couple of people from LSU were giving me signs that they were interested, so I knew once they came up, they would draft me.

Q: Did you talk to any LSU players from the Giants who gave you a hint on their interest?

A: No, none of the players. I haven’t talked to any of the players.

Q: The Giants have described you as an NFL-ready receiver. Can you describe how you feel about that?

A: I’m sure there are a lot of things that I have to work on. I’m not sure I’m going to be quite as ready yet. I have to get adjusted to the timing and the speed of the game, so I’m just going to come in there and work hard and hopefully I’ll get my opportunity.

Q: How about going from the quarterbacks you had to play with at LSU to coming here playing with Eli Manning?

A: It’s going to be great. We had struggles at LSU. They weren’t bad quarterbacks, but we struggled there. But Eli is an elite quarterback in the league and it’s going to be great for me to come in and play with him.

Q: Did that play a part in you getting picked lower than projected—not having as many opportunities as you would’ve wished?

A: I don’t know what played into it. I’m happy to be a part of the New York Giants, a winning program, the Super Bowl champs, so I’m happy with that.

Q: What kind of receiver are you? How would you describe yourself?

A: I can make all those plays – deep, over-the-middle – it doesn’t really matter. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do.

Q: Eli is a New Orleans guys. Have you been to his passing camps or met with him at all?

A: I missed his camps the past two years. I was supposed to go down there, but a situation came up where I had to miss them.

Q: Every year guys come to New York and fall further than expected. Can you describe how it feels to wait for your name to be called?

A: It was a little nerve wracking, but you have to stay calm. That’s why you have your family here to talk to you and keep you relaxed until your opportunity comes.

Q: You had to wait around all last night and tonight as well?

A: Right.

Q: What was last night like?

A: It was kind of frustrating. I just went home with my family, got something to eat. I went up to my room and relaxed. I waited for my opportunity, and that was here.

Q: Did you do anything fun last night?

A: No. I just went back to the hotel. My family bought me food. I went back to the room with my brothers and just kicked back and relaxed and watched TV.

Q: When you get disappointed like this, do you come into camp with a chip on your shoulder?

A: I think it adds a little chip—but not much. I was going to come in and work no matter what the situation. I think I have a lot to prove now since I dropped so far, and that’s what I’m willing to do.

Q: The Giants said you were in discussion to be drafted by them with the No. 32 pick. Did you think you would get drafted by them in the first round?

A: I heard it was an opportunity there, but I guess they didn’t take it. I fell into their hands here at the end of the second round, and I’m happy with that.


3rd Round – CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech, 5-10, 178lbs, 4.47

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry who is only 21 years old. Hosley lacks ideal stature, but he is an athletic coverman with good speed and quickness. His long arms and jumping ability help compensate for his lack of height. Hosley can play both off and press coverage. Instinctive. He has very good ball skills – reacts well to the football and makes plays. Hosley is sometimes too aggressive and can get burned by double moves or play-action. Hosley needs to get stronger. He needs to improve as a tackler. Hosley has experience returning punts. He has had drug issues.

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

(Saturday Remarks) Not a big guy, but thinks he is big; plays tough; interceptor, punt returner. I think he will compete right away for the nickel kind of spot and play on all of the special teams for us; tough, hard-nosed football player.

(Friday Remarks) Q: In Hosely’s case, what did you say about the drug test?

A: It’s a personal conversation. We’re aware of that, obviously. He’s not the first one to have a situation like that. He’s a young kid—he’s very young. He’s 20 years old. He’s an early-out junior. He knows that’s a bad decision that he made and we expect better from him. We feel like we have a good player in him as well. He’s not a big man, but this guy has athletic arrogance. He plays like a big guy. His skill set, years ago, kind of reminds me of Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones – he plays kind of like that. He runs in there kind of like a little linebacker. He throws himself in there. He has outstanding cover skills. He’s productive. He’s an interceptor, he can intercept the ball, so we expect him to be in our nickel packages. And a bonus is that he’s a punt returner. He can return punts and kicks, but he’s probably a better punt returner than kick returner. He has a lot of good qualities that we like. We think if he was a couple of inches taller, he would be in the first [round] [in the conversation] with the first two guys—those two top corners.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q:  It seems like you got a lot of players later than you projected – like Rueben Randle – you were talking about in the first… Is that a fair assessment for most of those guys?

A:  Probably Rueben and Kuhn. The other guys were probably right in the range we thought. Hosley –  I expected that to happen just because some of the off the field circumstances. And I kind of compare that to the (Mario) Manningham situation. But pretty much everybody else fell in line to what we thought.

Q:  He pretty much fell just about as Mario did.

A:  Yeah. I brought that up in the draft room. It was like, ‘This is Mario all over – first-round talent and we took him at the last pick of that third round.’  We sent everybody home with Mario – we sent people home with Hosley this time. But we think he is a good kid. He just made a mistake. Kind of like Mario, we didn’t think he was a bad person, made a mistake or two. And Jayron – we have complete confidence in him.

Q:  Did you have him as a first-round talent?

A:  Yeah, right on the boarder line cusp there. His size might have pushed him down but the talent itself was definitely – he was right there in the mix with some of those guys.

Q:  Is he too small to play safety?

A:  Yeah, yeah.

Re: Jayron Hosley

A:  He is tough. He doesn’t know that he is that little. He thinks he is 6-2, 225 the way he flies up and hits people and throws his body around. He might get run over some, but he keeps coming; but, no, definitely not a safety.

Q:  Do you guys worry about concussions at all?  How did that conversation go?

A:  With Jayron – no, no. He was fine. He checked out fine medically.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Opening Remarks: Here, in the bottom of the third round we picked corner Jayron Hosley from Virginia Tech. This is a guy, very competitive, feisty guy with 12 career interceptions. He’s also a punt returner. He’s a physical tackler. He is a competitive guy who many times is matched up on the opponent’s best receiver. Whether it’s the physical aspect of the game, the coming up in run support, the competitiveness in the press position, whether he’s playing from off and just playing the ball in the air. This guy does have outstanding hands and has been able to convert that concept into many interceptions. Quite frankly, he had nine picks in 2010 and they pretty much stayed away from him this year as he added only three. But he also has the potential to be a punt returner. We like him for our special teams aspect also. He’s played the gunner. He can play various kickoff coverages, etc., etc. We feel like we can accomplish a lot with this kind of an athlete. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. That was discussed. However, we do think he is a competitive, feisty guy and he’s one of those people that has not backed down from anybody. Played against some outstanding receivers in his career and did an outstanding job.

Q: It seems like there are a few red flags.

A: There is. He did fail the test in Indianapolis. We’re very much aware of that and we’ve addressed that with him and we’re prepared to address that professionally as well when we do get him here.

Q: You’ve taken some chances on some other players like that in the past.

A: Provided we have enough information about the player to believe that we can work with him and he’s willing to overcome whatever issues he’s had.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: How excited were you to know you were taken by the Giants?

A: I was very excited, man. I felt like it was a great fit for me. I’m excited to be a part of such a great program in the New York Giants, Super Bowl champions. I’m looking forward to being a part of the program.

Q: What makes you think you’re such a perfect fit?

A: They draft good corners. Add myself to that line of corners—I feel that I fit great. Any package or defense they run, special teams, I feel like it would be a fit. The program, it’s old fashioned—the coach is old fashioned. I’m used to that with Coach Beamer.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player to Giants fans who haven’t seen you play yet?

A: I’m not the biggest guy, but I’m definitely aggressive. Definitely a hard worker, a guy who will go out on the field and give it my all every play. Very instinctive player. Can help the team out in many ways as far as special teams, punter returner, on defense – wherever I’m needed.

Q: Jerry Reese said that if you were a couple of inches taller, you’d be a first rounder. Also there were reports of the positive test. Did you get a feel of how far you would drop? How tough was it to wait for your name to be called?

A: I knew it was going to be a fall. I didn’t know exactly where, but with the mistake that I made, I accepted that. I was just looking forward for anyone to give me a call and giving me a chance, an opportunity to be a part of their program. I was very excited, very happy with the New York Giants giving me that call.

Q: Was that a tough conversation to have with Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese or anybody else you spoke to?

A: We had a conversation, but I feel like it’s best to keep that conversation between the coaches that I talked to. We’re all on the same page. It’s fine. We’re working to make things better and have success as a Giant.

Q: Did you have any regrets with how it happened, especially since it was at the Combine?

A: Definitely. I definitely regret it. It’s something that’s in the past behind me. I’m working toward bettering myself and not letting something like this happen again – ever. They trusted me and I’m thankful of that. I’m going to make this a worthy decision.

Q: How about the Virginia Tech connection they have going on here?

A: I was excited to play with [Giants first round pick RB] David Wilson again. He’s a tremendous athlete and good guy. I think he’ll fit well in the program. I’m just looking forward to it.

Q: Get a chance to talk to him last night?

A: No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to him. Not yet. But I’m pretty sure I’ll give him a call today and we’ll talk.

Q: Jerry Reese described you as “athletically arrogant.” Do you feel you’re an overly confident player?

A: I think he said it good. You definitely have to go out there with confidence. I’m not a bigger guy, so guys might see me as a little vulnerable or as “the little guy.” I definitely have to go out there with a little aggression, the little man’s syndrome in that sense. Definitely aggressive. I think coach knows me as a player and knows what I bring to the table. I think they’re happy with their decision; and both sides are.

Q: When he talked about you he compared you to Pac Man Jones. Is that something that you like to hear?

A: Pac Man Jones is a tremendous player, minus the off-field stuff, but he’s a tremendous player. When you watch him on film he’s very sound in his technique. He’s aggressive, a smaller guy like me. I savor that. I think that’s a good comparison. I like to compare myself to Asante Samuel, Pac Man, Brandon Flowers, but I think that’s a very good comparison.

Q: Can you explain your decision to come out early and why you felt ready to leave?

A: Most importantly, I felt like it was the best decision for me to make. Truthfully, I felt like the college game was getting a little too easy for me and I wanted a challenge. What’s more of a challenge than the NFL? Most importantly, my family is a big part of my life and I talked with them before I made my decision and they felt like ‘If it’s really what you want to do, go out there and go for it.’ I went and did it.

Q: Does it take some time to get to know David Wilson?

A: No. Once David walks in the room and you talk to him and you see how he interacts with people, you’ll know that he’s a good guy, fun guy, loves to laugh and joke around, but when he’s on that field you know you can tell he’s a different person on that field. Off the field he’s a great person. He was my roommate in college and I’m looking forward to being together with him again in New York.

Q: What’s your favorite David Wilson story?

A: You’ve probably heard them all. David chasing rabbits, catching the rabbit on campus. Just a wild guy. You never know what to expect coming from David. He’s just a guy that has a lot of energy and always running around.

Q: Just out of nowhere would see a rabbit and chase it?

A: You never know. He was just walking on campus, saw a rabbit. With his speed I had no doubt that he could catch it. He’s just one of those guys. You never know what you’re going to get from him.

Q: What did he do with the rabbit once he caught it?

A: He just wanted to see if he could touch it because you know the rabbit’s very quick. David’s a very quick guy as well, but he just touched it and that’s basically it.

Q: In 2010 you led the country in interceptions and then in 2011 you had three. Coach Coughlin said that might have been because quarterbacks were staying away from you.

A: That’s a fairly accurate answer. In 2010 I was coming in. I had a lot to prove, just a young guy out there, excited to be in college and out there making plays. I feel like in 2011 it was a little drop off. Teams shied away from me a little bit. I just feel like I was productive more and growing as a player, as a person in 2011, but I don’t feel like it was a big drop off in productivity. Obviously in the interceptions category it wasn’t there as far as the success I had in 2010, but I feel like I got better overall in 2011.

Q: Is that what you mean by the college game getting too easy – them just not throwing your way enough?

A: I feel like in the NFL you have to earn that respect and I’m going to be the guy coming in. I don’t have that respect yet. I have to go out there and earn it. It’s just one of those things. When you get in the NFL they’re not going to shy away from you. They’re going to come at you so you have to be ready for it and I’m up for the challenge.

Q: The Giants talked about you as special teams gunner, kick coverage. Is that stuff you’re okay doing?

A: I’m coming from a special teams guru in Frank Beamer. It’s something that I love to do, definitely something that I’m looking forward to doing – just doing my part in the organization.

Q: How many concussions did you have last year?

A: It was one.

Q: How many games did you miss?

A: It was actually in the ACC Championship so I didn’t miss a game. We had about a month off before the bowl game so I had time to rest and get healthy before the game.

Q: Have you spent much time in New York City?

A: No, I haven’t.

Q: Have you ever been?

A: I’ve actually been, but I haven’t gotten a chance to see much of the city. That’s something that I’m looking forward to.


4th Round – TE Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati, 6-4, 264lbs, 4.56

SCOUTING REPORT: Robinson combines good size with excellent athleticism. He has very good speed and agility for a big tight end. However, he is a very raw player who will need a lot of coaching up. He was not targeted much in college (only 29 receptions in four years), but he displayed an ability to get down the field, adjust to the football, and make the difficult catch. Good blocker.

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

A guy we haven’t talked about – our first fourth-round pick is Adrien Robinson, the tight end from Cincinnati. We really think this guy has a huge up-side. He is a big, big man; long arms. He didn’t catch a lot of balls for them. But he is kind of a late bloomer who has really come on. And we think this guy is kind of a JPP of tight ends. We like these kind of people. We will get Mike Pope involved with this guy. We brought him in for one of the visits. We are excited about him. We think he can really come on and develop and be a terrific football player for us. So it is very exciting for us to get him.

Q:  What do you mean when you said Robinson was the JPP of tight ends?

A:  He is just a big, gigantic man with long arms. And he is really a good athlete. This guy is almost 6-5, 270 pounds. He ran 4.57. He has got those freakish athletic numbers. He hasn’t scratched the surface with respect – like JPP. When we got Jason we said, “This guy hasn’t scratched the surface.” And Jason still has a lot of learning to do – continuing to grow. This kid hasn’t scratched the surface yet. He has a chance to be really something, we think.

Q:  He didn’t catch very many balls. Is that a concern?

A:  Yeah, we went to the workout. We think he can catch the ball. We don’t have any problem with his hands. We think he is going to be a good receiver as well. He is one of those big guys you can attach him on the end of the line of scrimmage as a on-the-line tight end or he can play the move stuff. He did that for them as well. He is going to be one of those big guys that can run down on your special teams and be a solid contributor to your big four special teams with that height, weight and speed.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: We want to know about the JPP of tight ends.

A: This guy, Adrien [Robinson], he’s a physical specimen. He’s tall. The guy’s 6’4”, 6’5”, almost 270 pounds, ran a 4.5. He’s just learning how to play football. We think he has tremendous upside and the kid plays hard for being a former basketball player. He plays hard. He just didn’t get a lot of chances. We think the sky’s the limit for him.

Q: When did he catch your eye?

A: Our area scout, Steve Devine, he did a great job going in there and digging him out. He lives in Columbus. That’s his area. So he’s at Cincinnati a lot. He dug him out, brought him to our attention. Our other area scouts did him – Ryan Jones and Chris Pettit – and then of course we started getting on him once we started hearing the enthusiasm about him in the meetings, our first set of meetings about the draft guys.

Q: What do you see in him that Cincinnati did not cultivate?

A: I’m sure they saw the talent, but they’re 4, 5 wide all of the time, shotgun, quick, get it out. So they don’t use the tight end a whole lot. I’m sure they knew what they had. Glowing reviews from the people there who deal with kid and coached him. They feel like they didn’t get the most out of him just because of the type of offense they had. Being here, the coaching, the way we’ll use him, I think he’ll just flourish.

Q: Is he going to take time?

A: Of course at this point in the draft and this kid’s background, it might take him a little more time, but he’s big and fast so just throw him out there on special teams and go run down the field. That doesn’t take much development to do that and he has the mindset and temperament to do that.

Q: When did he stop playing basketball?

A: Maybe his senior year in high school. He got recruited. He didn’t play at Cincinnati. But when you see him, he’s all long and gangly, but filled out in the lower good. He looks like a basketball player.

Q: Which a lot of these new-wave tight ends look like.

A: Right. Which, they were. It’s the new breed of tight end.

Q: A little different than what you guys usually go for?

A: Somewhat when you talk about Ballard and Pascoe, but Travis [Beckum] was a different kind of guy that we brought in here. We just look for talented players in different shapes. It doesn’t matter.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Adrien Robinson is a guy who we really like athletically. He did an outstanding job in his workout. Doesn’t have much to show for his collegiate career – not many catches. Was a move guy – did some good things with the move action. Blocked in space pretty well. Wasn’t used that much as a receiver. We do think he has those qualities, but he’s a big kid. He’s much more than that. We think he can develop. We think with Mike Pope, just like a lot of people think, he can become the player that we hope that he will be.

Q: Adrien Robinson didn’t catch many passes in college. How far away is he?

A: He’s got a lot of work to do to understand the pro game, but he seemed to handle the things that he was asked to do very well. He was used as the motion guy and then brought back in the rim. You see so much of the running game today, the zone run off of what we call the rim action with the tight end or the receiver or the fullback coming back across the formation, giving you a little misdirection, helping set up the naked. He did that. He did that well.

Q: Jerry Reese called him the JPP of tight ends.

A: He’s athletic, a very, very athletic guy.

Q: Is that based on his potential?

A: Yeah, sure it is. Obviously on paper he hasn’t quite achieved that, but we think that he can and it’s all in front of him and we’re anxious to get to work with him.

Q: He’s got the same sort of “sky’s the limit” potential?

A: Well I don’t know. Let’s watch him play a little bit before we get into that. He is very athletic. His numbers are outstanding. He’s very anxious to get going. We think he’s untapped and that’s why, I think, Jerry basically said what he said.

Q: How much is it a factor that you have a tight ends coach in Mike Pope that can develop those guys?

A: It’s a big factor. But to be honest with you, it’s also a factor out there because the college players all know about Mike Pope and the coaches in college know about Mike Pope. As a matter of fact, the people in professional football do as well. So when one comes our way, chances are you’re going to hear comments about ‘Well, Mike Pope will coach that guy and he’ll be a football player.’ We’re hoping that can continue.

Q: Was his blocking okay in college?

A: Yeah, it was. He blocked in space very well, which tells you a little bit about his athleticism. I don’t think he had as many opportunities, nor did he do as well when he stood at the line of scrimmage. How’s he going to do when a six-eye steps over him at 290, the defensive ends we play against? That remains to be seen. But he does have big, long arms. He’s all of that. It’s going to not be easy for him because when you’re building strength with that kind of arm length the numbers don’t always show up, but he’s very interested in being as good as he can be. He sees it as an opportunity here and he’s real excited about it.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Is this where you thought you would go, or were you surprised that the Giants called you?

A: I was surprised because a lot of [mock drafts] had me going from the fifth to seventh round. I spoke to coach Pope and we talked for over an hour, so I had a pretty good feeling about it.

Q: You didn’t catch a lot of passes over your college career. What is it like to not get the ball that much?

A: It wasn’t bad for me because that was just how our offense was. We had a good running back in Isaiah Pead. He went over 1, 000 yards. For me, personally, blocking was something I felt like I needed to work on the most. So individually, I think it actually helped me out because I got to block a lot more.

Q: Did you work out for the Giants?

A: No, sir. I visited there.

Q: There’s not a lot of times that a guy gets picked in the fourth round and has a chance to compete because of injuries at the tight end position. Have you thought about that much?

A: No, not a lot. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play and learn from coach Pope. When those guys come back, I’m sure I’ll be able to take a lot from them, too.

Q: Do you think teams were surprised by the way you worked out this spring and came out of nowhere in that regard?

A: Yes, I think they were surprised because, like you said, I didn’t have a lot of catches so a lot of people weren’t expecting me to do so well. I think a lot of teams were surprised.

Q: Do you think you can make a difference in the NFL as a pass catcher?

A: Yes, sir, I think I can. I think I have pretty good hands. My senior year I didn’t have any drops the whole season. So I think I’ll do pretty well.

Q: How much better have you gotten at blocking?

A: I think I’ve gotten 10 strides better because I had Coach Johnson. He coached at Georgia for seven or eight years. He had Watson and Pope and those guys come down to Georgia. He’s been coaching over 20 years. He taught me a lot about footwork and angles and leverage and understanding where to be on the football field. I think I improved a lot as far as my blocking goes.

Q: Did Mike Pope echo the same things you’ve been hearing about technique?

A: Yes, he did. It was funny because a big thing that Coach Johnson told me about was leverage and that was kind of the same thing that he tells his guys. So we kind of clicked on that part of it and we ended up just talking.

Q: Were you disappointed that you weren’t at the Combine?

A: I wasn’t disappointed because I wasn’t expecting to go to the Combine, based on my numbers. I figured Combine guys are all guys that have pretty good stats. So I was a little disappointed, but not a lot because I wasn’t expecting to go. I knew pro day was going to be my opportunity to show for the scouts so that’s what I focused on.


4th Round – OT Brandon Mosley, Auburn, 6-5, 314lbs, 5.15

SCOUTING REPORT: Mosley is a big, strong offensive lineman with long arms and big hands. Mosley has the frame to add more bulk. He has collegiate experience at both left and right tackle. A former tight end, Mosley is a good athlete. He can trap and pull and get to the second level. While not a mauler, Mosley gets movement in his run blocks. He is a tough, aggressive, physical player who looks to punish defenders. Mosley shows decent feet, agility, and balance, but needs technique work in pass protection. With only two years of experience on the offensive line, he is still learning to play the position and will take some time to develop. Hard worker who is very coachable.

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

Big, tough, smart; just like we like in our offensive line room. He reminds us somewhat of David Diehl. This guy has a good concept. He understands; knows how to play. We think he is going to be a good addition. We think he could go in there and play some guard as well if we needed him to play some guard. But he is an offensive tackle.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

We think Mosley can do both [guard and tackle]. He’s just a gritty, hardnosed, tough player. The throwback kind of guy. High marks from all of our area scouts, just about his competitiveness and determination.

Q: Is Mosley closer to being able to adjust to the NFL [than McCants]?

A: Yeah, I think so. He played at Auburn, started at Auburn – a high level of competition. So I think he can step in right away and not be phased, step in tomorrow. He’s going to be the same guy he was two years ago as he is five years from now, just that gritty hard-nosed guy.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Brandon Mosley was an outstanding player in college; came from a junior college. He has actually played on both sides. Has very good gym numbers. Ran well in the 40-yard dash. We think he has good flexibility. He may be a guy that can handle learning both guard and tackle right away, so we look forward to that.

Both (Mosley and McCants) are physical players: this Mosley guy, if he has a chance to put you on your back, he’ll do that. McCants did the same thing. He hustles, he works. You see him downfield trying to get after people, and I watched him earlier in games against outstanding competition, so I was glad to see the way he played. There’s no question in my mind that in the fourth round we did a very good job, where we picked, in getting what we call “true value” for those two spots. Same thing with McCants at the spot where we took him.

Q: Brandon Mosley can play guard?

A: Well I think he can. We may even slide him in there to start.

Q: He hasn’t played guard before?

A: He’s played both tackles, I can tell you that. Now whether he’s played guard or not, I don’t really recall that.

Q: What is it that you see that makes you say ‘This guy can play guard’?

A: He can run. He’s athletic. He has all the numbers. If you go ahead and look at them, his numbers at the combine were outstanding in terms of all of his run, jump, change of direction kind of stuff and strength-wise too. I think he had 30 reps.


6th Round – OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham, 6-6, 308lbs, 5.41

SCOUTING REPORT: McCants is a big, athletic lineman with very long arms. He is a bit of a project but has an upside. He needs to fill out and get stronger. McCants is a fluid athlete who can pull and get to the second level. McCants flashes ability in pass protection but needs to become more consistent. He has some issues recognizing blitzes and stunts. Raw – he needs a lot of technique work in pass protection and run blocking. McCants does have the tools to become a player at the pro level. McCants has had academic issues.

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

He is definitely a tackle. He played left tackle for UAB. Really a pleasant surprise when you watch him. You have to look at him. UAB has not been a powerhouse of football lately, but you do your homework and go in a look at this guy. He is intriguing; long, 36-inch arms. I think at the Combine he was 308. I think he is 315 now. I think he will be 325 pounds in a blink. A very interesting prospect for us. We think that in a year or so he could really make some headway and challenge for a spot in our starting lineup. I think he is going to be that type of player for us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

McCants, a little bit more of a developmental guy. 6’5”. The guy’s got almost 36 [inch] arms. Good feet for a guy that big. We think he can play left tackle with that length. They’re quite different in their skill set. He’s a competitor, too, McCants, but Mosley is more of that blue collar guy and McCants is more of the athletic, developmental type.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

McCants, a big, tall kid. I just asked him a minute ago what he weighed. He said he was 315. That’s a good thing. He has great big, long arms, almost 36-inch arms. He has played on the left side. I kidded around with him about being Secretariat. That he is not. He has such height, he’s going to get bigger and bigger, and he may give us some flexibility. We’re going to start him out on the left side, and if we have to move him to the right side, that’s fine. But he’s excited.

Both (Mosley and McCants) are physical players: this Mosley guy, if he has a chance to put you on your back, he’ll do that. McCants did the same thing. He hustles, he works. You see him downfield trying to get after people, and I watched him earlier in games against outstanding competition, so I was glad to see the way he played. There’s no question in my mind that in the fourth round we did a very good job, where we picked, in getting what we call “true value” for those two spots. Same thing with McCants at the spot where we took him.


7th Round – DT Markus Kuhn, N.C. State, 6-5, 299lbs, 4.89

SCOUTING REPORT: Kuhn was born in Germany and was only a one-year starter in college. He has a nice combination of size and athletic ability. Kuhn is a high-energy effort player who can be disruptive with his quickness and intensity. Kuhn is a better run defender than pass rusher. He needs to play with better leverage/technique. He flashes an ability to push the pocket. Hard worker.

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

This kid is German. He doesn’t have much of a background in football. He has only played a limited about of time. But he is a gym rat; big, strong, tough; great to put in your D-Line rotation. Obviously he is still learning. I think he speaks three languages – something like that. But he is fun to watch. He is the Mitch Petrus of defensive tackles. He is a like a buzz saw in there. He is big. I think he ended up with five sacks during the season. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher. But he stays busy. Somebody better take him because he stays busy in there and he is a slugger.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:(Video)

Q: Markus Kuhn is 25?

A: He’ll be 26 in training camp.

Q: But he’s still learning the game?

A: Yeah, he’s really still learning the game. The first football game he saw was one he played in, over in the states. He didn’t know much about college football or anything.

Q: Is he really strong?

A: Yeah, he’s strong. He’s big and strong. Tough guy, that you need on the team. Ran 4.9 at the combine. He’s fast, a straight-line fast guy so we think he can run down on kickoffs. Again, when we get this late in the draft we look for special things that guys can do and he’s big and strong and can run fast and he plays hard. So those are the qualities we liked in him.

Q:  Tom said that he was rated a little higher than what you drafted him.

A:  Yeah, we talked about him for the last few rounds, actually. So he was in the discussion from Adrien on. So with all three of those discussions and finally it was like, we kept passing him over, passing him over. And we are glad he was still there.

Q:  Would he be the kind of guy who in training camp you will have to watch because he could – sometimes guys with his profile – he could make something happen in training camp – have a little fight; have a little skirmish?

A:  Yeah, he has that in him. I think he might mix it up some. But when you get hard-nosed guys going up against each other all of the time, that stuff occurs. But nothing to where it is out of the ordinary – where he is dirty or anything. He just plays hard. It is the only way he knows how.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Kuhn we had evaluated at a little bit higher level. You talk about gym numbers, now he’s got them. All the way across the board he had done very, very well in the gym numbers, as we say, in terms of the way he worked out. He is a physical player. He’s a penetrator. I think he’s learning the game, and I think a lot of it is in front of him. From a standpoint of drafting where we were at the bottom of each round and remaining there, I think we have addressed some of the circumstances that we had to address with quality, quality people.


 Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

RB/FB Joe Martinek, Rutgers, 5-11, 221lbs, 4.60: Martinek is a bit of a fullback/running back ‘tweener. He lacks ideal size for fullback and ideal overall athletic ability for halfback. As a ball carrier, he flashes good instincts, quickness, and agility for a bigger player. Martinek has good hands as a receiver and runs well after the catch. He is solid in pass protection, but is not a powerful, aggressive lead blocker on running plays. Martinek’s strength is his overall versatility.

WR David Douglas, Arizona, 6-0, 205lbs, 4.55: Douglas has ordinary size and he is more quick than fast. However, he runs good routes, accelerates well, adjusts to the football, and has good hands. He is a tough runner after the catch.

WR Julian Talley, Massachusetts, 6-1, 190lbs, 4.52: Talley has decent size and overall athletic ability. He lacks ideal speed, but is smooth, fluid, and very quick. Talley has experience returning punts and kickoffs.

WR Brandon Collins, Southeastern Louisiana, 5-11, 180lbs, 4.41: Collins lacks ideal size but he has very good speed, quickness, and leaping ability. Collins can threaten a defense deep and is elusive after the catch. He began his college career at Texas but had academic problems and was dismissed from the team after being arrested for aggravated robbery and organized criminal activity. Those charges were later dropped. Collins has experience returning punts.

OG Stephen Goodin, Nebraska-Kearney, 6-5, 310lbs, 4.90: A former tight end in high school, Goodin has collegiate experience at both left guard and left tackle. He sat out all of 2010 with broken leg. Goodin has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He is a very hard worker.

DE Adewale Ojomo, Miami, 6-3, 258lbs, 4.92: Ojomo lacks ideal size, but he has very long arms and the frame to get bigger. He played both at both end and tackle for Miami. There are conflicting scouting reports on his ability as a run defender and pass rusher. Some say he does not stand out out in either area, but others say he can play with leverage and be a physical presence at the point-of-attack. Some feel he lacks the overall athletic ability to ever be much of a pass rusher, while others say the opposite.

DE Matt Broha, Louisiana Tech, 6-4, 255lbs, 4.86: Broha flashed as a pass rusher at the collegiate level. However, his lack of speed and agility may hamper him at the pro level. Broha is too easily handled on running plays. He has good initial quickness as a rusher and has a knack for getting to the quarterback. Plays hard.

LB Jake Muasau, Georgia State, 6-1, 243lbs: Muasau was voted his collegiate team’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. He is an intense player who was the leader of his defense.

S/CB Janzen Jackson, McNeese State, 6-0, 188, 4.61: Junior entry. Jackson is an instinctive, talented player with several serious off-the-field red flags including drug use and a burglary arrest. He was also dismissed from the University of Tennessee program. Jackson is a bit of a S/CB ‘tweener. He lacks ideal size for safety and ideal speed for corner. Jackson is a good athlete with fine quickness. For a safety, he has good man coverage skills and range, and he makes plays on the ball in the air. He needs to get bigger and stronger to play safety at the next level. Jackson is a big hitter, but he needs to improve his play against the run and become a more consistent tackler. Jackson has return experience.

S Jojo Nicolas, Miami, 6-1, 200lbs, 4.53: Nicholas is a bit of a S/CB ‘tweener. He lacks ideal size for safety and lack ideal overall athleticism for corner. Nicholas is a solid, smart, disciplined player for a program with a history of producing NFL quality safeties. Good special teams player.


 Eric’s Take on the 2012 Draft

With seven picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Giants invested heavily in the offensive skill positions, selecting a halfback, wide receiver, and tight end with three of their first four selections. They also took two offensive linemen. In all, five of the seven selections were spent on the offensive side of the ball.

Their third selection was a cornerback, an area that they were very active early in the offseason when they signed cornerbacks Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson, Justin Tryon, Michael Coe, Brandon Bing, and Antwaun Molden. In the final round, they added a defensive tackle despite signing veteran defensive tackle Shaun Rogers hours before the draft began. When analyzing this draft, it is also important to remember that the Giants spent their 5th round pick on a trade for linebacker Keith Rivers.

I’ve never subscribed to the premise that the Giants draft players based only on the “best available” strategy. I think “need” factors into their thought process. It’s a combination. Regardless of where you fall in this debate, Giants’ officials repeatedly said that value and need perfectly matched for them in this draft after it was over. In other words, the Giants – as an organization – felt they had strong needs at halfback, wide receiver, cornerback, and tight end. And perhaps they felt those needs were in that order.

If you read my draft preview, I felt the Giants’ top needs were defensive end, wide receiver, tight end, and running back. That said, I would not have been surprised to see the Giants take a player early in other areas such as offensive line, cornerback, linebacker, or defensive tackle.

I wrote, “Since the Giants have added no veterans in free agency thus far, one gets the sense this may be the year when the team takes a running back relatively high, possibly as high as the first round (Doug Martin).” I had the position correct, but the wrong player. About an hour before the draft, I was told the Giants were going to take David Wilson unless someone unexpectedly fell to them. And it was Wilson who the Giants selected at the end of the first round.

We should have done a better job of connecting the dots with the Giants’ supposed previous first-round interest in C.J. Spiller. While Doug Martin is probably the “safer” pick as he is the more NFL-ready and well-rounded player at this stage, Wilson has the higher upside because of his break-away ability. Wilson is a threat to score every time he touches the football as a runner, receiver, or returner. He lacks ideal stature, but he’s a powerful man for his size, as indicated by the fact that he led the NCAA in yards after contact. There is no doubting his tremendous physical ability. What I especially like is his character and commitment to the game.

“Tremendous. Tremendous,” responded Giants’ Director of College Scouting Marc Ross when asked about Wilson’s personality. “‘The best I’ve ever coached’ kind of reports. ‘Best worker in here.’ ‘Pound for pound strongest.’ ‘Loves the game.’ When you get those types of accolades from coaches, trainers, equipment people, whoever deals with the kid, and blend it together with a great football player you can’t go wrong.”

You can see (video) that kind of love for the game/intensity before Team USA took on Team Canada in an international contest. Imagine what he will be like before a Giants-Eagles game in a couple of years?  It seems he will help fill the emotional void created by the departure of Brandon Jacobs.

As for Wilson’s negatives, I don’t worry about the fumbling. The two areas that could set him back are his size/ability/willingness to pick up the blitz and his instincts/willingness to stay with the designed play on inside runs. Some smaller backs become very good at picking up the blitz (see Tiki Barber). Others do not. If he can’t pick up the blitz, he won’t play on passing downs and that will limit him as a potential deadly weapon in the passing game. “That’s how it is,” said HB Ahmad Bradshaw. “If you can’t protect that quarterback, you can’t get out there. That’s how we look at it now. We’ve had a lot of rookies and a lot of young guys come through here. We don’t even let them, in practice, get behind Eli. When you’re behind Eli you know that you’re getting better and you’re trusted.”

Wilson also needs to understand that he can really hurt his team by trying to turn every run into a big play. Getting 4-5 yards on first down is not a bad thing. Don’t try to bounce everything outside.

The big thing Wilson will bring to the table is fear. Opponents now have to worry that Wilson can hurt them big time in the running and passing games. This will open things up for the rest of the offense. Wilson has the ability to help the Giants’ offense reach new heights of productivity. Want to play seven in the box against the Giants?  Wilson may just take one to the house on you.

Getting Rueben Randle (video) at the end of the 2nd round was a coup. He was in the discussion for the Giants’ first-round pick. Not only does he replace Mario Manningham, but he has a good chance to become a much better player than Manningham. Eli loves big receivers and don’t let Randle’s 40-time concern you. He is a vertical threat who can beat a defense deep. And unlike Manningham, he’ll be more of a threat between the hashmarks. I love our top two guys (Nicks and Cruz) but was very concerned about the caliber of competition behind them. This one pick turns all of that around. Nicks, Cruz, Randle, Jernigan, Barden, and Hixon sound damn good to me.

Most BBIers know I’m obsessed with having a lot good corners on the roster. Your third corner is a de facto starter and depth is critically important when injuries strike. The Giants made a lot of roster moves in this area before the draft. But Terrell Thomas is coming off an ACL and Prince Amukamara is still recovering from his foot issue. Adding a quality prospect to compete with Justin Tryon, Michael Coe, Bruce Johnson, Brian Witherspoon, Antwaun Molden, and Brandon Bing makes a ton of sense. The Giants will keep at least five corners.

The Giants felt Jayron Hosley would have been a first rounder if it had not been for his lack of ideal size and his failed drug test at the NFL Combine. Stating the obvious, the drug issue will have to be watched closely. Interestingly, Jerry Reese compared Hosley’s game to that of Pacman Jones. If Hosley has that kind of talent, and Hosley can keep his nose clean, then he was a major steal at the end of round three.

Tight end was an obvious need for the Giants. Instead of taking supposed top prospects Coby Fleener at the end of round one or Dwayne Allen at the end of round two, the Giants selected size/speed project Adrien Robinson at the end of round four. Jerry Reese calls Robinson the “JPP of tight ends,” meaning he is a superb athlete with exceptionally long arms. Robinson runs in the 4.55 range and has the size to be an in-line blocker at the pro level. But he is very raw and will need a lot of technique work. He only caught 12 passes as a senior at the University of Cincinnati. Coughlin said he’s a better blocker right now in space than in-line. He’s a classic boom-or-bust selection.

The Giants turned their attention to the offensive line with their next two picks: Brandon Mosley (4th round) and Matt McCants (6th round). Both are a bit raw, but both are big athletes and have a good upside. Mosley is less raw, being a two-year starter at a major program. He played both tackle spots at Auburn. The Giants have favorably compared him to David Diehl. They will look at him initially at right tackle and guard, but like Diehl, Mosley is a better athlete than some give him credit for. The Giants see McCants as a left tackle. He’s going to take some time to fill out as he needs to get bigger and stronger. But he is a good athlete with very long arms. Both Mosley and McCants have some nastiness in their game – which you love to see in offensive linemen. And most importantly, both do have the tools to become eventual starters in the NFL. That’s pretty good value in the 4th and 6th rounds.

Finally, the Giants selected German-born Markus Kuhn in the 7th round. Interestingly, when asked who the two biggest value picks were for the Giants in the draft, Marc Ross said Randle and Kuhn. Coughlin said they considered Kuhn in the 4th and 6th rounds. So on the Giants’ board, he was a 4th round talent. The one word that kept coming up with Kuhn was “tough.” He’s a tough guy with good size. But apparently he’s a better athlete than some think as Coughlin said he was straight-line fast and will help on kickoff coverage.

Speaking of specials, it’s important to note that many of these picks will help on special teams. David Wilson and Jayron Hosley played under special teams guru Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Both can help in the return game (Wilson on kickoffs and Hosley on punts). Coughlin mentioned Hosley as a contributor on the coverage units too, including gunner. Robinson’s combination of size and athletic ability should help on specials. And as mentioned above, Coughlin sees Kuhn as a factor on special teams coverage.

What the Giants Did: If the picks pan out as hoped, the Giants became a lot more dangerous on offense with the additions of Wilson, Randle, and Robinson. To be honest, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs didn’t really scare the opposition last year (32nd in rushing). Some of that was on the blocking, but some of that was on the backs. Bradshaw’s feet remain a concern that affects his play/availability. If Wilson can become a more disciplined inside runner and pick up the blitz, he will force teams to pay attention to the halfback position once again. What was a 10-yard run by Jacobs may now turn into a 40-yard touchdown. Randle should more than adequately fill the void created by the departure of Mario Manningham. Indeed, Randle has the ability to become an even better player than Mario and create all kinds of match-up problems once again for Giants’ opponents. Robinson is a big target with sub-4.6 speed. Can he play? We’ll find out, but if he can, look out. For those demanding the Giants address the offensive line, they got one solid RT/OG type and one developmental LT type. Jayron Hosley replaces Aaron Ross and he could be in the mix at nickel back, especially against smaller, quicker receivers. Finally, the Giants added competition/depth at defensive tackle with Kuhn.

What the Giants Did Not Do: The chief need the Giants did not address was defensive end. But that need was ameliorated when it was learned that the Giants had signed Mathias Kiwanuka to a 3-year extension. Before then, the Giants faced the prospect of not only having lost Dave Tollefson this offseason, but Osi Umenyiora and Kiwanuka next offseason. It will be interesting to see how many snaps Kiwanuka now gets at defensive end. A $21 million contract extension seems like a lot of money for a part-time linebacker. Still, with the pending departure of Umenyiora, it would have been ideal to get another pass rusher to groom behind him. His replacement will have to come in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Depth at safety could be a concern. Much depends on the athletic ability of Tyler Sash. Chris Horton and Stevie Brown are strong safety types who are not particularly strong in coverage. But this was a bad draft for safeties and the Giants didn’t reach for one.

Lastly, some would argue that the Giants still have a void at middle linebacker. Right or wrong, the Giants don’t seem to be as worried as some. Michael Boley and Keith Rivers will start – where remains to be seen. The Giants have said all along they like their young linebackers so guys like Jacquian Williams, Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich, and Spencer Paysinger are still in the mix as are Mathias Kiwanuka and Chase Blackburn. What we do know is this – the Giants move their linebackers around a lot. Someone who plays outside on one snap will play inside on another snap, like Boley did last season. And that third linebacker plays less than the fifth defensive back.

Aug 052011
 
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New York Giants 2011 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2011 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected
1 19 19 CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
2 20 52 DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
3 19 83 WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
4 20 117 OT James Brewer, Indiana
6 20 185 LB Greg Jones, Michigan State
6 33 198 S Tyler Sash, Iowa
6 37 202 LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida
7 18 221 HB Da’Rel Scott, Maryland

2011 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska, 6-0, 206lbs, 4.43

SCOUTING REPORT: Amukamara was widely-regarded as the second-best cornerback in the draft and it is a bit of a surprise that he fell to the Giants’ pick at 19. Amukamara has good size and strength for cornerback. While not a blazer, he is a very fluid athlete with quick feet and good speed. Amukamara changes directions easily and rarely loses a step in transition. He is natural, aggressive, and instinctive in coverage. Amukamara usually blankets his opponent. He is a well-coach and technically-sound player, and he has experience in both zone and man coverage. Good tackler and will hit. Amukamara has very good intangibles – he is smart, competitive, and hard-working. The biggest negative is his lack of elite speed. He did not make an interception as a senior. However, in 13 games opponents had targeted Amukamara just 53 times, and completed only 18 passes against him. He is sometimes susceptible to double moves due to over-aggressiveness.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

We were really surprised that he was there when we picked. We thought he would get picked a lot higher than that. But it happens like that sometimes in the draft. Guys can fall right in your lap. We think that is what happened. Everybody is excited up there. Our defensive staff is really excited up there. Our entire room is excited about it. His height, weight, speed – this guy is big and he is fast. There was some concern about his production on the ball this past season because he had more production on the ball the year before. But we think he can still play the ball really well. He is a good tackler; physical player. So there are a lot of things we like about Prince.

Q: With Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas, was this a need pick or value pick?

A:  He was too much value. And it is a need pick as well for me. He will come in and he will play right away. He will be in the mix in our secondary right away.

Q:  When a player drops like that, do you worry that maybe people knew something about him that you don’t?

A:  There is always a concern but we go by what we have on him. Our scouts scout him and our scouts are out for 200 days out of the year. And our coaches do the work. Marc Ross does some work. I do some work on him. We thought he was a terrific player and we never dreamed that he would be there at that point – where we picked him. So you get lucky like that sometimes and a really good player can fall to you like that.

Q:  Why did his production fall off?

A:  I think he had the reputation of being one of the better corners in the NCAA. I think that was part of the issue. The other thing is, the best player in college football was drafted in their defensive front last year. So when you have a guy wreaking havoc up front like Suh you get interceptions back there. So that really helps.

Q:  When he was sitting there, did you consider moving back a bit?

A:  We always think that – do we need to move up; do we need to move back. We waited for awhile. We always try to wait and see what is going to happen – get an opportunity to move – somebody might want to really move up there. But nobody had a decent enough offer for us to give up a quality pick like that.

Q:  Why is this a ‘need’ pick?

A:  Because you always need corners; you always need corners and you always need pass rushers. Those two positions you always need on your defense. So it is always a need pick. Anytime you can get a corner, it is a need pick.

Q: Was this a slam dunk pick, or did you talk about it?

A:  We always talk it out. Nothing is ever a slam dunk. We always talk it out. We always talk about why is he still up there? What were the grades on him? Everybody made a comment that saw him. We had him graded really high; thought he would be gone. So we always talk it out. That is part of our routine up there. We talk it out what we are doing.

Q:  At what point did you think this guy might fall to the Giants?

A:  We had already talked about that. We put all of the scenarios together. And that was one of the scenarios. We talked about the latter part of our conversation of who could fall. But we had no idea that he was going to fall to us at that point. We really didn’t. But it wasn’t the conversation about him – “what if this guy falls down; what if these two guys are on the board; what if these three guys are on the board?”

Q:  What was the interview like; how is his football IQ?

A:  He is going to be a quick study. He is a terrific guy. He is exactly what you want on the field, off the field. He is a terrific young man. We are excited about him. We really are. We are really excited about Prince.

Q:  Is he a Darrelle Revis type?

A:  He will have to prove that. He has some qualities probably like that but he would have to prove that. Darrelle Revis has done it. This guy hasn’t played a snap yet. But we think he has a really good skill set. And again, he is in the rotation right away. Obviously height, weight, speed guys always play on your special teams. But he is in our rotation right away challenging for a job – for the nickel, for a starting position. So I love that competition. There is going to be some good competition at that corner position.

Q:  Was there any debate in the room or was it, “I can’t believe this guy is here?’

A:  There was some debate. There is always debate. We always talk about a couple of guys…and there is always a couple of guys to talk about. So there is always debate.

Q:  How long did it take?

A:  We were ready to go. We had talked about the scenarios unfolding – the draft unfolds right before your eyes. We started talking about those scenarios – “What did this guy do and what did this guy do?” So we pretty much had it talked out.

Q:  Any consideration of Mark Ingram?

A:  There were several players up there.

Q:  Was he one of them?

A:  There were several players up there.

Q:  Was he in your top 10?

A:  We had him high in our draft. We had him high on our board.

Q:  Did you see Prince in person and watch tape on him?

A:  Sure, yeah, absolutely.

Q:  What stuck out?

A:  Well, he played at a very high level. He is very productive. All of the background was outstanding on him. He has just been a really good football player. And again, we just never thought the guy would be there.

Q:  Is he similar to anyone other than Darrelle Revis?

A:  It is hard to compare him. It really is. It is hard to compare him. We just think he is going to be a terrific corner. I hope he just finds his own identity. But I don’t have anybody in mind off the top of my head who he reminds me of.

Q:  Any consideration to the fact that his arms are not long?

A:  He is 6 ft tall so it really doesn’t matter how long the arms are if you are 6 feet tall. You always like guys that have tremendously long arms but if you are 6 feet tall – if you are 5’8 and you have short arms, that is a problem. But if you are 6 feet tall and your arms aren’t as long as you would like for them to be, you can still get by with that.

Q: Was he far and away the top guy left on the board?

A:  He was the top guy left on our board, correct.

Q:  Was there a big separation?

A: I don’t know if there was a big separation, but he was the top guy on our board.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q:  Were you surprised to see Prince there?

A:  It was a shock. It was a shock. It was a shock. I know we come in and say, “We picked the best player, and we were surprised.” This one truly was a shock. Because you go through scenarios leading up to the draft where you kind of have realistic scenarios, somewhat unrealistic scenarios, of what could happen. And this one was just completely out of left field. We never thought this kid would have been still on the board at 19.

Q:  Why do you think he fell?

A:  I think that run on quarterbacks really pushed some good players down. And we had talked about that leading up to it – just that teams are going to start going after these quarterbacks. And that is what was happening. The kid is a great kid. He is big; he is fast. He has never been in any trouble, which for a corner is rare. So it was really surprising.

Q:  At what point did you start thinking that you really had a chance to get him?

A:  We kind of started really getting in depth talking about guys about 7 or 8 picks ahead of time. And he was still up there – we just kind of go over again. But you just assume – I just assumed that somebody would have taken him. With each pick you kind of put him in the back of your mind. You are talking about him but at the same time, “Well, he is going to get picked.” We kept getting closer and closer and he was there.

Q:  Did you field calls when it was your pick?

A:  They don’t tell you the player when they call about trades. They never say, “Hey, we are trying to get this guy, do you want to trade.” They just come with, “We will trade you this for that.” So we don’t know who they want.

Q:  But you did get calls?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Was that the delay, or was there discussion regarding Prince?

A:  No, it was pretty much a consensus. But you don’t want to just throw the name in right away. You want to just kind of wait and let everything settle down and make sure that everybody is still on the same page.

Q:  Who would you compare him to?

A:  Nobody. Usually when I watch players I write in my notes that he is similar to this guy. There is nobody that jumps out at me that I could really compare him to strongly. He is kind of unique in that a guy with this size – and he is fast, fast – he is strong and plays with great instinct. And he has tossed the guys in the gunner on special teams clean off the field. And he is kind of unique.

Q:  You have three high picks back there now. Do you feel you can’t have enough cornerbacks?

A:  Pass rushers and corners – you can never have enough. Because you always have to go with the best player – if you take the best player, they will play. You can’t force things. When you try to force things and jump over guys, that is when you get burned. When you pick the best player, they will find a way on the field. And it just adds depth. It brings competitiveness to the group. You can never have enough.

Q:  Any concerns with the dip from his junior year to his senior year?

A:  Of course we talked about that. The guy had six picks as a junior. He didn’t have any this year. So you are thinking, “Why, what is going on?” So that is something that we talked about. He was in position a lot – he just didn’t finish on the ball as much this year as he did in the past. But we don’t see that as being a concern. Because the guy has natural hands and he can play the ball. So we don’t think that is a problem.

Q:  Isn’t that a low career interception number for a guy who started that many games?

A:  We don’t think so. You have to look at the circumstances. Stats – you can make them any way you want to make them. And stats wise…and you have to watch the tape and see what the circumstances are. Some guys will have four picks and they are just standing there and it falls into their laps. So you have to watch and evaluate how they come about.

Q:  Do you think people thought his arms weren’t long enough?

A:  Yeah, he is not very – the guy has 30 ½ arms or something like that. They may have knocked him on that. But we didn’t. I don’t know – I don’t know why other teams passed on him. He just might not have been a fit.

Q:  Do you think he can start?

A:  Yeah, oh yeah. He has the mindset for it. And that is the number one thing that college players…but don’t do it. This guy has done it. And he has the mindset to do it.

Q:  RE:  Comparison to Darrelle Revis.

A:  (Revis) is one of the best corners in the League. It is unfair to do that to him. But if he turns out to be half as good as that guy, that would be great.

Q:  What was his 40 time?

A:  4.4’s.

(On Saturday): Prince – we’ve talked about him, fell to us. We try not to be surprised in a draft because funny things always happen in a draft, but the guy fell right in our lap. We’re really pleased with that, that he could come in and start challenging for a spot, help us on special teams, play in the nickel, do a lot of stuff for us. We thought he was a top-ten talent.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Q: Did you feel everyone was on the same page?

A: No question. No question. The value of this pick, where he was ranked, there wasn’t any question about the fact that this player should be on the New York Giants. At one point there were probably four or five players in position there, where we felt real good about it. Then, as we got close and our pick matured, there was Prince and he was clearly the highest rated player that we could take on the board.

Q: Do you feel you can never have enough DBs?

A: I’ve always felt that way. You can never have enough cover guys because if you watch the way people play today with the addition of the receivers, they go one, two, three, four, until they figure out what you’re going to cover some of these third, fourth receivers with. The more cover people you have, the better off you’re going to be. Plus this young man is physical, he’s fast, he has very good size, he’s confident, which you have to be as a corner in this league. Sometimes when you look at him you say “Jeez,” he comes under control a little bit at the break point area. You say “Wow, you better continue to give yourself a little bit of a cushion there, young man,” but then all of a sudden he makes a break on the ball and picks one off. He’s physical. They bring him off the corner a lot. He’s played in a division where there’s all kind of wide open passing attacks, so you know he’s defended a lot over the years.

Q: In the notes on him it says “Often compared to Revis.” Is that fair?

A: I didn’t make that comparison, but he is an outstanding, young cover-corner who has a lot of very good attributes and we look forward to coaching him.

Q: At what point do you have to consider that a guy who was supposed to go top 10 might fall into your lap?

A: As it materializes. You’re very conscious of each pick and how it fits exactly. Whether you’re evaluating the team that picked so that you know well, this was a need for them and now that’s gone. So what’s the tendency for them to do the next time around? You’re very conscious of that. By the same token, you’re sitting there looking at your circumstance and then it starts to materialize on the board, as you get closer to where you are, who may very well be there. So then you begin to talk about each one of those players and you just hope that the quality is there when you have a chance to pick and in this particular situation, it was.

Q: Webster, Ross and Thomas – is this a guy talented enough to get on the field with them?

A: The more you can have, the better. It becomes very, very competitive and that’s the way it should be. But it also gives you great flexibility. There’s versatility in this pick in terms of being able to utilize this guy on special teams, to be able to utilize him in your various coverage packages. Whether it be nickel. Whether it be dime. We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to – we see him on tape as an outstanding pressure player – and how that’s going to fit in for us as well.

Q: You like DBs to take on the run, can he do that?

A: He’s done that in college and he has good size and we think he can.

Q: How will you not being able to spend time with him because of the current circumstances affect things?

A: We’re all waiting for further instructions, as you all know. But the issue that we received today is that you can give them material and you can spend some time with them. In the process of during the draft, you don’t have that much time. Let’s face it, you have a lot going on. According to the way the NFL instructs us, hopefully starting tomorrow, we’ll know more about the future.

Q: Were there questions about why Prince was still there?

A: No. We talked, very thoroughly, about each player that we have in a position – maybe five guys a time that we’re talking about and we go over all of the grades and the whole room gets a chance to chirp in. There wasn’t any question about how we felt about him.

Q: Was the debate fiery or uniform, this is our guy?

A: It was straightforward, informative. All statements were very supportive.

Q: Did you meet with his family?

A: I did not personally meet with them, no.

Q: Did you meet with him at the combine?

A: I didn’t, but our coaches did.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: How surprised were you that the Giants picked you? How surprised were you that you lasted to 19?

A: I was very surprised that I lasted all the way to 19 just because I thought other teams needed a corner, that had earlier picks. But that wasn’t the case. I guess the Giants did and I haven’t worked out for them. I’ve never visited here and they never really contacted me. That’s just how the draft is. It’s pretty tricky like that.

Q: What are your thoughts about playing for the Giants?

A: It’s an amazing opportunity. It seems like the fans are crazy about their football and I’m just excited that I have a team that I can help win and help compete and try to play.

Q: What do you think that you bring to the table?

A: I’m definitely a physical corner that loves to get in on the run. I use my hands a lot with the wide receivers and I just really like to get after the ball.

Q: Can you explain five interceptions as a junior and none as a senior?

A: Just not a lot of opportunities.

Q: Did teams tend not to throw to your side?

A: Yes, that was the case.

Q: Talk to Phillip Dillard yet?

A: No, I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m sure that we’ll be well acquainted.

Q: Thoughts about being ready to play right away?

A: I’m excited. I know that’s given. I know I definitely have to get in and just learn the playbook. Hopefully I can get in and compete and help the team win.

Q: Are you optimistic there will be a season?

A: I have great confidence that both sides are going to get a deal done and when they do, I’ll be ready to come in and work.

Q: How many special teams have you played?

A: I played a lot of special teams and I love playing special teams. At Nebraska , we were taught you have to be special to play special teams. Special teams is a hidden spot of the game where plays can be made and I really like to contribute on special teams.

Q: Were you a gunner?

A: I played gunner, jammer and I played on the front line of kickoff return.

Q: Where does your first name come from?

A: It has royalty to it. My dad comes from a royal family, where his grandfather was a chief of a village in Nigeria and every son is actually a prince and they give them the first name Prince.

Q: Proud of your heritage?

A: Oh yeah, very proud of my heritage. My parents are very proud of it too. Right now they’re wearing their cultural attire. They love to show it off and I try to go back as much as I can.

Q: Next in line to be chief?

A: Yes, but it’s a funny situation. A lot of stuff would have to come into play. I would have to live there to be a chief.

(Giants Insider Q&A with Amukamara – Video)


2nd Round – DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina, 6-2, 309lbs, 4.83

SCOUTING REPORT: Austin did not play football in 2010 as he was kicked off of UNC after being ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for illegally dealing with an agent. Austin lacks ideal height but he has an outstanding combination of strength, power, and athleticism. He moves very well for a big man and has a touch of explosiveness to his game. He can play both the 1-technique and 3-technique tackle positions. Austin has the ability to be strong at the point-of-attack against the run and he has good initial quickness and agility as a pass rusher. He can be disruptive, but he needs to play more consistently with leverage, power, and discipline. At times, he is blocked too easily. Austin does have a reputation for having an inconsistent motor – he needs to play hard on every snap. He dominated at times at UNC but was considered somewhat of an underachiever. If he plays with better technique, consistency, and effort, Austin could develop into a very good player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE

Marvin Austin didn’t play this past season. We did a lot of work on him. He was very highly rated on our board. The value was tremendous at that point. Again, we did a lot of homework on him. We couldn’t pass him up.

Q:  What kind of work do you do on someone who didn’t play last season?

A:  All you can do is look at his season before. He played in the all-star game; really into individual stuff. He was dominant in those drills. You see that he hadn’t played all year long because I think he fatigued a little bit in the game because he wasn’t in football shape. It is hard to get into football shape if you are not playing football. But you go back and look at his tape as a junior and you see a really good football player. Again, we had him very highly rated. This guy is going to be a tremendous player for us.

Q:  Were there any other issues with him – was the agent stuff the only problem?

A:  No other problems. That is it; no other problems.

Q:  Did you speak with Hakeem Nicks when you were evaluating him?

A:  We get our evaluation. We take players’ evaluations of each other – that is a little bit dangerous for us. But we did talk to Hakeem a little bit. We always try to talk to players from the same school to just get their opinion on players. We always try to do that. But that could be dangerous in itself.

Q:  It is crowded on the defensive line – do you anticipate it thinning out?

A:  You never know. You just have to get as many good football players as you can, because injuries can happen. So good players – we try to get as many good football players as we can. And this guy is a very good football player. No knock on Linval Joseph – we think he is going to be a tremendous player.

Q:  What was your impression of him when you sat down with him?

A:  I think he was very remorseful. I think he was disappointed that he didn’t get to play. He really wanted to play. He made a bad decision. He really wanted to play. We were disappointed that he let his teammates down and his school down, that he wasn’t there to help them play and win more games. So we sat down with him and we interviewed him; we talked with him. The coaches talked with him. This guy is going to come in here with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove. I hope he will take it out on the opponent. But obviously, when he gets here we will keep a close eye on him like some other players we have had in the past.

Q:  What did you see specifically see from the game tape of his junior year?

A:  He is explosive; he is an explosive three-technique, a gap charger. This guy can get off the ball with tremendous speed. He has got a nasty motor – mean demeanor about him. He is going to bring that nasty attitude. Somebody described him as Keith Hamilton – not the body type but that nasty deamenor that Keith Hamilton used to play with when we had him here. So I like to have some big nasty guys in your front. I kind of like that.

Q:  He hasn’t played this year and with the lockout now, will he need time to be ready to go?

A:  All of the players will need some time. The lockout – it is what it is. I really don’t have a lot of comments about that but when it is time to play football I think he will be ready to go. He is definitely healthy. He didn’t get hurt. He didn’t have any injuries at all. He has gotten healthy and ready to go. We expect him to be up and running full go.

Q:  Not playing might be an advantage – he should be fresh.

A:  That is just what I am saying. He should definitely be fresh because he didn’t play. But he did lose a year of playing. So that is a negative. It kind of balances itself out. He should be fresh and healthy, but he lost a year of playing.

Q:  What does this mean for Barry Cofield?

A:  Barry is a free agent. All of that will take care of itself. So I’m not going to make any comments on Barry Cofield’s future.

(On Saturday): Marvin Austin – well documented off-field issues. Did our homework on him, thought he was a top 15 talent. We think he’ll be a terrific player on our defensive front in the rotation.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: Surprised today with Marvin Austin being available to you?

A: I’m surprised again. I thought at the top of the second somebody would go after him, but not totally surprised or concerned. Obviously, the well documented issues. If you didn’t do you homework on him, you could easily dismiss him. I thought somebody would take a chance, but definitely not a surprise.

Re: checking out a prospect’s character

A: Our scouts, that’s why they go out there, away from their families for. I get out on the road. Those guys dig deep. They have contacts at all of the schools. Coaches, trainers, strength coaches, equipment people, that’s what they dig all year long, during the fall, pro days. We meet with these kids at the combine, bring them in. We do a thorough job. The scouts, they do all of that. Obviously, I’m a part of that as well, but we get all of that information.

Q: Players with character issues, why are certain ones okay?

A: Certain people, you take a chance on if they aren’t habitual problems. For instance, we took a chance on Mario (Manningham). We thought his were isolated incidents where he made bad mistakes. We thought he was a good kid. We did a lot of work on him. He loved football and he was a good kid who made bad decisions. Whereas other people, you don’t look at it the same way. With Marvin, we think this kid loves football. He loves to compete. He’s genuinely remorseful about what happened. I think he wants to prove to everybody – himself, his teammates, his new team – that he learned from that and that he’s going to go on from there.

Q: From football point of view?

A: The first couple tackles taken were Dareus and Fairley. Talent wise, he’s right up in the mix. If he was clean, he would have been a top 15 pick – I believe.

Q: Did you evaluate Marvin Austin last year?

A: This year, you had to go back to his tape to watch it. So, yes. We went back and looked at it after this year, but when he was a junior, no.

Q: Regarding Manningham and Bradshaw – the fact that you all have done a good job with them, does that give you confidence when you evaluate other college players that they will be okay?

A: Yeah, because I think we have the foundation in place with this organization – the coaching staff. You have to know your coaches, you have to know the support system you have. And I think we have a strong foundation with dealing with that. But again, we don’t want to go too far off and just bring in this guy we have just seen who is a bad, bad person. So we will never do that. The guys that we have taken, we don’t think they are bad people.

RE:  College defensive lineman missing a whole year.

A: Yeah, you can only speculate. He did play in the East West All-Star Game. He did go to the Combine. He did have a pro day. And if you didn’t know anything about him, he would check out just like anybody else who had played a whole year. He looked good at each stage of it. He was one of the most impressive guys at the Combine. The guy ran a 4.89, 309 pounds, benched 38. At his pro day he and Quinn were working out together, tons of d-line coaches, people there. He is moving around, you wouldn’t know the difference. So postseason, everything looked the same. Now, of course he didn’t have a senior year tape, you have to go back and watch that. But we have seen a lot of things to think that this guy is going to get back in shape.

Q: He was benched for two games in 2008. What did you find out about that?

A: Yeah, we ended up figuring in all of that. We have great area scouts, we find out all of that information. Things that happened, we felt comfortable that it wasn’t going to be a problem.

Q: The defense got a lot better.

A: Definitely; definitely. When you can add a quality corner and a disruptive defensive tackle, I think Perry (Fewell) is happy right now.

Q: Did you have some offensive coaches knocking on your door?

A: It is an open door policy, they just walk right in. They don’t have to knock.

Q: Do you feel you have gotten two good top picks in the last two days?

A: Yes, we really do. We had those two guys very high up on your board and we are happy we got them. But, yeah, we think we did.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN

With this second pick we took a very talented defensive lineman that has had some issues – without a doubt. We did a lot of studying on this guy. There were probably seven or eight of our people at the workout at North Carolina. There were some private interviews. We had a private interview with him at the combine. I spent quite a few minutes on the phone with him prior to telling him that we would be drafting him in the second round and that there were some very, very high expectations for him if he was to come here and be a New York Giant. I think he understood that, so we will get off on the right foot. A talented football player. Certainly has an opportunity now to show the world what he can do and to, hopefully, package all of the energy and disappointment and motivation based on the fact that he did not play this past year. Hopefully he’ll wrap all that up and come here and be the football player that we think he can be. Let me say this to you, his grade – strictly looking at his football ability – is very high.

Q: How much is the motivation a factor?

A: He wants the opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong. The fact that we do all kinds of tests on people and those tests were very good. A lot of people substantiated the fact that although you do have to have some borders in place, he’s basically a guy that’s sharp and, if focused, can be a very good football player.

Q: Consider him a risk?

A: I think anybody’s a risk. Until they come in and prove exactly what they can do, there’s risk involved for anybody. But we’re in a high-risk business.

Q: When you say borders in place, what are you talking about?

A: Just so he knows exactly what our expectations are and exactly what we don’t want to see occur and how strongly we would enforce.

Q: Similar to the talk Jerry Reese had with Bradshaw?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Physically, how does he compare to Linval Joseph?

A: He is just under 6’2″, at about 309 and very quick. Comparable. I would say very comparable. His bench press now, you know what that was right? 38 reps on the bench at Indianapolis. He’s strong.

Q: Jerry said he plays with a mean streak…

A: We’ll encourage that.

Q: With Austin not playing for a year, do you have to give him a longer learning curve?

A: The fact that he hasn’t played in a year – he did play in an all-star game. So he has played some football.

Q: What does this say about Barry Cofield coming back?

A: The more, the merrier, that’s the way I look at it. The more quality football players you can have, the better off you are going to be. It’s a long season, as you know. It takes its toll.

Q: How long was Austin on your radar? Since he hadn’t played, when did you consider him a possibility?

A: We knew the whole story. Those players have been followed very closely, even though they haven’t had an opportunity to play this year. But they were a talented group. All of these people are evaluated in the prior season anyway. So you had a real good feel for them and then all of a sudden the disappointment of not being able to grade them this year. But it didn’t stop us from tracking them and from keeping tabs on them. You saw, they were invited to the various tryout functions, if you want to call it that, and they had their own pro days. They’ve been adequately and properly graded and taken into consideration with all players at their position. And that goes for all of the kids at North Carolina that didn’t play.

Q: At the combine, you said center was an area of concern, yet it hasn’t been addressed. Is that frustrating?

A: It’s the way it happens sometimes. True to form, we’re not going to reach. We’re not going to leave a value to go somewhere else. There’s more draft to go.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Coach Coughlin said that one of the big things about you is that you clearly would like to prove people wrong and get the job done this year. How much is that a motivation for you?

A: It is extremely motivating. I feel like I am one of the best athletes that was in the draft and I feel like I’m just ready to go and perform and get a chance to play the game that I love so much.

Q: How tough was last year for you and what kind of lesson did you learn, if any, about what happened to you?

A: It was tough to sit back and watch and not be able to play, not to be able to go out and compete with my teammates. And I learned that every decision that you make is an important decision and you have to think everything out. And also not being able to play football – it makes you grateful for the game. It makes you appreciate the game.

Q: Coach Coughlin said that he spoke to you before they told you that they were going to pick you; sort of laid down the law and told you what their expectations were. Did that hit home to you; did that sink in?

A: Yeah, it definitely did. Coach Coughlin and I had a good conversation; very healthy conversation. He told me what was going to be expected of me. I told him that I am ready to be a professional. I’m ready to come in. I’m glad they invested a second round pick in myself. And I can’t wait to get to the facility and start working.

Q: Do you feel that when people talk about you, they kind of get the feeling that you are the bad guy?

A: Sometimes some of the things that are said and the way that people say them I feel like some people feel that I’m a bad person or something like that. And that is not the case at all. I’m a good guy who made a bad decision and I’m ready to move on. I am ready to become a Giant.

Q: Outside of the one all-star game last year, you haven’t played a whole lot of football recently. And now with the labor problem in the NFL, how much do you think that hinders your development in terms of trying to make an impact as a rookie?

A: I don’t really think it hinders my development if I come in there and listen to the coaches and get with the older guys, see what the veterans, try to cut the curve as much as I can. I don’t think it will hinder me. I think that I am in pretty good shape. I feel healthy so not being able to play football for the past year, it has it’s downside but it also had an upside. I feel as healthy as I have ever felt in my life.

Q: You also seem like you are saying that you have matured over the last year. What have you learned specifically? What is the difference between you now and a year ago?

A:  My situation was an extremely humbling experience from being one of the top players in the country to going to be a guy who nobody wants to (draft). That was extremely humbling. I just learned that hard work will pay off. That is what I want to do. And when I get to the facility, I’m going to bust my tail.

Q: What did you do this last year with regard to football drills and those kinds of things? How much of that were you able to do?  Who did you work with?

A: I was down in Tampa at Saddle Brook Resort working with Jason Riley, who was my trainer. And I pretty much did a lot of balance stuff. I did a lot of yoga; did a lot of defensive specific drills. And a lot of stuff to become more explosive.

Q: Could you describe for us what kind of player you are – a thumbnail scouting report?

A: I think I am a smart player. I am a passionate guy. A guy who goes out and gives everything he has for his teammates. And I think that by being coached by Coach Blake that I have knowledge of the position – the defensive tackle position. And I think that I can bring it to the New York Giants organization. I will bring that to the New York Giants organization.

Q: Had it not been for the problem of last year, do you think you were a first round pick?

A: I don’t know that. I can’t really worry about that. I am with the New York Giants now and right now I am so glad to be in the National Football League.

Q: In 2008 you were benched for the final two games. What happened there? Why was that?

A: One of the games I showed up in class late. And coach wouldn’t play me. He is a no nonsense type of thing and I had to sit out. So I suffered the penalty they assigned me. It was a learning experience.

Q: I know you are close with Hakeem Nicks. What has your former teammate told you about the Giants? How much did you have a chance to talk to him last year?

A: Actually he was the first person to call me up after they selected me. And he just said, “Come up ready to work.” And his goal was to get me up there. Because he knows what kind of guy I am and he knows what kind of player I can be and bring to the organization.

Q: You said you are a passionate guy when you play. Jerry Reese used the word, “nasty” three times when he was talking about you as far as how you play. Do you agree with that and where does that come from?

A:  I do. I do agree that I am a nasty guy on the field because I have to go out there and just put it all on the line. From the way that I get off the ball, the way that I use my hands and stuff like that. I like to play violent. And being a defensive lineman that is just what you have to do.

Q: When you came out of high school you were one of the top players in the country. Is it a humbling experience to you knowing that everyone forgot about you?

A: It was extremely humbling. But I’m glad the Giants gave me a chance and they believed in me and they believed that I could come in and help their organization. So now it is just time to get to work.

Q: Do you think you are a big risk?

A: Not at all. I don’t think so. I don’t think I am a big risk. As I said, the things that happened are in the past. Now I am ready to be a professional and I think coming up to this point I showed that I can be in shape given that I was out of football for five months I can be…professional. Because I had to become a professional way before a lot of other guys because they were still in college. So I think I am ready and I don’t think I’m a big risk at all.

Q: How do you think Butch Davis prepared you for the pros?

A: Coach Davis, he ran the whole program like it was a professional program. And he just did things like a professional program would. From the meeting standpoint to the way the practices ran. I think I am well prepared when I come to the Giant organization. He really doesn’t put up with a lot of nonsense. So I think I will be well prepared to come in and help the organization out.

Q: Is there a pro player that you have watched at your position over the course of time that you try to model yourself after?

A: I like Warren Sapp. Warren Sapp is a guy who could get back to the quarterback and made plays and make big plays from the defensive tackle position. Also John Randall is the one who I think pioneered the three-technique, the other tackle position with the quickness and the speed. So those are two guys that I like to pattern my game after.


3rd Round – WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy, 5-9, 185lbs, 4.46

SCOUTING REPORT: Jernigan lacks height but he is well built. Jernigan is an explosive, quick, fluid athlete who makes big plays and was extremely productive in college. Jernigan is not a blazer, but he is very quick and sudden in his routes. He cuts well without losing speed, separating from defenders. Jernigan adjusts well to the football and has very good, natural hands and he is very dangerous after the catch. He does need to protect the football better. Very good intangibles – hard-working, tough, and competitive. Projects best as a slot receiver. Good special teams player who can return kicks and punts.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: Jernigan –  wide receiver, return specialist, returns punts and kicks, fast, explosive player, will play in the slot for us probably. Hopefully he can give our special teams, our return game, a boost along with some other guys that we have. This guy gives us another option. But he is an explosive player. We really like him. We had him rated pretty high up there and we think he’ll do a good job for us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: What did you like about Jerrel?

A: His versatility. He’s a little guy, but he’s extremely fast. He’s versatile. He’s a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver, returns punts, returns kicks. I think the conference’s all-time, all-purpose leader. High school quarterback. You love those types of guys. A great feel for the game. We had him in here. We did him at the combine. A great personality. A nice kid who’s going to add some speed to our team on offense and special teams.

Q: On special teams, will he contribute on returns only?

A: No, he’s tough enough to do the gunner stuff. They didn’t have him do it there. You watch them play, he’s on the field all the time – offense, wildcat, like I said. He’s got the speed and toughness to run down as a gunner. He’s going to have to earn it and he knows that. He has that mindset to do it.

Q: How much speed have you added to the team?

A: You always look to get bigger and faster. We didn’t consciously say we have to get faster. We just happened to get two really fast guys – really, really fast guys. It’s going to help us tremendously.

Q: Offensive linemen – weren’t that high on the board?

A: As we always say, we value, we put the value, we do the work, we put the grades on the guys. If they fall at the right time in the right spot, we’ll take them. We’re not going to force the issue. We had the guys we took, these three guys as sitting out there like guys we had to take. We considered other positions, we consider all positions. When we’re about to pick, we have a group of guys and we felt we took the best players, who had the most value at the time.

Q: Surprised about Jernigan?

A: We got him right where we thought he would go, in this range.

Q: Do you think you helped the team today?

A: Of course we think we did a good job. I think we helped our team in a lot of different ways. We got three completely different players, versatile players, competitive players. I think we got better.

Q: Usually you have free agency before the draft, but that flip flopped. Are you thinking, if we don’t draft a certain guy we can always pick someone up in free agency?

A: I don’t think like that. Jerry, Coach they might go over those scenarios. For us, we’re focused on the best guys we can get over this weekend. We’re not up there saying, let’s not take him because we’re going to sign such and such. We’re just going, taking the best guys.

Q: How fast are they compared to what you have now?

A: They are fast. Who is the fastest? They have to get here and play on the field – see who plays fastest on the field. I can say their times – just check their Combine times compared to guys we have had. But field speed and time speed are totally different. We hope these guys will play as fast as we have seen them play and…

Q: After the seven rounds, are you allowed to call undrafted free agents?

A: As of right now, I think we can’t do it. Just like the weather – see if it changes. Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully they tell us we can do it, but as of right now we can’t. We really hope we can do it.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

RE:  Options that Jerrel Jernigan gives you on offense.

A:  He has a lot of options – high school quarterback, wildcat, wide receiver. I know you all looked at his numbers with numbers of catches the number – but let’s face it, he was operating in a situation a little bit without a big arm at the quarterback position. And I think the type of routes that he ran were high percentage routes and not as many up the field routes. And of course, he does have that vertical speed.

Q:  Would you consider wildcat with him?

A:  That will remain to be seen. I have always been one – I don’t want to take the ball out of the quarterback’s hands.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Your thoughts on coming to the Giants.

A:  I look forward to it.

Q:  One thing they talked about last night – Jerry Reese was talking about your versatility as a player. Do you agree with that being one of your better aspects?

A:  Yes, sir, for the simple point of the fact that I played quarterback in high school. That helped me a lot when I came to college. They had me doing a little wildcat stuff. Then I played slot and I played outside and plus special teams with kickoff and punt returns.

Q:  Do you enjoy that part, being able to play all over the place?

A:  Yeah, I love it. People ask me that a lot, if I enjoy doing all that stuff. I tell them, I love playing with the ball in my hands, especially. So I don’t have a problem with that.

Q:  I don’t know how much contact you have had with the Giants so far, but did the wildcat come up at all in your conversations with them?

A:  On my visit it came up a little bit, not a lot. They asked me if I loved doing it. I told them yes, I loved doing it. But that was pretty much it.

Q:  What does it mean to come from a small school? I know the school has produced a number of NFL players, but I think it is still considered sort of a small school?

A:  It means a lot – all of the hard work I put in over the years and stuff. And just – like you said before we’ve got a number of players in the League, it says a lot about our University. And we keep putting people in the League, every year.

Q:  How much do you like kickoff and punt returns and how much do you expect to do that here?

A:  I like it a lot. Everybody always asks me what I would love to do, kickoff or punt returns. I tell them that it really doesn’t matter. I am more comfortable at kickoff returns because I have been doing it the longest. But I love punt returns, too. I expect to come in and do a lot, especially kickoff return and punt returns. But we will just see how things go.

Q:  You look at your size and some people think, “Oh, he is not a big guy.” But it sounds like from what the Giants are saying that you play bigger. You are tough. Do you agree with that?

A:  I agree. I don’t have problems going through the middle. It is all in the football game, get hit. I don’t care. So I go ahead and give my body up and do whatever I have to do to catch the ball.

Q:  Do you know much about the wide receiver situation with the Giants?

A:  Yeah, I know you have great receivers in Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks. I know Steve Smith is coming off a knee injury. And you don’t know how he’s going to come back off his knee injury. But I just plan on coming in and learning from them and sitting back watching, but eventually getting out there and help the Giants any way that I can.

Q:  You talked about players from Troy that are in the NFL. Have you ever met Osi or Lawrence Tynes?

A:  I haven’t met Osi before but I have met Lawrence Tynes. He and I have talked. Matter of fact, he came down to Alabama a couple of weeks ago. Our coach had a 20th anniversary dinner he spoke at and we exchanged phone numbers there. I tried to call him this morning but he didn’t answer. I left a voice mail for him so I’m pretty sure he’ll call me back.

Q:  Getting back to the wildcat for a second. It is still somewhat of a new thing in the NFL. Have you enjoyed watching the last few years? And when you did, did you think, “Hey, maybe this is something that I can do up there?”

A:  Exactly, I enjoy watching it, every time I see it, I say to myself, “That is something that I can see myself doing when I go up there.” But I just look forward to going out there and competing.

Q:  Do you know an NFL player that you could compare yourself to?

A:  I like Percy Harvin, I watched him all through college and stuff. That’s the person I try to (model) my game after, I would say.

Q:  Have you ever been to New York?

A:  Only on my visit. That is the only time that I have been up there. I keep telling everybody that it is going to be different but I will have to adapt to it. So I’m ready for it.


4th Round – OT James Brewer, Indiana, 6-6, 323lbs, 5.27

SCOUTING REPORT: Brewer combines excellent size, arm length, and overall athleticism. He is a raw player who has not played much football. Started 12 games as a junior and 9 games as a senior at right tackle (missing three games with an ankle injury). Brewer may project better to left tackle at the pro level. Brewer is very light on his feet and has the tools to develop into a good pass blocker. However, he needs a lot of work on his pass protection technique. There are conflicting scouting reports on his ability as a run blocker and his ability to play with leverage. The negative reports say he needs to get nastier and stronger. The positive reports say he has a strong lower base and gets movement in his run blocks. He has the athletic ability to engage defenders at the second level in the run game.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

James Brewer, Indiana – height, weight, speed, offensive tackle. A bit of a late bloomer, but we think he has a tremendous upside. He’s a really good athlete. Only had one year of high school football, but he’s played a lot of football at Indiana. Long arms, big man. Not as developed as much as you would like for him to be at this point, but this guy’s already 323 pounds. He can add 10 to 15 pounds in a blink, we think. With the long arms, he’s got 35.5 inch arms, he benched 25 times, which is good, and he ran really fast for a gigantic man like he is. So we think there is a lot of upside with him. We’ll get him in the mix.

Q: Left or Right Tackle?

A: He played on the right side for them because they had Saffold and they didn’t want to move him, but we think he can play left tackle. We think he can play either tackle, but he does have left tackle feet for us.

Q: How do you predict that if he didn’t play on the left side?

A: You look at his athletic ability. There are some guys who are not even really great athletes who can still play on the left side. Guys know how to set and know who their opponents are and you can get away without being a great athlete on the left side. You like for the guy to be a dynamic athlete on the left, but that’s not always the case. You see some very good players over there playing left tackle that are not dynamic athletes. But this guy is a very good athlete.

Q: Why was he so late to football?

A: Well he was a basketball player. He was a basketball player in high school. He just kept growing, he’s a big man. I think he initially thought he was going to be a basketball player. There’s not a lot of 330 pound basketball players around.

Q: Do you see this as a guy who needs time?

A: Yeah. Technique things, this guy is going to get so much better with the pro techniques and with this being his fulltime job. We see him coming in and developing. Not a lot of pressure to come in and play right away, but we always expect our guys to come in and be ready to play in case there are some injuries. He’s a smart kid, we think he can come in and do that. We would like for him to get a little stronger and learn better technique. We think his improvement is the upside for this guy.

Q: What about his physicality?

A: The thing about these guys who we call late bloomers, if they’re not competitive, you tend to shy away from them a little bit. But this guy is very competitive. He really wants to do it. We did all the interview stuff with him and asked him ‘do you want to play football?’ He convinced us that he did. Again, he’s played a lot of football for [Indiana].

Q: Did you expect to take an offensive lineman with your first pick today?

A: No. We don’t assume anything. We talked about some other guys. There were several guys in the conversation with strong consideration, but we went with the big guy today with our first pick.

Q: Have you felt any urgency to pick an offensive lineman?

A: Our urgency is to take good players. That’s what our urgency is. We try to take good players. If it happens to be an offensive lineman, that’s great, but our motive with this draft is to take good players. Obviously, there’s free agency after the draft this time. In essence, that’s a little odd, but free agency does come after the draft this time. We’ll see where our holes are after the draft.

Q: Are you concerned that his weight went up and down in college?

A: No. All of these kids are young kids. In college, most kids’ weight goes up and down, but that’s not an issue for us. He’s 323 pounds right now and again, he could be 335 in a blink.

Q: Is this kid solely a tackle or can he go inside?

A: No, I think he’s a tackle. I think he’s going to play left tackle or right tackle. I don’t think he’s an inside guy.

Q: Off the top of your head, any match-ups you saw on tape with this guy thate impressed you?

A: Looking at him against Iowa. Those are some of the tapes that I watched. They have some pretty good players in their front. Against Iowa. If you want to look at him, look at him against Iowa.

Q: Can you talk with these kids all weekend?

A: I don’t even know the rules at this point. We can talk to them today. There’s not a lot after that.

Q: Will you consider trading up and into the fifth round?

A: If we see there’s a guy that we like and we think we can make a deal to get up into the fifth round, we’ll definitely investigate that. That’s not out of the question, that we’ll try to get into the fifth round.

(After the Draft): Brewer – talked about him a little bit earlier today. Height, weight, speed, really kind of a common thread though of all of these guys. We try to upgrade our speed at every position. Most of these guys are height, weight, speed people. Jernigan is not a height, weight, speed, but he’s what we call a G-type. He’s small and fast. Brewer – height, weight, speed player. Has some developmental things that he can get better. A lot of technique stuff that he’ll get better at as a pro. But this is a gigantic man with long arms. You get excited about these kinds of guys.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

James Brewer is a huge man. He is the same size as Kareem McKenzie. He was a former basketball player in high school. That is why he had the late development. He is real agile for a guy his size. He has to get stronger; get better with his fundamentals of football. But he has loads of talent. And I think, for us, the situation where we have some veteran guys, he will come in and learn and develop and won’t get thrown into the fire. It is a perfect situation for him.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

With the Brewer pick you have a young offensive tackle. He was a five-year collegian but he only played one year of high school football. In high school he was a basketball player. He was an outstanding athlete. There are some aspects of, obviously, development in front of him. But he is talented and he is a massive size guy that can probably get even bigger.


6th Round – LB Greg Jones, Michigan State, 6-0, 242lbs, 4.75

SCOUTING REPORT:Jones was a super-productive tackler at Michigan State where he saw time both at strongside and middle linebacker. Jones also has experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Jones lacks ideal size and speed. However, he is a very instinctive player and a good athlete. Jones plays with excellent anticipation and makes a lot of tackles against the run. Jones does a good job avoiding blocks, but he can get mauled by big blockers and is not a big hitter. He is not as strong in coverage, but he is not a stiff in coverage either. Good blitzer. Excellent intangibles – competitive, tough, and a vocal leader. Good special teams player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Greg Jones – linebacker, has been incredibly productive over his time at Michigan State. One of the things that the late Tom Boisture taught me is when you scout guys, you respect production. This guy has tons of production. This guy has sacks. He has tons and tons of tackles. He’s played at a high level, very instinctive player. Another guy who’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder because I’m pretty sure he feels like he should’ve been picked a lot higher than where he got picked. He’ll come in here with something to prove as well, along with Marvin Austin.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Greg Jones – production. To get a guy who is this productive, this late, three-time all-Big 10, tons of tackles, sacks, tackles for loss, instinctive, plays hard, gets to the football. He is short but he is compact and thickly built, just is a football player.

Q:  Do you see Greg Jones as an inside guy?

A:  Yeah, we think he can play MIKE. He kind of played all three positions at Michigan State. But we see him as a MIKE, and the way he is built – compact, thick. And he plays best in there because he is so slippery; real quick laterally. And he has the instincts and vision to play inside.

Q:  What did you think of the slip in his production from his junior year to his senior year?

A:  It wasn’t like he was bad, just a little bit off. Nothing really directly involved with his play or effort or anything like that. Like you said, you have to watch the tape and see the circumstances. But nothing that jumped out that would say, “Man, this guy is not doing the same thing that he was doing before.” Pretty much he was the same player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN

Greg Jones, the highly productive linebacker from Michigan State, was our first pick in the sixth round. He is a three-time all Big 10 middle backer who has tremendous production and lots of tackles, any number of sacks over the course of his career as well. And so he was our first pick.


6th Round – S Tyler Sash, Iowa, 6-0, 211lbs, 4.63

SCOUTING REPORT:Junior entry. Strong safety-type. Sash has good size, but lacks ideal speed and agility. Instinctive, aggressive, and competitive. He is a good player against the run. Sash flies around the field and is a big hitter. He does need to improve his consistency as a tackler. He is not as strong in coverage – he is a decent athlete but somewhat stiff. Sash is better suited to zone coverage than man. He has decent range but he does not make a lot of plays in coverage. Sash should perform well on special teams.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Tyler Sash – height, weight, speed safety, more of a strong safety. Played a high level of comp. Lots of interceptions, I think he had 13 interceptions in his career there. Smart player, he came in, he can line up the entire defense. He can put everybody on there and tell you what they should do. You love those kinds of guys. We think he will definitely come in and challenge for a spot back in our secondary, back at one of our safety positions.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS

Tyler Sash, the same thing. This guy has good size, he runs good enough. He is not your top flight athlete, but the guy has a feel for the game, instinctive, excellent ball skills. He has 13 career interceptions in three years, which is phenomenal. He has more than top corners combined. The guy is good in the box. We hope he will play special teams for us. He has that kind of toughness about him; reckless with his body. So we really like that about him. To get a guy like that, 13 picks, this late, size…We are happy about that.

Q:  Sash seems like an in-the-box guy, but he has all of these interceptions.

A:  Yeah, it is interesting. He just has a knack for getting around the football. At Iowa they play him everywhere. They play him back, they play him close, and they play him in the slot. And he can handle all of that. He calls the coverages. He will line up your whole defense for you. So those are the things that we really like about him, although his skill set for us may translate more to a box guy. There, they played him everywhere and he got to the football and he has excellent ball skills.

Q:  Do you see him being used the same way you used Deon Grant last year?

A:  We could, yeah, we could. He has that sort of same football mindset. That is how (Deon) survived was with the mind. And hopefully Tyler can do those to him.

Q:  How does Sash compare to Chad Jones?

A:  They are completely different kinds of players; completely different skill set. Chad was a different physical specimen almost. This kid is more – maximizes the talent he has. So they are totally different.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN

Tyler Sash, the second pick, the safety from Iowa who has an outstanding reputation for being a physical player – come on the box kind of guy, and once again, an individual that can help us on teams.

Q:  Tyler Sash – Marc Ross said he is a smart guy, has nose for the ball, etc – is that a coach’s dream?

A:  He did all of those things. He had 13 career interceptions, was an outstanding physical player down in the box. He played at a very, very high level in a physical program; a program that does put a lot emphasis on the strength aspect of the game.


6th Round – LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida, 6-3, 231lbs, 4.56

SCOUTING REPORT:Williams is an undersized but super athletic linebacker. Fast. Due to his size, he can get mauled at the point-of-attack. Raw – he only started one season in college. Hard worker who is committed to the game. Team captain. He should do well on special teams.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Jacquian Williams – the linebacker from South Florida, fast, athletic. The guy will strike you, will give us some more speed on our special teams. Junior college kid, so he’ll be behind a little bit with regard to high level of play. Came there late, to South Florida, but he got into the mix really quickly there and just took off. A lot of people probably didn’t know him. Our scouts really did a good job digging this guy out. We think he can really give us a boost on special teams with his speed while he’s learning how to play up here at this level.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS

And then Jacquian Williams is kind of an undercover guy who not many people have heard about him. He went to the same junior college as Jason Pierre-Paul and went to South Florida. This guy is almost 6-3, 235 pounds. He played about 220 or so because he has put on weight, growing into his body. He is fast. He ran 4.63 on grass at his pro day. He plays that way on the field. He plays with an edge, more of a run and chase kind of guy who plays hard, flies around and he likes to hit.

Q:  Why do you think people don’t know much about Williams?

A:  It was his first year there where he really played. Like I said, he only played around 220. So if you went in there, you saw a 220 linebacker, you might say, “Okay, we won’t look at him.” But he jumps off the tape at you because of his speed and competitiveness. And he flies around. And since South Florida had about eight guys on defense that you have to look at, he was just under the radar because of him being a developer, and just not a high profile name.

Q:  Sounds like the sixth round is an instant help on special teams.

A:  Yes, you are definitely looking for – when you get this late in the draft there is a reason why these guys are around. You are not looking for instant starters. You are looking for, “What can these guys do to help us?” And the first thing is special teams. Right away these three guys jump out. Of course, we want to expect more and we hope there is more. But these guys have been productive; have temperament, speed and toughness to play special teams. That is the way they are going to have to make their mark at first.

Q: How is the awareness for Williams with regard to football?

A:  As a football player he plays with good instincts. He is good in the classroom. He won’t be one of the best, but on the field the guy plays with a good feel for the game.

Q:  Still learning?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Will Williams be much different than the guys you picked before him?

A:  These guys played in the Big 10, started from Day 1 in the Big 10. They have been highly productive there. So a completely different set of circumstances – Sash and Greg Jones are more similar in their acumen and backgrounds as opposed to this kid.

Q:  Is Williams more of a strong side/weak side?

A:  He should be more in a weak side run and chase, nickel linebacker cover. That is the stuff that he does really well. Cover, get out in space, run – that is his deal.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN

Jacquian Williams, the linebacker from South Florida – we had him on the board. He is a little bit bigger than what you are going to see. He was 231 when we weighed him and he does have the outstanding speed. And he will be an outstanding contributor, once again, on special teams.


7th Round – HB Da’Rel Scott, Maryland, 5-11, 211lbs, 4.36

SCOUTING REPORT: Scott has good size and is a very good athlete. He has outstanding speed for the position and can take it the distance. There are conflicting scouting reports on his elusiveness, power, and ability to gain yardage after contact. Scott’s overall instincts for the game have been questioned. He has had some fumbling issues. Scott has good hands in the receiving game, but he needs a lot of work in pass protection if he is to see the field as a receiver at the pro level. Scott has been somewhat injury-prone.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Da’Rel Scott – we took a flyer on the guy because he is big and fast. He is fast, he had a terrific sophomore season. His production fell off, but late in the draft this is what you look for. You look for guys with some redeeming qualities. This guy is big and fast. We hope this guy will come over here and do a Willie Parker, one of those kinds of things. We’re really pleased with our draft class. We look forward to having these guys in here and get going with it.

Q: You said you took a flyer on Scott, what needs to improve?

A: Again, his production fell off. As a sophomore, he rushed for over 1,100 yards, I believe. Then his production fell off for the last couple of seasons. The height, weight, speed, that’s what you take in the seventh round. Most of these guys, something is wrong with most of them. Really, in the first round, something is wrong with most of them. But these late rounds, what are the redeeming qualities? This guy was big and he was fast and he has proven he can be productive at a high level of competition. We hope he can get back to form and be that guy.

Q: Why do you think his production fell off?

A: I’m not sure. I’m not sure why his production fell off. We’ll see. David Meggett’s son plays there. He was in the rotation with him, he’s a good, little running back. Could be a combination of a lot of things. Regardless of why it did, it did. His production fell off, but we’re hoping we can catch lightening in a bottle with this guy.

Q: Similar to when you took Ahmad Bradshaw late?

A: Again, yeah. We took Bradshaw late like that. Probably why he fell, he had some off-field issues that probably put him down there because we thought he was probably more like a middle round pick. His off-field issues pushed him and took what we call a flyer, took the flyer on him as well. That worked out pretty good for us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN

And Da’Rel Scott, who we just took in the seventh round, the running back from Maryland, who has outstanding speed. This guy is 5-11, his is 211 pounds. He has been clocked under 4.4. He had an extremely productive sophomore year at Maryland – not as much production in the final two years. There are a couple of reasons for that we believe. But at that point in the draft this was a outstanding pick in terms of the contribution of a running back and a very fast running back at that. So as you look at the draft, we drafted according to the most quality at each pick. We did not back off from that at any time.

Q:  You mentioned reasons for the drop in production for the running back.

A:  Yeah, I won’t go into it, but there was outstanding production early on. We had a very good workout with him. And he was very responsive. He worked his tail off; stayed extra, caught the ball well, shows you the kind of speed that he has. If you are even, he is gone. Let’s face it. What I looked at, I believe there was a 71-yarder, a 91-yarder and 61-yarder. And that is limited, shared play time.

Q:  Da’Rel Scott – people say he fumbles a lot, did you notice it?

A:  I didn’t overly notice it, but sometimes you see him carry the ball away from the side.

Q:  Do you know anything about his wrist injury?

A:  His medical was not an issue.

Q: Do you know what has been the issue, why was Scott not as productive in his junior and senior year?

A: Yeah, but I’m not going to tell you.


 Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

FB Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh, 6-0, 257lbs, 5.06: Junior entry. Hynoski has excellent size, but he’s an average athlete. He’s a physical run blocker and sound pass protector.  Hynoski is a good receiver with soft hands. He’s a bit stiff and straight-linish. He is not much of a runner. Tough, smart, competitive, and instinctive.

OT/OG Jarriel King, South Carolina, 6-5, 317lbs, 5.04: King has good size with excellent arm length. He is very athletic with good feet. However, he’s not very tough, physical, or focused. Very inconsistent. King has the tools, but he needs a lot of technique work and increased commitment to the game.

OG Brant Clouser, Villanova, 6-2, 305lbs, 5.54: Clouser was a four-year starter at Villanova and voted first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association.

DE Justin Trattou, Florida, 6-3, 254lbs, 4.71: Trattou is a bit of a DE/LB ‘tweener. He lacks ideal size, but he is a decent athlete with good quickness. Trattou flashes as a run defender and pass rusher, but he is not strong at the point-of-attack as a defensive end due to his lack of size. He also lacks explosiveness as a smaller edge rusher. Tough and instinctive. Competitive and intense – he plays hard. Great character. He played well in the East-West Shrine Game.

DE Craig Marshall, South Florida, 6-4, 264lbs, 4.80: Marshall combines nice size and athleticism. However, he’s not real stout at the point-of-attack. Marshall flashes as a pass rusher.

DT Martin Parker, Richmond, 6-2, 303lbs, 5.03: Four-year starter in college who was voted defensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. Martin lacks ideal height, but he is well-built with long arms. He is a good athlete with fine quickness and agility. He does need to play with better leverage and he can struggle with bigger linemen at the point-of-attack. Better pass rusher than run defender at this point. Martin was very productive in college at a smaller level of competition. Hard worker who competes and hustles.

DT Ibrahim Abdulai, Arkansas – Pine Bluff, 6-2, 301lbs, 5.15: Abdulai lacks ideal size but he is a strong lineman who plays with leverage. He is a decent athlete with good quickness and agility. Abdulai is a good run defender. Plays hard.

LB Mark Herzlich, Boston College, 6-4, 244lbs, 4.92: Herzlich was regarded as one of the very best linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season with bone cancer. He returned to the playing field in 2010, but he clearly was still recovering from his illness and a foot injury. Herzlich did not appear to be the same player in 2010 as he did in 2008. Herzlich has very good size and is a decent athlete. Great intangibles – instinctive, tough, competitive, and productive. Herzlich is a strong, physical run defender who sheds blocks well and makes plays. He has decent, but not great, range. He is a bit straight-linish and on the stiff side. He hits and tackles well. Herzlich demonstrates good awareness in coverage, but he is better suited to zone than man coverage. He makes plays on the football both against the run and the pass. Can he regain his 2008 form?

LB Spencer Paysinger, Oregon, 6-2, 228lbs, 4.70: Three-year starter at Oregon. Paysinger is an athletic, run-and-hit-type of linebacker who can struggle with blockers at the point-of-attack. Not very big. He is fluid and quick. Paysinger will hit, but he needs to become a more consistent tackler. Paysinger flashes in coverage. Good competitor.

CB/S Darnell Burks, Fort Valley State, 5-10, 185lbs, 4.59: Burks lacks ideal size and speed, but he is an instinctive, competitive, productive football player. Inexperienced at corner, Burks was actually used as a hybrid outside linebacker/nickel back in college at Fort Valley State. Despite his size, he is a good run defender.

S David Sims, Iowa State, 5-9, 200lbs, 4.53: Sims lacks height, but he is a good athlete, well built, and very strong. He is a good hitter and tackler. Sims is good run defender. Instinctive player in coverage – he lacks the tools excel in man. Competitive and plays with an attitude. Good leader.

S Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech, 6-0, 204, 4.60: Tarrant left Georgia Tech after his junior year; he was a two-year starter in college. He has experience at both corner and safety, but projects best to safety in the pros. Tarrant lacks ideal size, but he has the frame to add more bulk. He is an athletic player with decent speed and good quickness and range. Instinctive in coverage, Tarrant has good ball skills and soft hands for the interception. However, he does not have a lot of experience at safety and is still growing into the position. Tarrant is not a physical player. He is better in coverage than against the run. He is not much of a hitter and he must improve his tackling. Tarrant is a good punt returner.


 Eric’s Take on the 2011 Draft

Rating or judging a draft right after its completion instead of 3-4 years down the road is bit of a silly exercise.  But we fans like to read reviews and analyze how our team did based on our own impressions or impressions on those “experts” who write the draft guides.  So with that caveat, let’s take a very early look at what the Giants did and didn’t do in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Heading into the draft, as stated in my Draft Needs article, I saw the Giants top needs as offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs (both corner and safety), linebacker, and tight end.  Unlike many who focused on the offensive line and linebacker positions, I saw the need to upgrade talent, depth, and competition on the defensive line and secondary.  And these needs were not so much based on the 2011 NFL season but 2012 and beyond.  You might reply, “Holy hell Eric, you’re saying the Giants had needs almost everywhere on the roster!”  Welcome to the NFL.  Every team has needs all over their roster whether fans recognize it or not.  And as I’ve said over and over again for years, the draft is not so much about the upcoming season as it is for seasons beyond.

Heading into the first round, what I heard (whether it was smoke or not) was that the Giants were very high on OT Nate Solder and HB Mark Ingram.  OC Mike Pouncey and WR Jonathan Baldwin were also supposed considerations.  Both Pouncey and Solder were picked before the Giants selected at #19.  Who was not supposed to be there was CB Prince Amukamara and when he dropped to #19, the Giants jumped all over him.

It is highly doubtful that Amukamara is the “shutdown” corner that some claim him to be.  The reason being there are only a handful of “shutdown” corners in the entire history of pro football.  But Amukamara was one of the very best players available in this draft and may develop into the best defensive back on the Giants.  For those who say the Giants went for just “value” and not “need,” keep in mind that Aaron Ross is unlikely to re-sign with the Giants next offseason and that Terrell Thomas will also be an unrestricted free agent.  NFL teams MUST have three quality corners.  The third corner in today’s NFL is a de facto starter.  Ideally, teams want to have four really good corners in case someone gets hurt.  The Giants are now four deep at cornerback with four high draft picks.  Getting Amukamara at #19 was a huge gift.

Those who have long read this site know I love drafting defensive tackles.  I consider them the heart of the 4-3 defense and one of the most difficult positions to find quality players.  In addition, Barry Cofield has been really unhappy with his contract situation for two offseasons.  Right or wrong, it appears the Giants are unwilling to pay him top dollar (I personally think he is a nice player but nothing special).  Based on pre-draft chatter and what the Giants did in the second round, it is pretty obvious that the Giants wanted to come out of this draft with a defensive tackle.  DT Stephen Paea was a prospect often tied with the Giants.  However, it appears that the Giants did not expect DT Marvin Austin to last as long as he did either.  In fact, contrary to their usual norm, Giants’ team officials were basically beating their chests after the draft saying that they considered Austin a top-15 talent.  Austin has a bigger upside than Paea (who was picked right after Austin) because of his athletic ability.  It’s also interesting to note that Jerry Reese compared his on-field temperament to Keith Hamilton.  If Austin plays with the same type of enforcer mentality and skill that the Hammer brought to the Giants’ defense, then this was a very good pick.  Austin does project better to the 3-technique or penetrator DT position.  Despite not playing his senior season (video), he gave interior offensive linemen fits at the East-West Shrine Game practices.  If he develops as expected, the Giants should have a very good defensive tackle rotation of Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, and Austin.  I’ve seen some ridiculous comments along the lines of picking Austin means the Giants don’t like Joseph.  Bullcrap.  4-3 teams need three good defensive tackles.  All three will play as long as Joseph and Austin beat out Rocky Bernard.

If the Giants were going to draft a wide receiver, it was likely going to be one that could make an impact in the return game like Jerrel Jernigan.  I’ve seen comments that the Giants drafted another Sinorice Moss because Jernigan is 5-9.  Saying that a player will be the same as another solely due to similar height may be one of the dumbest things I’ve read on BBI, which is saying a lot.  Based on post-draft comments from Giants’ officials, it’s clear the Giants don’t see Jernigan as only a returner.  They expect him to make an impact in the receiving game at some point in his career.  Some draft guides consider Jernigan the best slot receiver in the entire draft. One anonymous pro scout said before the draft that if Jernigan was on the Patriots, he’d catch 100 passes a season.  Jernigan supposedly has great hands, is very quick in and out of his cuts, and the Giants are contending that he is much faster than given credit for (video).  Everyone seems to think he has a great locker room personality.  The big question with this selection is not one of talent, but one of playing time.  Wide receiver was not a huge need.  If Steve Smith returns, the Giants are loaded at wide receiver with Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, Victor Cruz, and Devin Thomas.  That said, the pick of Jernigan does protect the Giants if health is an issue (Smith, Hixon, Barden) or against future free agent defections (Smith, Manningham, Hixon).  Jernigan is a different type of receiver – he’s one of those super-quick waterbugs who can cause match-up problems.  Can they find a way to get him on the field?  From a value perspective, Jernigan was drafted right around where he was expected to go (late 2nd-early 3rd rounds).

So as the Giants enter the fourth round, Giants’ fans are thinking, “When the hell are we going to do something about the offensive line?”  In the 4th round, the Giants selected RT/LT James Brewer, a very big and athletic tackle who will take a couple of years to develop.  After the draft, I saw comments on BBI that said the selection of Brewer must mean the Giants are down on Will Beatty.  No.  Kareem McKenzie is entering the last year of his contract.  Shawn Andrews is a huge question mark.  The Giants may want to move David Diehl inside.  Regardless, teams need at least three quality tackles.  Why take a project?  Because once you get past the second round of the NFL Draft, all potential left tackle prospects either have athletic limitations or are developmental projects.  If they didn’t fall into these categories, they would have gone higher.  To me, Brewer is probably the most boom-or-bust pick in the draft for the Giants.  He has talent.  In fact, some ranked him as high as a second round-type prospect.  Others did not like him as much.  It’s a crapshoot when you’re talking developmental projects at tackle.  The good news is that Brewer has the size (it sounds like the Giants expect him to play in the 335 pound range), long arms, and feet for the position.

The Giants had no 5th round pick because of the trade for Sage Rosenfels and Darius Reynaud.  While Reynaud is going to have a very hard time making this team, if anything happens to Eli in 2011, we’ll be glad the Giants have Rosenfels.

In the 6th round, the Giants got a lot of value with two of their three picks and a very intriguing sleeper with their other sixth-round pick.  LB Greg Jones and S Tyler Sash are not ideal athletes, but both were super-productive players and team leaders for major Big 10 schools.  Indeed, many had projected Jones and Sash to go in the 3rd-4th round range.  Athletically, neither are stiffs – they do have ability.  And what I really like is that both were looked upon by their teammates as the studs of their respective defenses.  The Giants also took LB Jacquian Williams in the sixth round.  He’s an unknown, super-athletic linebacker who can run and cover.  He’s now up to 231-235 pounds and can run like a deer.  Is he a good football player (video)?  We’ll see, but he seems to have been a very respected member of South Florida’s defense.  Jones, Sash, and Williams should all contribute immediately on special teams.

I don’t think the Giants’ linebacker position is as bad off as some think.  The key is for the young guys to accept the challenge and step up to the plate and deliver.  Jon Goff had a decent first season as a starter.  Michael Boley needs to make more plays, but he can run and cover (his coverage skills dramatically cut down the number of plays opposing tight ends made on the Giants).  Phillip Dillard and Adrian Tracy have talent and will now be in their second year.  The big question mark is Clint Sintim.  But throw in Jones and Williams and the Giants have a lot of young linebackers with potential.

At safety, the Giants would be in super, super shape if Chad Jones had not suffered what is likely a career-ending accident last year.  Much depends on if Kenny Phillips can regain more of his pre-injury form.  But Sash helps the depth situation certainly at strong safety (video).

One of the guys who intrigues me the most in this draft is the last pick, 7th rounder Da’Rel Scott.  Athletically, this guy is the complete package.  He’s got good size, he has good moves, he can catch, and most of all, he has legit sub-4.4 speed.  In watching the 2008 highlights of him, I was even more excited than after watching Ahmad Bradshaw’s highlights after the 2007 NFL Draft.  They key thing for him will be pass protection.  Rookie running backs will not play – especially on pass downs – if they cannot pass block.  And Scott’s pass blocking is supposedly sub-par.

What the Giants Did: If you believe the draft experts, the Giants got value, value, value up and down the line.  The only pick “out of left field” was Jacquian Williams and he appears worthy of the risk of a 6th round selection.  The Giants really solidified the cornerback and defensive tackle positions, not just for 2011 but in future seasons. The kind of talent and depth the Giants now have at both positions is the kind that most teams can only dream about. They added a dangerous return man who also should create serious match-up problems at wide receiver if they can find a way to get him on the field.  (At the very least they protected themselves if Steve Smith is damaged goods).  They added more competition at offensive tackle, which was needed.  And they addressed talent/depth issues at linebacker, safety, and running back with players who were supposed to be chosen far before they were picked by the Giants.

What the Giants Didn’t Do: In looking at the roster, my biggest concerns remain at tight end, interior offensive line, and fullback.  There is absolutely no depth at all behind Kevin Boss.  If he goes down, the Giants are in big trouble.  Travis Beckum, even if he develops, is more of an H-Back.  The Giants can’t really run a two-TE offense without using an extra offensive lineman (similar to 2010).  Inside on the offensive line, injuries and/or age (Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert, Adam Koets) are a big concern.  Mitch Petrus may have a bright future at guard or center and Diehl can play guard, but it would have been ideal to add a quality center/guard type.  The problem is that guys like Pouncey and Stefen Wisniewski went before the Giants picked in rounds one and two, respectively.  At fullback, Madison Hedgecock hasn’t had a productive, healthy season since 2008.  Bear Pascoe played the position in 2010 but he doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer.

I feel strongly that those who contend the draft was not a good one because the Giants ignored these positions are not correct.  You can only do so much in one draft.  There are a finite number of picks and a finite number of players.  Every team is not strong at every position, even the top teams.  That’s just the way it is. If the Giants had drafted a center instead of a corner and a tight end instead of a defensive tackle, then fans would be complaining the Giants didn’t address the corner and defensive tackle positions.

Hopefully, the Giants can still add a veteran or two in free agency (if and when it is held), add one or two quality rookie free agents, and hope some young, unheralded player on the roster surprises like Jim Cordle or Jake Ballard.

May 072010
 
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New York Giants 2010 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2010 Draft

2010 NFL Draft: New York Giants Picks

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected
1 15 15 DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
2 14 46 DT Linval Joseph, East Carolina
3 12 76 S Chad Jones, LSU
4 17 115 LB Phillip Dillard, Nebraska
5 16 147 OG Mitch Petrus, Arkansas
6 15 184 LB Adrian Tracy, William & Mary
7 14 221 P Matt Dodge, East Carolina

2010 NFL Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida, 6-5, 270lbs, 4.73

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Pierre-Paul was born to Haitian immigrants and he did not begin playing football until his junior year in high school. A junior college transfer, due to academic woes, he could not play at South Florida until 2009. He played at the College of the Canyons in 2007 as a freshman and Fort Scott Community College in 2008 as a sophomore. Pierre-Paul was very sought after by major schools in 2009 and chose South Florida, where he only started seven games. Pierre-Paul is athletic freak with fine size. He is tall with long arms and legs. Pierre-Paul has an amazing first step and closing burst. Fast and quick, he runs like an athletic linebacker, and looks good playing in space. He also has tremendous balance and agility for a defensive end. Pierre-Paul plays with natural leverage. He is an explosive, penetrating, disruptive player who spends a lot of time in the opposition’s backfield. He makes a lot of big plays and plays hard. Pierre-Paul will chase plays down from behind. Good hitter, but he needs to play more under control as he fails to break down at times when he has the quarterback dead to rights. Very raw and he has a lot to learn in terms of technique and discipline, but he has probably the biggest upside of any player in the draft. Pierre-Paul has the frame to get bigger and he does need work in the weight room. Some say he is a boom-or-bust prospect, but he has been favorably compared to Jevon Kearse and Simeon Rice. He is a far better pass rusher than run defender, but Pierre-Paul has the physical ability to be an exceptional sack-artist.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

From Thursday:

Q: This guy, what’d you like about him? A lot of the scouts said he’s a real hit or miss kind of player.

A: Well, you hear guys on TV say that. I don’t think you hear many scouts saying that. There’s a lot to like about him. He’s one of those guys where he has a lot of things you can’t teach. He’s a rare, gifted, talented kid. He is just uncommon, I think that’s a good word to use to describe his skill set. He’s long, fast, athletic, he has a great motor. We’re excited about having him and we are going to put him right into the mix with our three, four defensive ends, including Tollefson. We’re not trading Osi, so you don’t even have to ask that question. I know that is on everybody’s mind and we’re not trading Osi. We’re excited about having the defensive ends that we have. He’s a great pass rusher, and we like to pass in this league as we all know. This guy is really going to do a tremendous job coming in to help us rush the passer. We will also be helped on special teams with his speed and his length. We will always need some type of kick blocker and stuff in that respect as a special teamer.

Q: How about the fact that he didn’t have a lot of high level college experience?

A: You take that into consideration, but he played well in a big league this past season. We think the guy has the biggest upside out of any player in the draft. Any player in the draft. That’s how we really feel about this guy. We think that the sky is the limit. Robert Nunn and Perry Fewell are really excited about this player.

Q: How much input does Perry have in the process?

A: Well, our scouts have the most input. They go out and they know these guys. They have watched him for a couple of years. They know all the background so they are our number one source of information. Marc Ross and his staff, our coaches go out and do some work. They go to the pro days and they go to the combine. The coaches have input on it as well. Everybody in the room felt good about him, and that’s what we try and do. We want everyone to feel good about the pick and everyone is excited about him.

Q: What are these things he has that you can’t teach him?

A: The length, number one. He’s 6’4″, 270 lbs. The speed that he has and the long arms he possesses, the athletic ability that he has. Those kinds of things just come naturally raw, oozing with talent and the motor that he has. All those kind of things he has, you know, it’s hard to find a package like that. He has some freakish athletic skills that we’re excited about trying to hone and get him on a good path toward workouts.

Q: You say he has a good motor, is he a play-to-play kind of player?

A: Yeah, he has a great motor and plays hard. I have no problem with that at all, he motors.

Q: Do you think he’s similar to Jevon Kearse coming out?

A: Length-wise, he’s built similar to Jevon Kearse so yeah that’s a good comparison. The body type he has that’s kind of stringy looking. You rarely see guys with that kind of length and that type of body type. He does have a body type like Kearse, yeah.

Q: As the first round progressed and the 15th pick came closer, was it easy to pick him?

A: This was an easy pick for us. This was an easy pick for us. Obviously we have guys that we thought might be in our window. Again, when you pick in the middle of the round it’s really tough to target guys. We felt like he could be one of the guys there. We’re excited about him. If you pick in the top seven or eight, or bottom seven or eight, you can really target a player. Being right in the middle, guys come off the board all over the place. You’re really not sure. It got close with this guy, and obviously they were a lot of good players picked before him. We were very happy to see he was still up there.

Q: Was there any player you were really holding your breath on?

A: No, we don’t hold our breath on anybody. We just look for good players.

Q: How about on him, that another team might take him?

A: Not really. We don’t hold our breath on anybody. We felt like there were some good players on the board two or three picks away from ours that we liked. We knew we were going to get a good player right there.

Q: How close did you come to moving up or down?

A: You know, we always keep our options open. I can’t say we were close to moving up or down.

Q: We talk about this guy as a pass rusher, can Pierre-Paul play the run?

A: He can play the run. He can play the run, the pass; he has the whole package. We think that he has the entire package as a defensive end. Perry Fewell thinks he has good promise.

Q: Do you think he has the temperament and the maturity after limited time at the top level?

A: All the psychological elements were there. All of the interviews were good. We brought him in, on one of his visits here, and we wanted to find out everything about him. We don’t have any reservations about this player.

Q: You used the word ‘raw’…is he going to ease in this year or is he a contender to play?

A: When you pick a guy in the first round, you expect him to come in and play. We expect him to come in, and obviously, we like guys to come in and to play on special teams and we think he can do that. We expect him to get into the rotation pretty quickly.

Q: You mentioned not trading Osi before we could…are you worried about his reaction?

A: No.

Q: Will you talk to him about that?

A: Osi and I have talked. Osi knows that he is going to be here. Osi knows we are not looking to shop him. He knows he is going to be a Giant in the fall and he is looking forward to that.

Q: Did any teams try to get him, maybe for a bargain deal?

A: Well, there is always chatter in the media about what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. This time of year, there is so much false information flying around out there. We did get a couple calls. They were like, ‘Are you really serious about that?’ So, we did get some calls. We are not looking to shop Osi in any kind of way.

Q: At the point you picked him, was he your value board choice?

A: Let me just tell you that this guy was high on our board, okay. He was high on our board.

Q: Did you identify defensive end as a need?

A: We identified this player.

Q: So it wasn’t by position?

A: No. Our value board isn’t by position. It is about who the best players are for us that we think are in the first row. He was high in our first row.

Q: His height and weight is what right now?

A: At the combine he was 6’4.6″, 270 pounds.

Q: Does he have the frame to put on more?

A: He could be bigger, yeah. He is a lean 270 pounds so he can be a much bigger man.

Q: Do you think you will use him the way you used Tuck in his first year, playing all four positions?

A: We like that. That’s what we look for. We look for guys who have versatility and can play inside and outside. Guys who can play special teams. We target that kind of thing so we expect him to play all over the place.

Q: Rolando McClain went early to the Raiders…were you surprised by that? How high was he on your board?

A: Well, not really. Nothing surprises me. You should never be surprised by anything that happens in the draft. He is a good football player and I’m not surprised he went that early, no.

Q: Do you think middle linebacker is a priority going into tomorrow?

A: We are looking for good players.

Q: You said this was an easy pick but you used most of the ten minutes:

A: You know, we looked to see if there was a possibility of something else happening. We talked, and then talked to him on the phone for a while. We made sure he was okay, healthy, and ready to go. So we took our time.

Q: After giving up 427 points last year, do you think defense is a number one need?

A: I think we can do better all over our football team. Our offense can do better, our special teams can do better, our defense can be better. We can’t target anything. We win together and lose together. I don’t think the defense is the only reason we went 8-8 last year. I’m the reason, the head coach is the reason, the players are the reason. Everyone is the reason. We win together and lose together.

Q: You brought J.P.P. here on a visit, did you put him on the board to see about his football knowledge?

A: We put him on the board and we were satisfied with what we thought he is capable of. We did our work on him, we did.

Q: Is he the best back flipper on the defense?

A: Hmm…maybe so, probably. I don’t know.

Q: The other day you said you weren’t going to pick a gymnast…

A: Yeah, well, I’m not interested in that. He’s a good football player who can do flips, I guess. That’s a good thing, too.

From Saturday:

Reese: Jason Pierre-Paul, we talked about him. We think he can be a dynamic defensive end for us. Huge upside and we think he can be a really good player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: Media tends to use words like riser/late riser. Was this a guy that was a riser? Did he make his way up as this process wore on?

A: In our eyes?

Q: Or did you identify him early?

A: He was a guy that during the season when I went to South Florida because I had four senior guys – where you put the tape on and you say, “Wow, who is the world is this guy?” Because you don’t know anything about him; he just got there. But he makes you take notice because he is jumping off the film. So of course you track him though the year. He was just a junior but the way he was playing it was a very strong indication that the guy was going to come out. So, no, he wasn’t a late riser for us. We had big grades on him throughout the year.

Q: Is it more difficult to grade a guy like this who has had a limited amount of playing experience?

A: Well, if you just base it off of when he played, it is very easy to grade the guy because he tremendous. And then you go, and just like any player that is my job – to scout these guys and dig deep and find out whatever – all players have strengths and weaknesses, red flags. It is our job to dig deep and feel comfortable with those and research them so that we know they are a good fit for us.

Q: Did the defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, sort of come to you and say, “This is what I am looking for.”

A: No, not at all. We go through the process. We meet for weeks and our scouts write reports all year and we stack the board based on the best players. Of course, Coach and I will talk a lot but, no, the coordinators or the position coaches don’t come and say that.

Q: Given his limited playing time, how much actually did you guys put in terms of time to scout him? How many games did you see; how many films did you look at? And was there one that really stuck out and you said, “Hey, this guy would be great for us.”

A: Well, I have probably seen every game he has played this year. Our scouts, the way I have them do it, we have three scouts that do that area, they break down different parts of the season and do it. Of course the coaches get involved. Every game – Florida State – he jumps out on tape every game he played.

Q: You have three very good pass rushers – defensive ends. Is he like any of them – a body type like Kiwanuka?

A: He is rangy like Mathias in that kind of height. But when you see this guy – this guy is a freak of nature, really, some of the stuff that he can do and the way he looks. He is just a different guy. He has done things that I haven’t seen in scouting – in games – that I just haven’t seen.

Q:  Like what?

A: Combination of the length and power and speed – just running though people and rag dolling tackles. He is just a different breed of athlete.

Q: Did he play against any tackles or linemen that were rated high? Because that is how you judge him, I would assume?

A: When you watch any position you try to grab the best match-up. I was at the Rutgers game – that was referenced earlier and of course watched the tape several times. He lined up on Anthony (Davis). They went head to head maybe 15 times and actually contacted each other seven times. And he did fairly well. So that was probably the best competition that he had even though they weren’t the whole game up against each other.

Q: You guys are obviously comfortable with this pick. But is it tough to get comfortable with a guy who has such a limited body of major college work?

A: Of course you would like all guys to be fifth-year seniors or four-year starters and producers and all of that kind of stuff. But that is why you do the research. That is why we have the scouts and these guys that take a lot of pride in their job to make sure we get this thing right. And I take a lot of pride in what I do. And I wanted to make sure that we were totally comfortable with this guy.

Q: Is there athleticism or are the technical skills there right now?

A: No, when he learns how to really play, it is going to be “watch out.” Because he does some things just naturally just playing – in your back yard just going. And when he really learns –  when he gets his coaching and he keeps growing and developing like we think he will, he is going to be tremendous.

Q: Does this put a little pressure on your coaching staff – to get him where he needs to be?

A: How do you think I am going to answer that? Yes, of course. That is why you do it. With good teams you have to have that bond between the scouting staff and the coaches and that trust with one another with any player you take to hope that the kids do develop. They all are not ready made; they have to get better.

Q: How much did (George) Selvie, on the other side, how much did that benefit him?

A: We will talk about Selvie later. This kid is a great player. Selvie – not much; not much. This kid helped Selvie.

Q: Then how do you know he won’t – two years ago people were talking about Selvie kind of how there were talking about Jason PP now. How do you know he is not going to be another Selvie?

A: They are totally different players; totally different skill set; totally different athletic ability. The media was talking about Selvie – the guy had a tremendous sophomore year. He had 15 sacks or so. But his production has gone down and that is where you evaluate their skill set; their athletic ability; the height, weight, speed, the quickness, the strength, those things.

Q: There is a lot said about his ‘up side’ and when you look at  a guy a lot of times you have to weigh potential against what you think you can get out of him right away. How much did potential kind of outweigh what you can get right away in looking at this guy for long term?

A: If he was a bad player and we were just basing it on potential, then you don’t make the pick. But this guy is a very, very good player; tremendous player, an impact player who we still see with tons of upside, probably the most upside in the draft. But it is not like we are saying, “Man, we are hoping.” We see it. The guy does tremendous things on the field. And he is a good player that we are hoping still gets a lot better.

Q:  How much more weight can he carry on that frame?

A: This guy can be 280 easy, easy. He has almost 35 inch arms, tall, long legs, easy.

Q: Did you give the recommendation for Coach to go see him personally?

A: Of course I set it up to recommend to him that we should go see this group at South Florida. They had other good players, too, that we needed to see. So it was a good trip.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: With our 15th pick we took Jason Pierre-Paul. We had an opportunity to investigate him quite thoroughly. We traveled down to South Florida for his pro day. We brought him in just prior to the draft and spent extra time with him with regard to that. Much has been said about his one-year stay at South Florida. But that is fine. That speculation is fine. He is a very, very talented young guy who is very healthy, who tests out in all categories very well; long arms, rushes the passer very well. He has played down inside on the guard. He gives you a nice mixture in combination of people utilized in pass rush combinations. I think he can play the run. He has played on both sides – left and right defensive end. He has done that. He is very well thought of by the coaching staff. His position coach was retained and we did have a chance to spend quite a considerable amount of time with him. He had a lot of very nice things to say this young guy. He comes from a very humble background. Interesting introduction to the sport – his high school coach got him to play in a playoff game when he was a junior in high school. He hadn’t played football – he was a basketball player. That started his career and of course his senior year in high school he became a football player. The rest is well documented. But this is a very, very talented young man with outstanding upside. It gives us tremendous flexibility in terms of the number of people that we have in our pass rush rotation. We expect that he will come in here and learn well. It will be an opportunity for him to spend a lot of time on the football – the playbook aspect of the game – probably something that he hasn’t had the opportunity to do in his short number of years that he has played the game. So it will be a very important part for him when he reports out here to our rookie camp first and then in mid-May.

Q: What did his college coach say?

A: That he is a very eager young man; eager to learn, obviously doesn’t have a great wealth of background in this sport but when you watch him play right away he certainly knows enough to adjust and maneuver on the field because he does. His pass rush arsenal includes inside moves and outside moves, a spin move. So he was very thorough in his description of this young guy and what he said is backed up by the tape.

Q: Did you get the impression that he can pick things up quickly?

A: I did. And according to all of the tests, that part of it is not an issue. The first thing that happens, as I have said many times before, is that the play book terminology is Chinese. It is something that they have to learn to understand what the terminology is. And that is the biggest problem for a young guy learning a new system. He has learned a new system each and ever year. But I think that he won’t have a problem with the learning part of it; some of which you will have some obvious inexperience, you will have some things that he is asked to do that he has never done before. But as I said, he has played down inside, he has played both left and right defensive end.

Q: At number 15, it is a relatively high pick; a little more of a risk/reward kind of pick?

A: Yeah, but I think one of the things that we all did was, as you looked at the grades that were given to this guy, he was substantially graded. All of his tests came through and verified exactly where he was taken in terms of not only his ability but his off the field – his medical and all of those kinds of things. And we felt that as the round unfolded that here was clearly a guy who had outstanding grades, who was the highest graded guy on board when we took him. And I think you could find something about a lot of people. Some of the players that went before him seemed to have some aspect of their game which is questionable. So I don’t think there is any greater risk here than another guy – a young guy who is very, very talented, who has tremendous upside, who we are looking forward to working with.

Q: When he played against Rutgers this year his name wasn’t called a lot in that game. Did you guys watch the film of that game?

A: Yeah, we saw it, sure. Although it wasn’t called a lot, am I wrong in saying there were two sacks in the game? Florida State, he had two sacks. So he may not have had his name called – maybe they didn’t know how to say his name. It is that P-P thing, you know what I mean?

Q: You have a lot of defensive ends now.

A: That is a good thing.

Q: Exactly. Some of them though have said things about wanting to start and not being really happy. With so many of them, do you have a delicate balancing act now?

A: Go play; let’s play the game. Let’s get on the field. Everybody has a chance to play. Everybody is going to contribute. It is a long season. We didn’t rush the passer very well last year, so let’s get back to playing football and rushing the passer and stopping the run and doing those kinds of things. And let’s go back to what we did a couple of years ago. And we didn’t do a whole lot of talking; we played. And I think that is something that we can do. We have had an outstanding offseason. With all of these defensive ends that are here, they are working hard. And we certainly would like to think that we have added to that group of young men who are good people and good football players. We have had success when we had depth and let’s work at that aspect of it again.

Q: When you have a new coordinator like Perry Fewell, do you go to him and say, “Okay, when we get this guy, how are we going to use him? Do you see if it is on his agenda?

A: His agenda is my agenda. That is how the discussions will go. Have we talked about how this particular player will be used? Not yet, but we will when we approach the mini-camp and beyond.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Pierre-Paul: I’m glad I’m a Giant. I was nervous at one point, I felt like I wasn’t going to get picked and then I got a call from the New York Giants. Drew (Rosenhaus) said it might be the New York Giants and it was. I was surprised because I visited a lot of teams and I didn’t know who was going to pick me. I’m just glad I got picked. Now I get to come in, settle down and become a great football player.

Q: Jason, what was it like last night after the pick? Were you able to even sleep afterwards?

A: I was pretty excited, but I got some rest. You know, I slept good. I knew where I was going.

Q: When did you get a sense that the Giants wanted you…did Coach Coughlin say anything on his visit to Tampa?

A: I found out when I came up for my visit.

Q: Well, what happened? What did they say that made you felt like it was a good fit?

A: They asked me a lot of questions. They asked me why I was on the football field. I got a pretty good vibe from it. That is basically it.

Q: Do you feel you can have an immediate impact when you start playing for the Giants?

A: Whatever they want me to do, I will do, you know. I’m ready to learn. I’m ready to be up front with them, basically.

Q: Have you heard from any of your new teammates yet?

A: I haven’t heard from any of my teammates yet. I’m still waiting for it.

Q: Jason, when are you going to come up here?

A: I’ll be up next Thursday.

Q: Jason, the Giants already have a lot of defensive ends as you know. How do you think you’ll fit in and do you think you’ll be able to get playing time with all the defensive ends there?

A: I know they have a lot of defensive ends. I’m ready to learn from them, you know. I’m ready for them to teach me (how) the whole process goes because they have been there and they know the defense. I’m ready to learn and help.

Q: You had a late start to the sport of football…can you tell us how that happened in high school?

A: My coach came in and got me. He dragged me into football. It was a pretty good gift, you know. I had just played basketball at first.

Q: How come he had to drag you, did you not want to play at first?

A: Nah, I wanted to play basketball. I had never played so I didn’t know what was going on. I was basically a basketball player and that was it.

Q: Did you like football immediately or did it grow on you over time?

A: It grew on me. It grew on me, you know. At first, I didn’t like it, at first. I didn’t really too much understand everything when I started to understand everything it grew on me.

Q: At what point did that change and at what point did you start to like football?

A: When I started to know what I was doing, I came around.

Q: Jerry Reese said that you’re ‘still very raw’, what percentage do you think is instincts and what part is from technical knowledge?

A: When I’m on the field, I do know what I’m doing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be on the field, you know. I don’t consider myself raw because I know what I’m doing. For the last three years, every where I went, they called me raw. At times they may call me raw but in the future they will see that I know what I’m doing. I don’t concern myself with that (being called raw). I’m still early in the process of learning, I guess.

Q: Obviously it worked out for you being a first round pick, what made you come out of college a year early?

A: Because I asked Coach Leavitt what he thought and he said he’d be selfish to tell me I need to stay. I felt like I had a good year at South Florida. The defensive coordinator said you had a great year, you should enter the draft, and I listened to him so that’s why I entered the draft. I also had the NFL system evaluate me before I declared and compared with other defensive ends, they came back with a 1st or 2nd round grade. So, now I’m here.

Q: Did you do any basketball stuff here for your visit, anything for Coach Coughlin?

A: I did not.

Q: What do you bring to a team? How good do you think you are at pass rushing?

A: I’m a very good pass rusher. Actually, I’m a great pass rusher. Pass rushing is just one of the things I can do though. I feel I can become better and better at that, and I want to come up to New York and hopefully become a better football player.

Q: The Giants coaches have called you a ‘freaky athlete’…do you think you have a physical advantage on the field?

A: I think that and I can say I am. I just think so when I’m on the field. I guess I am, I don’t know.

Q: Do you feel bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else when you’re on the field?

A: Sometimes. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I feel like being faster doesn’t help, you know? It’s basically about what you do on the football field.

Q: Do you think that sometimes people don’t give you credit for actually being a football player and they just look at you as a freakish athlete?

A: No. I don’t really feel that way at all.

Q: You are joining a group of defensive ends that might not look kindly on a first round draft pick come into their position. Do you have a plan on dealing with that?

A: Not really. I’m going to come in and do what I have to. I can’t really say anything about that. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I’ll do, you know. Basically, if they need to do something, I’ll look at the coaches and see what they want me to do. Then, I’ll go all out. I’ll do what they want.


2nd Round – DT Linval Joseph, East Carolina, 6-4, 319lbs, 5.13

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Joseph has excellent size and has the long arms that teams crave in linemen. Very strong, Joseph bench-pressed 225 pounds 39 times at the NFL Combine. Stout – he can hold his ground against the double-team. Joseph does need to keep his pad level down more consistently. Strong tackler. Joseph is a good athlete for his size with fine quickness. He runs well for a big man. Joseph can push the pocket as a pass rusher, but needs to expand his pass-rush repertoire. Solid character. Joseph needs to improve his stamina and be more consistently competitive. He is raw and needs technique work, but he has a big upside. Very versatile – Joseph has the tools to play either defensive tackle position (1- or 3-technique) in the 4-3, or even nose tackle or defensive end (5-technique) in the 3-4.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

From Friday:

Reese: Ok guys. Linval Joseph. Defensive Tackle, East Carolina. Gigantic Man. That’s where I can start with him. He’s a big human being. He’s powerful inside and a run stuffer. Push the pocket back toward the quarterback. Strong kid with a lot of upside for him as well. I’ll take any questions.

Q: You saying something about the defense with the first two picks?

A: We want to get better with our defense. We had a lot of points scored on us last fall. We are trying to upgrade our defense. We are trying to upgrade the entire football team, but we feel good about these past two picks, our first and second round picks.

Q: Do you see him as a nose tackle or will he play somewhere else on the line?

A: Yeah, he’s versatile. He can play the nose, he can play a three, he can play a three technique, he can play anywhere inside.

Q: There were questions about his pass rushing skills and some injury concerns…what are his strengths?

A: His strength is that he is a big man. He is a powerful force on a pass play. He doesn’t get pushed back an awful lot from the line of scrimmage and he holds his ground. He cleans up the lanes for the linebackers. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he is disruptive. He can push the pocket and push the offensive linemen back in the quarterback’s lap. As far as his health concerns, we have no problem with his health concerns. We developed that stuff and don’t see anything as far as his health is concerned.

Q: After last year and the defensive line was brought down with injuries, are you more comfortable with the numbers and depth you have now?

A: Well, good. It is a good problem for us to have. We like to create competition at every position so we should see some good competition on our defensive line. Again, you’ve got to have some big people in this league. We play a lot of teams that have big offensive linemen like Dallas and Philadelphia and the Redskins. They have big offensive linemen and you have to match those guys.

Q: Is this a need pick as opposed to a value board pick?

A: No, it’s a value and a need pick. You know, he was in a good spot for us and we see a lot of value in this pick as well. We got a little bit of both from this guy.

Q: Did the round transpire as you expected?

A: I think you start to see a lot of guys pick a lot of need. We have our charts of who we think needs what. So, we kind of match up pretty good moving forward. We look at people and see what their need is. Sometimes you can’t always see what the needs are and teams reach for a guy. So, a couple guys came off a little differently than we had exactly on our boards. It is really not a need.

Q: Did the separation of a night keep the second round cooler or calmer?

A: No, I don’t think there is a big difference between starting at noon and starting at six. I don’t think there is anything different.

Q: With teams panicking, did you guys have a lot of discussion and find a need for middle linebacker?

A: We are looking for good players. If we can find a good linebacker, we will draft him. But, we feel good about the players that we drafted. A defensive end and a defensive tackle. Two really good football players.

Q: Did you discuss linebackers specifically? Were they in the conversation as well?

A: There were several positions we talked about, yeah.

Q: Is Jay Alford doing well in his recovery?

A: He is going to 100%. We’re looking forward for Jay to get back. Jay is one of those guys who can pass rush from the inside. He has that motor and quickness that you have to have when you play inside. He is working hard and we expect him to be 100%.

Q: He’s not slow in his recovery at all?

A: Not at all.

Q: Is this guy more of a Barry Cofield type player?

A: Well, this guy is a big anchor. He is a load inside and it’s hard to push this man back. He is kind of like one of those guys who is a presence and is like a human post. He’ll give the linebackers a chance to run to the ball and he will block the inside.

Q: What do your picks say about the defense?

A: It says we picked two good football players and we are adding some depth to our defensive line. There will be a lot of competition at the defensive front. You can never have enough good people inside. So, we have some depth right now, which can go quickly with a 16 game season. For right now, it looks pretty good.

Q: Does it say that the linebacker performance is predicated by the guys who are playing up front?

A: Well, that has a lot to do with it. If you have some big, good space eaters and block eaters up front, the linebackers can make a lot more plays. It sure helps if you have some guys who can pick up a lot more blocks. The linemen who help the linebackers can cut off the forward movement of the ball so you hope it helps.

Q: One of the scouting services had Joseph as a late riser…

A: I don’t think he was a late riser. Some people had him in the bottom of the first round. I don’t consider him a late riser. He is a junior and I think he has a huge upside for a young kid. The sky is the limit for him.

Q: With Canty playing over the nose, do you think Joseph comes in here and gives you more flexibility?

A: I think this guy is more of a nose. Chris can play inside and outside and he can play the three. We like linemen who give us a lot of flexibility. We picked two guys who can give us a lot of flexibility.

Q: I meant if he comes in and plays over the nose, does that give you more flexibility with Canty?

A: Yeah. I think Chris can play out in the three more. This kid is an anchor. They probably won’t try and let a three penetrate.

Q: Was he the highest rated player at the time of your pick? Does that carry forward? What if in the third round a defensive linemen is the highest player?

A: Well, if it is another defensive linemen, then we would consider it. You can’t play with 20 defensive linemen. We are cognizant of how many defensive linemen we do have. We are not over the limit yet.

Q: Then you go to need?

A: Well we go to good players. Again, we never try to get just need picks. We try and get a combination of both. I say this all the time, we stress that and try to do that. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t. Again, you can’t have 20 defensive linemen. Unless you have them go both ways, like you used to, Dave.

Q: So at what point do you have to consider need over value?

A: Yeah, I mean, need and value. It’s a combination of both thoughts. We continue to look for good football players, and that’s what is most important. We look for good football players. We are cognizant of what people consider our needs and what we consider to be our needs. Most importantly, is good football players.

Q: Do you agree that linebacker is an obvious need?

A: We are trying to create depth everywhere. Everywhere. All over the defense, all over the offense. Right now, we only have two picks and we picked two defensive linemen.

Q: Without identifying them, do you have obvious needs?

A: We have needs to get football players. Thanks guys.

From Saturday:

Reese: Linval Joseph is a big, powerful, point of attack defensive tackle. He gives us a big anchor inside and we talked about him.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: Jerry (Reese) was just here and spoke to you about Linval Joseph. I will just tell you this, for another youngster, three-year player, he was 319 at his pro day, he ran 4.97, vertical jump 31.5 inches, he had a 20-yard shuttle that was very, very good under 4.7. He is an athletic young player, very strong – 39 reps on the bench. Stays down, very quick, you see a lot of athleticism and quickness in his play. You see more in terms of the tackles and the assists. He does have the ability to walk the offensive guard back. He doesn’t have a lot of production in the sack game. He does have thrown for losses, tackles for loss, pressures on the quarterback. A big, strong defensive tackle that can play on the center or as a three-technique, and a young guy, again, that we can work with.

Q: Is that why he is so impressive, he looks like he has a knack to get beyond the line of scrimmage.

A: I think he has outstanding quickness and power, obviously. When he stays down, keeps his pads down, he is very difficult to keep from penetrating. He is a penetrator.

Q: He is a nose?

A: No, he can be either way. When you watch him play on collegiate film you will see that he has played on the guard a lot.

Q: The last guy that was that big and could move that fast that you had here was Fred Robbins last year. Does he remind you at of him?

A: I think Fred is probably a little taller than Linval is, but the same kind of initial quickness – yeah.

Q: When you had Fred doing that kind of stuff for you, what did it do for your defense – when he was really healthy, before that knee thing and was able to get that quick push?

A: What we were able to do was to penetrate and of course to keep people off the linebacker level. No one was being pushed back into the linebacker depth. That is what has to be re-established again – keep some people clean so they can go to the ballcarrier.

Q: Speaking of linebacker, do you think you need to address that position quickly?

A: Well, we will see. It would be great if need and the valuation were at the same level – high. And we have a few more picks to make so we will see.

Q: Your first two picks haven’t come from big conferences. Any concern?

A: That is all taken into consideration when you put the grade on the player. I think there is some level of comp or number of years of service, however you want to say it, that may have been responsible for a tick or two being held back. But it still allowed the player to have an outstanding grade.

Q: Are you not surprised your first two picks were defensive players.

A: Am I surprised? Of course not.

Q: You are not surprised? This kind of makes sense?

A: I’m a part of the (process) – thank you.

Q: Did you speak with Skip Holtz about Linval?

A: Yes. We were at South Florida when Skip had taken that job.

Q: Can you share anything that he said?

A: About what I have just said – a real quality kid, first one in the weight room, shuts the lights out, hard worker.

Q: Since you have been here, has the Giants’ philosophy been to look at Combine numbers as one of the more important evaluations?

A: It has always been – it is a part of it. It has always been a part of the total picture. By itself? No, of course not. They always have to go on the field and play. But all of the factors – the interviews, the Combine, the Combine numbers, the speed, the height, weight speed, the medical – they are all put together to give you a final grade on the player.

Q: Did you have this guy in for a visit?

A: No. We were at his workout, sure. He had a very good workout, by the way. He had lost some weight and I think he was 328 at the Combine and probably 319 at his workout.

Q: Where would you like him to be?

A: Big, strong and as powerful as he can be. Whatever the weight is where he runs the fastest and is the strongest.

Q: How are you liking your defensive line now?

A: We are coming; we are coming. Get some of these guys that are here healthy and competitive again; that is a good thing.

Q: Does this kid have the explosion to split doubles?

A: (East Carolina) had a pretty good defensive front now. They did, they had some nice looking… But he has that ability, yes. As I said, if his pads stay down, it is very difficult to move him because of his strength. If he gets up a little bit – we all have issues.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Linval, you come to a team that last year many thought had the deepest defensive line in the league. What do you think you can bring here?

A: First off, I can bring a big body. I’m ready to do anything. Whether it’s being outside and being explosive. I just want to help the team out anyway I can.

Q: Where are you more comfortable as far as positioning…over center or moving you out?

A: Man, it’s crazy. I can play inside or outside. I like to stop the run. I like to hit the running back, I don’t why. I just like to hit the running back. So, I like to play inside. I feel comfortable inside. But I also like getting outside and trying to hit the quarterback.

Q: After your freshman year, you woke up and lost the weight, what was your motivation there?

A: I don’t know. When I had the weight up, I was fine. It just got to a point where I was like this is disgusting. It’s hard for me to breathe, and it’s hard for me to tie my shoe. It was just too much. I guess when I got hurt and had back surgery that freshman year, I got tunnel vision. I saw that a lot of people don’t really care about me because I was in the hospital and three people called me. That’s when I really got tunnel vision and started caring about life and everything.

Q: What were you in the hospital for?

A: I had minor back surgery.

Q: Out of your whole entire team, only three people called you?

A: My mom, my coach came to see me, and a girl. I mean people called me but few people came to see me and try to support me to see if I was okay. It wasn’t a lot of people. Ever since then, I figured out my real friends from my fake friends. I just had tunnel vision, and I knew what I want to do and I knew what I had to do to do it.

Q: Sounds like loyalty is a very important thing to you. How important is it for you to pay the Giants back for them picking you and how are you going to do it?

A: By being a dominant player and helping them win games. Hopefully, we will win the Super Bowl and win playoff games. I just want to help them any way that I can.

Q: Did you have any idea the Giants were interested in you?

A: It’s hard to say because there were a lot of different teams. I don’t know. When I was at my pro day, and one of the scouts came up to me, I told him my story again. I had a feeling there that ‘Man, I’d really like to go to the Giants.’ Today, I played Madden and I play with the Giants. My brother had it. It’s crazy how everything came around this way and the Giants picked me. We were talking about them yesterday, and talking about them today. I played with them on the video game, and then they picked me. It’s crazy.

Q: Did they call and say ‘Hey, sit tight, we are going to pick you if you’re there?’

A: Yes. They called me a couple of picks earlier. It was crazy. I was excited and I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. We talked for about 10-15 minutes and it was the best feeling of my life.

Q: Who called you?

A: Oh my god…who called me? So many people called me.

Q: Coach Coughlin? Jerry Reese? Who was it?

A: Hmm…which coach? I really can’t tell you off the top of my head?

Q: What else did you do today besides play Madden?

A: I got up this morning and went to the gym and worked out. I did some cardio. Came home, helped my mom around the house. Bought some supplies for the fish fry. I played a couple games and got ready. I pretty much got ready for the draft. Had a little party and I hoped for the best.

Q: You guys having a fish fry right now?

A: Right now they’re outside having a nice big fish fry.

Q: They going to leave you anything?

A: I already had my share.

Q: Do you see yourself as a nose or as a three technique?

A: I don’t know where I see myself right now until next week. Right now I’m ready to play the nose or the three, wherever I’m needed. Wherever I can help in or whatever position, I’m ready. I can play both so I’m ready for the opportunity.

Q: Tom said what impressed him was that you dropped 10 pounds between the combine and your pro day. What weight do you feel the most comfortable playing at?

A: Right now, I’m 315. I’m a strong and fast 315 and I can last for a long, long time at 315. But between 315 and 325, I feel pretty solid right there. 315 is where I like to be at.

Q: At 315, you’re not compromising any of your size and strength advantage?

A: At 315, I’m perfect. I’m strong at 315. When I get smaller than 315, I drop off a little bit strength wise. When I get down to 310 or 305, I’m not as strong as I’d be at 315 or a little heavier.

Q: The Giants a few years back went to the Super Bowl and the defensive line was an important part of that…did you follow that at all?

A: Actually I did. Michael Strahan on the sideline said ‘One more series, one more drive, we get the ball back and win this game.’ That’s what they did. They got the ball back and pretty much won the game.

Q: Were you rooting for the Giants?

A: Actually I was.

Q: You didn’t happen to watch them at the end of last season, did you?

A: At the end of last season, no not really. I was pretty busy.

Q: They only gave up 85 points in the last two games…

A: Oh man. Hopefully I can help with that.


3rd Round – S Chad Jones, LSU, 6-2, 221lbs, 4.59

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Jones has excellent size for a safety. He is a very good athlete – surprisingly fluid and agile for his size with nice quickness and decent range. Jones is a big hitter who can intimidate receivers. He is sometimes inconsistent in run support. Solid tackler. Jones needs to get stronger. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts against the pass. He has experience in both man and zone coverage. Jones is a good special teams player who has returned punts. Some have questioned his devotion to football since he also played baseball. Jones has the tools and has a big upside.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: Athletic, big safety who gives us some depth at the safety position. He has some special teams ability. We think he has a big upside as well.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: What did you like about him?

A: Chad is a young, versatile player. He is a safety who plays in the box, and they play him deep. He returns punts. I don’t know if you guys know but he plays baseball, too. This kid has a nice, versatile skill set of things that he can do. He’s a big kid…221 pounds, 6’2″. He can run and he’s strong. He plays baseball so he hasn’t had a lot of offseason football training but we’re looking forward to what he can do in full-time football.

Q: He sounds like a nickel back, does he have cover skills?

A: Yeah, the kid is an athlete. He may have some of the best pure hands in the draft, out of any position. You can really see this kid’s baseball skills like hand-eye coordination catching the football. He can really catch it.

Q: I thought I saw that he was projected a little higher maybe…were you surprised he was still there?

A: I don’t know, man. The mock drafts had that I’m sure but we thought there was a chance that he could go a little earlier because of his skills. We are happy to get him when we did.

Q: You talk about him returning punts…is that something he can do at this level?

A: Yes. The way he catches it. At LSU, they had a couple guys but when they needed a safe return, they put him back there to secure catches. He had a 93-yard touchdown against Mississippi State. He can move with it, too. Our special teams coaches are excited. He’s done other things on special teams. He’s been the gunner, he’s been a personal protector on the punt so he has done other things on special teams.

Q: By not having full-time football training, is he missing some size and some strength?

A: He was 221 at the combine and was 225 at his pro day. He could be about 230 with some full time training. He is still not developed in his upper body and his chest. Obviously, with some baseball stuff, you don’t want to get too bulky and big. He could probably carry 230 easily, he might not want to be that big. With weight training, he’ll get more up there.

Q: He almost sounds linebacker size?

A: Yeah. The way they play linebackers nowadays, he is bigger than some of these linebackers who are barely six feet and 220 pounds.

Q: Is that something you guys thought about…moving him there?

A: Nah, he is strictly a safety.

Q: Strong or free safety?

A: He can do both. The way we use our guys, they have to be able to do a little bit of everything. And he fits right in with that. Because that is the way they used him there. You see him up in the box like a linebacker, sometimes you see him back deep playing cover two and single-high stuff.

Q: Sounds like he could be a good nickel linebacker?

A: He could be a good nickel safety, yeah.

Q: Are his cover skills as good as his tackling skills right now?

A: He shows you a little bit of everything. He is an explosive hitter. When he gets down in the box he is a big strong man, 221 pounds down in there. Sometimes during the year he played even higher than that. So he can do a little bit of both. I can’t really say one instead of the other right now.

Q: How would you compare him to a guy like Taylor Mays?

A: Taylor is probably more straight-line fast. This kid is a little more instinctive and athletic in his change of direction. Ball skills – definitely this kid is much better.

Q: When you were looking at him over time, was there ever any question of whether he was going to choose football over baseball?

A: He pitched on – they won a national championship a couple of years ago and he pitched and he was an outfielder. And that is definitely a concern. You have to figure that out with all baseball players. But he is fully committed to football. He sees himself as a football player. He is passionate about football. I think he is one of those kids that that could really could play ping pong or pool, he has that kind of skill set that whatever he picks up he will be good at. And I think that is what it was with baseball.

Q: With the philosophy here being value/need, the first three rounds not picking a linebacker, was that because the need isn’t what we perceive it to be – that you needed one in the first three rounds? Or was it more because value for linebackers was not there?

A: I’m sure Jerry and Coach answered that a lot. But when I set the board up I set it up by value and then we pick from there. Of course, if we have need picks in the same value range, then we talk about that. But what we have done so far is that we have value picks.

Q: This is the third guy that you have gotten that has come out of college early. Do you sort of have to tilt your equation in scouting a guy like that?

A: When you are scouting a junior?

Q: Yes, if he is coming out.

A: No, you may have to do a little more digging. You actually may do more work on juniors than the seniors because during the year with the seniors you have a few scouts that are in there. And then when the juniors come out you are almost more intensely going after the information and trying to find out just to make sure. But historically the juniors are the better players. You are identifying them. They are showing up on tape anyway so you are kind of looking at them throughout.

Q: The way your scouting system works, how many guys actually saw him play live?

A: Saw him play a live game or practice? Well, we have three scouts that do that area. I go down there. The coaches have seen him at the Combine.

Q: But in actual games does that mean that four of your saw him play?

A: I didn’t actually see him in a game. I saw him in practice, his pro day. Games are good to see but practices sometimes are just as good as a game look. LSU is one of the better teams where they have intense practices and you can see all of the skills that you need to see in a practice setting. We watch tape of all of the games.

Q: How would you rate the middle linebacker class in this draft? Is it not that strong?

A: I wouldn’t say that. Obviously McClain and then there may have been a big drop off. I don’t want to say it was weak but for us we didn’t have a lot of guys at high value there.

Q: For someone to excel in the SEC because that competition is so high it says a lot about his athletic ability.

A: Yeah, whenever you take a guy from the SEC you always – that is the best of the best. If you are good in the SEC, that is where the best athletes are and that is the way we look at it. So we are excited about that.

Q: Did you ever draft a closer?

A: No.

Q: That said, how do you project a kid from a East Carolina or even South Florida when you know the best athletes come out of the SEC? How do you make that projection? How do you rate a kid in terms of that type of competition?

A: You try to watch them against a better competition. Doing this and getting a data base of what a powerful guy looks like compared to powerful guys in the SEC. Is this guy more powerful? His individual skill set comparing it to other people at his position which will carry over no matter who he is playing against – his speed, the quickness, the intelligence. Whatever their individual skill set is, you just try to compare it from doing this for so long.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Were you excited to learn your fate and come here?

A: Oh yeah. It’s a great place. I love that I went to a team where I have a guy on the team that I’m kind of familiar with. That has helped me out a lot with Corey Webster being on the team, especially since he’s a defensive back. Hopefully, he will show me the ropes and show me how to be a New York Giant.

Q: How well do you know Corey? Have you heard from him?

A: I haven’t talked to him in these last couple days, but I know him really good. I almost try and talk to him three days a week. We have a good relationship going.

Q: Was it a tough decision to stay with football and abandon the baseball career?

A: Not when I weighed out my options, you know. The number one thing is what I love more; what I would love to do more in my life. I chose football, so it wasn’t that bad of a decision. It wasn’t that hard of a decision. I know I made the right one.

Q: You think you could have made it in baseball?

A: You know, it’s a little bit slower game with a longer process. Yeah, I believe I have the tools to make it to the big show. I believe I had the tools to make it.

Q: Can you still throw a 91 mph fastball?

A: Yeah, I can still throw it. That’s what I average, 89-91 or 92. I could bump it up there pretty high to 95.

Q: Sounds like you like the game of football better…is that accurate, and why?

A: Yeah, that’s definitely accurate. Football games are much more exciting, and the fan bases are much better, you know. I like the commotion going and I like the excitement. There is so much more excitement on the football field. I just love the atmosphere, and that just fits me.

Q: Do you think because you played two sports that you’re a little behind in football now?

A: I wouldn’t say behind, but I didn’t get as much football maybe that I think would make me a better player. I think now that I’m focusing on football year round, I think you’re going to see the best of me. I feel that the best is yet to come. I think I had some good games at LSU and I had some strong points. But I think there is so much more to see what I have.

Q: How much did you talk to David Merritt, the Giants’ safeties coach?

A: Well, I took a visit out there, and me and him got along really good. He put me up on the board and taught me a few things. Honestly, I impressed him enough for him to want me on his staff, the defensive back staff. We had a few good conversations, and things worked out good between me and him.

Q: What impressions did you get of Merritt as a person and a coach?

A: First thing, when I got there, I knew that he knew what he was talking about. He was telling me about defensive schemes and he taught me so many things in such little time. There is so much more I can learn from him, you know. I feel that he’s a great teacher, and I think as a man he has a great character. So you have kind of like a role model and you want those type of guys around you, especially when you are trying to work to get somewhere.

Q: You think you can be an NFL punt returner?

A: I definitely can. I believe I definitely can. I have secure hands with the ball, so I definitely want the special teams coaches to put me out there. I hope things work well.

Q: When you played baseball, did you limit your size? Can you get bigger now as a football player?

A: No, I actually think I actually got bigger during baseball season. I was a pitcher, and I didn’t really do much running because I was in shape from football. I was basically one of the best players when it comes to conditioning wise on the team. I kind of blew up during baseball as a pitcher because I only pitched once a week. I would pitch 2-3 innings as a closer, and at night time they would actually give you a box of pizza. Sometimes we would have five games a week, so I’d get five boxes of pizza. It kind of sat on my stomach, without me doing much exercise or running, and I blew up. When I got back to football, the weight cut really quick because it was all extra and I didn’t need it on my body.

Q: Why’d you quit baseball? They gave you pizza.

A: Yeah, I know. They gave me pizza. I had the good life. I just felt that football was where I wanted to be. I had been playing that since I was four or five years old. I grew up in a football family. That’s just how it is.

Q: Do they actually know how to make pizza in Louisiana?

A: Yeah man. They got all that down, you know.

Q: Have you ever been to New York?

A: Other then when I came up on my visit, no. I didn’t really get to see much of the city. I hear it’s amazing. I just can’t wait to get out there for football, you know. I can’t wait to get out there.

Q: You said you are from a football family…did you put in a good word for your brother (LSU DE Rahim Alem) when you came on your visit?

A: When I went to the New York Giants on my visit, I talked about him. With me being close enough to my brother, I tried to say everything that I could about him to the Giants and all the teams I visited. I definitely put in a good word for him. Hopefully, in the next few hours, they will pull the trigger and bring my brother up there, too.


4th Round – LB Phillip Dillard, Nebraska, 6-0, 245lbs, 4.73

SCOUTING REPORT: Dillard lacks ideal height but he is a strong, well-built player with decent athleticism. He runs well, but lacks ideal speed, agility, and range. Instinctive, tough, and physical. He is tough against the run at the point-of-attack. Dillard is a good hitter and solid tackler, though he needs to break down more consistently in space. He also is a little stiff in coverage, but solid in that department. Smart and a good leader.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: The new guy is Phillip Dillard, middle linebacker from Nebraska. Phillip is a rugged inside linebacker, tough, instinctive, smart, hard-hitting inside middle linebacker. We had him targeted for a while and we are happy he was still up there in the fourth round for us. We talked about him a little bit earlier but there were some more guys up there who we thought had the value that, at the time, was better. So, we rolled the dice and we came out with the guy we wanted at middle linebacker. We feel like he can come in and start competing right away for that job with some of the guys we already have.

Q: Dillard’s not the biggest linebacker, but is he big side-to-side?

A: Well yeah, he’s rangy and he’s smart. He can play in coverage. He is 6 foot 245 pounds. He’s not tall but he’s 245 pounds so right now he is probably the biggest linebacker on the team besides Sintim, just trying to think of our linebackers here. Maybe Jon Goff, he’s probably a little bit bigger. Heavier, I should say.

Q: I heard he played weakside…

A: He played in the middle. Middle linebacker.

Q: I thought he started at weakside…

A: He might have played some weakside but most of the time, he played in the middle.

Q: What makes you think this fourth rounder can come in and compete for the starting job as a rookie?

A: Well, we are going to put him in there and give him a chance with the rest of the guys. That’s what makes me think that. He’s going to have to earn the job just like the other guys we have here. We have some unproven guys so we are going to throw them all in the till and see who gives us the best shot to win games.

Q: Did you talk to the Pelini’s and his linebacker coach? Did he give you some type of advice or frame of reference?

A: We talk to all of their coaches. Our scouts have good relationships and they go in there in the fall all the time. They endorsed this guy and they think he is going to be a really good player. We brought him in for one of the visits we had with them and our linebackers coach really liked on the board what he saw and brought to the table. He thought that he could be a smart, tough inside linebacker that we’ve been looking for, and we’ll see.

Q: He butted heads with some of the staff there, do you have concerns about that?

A: Well, we researched all that as well. Again, that happens sometimes with players and staffs, and he did everything to get back in their good graces. They endorse him to the fullest right now, so we don’t have any problems with that.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: Talk about Dillard…

A: Phillip is a high energy, fast kind of player. He is a little on the short side but the guy is 245 pounds. He’s thick, and we expect him to play in the middle and compete for that job there. He’s a smart kid and he’s really been a tough worker there at Nebraska so we are excited about him.

Q: Did he play middle, weakside?

A: He played middle and WIL. He played both.

Q: He’s an interesting guy. We asked him how much he was helped by having Suh in front of him and he said that his coach was telling scouts that he helped Suh out as well.

A: Any time you have Suh in front, you know. He did, he did help the kid. I’m glad Phil tried to take some but he was lining things up and made a lot of the calls. I’m sure that’s what he was really referring to because he set the defense, called the fronts, and all that stuff.

Q: If he has to step in, is he capable of doing that here?

A: We have spoken to the defensive coordinator and everything. He’s another kid we had on the visit and we put on the board. He did a great job with that.

Q: You mentioned yesterday that there is a gap from the top linebackers from the next group, was Dillard in the next group?

A: Yeah, we had him in that next group. We actually talked about him at three (third round) and there was some good discussion about it. We thought there was a chance that he’d be available and that Chad wouldn’t be, so we decided to go that route and hold our breath, and we got him. It was a restless night’s sleep but it was worth it.

Q: Was there then another guy? You were getting to the point where everyone thought you needed to take a middle linebacker at some point?

A: We had some other guys later, but not really at that range where we took him. We weren’t going to force anything. We don’t do that and I know we come down here and say it, but we’re not going to force it. When you force players and you think it’s a need and then you get burned, and then don’t play anyway, then you have a bad pick. We were going to wait for the right person at the right time and we feel strongly that Phillip is that guy.

Q: Do you think that was the plan if you didn’t get McClain, that Dillard was the next plan?

A: Yeah, he was in that group when we would meet and talk about those things and set up scenarios. He was part of that scenario where if we don’t get a guy here in the top tier group then this guy will look good in that third and fourth round range.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: Phillip Dillard is a linebacker that really fit a need and had the grade at that particular time in the fourth round for us to take him. The scouts were very impressed. There were some outstanding conversations. Jim Herrmann talked to the coaches at Nebraska. The scouts had an opportunity to watch the career of Dillard there and the way that he performed in his last year in terms of being an outstanding special teams player – a guy who had the ability to play coverage but also was physical, has the size, weighs about 245 pounds. So we feel like he can stand in there against the run. So we look forward to bringing him in as well.

MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:

Q: Your reaction to going to a team that has a dire need for a middle linebacker. I assume that has to be better for you than going somewhere with an established starter, right?

A: Oh, it is, definitely. I am ecstatic. When my name went across the screen, I knew what their needs were and after going down there on my visit I was like, “Wow, everything just fell into place.” It is amazing.

Q: It seems like they brought you in for a visit and maybe had some other conversations. Did you think they were a real possibility for you here?

A: Yeah, I did think they were a possibility. Talking to the coaches and the new defensive coordinator there – they were doing everything, they watched the film, they knew everything. They told me what my strengths and my weaknesses were. And they were accurate. I was like, “They were obviously watching the film.” And the Giants are a great organization. So I don’t think they would bring anyone here just to learn. I was ecstatic just to go on the visit. I knew there was a possibility and a chance and I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.

Q: How high did you expect to go and what did people tell you that may have led you to believe you could drop?

A: I was expecting to go like second or third. No one told me anything that would have expected me to drop. That is just the way the draft works. Every year things never go the way they are supposed to or planned. So I just had to sit there and wait for my name to be called. And it did.

Q: Just reading some stuff up on you recently – the injuries and having to earn the starting job back, it sounds like it was a tumultuous college career that kind of ended on the upswing there. What led you to maybe turn things around? Or what was it about your situation that allowed you to kind of regroup there?

A: It wasn’t really about turning things around. My mom had passed during that January. And I told her that I was going to do something that would honor the family and stay out of trouble and do the right thing. So all I had to do was work and not complain and not moan, knock the attitude, show great character, be happy, and not be a cancer in the locker room. And not be mad because things don’t go my way because that is just how life goes. Things don’t always go your way so I am going to have to work through that to be a man. And that is what I did and it worked out for the best.

Q: Do you think having gone through that makes you better prepared than the average prospect?

A: I wouldn’t say it makes me better prepared. Just the things I went through and the things and the knowledge that the coaching staff and everything that Nebraska as of me, yeah, I do have kind of a lead on and going through a lot. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a different story. But I do know that I am ready to make the transition and this is something that I have waited for a long time that I have worked for and I can’t wait to get it started.

Q: You played other positions at Nebraska – outside, weakside, middle. Is middle your best position? What kind of middle linebacker are you?

A: I can play middle or outside. Both I am great in the middle, too. I am great between the tackles. I always stay square. I never cross over. I am very physical and if you watch my film at times I might not get a play because I’m running downhill as I’m trying to knock out the pulling linemen because he is a threat to me, and I just love contact. I love being physical and aggressive. And my mental aspect is that I love to be in control of the checks and make the checks. And if you look at our defense, I made all of the checks from blitzes to checking high coverages, to checking man coverages and telling our corners or safeties or dimes what they are going to do and what check to make. That is just something that I love to do. I love to lead and have that on my shoulders, the quarterback of the defense. And if I get that responsibility, I am going to handle it with care.

Q: You did that this year from the weakside?

A: I did it this year from the MIKE because we were mostly in dime and nickel because of our conference. But even when I played WILL playing base, sometimes I would still make the checks and I would still make calls. I have to check blitzes though.

Q: You sound very much like Antonio Pierce. Have you followed his career?

A: Yeah, I have. And that is another thing that I knew. I know that he left, and that he is off the team. So I knew that it would be a good possibility and a good fit for me. And I mean it’s a great organization, the Giants organization is great. All you hear is good things about how they take care of their players and they respect the players and everything. I’m stuttering right now and I never stutter.

Q: How much did Bo Pelini prepare you for this draft and what pointers has he given you knowing that he has been an NFL linebacker coach before?

A: If he wasn’t my coach, I don’t think I would be in this position right now – and Coach Eckler and Coach Carl (Pelini, defensive coordinator). It is the whole mindset of everything that he has taught me. Like he will come into our meetings and give me the pointer and say, “What would you do here? What check would you make here? What do see about this offense.” And you have to know it and you have to say it. He won’t get mad, he would just go, “No, there is another thing.” There are always certain possible plays they can do from each formation. But the knowledge of the game that he has instilled in me is beyond reason.

Q: You obviously know there is an opportunity here. Do you expect that you will come in and win the starting job?

A: No, I don’t expect it. I expect to come in and make an impact on the team regardless of what they ask me to do. Whether it is to play special teams, learn the playbook, master the playbook, get the playbook down, then earn a spot, that is what I am willing to do. I just want to be a part of the team. I want to make an impact on the team. And I want to help this team go to a Super Bowl because I know that is the ultimate goal.

Q: I’m sure by now you know how the scouting process works, and I’m sure you have heard this before, people mention the fact that you played behind Suh and say, “Oh, that probably led to his production.” I’m guessing that you don’t agree. So if I said that to you, how would you counter that?

A: He is a great player; he is a phenomenal player – one of the best that I have seen in years. The thing I was always talking about is Coach Bo and Coach Carl told some of the scouts that if I wasn’t behind him that he wouldn’t have made a couple of plays because they had to game plan for me, too. And that I hadn’t expected them to say because everything I say is always, “Well, he is a great player and that whole D-line is and the secondary behind me is great. So I have to be great, I have to play great in order to not let my teammates down.” So that is how it started. I have to play up to their level to not let them down. So he is phenomenal player. But everything that Coach Bo and his staff taught me made me a good player.

Q: Am I hearing this correctly, you are questioning the second overall pick?

A: No, I didn’t say that – never. That man is a monster. He is a busy man, and he deserves all of the credit. I just help out; I just help out.

Q: You have no residuals from the ACL?

A: No, after I tore it I went through the rehab and I haven’t hurt it since. I don’t know the injury I got was just a freak accident. Someone pushed me on kickoff and I was going the other way and they pushed me opposite way and it popped. But no, it has been great ever since.

Q: It sounds like you are a real good film study guy. So what do you think the biggest adjustment is going to be as you try to compete for a job in the NFL?

A: Now that I don’t have to worry about classes. I get to watch film even more. So I’m just going to go in there and I’m going to be in there with the coaches, be on his ears and I will probably get on his nerves. “Coach, what do I do here?” I want to know everything, I want to know the in’s and out’s of everybody that we play, and then go to me watching the film and then me being able to pick out the offensive linemen’s stance – is it full; is too high, is it buzzsaw, is he standing on his feet when he backpeddles. Just everything. I watch for every little thing. I really watch film because I love giving a heads up on the players. It makes it look like I’m doing good out there but really I’m just doing my research and I’m playing off of it.


5th Round – OG Mitch Petrus, Arkansas, 6-3, 307lbs, 5.35

SCOUTING REPORT: Petrus is a versatile player who has played some tight end and fullback. Petrus is a tough, competitive, blue-collar-type who lacks ideal size. He plays hard, works to finish, and has a bit of a mean streak. Petrus is a good athlete. Petrus is extremely adept at pulling and engaging defenders at the second level – he adjusts well on the move. Though he is super strong (benched-pressed 225 pounds 45 times at the Combine), Petrus is more of position-blocker than mauler – he does not show that type of strength on the playing field. He does play with good leverage. Adding more bulk and getting stronger in his legs could help his power game. Petrus is a solid pass blocker due to his fine footwork and agility. But he needs to improve his hand technique and adding bulk may help him better against the bull rush. Because of his position switches and missing the 2008 season due to academic problems, Petrus is still raw and has an upside. He could project to center.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: Mitch Petrus is the guard from Arkansas: tough, rugged, in-your-face guard. That’s what this guy is. He is hard-nosed, aggressive. He can pull and do all the things we ask our guards to do. This guy has a vicious nature about him, and we like his skill set for what we do with our guards…We think that the guard can go in and compete right away because he has a vicious nature about him. He wants to come in and compete right away. He’s a strong, strong kid. We think we have improved defensively, and the guard will create competition at the guard spot.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: Regarding Petrus jumping around – tight end, fullback – how much did that hurt his development?

A: It may have helped some, just having some versatility and having a different mindset with the different positions on the field. But he is a guy that is going to attack it from day one. When we called him he was excited. He is ready to go right now. If we told him to walk up here right now, he would be here ready to practice. So that is the kind of guy that he is.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: Petrus, the offensive guard – powerful, the guy that set the stage with the outstanding number of reps out at Indianapolis; a strong, physical player; a guy who gives us some added depth inside. He was the right pick at that time for us as well.


6th Round – LB Adrian Tracy, William & Mary, 6-2, 248lbs, 4.76

SCOUTING REPORT: Tracy played defensive end in college but projects to linebacker in the pros. He has top intangibles – team captain, smart, hard worker, and a non-stop motor. Tracy has good size for linebacker and is a good athlete. Instinctive – he was a very productive college football player at a low level of competition. The big question is can he make the conversion to linebacker?

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: Adrian Tracy is from William & Mary, we are going to play him at outside linebacker on the strong side. He’s a projection. He was a defensive end and he had a bunch of sacks out there. We worked him out as a SAM linebacker and we think he can project to a SAM. He is a really good athlete, really smart kid and big kid. We think he has upside to project to a SAM linebacker and give us some depth at that position as well.

Q: With Tracy, wondering if he adjusted well to linebacker drills, did you see that?

A: Yeah, that’s one of the things that was, because they are guys who are projections. He had his hand on the ground most of the time when he was at school there. At his workout, there were a lot of people at his workout. One of our scouts was there and he really worked out well at his workout as a linebacker. The movement skills that you have to have at that position. He did a good job and we think he can project. If you think back, he kind of has a body type like Reggie Torbor, who we had here for a few years back. We think he is a little bit better athlete than Reggie Torbor was. Reggie was a defensive end at Auburn, too.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: Where are you on this Tracy kid as far as how quickly you think he can adjust?

A: We are real excited because he is a smart kid, obviously, going to William and Mary. Another guy we had in here. We researched extensively down there and he was probably the best note taker we had when we put him on the board of all the guys we had up in our visit. Very conscientious kid. When we interviewed him, the guy shows he is very bright and we have no problems with that whatsoever. We think he’ll pick it up really fast.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: Tracy – we just had people that continued to speak about how highly they felt about his ability. Even though he played with his hand on the ground a great deal of the time, the projection was to linebacker. He played linebacker in the all-star games and there wasn’t any question on the part of the scouts that had seen him play that he could play from a stand-up position and be a linebacker at this level. So that is how that came about.


7th Round – P Matt Dodge, East Carolina, 6-1, 224lbs, 5.1

SCOUTING REPORT: In 2009, Dodge ranked second in the country in punting average – 45.8 yards per punt. Dodge has a very strong leg and gets good hang time on his punts. He also demonstrates good directional punting skills – 24 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line in 2009. Dodge can kickoff too, averaging 61.6 yards a kickoff in 2009 with six touchbacks.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: The last guy we just drafted was Matt Dodge, a punter from East Carolina. Big legged, powerful, I mean this guy can hit some moon shots. There are some inconsistencies which most young punters have that we feel like he can come in and our special teams coaches can get him on the right track. I think he can be a good punter for us. He will be in the mix competing for that job.

Q: With Dodge, can he kick off, too?

A: Dodge can kick off, but I wouldn’t call him a kickoff guy now. Our coaches think he can get better as a kickoff guy so we end up having some versatility in that way. He is not a holder though, so that’s something he would have to learn. He does not hold for his college team. He does have some experience as a kickoff man.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Q: The punter…strong leg, weak leg? Obviously you guys think he has a strong leg:

A: Yeah, strong leg. When you see him, he’s not a typical punter looking guy. He’s muscular and 224 pounds. You’ll think he’s a safety when you see him walk up because he’s real jacked up. He loves to lift with his other teammates and stuff, and he’s an intense kid. He has a strong leg and we like those big guys. We don’t want those scrawny punters that can’t last a whole season so he has a lot of developmental qualities to him.

Q: Those reports that say he didn’t have a strong leg?

A: He didn’t have any of those. We didn’t have any, maybe some other ones in the league. We thought the kid had a strong leg.

Q: It also said he doesn’t mind going downfield and trying to make a tackle…

A: Yes. That’s what I’m saying. It’s the way the kid looks. He wants to be a football player. He kicks off and punts. So we love that. He wants to be a football player as either a kicker or punter.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: We felt like that we would go ahead and not pass on this punter who was one of the two people that we felt were draft-worthy in this particular draft.


 Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

QB Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, 6-3, 223lbs, 5.00 (WAIVED)
Randolph played at a lower level of competition. He lacks ideal height but he is well-built. Good intangibles – smart, competitive, and a leader. Randolph sees the field well and makes good decisions on where to throw the ball. Accurate short thrower, but he lacks arm strength. Randolph needs to get rid of the ball more quickly.

QB Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, 6-1, 200lbs, 4.95
Skinner lack ideal height and arm strength, which hurts his game. Skinner reads defense well, makes good decisions, has a quick release, and is an accurate quarterback.  He has very good intangibles – he is smart and a leader.

WR Tim Brown, Rutgers, 5-8, 165lbs, 4.45
Brown is a tiny slot receiver who has good speed and very good quickness. He runs good routes, gets open, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. Brown is tough for his size. He is dangerous with the football in his hands. Brown has experience as a kickoff returner but he is not explosively fast.

WR Duke Calhoun, Memphis, 6-4, 205lbs, 4.50
Calhoun led Memphis in receiving yards (923), receptions (68), receiving touchdowns (5), and in average yards per reception (13.6).

WR Victor Cruz, Massachusetts, 6-1, 200lbs, 4.47
Cruz has a nice combination of size and quickness. However, he is not field fast and struggles at times to create separation from cornerbacks. Cruz runs good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has solid hands. Tough, he will catch over the middle, but he is not terribly elusive after the catch. Productive, he finished his collegiate career with 131 catches for 1,958 yards. Cruz has experience in the return game.

TE Jake Ballard, Ohio State, 6-6, 256lbs, 4.90
Ballard is a tall tight end who has the frame to add more bulk. He is a good run blocker. Ballard has solid hands, but he is not much of an athlete. Thus, he is limited as a pass receiving threat. He is a lumberer, lacking speed and quickness.

OC/OG Jimmy Cordle, Ohio State, 6-4, 297lbs, 5.12
Cordle is a versatile lineman who has played four different offensive line positions. He projects be to inside at guard or center. However, he really struggled with shotgun snaps in 2008. Cordle has good size. However, he is not very strong or athletic. Smart.

OG Dennis Landolt, Penn State, 6-4, 306lbs, 5.10
Versatile – Landolt played both tackle spots in college but projects to guard in the NFL. Landolt combines nice size, arm length, and athleticism. Smart, tough, and hardworking. While Landolt is physical, he is more of a position blocker than mauler. He needs to play with better leverage and get stronger. Landolt has good foot quickness and can pull and engage defenders at the second level.

DE Ayanga Okpokowuruk, Duke, 6-3, 250lbs, 4.85
Okpokowuruk lacks ideal size and the dynamic athletic skills usually needed for a smaller defensive lineman. Okpokowuruk needs to play with better leverage and shed blockers more quickly. He does play hard.

DT Nate Collins, Virginia, 6-2, 290lbs, 5.10
Collins lacks size. He is a decent athlete with some explosiveness, quickness, and range. Versatile – he has played both nose tackle and defensive end. He probably is best suited to 3-technique defensive tackle. Collins plays hard and is tough and instinctive. However, he lacks strength and power and can be overpowered at the point-of-attack. Collins did show well at the East-West Shrine Game practices.

LB Lee Campbell, Minnesota, 6-3, 246lbs, 4.84
Campbell is an experienced three-year starter. Blue-collar type. Campbell has excellent size, but is limited athletically. Top intangibles – tough, physical, aggressive, and competitive. He is a two-down, run-stuffing linebacker. Campbell lacks range but is strong between the tackles. While he is usually strong at the point of attack, he does need to shed blockers more consistently. His lack of athleticism shows up in space when attempting to tackle nimble athletes and in coverage.

LB Micah Johnson, Kentucky, 6-2, 258lbs, 4.84
Johnson has classic middle linebacker size. He is a strong run defender between the tackles. Instinctive and physical. There are questions about Johnson’s lack of speed, range, and agility in space. According to some scouting reports, Johnson can be exposed in pass coverage and when attempting to tackle quicker athletes in the open field. He is not much of a blitzer. Basically, Johnson appears best suited as a 2-down run defender. Johnson tore his MCL in Kentucky’s bowl game and that clearly affected his his draft prospects.

CB Leon Wright, Duke, 5-8, 181lbs, 4.40 (WAIVED)
Wright lacks ideal size but he has proven to be a consistent player with decent speed and quickness. He is aggressive tackler, but he needs to wrap up more securely.

CB Seth Williams, Richmond, 5-11, 185lbs, 4.49

S Michael Greco, Central Florida, 6-3, 217, 4.40
Greco is a former quarterback who switched to safety his senior season. Obviously he is very raw. He has an excellent combination of size and athletic ability.


 Eric’s Take on the 2010 Draft

Overall, I am pleased with this draft. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I am usually very pleased after each Giants’ draft. If you read my draft preview article for the Giants, you saw that I listed my number one need for the team being defensive line (both defensive tackle and defensive end), followed by linebacker. My focus was completely on the front seven of the defense. And the Giants addressed the front seven with more than half their selections (4 of 7).

Jason Pierre-Paul, or “Flippy” as I call him, is not a popular selection among many Giants’ fans. On the surface, it is easy to see why. We’re talking about junior who started only seven games at South Florida. Before that, he was playing for such collegiate powerhouses as the College of the Canyons and Fort Scott Community College. Seriously, with the 15th player in the entire draft? How the heck can the Giants take such a player so high, with so little experience against serious competition?

What IS interesting with Pierre-Paul is that many former NFL coaches or personnel men who are now media analysts like the selection. Furthermore, Rich Eisen of The NFL Network said on the broadcast that the Giants “crushed” the Tennessee Titans who apparently targeted him. And Pierre-Paul was widely discussed in the local and national media as a possible pick for the Giants at #15. Thus, it does not appear the Giants “reached” or made a Thomas Lewis-like selection that had more informed experts left scratching their heads.

Say what you will, but the Giants and Titans know defensive linemen. Right or wrong, if you believe team Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, the Giants had “Flippy” rated as the sixth-best player in the entire draft. It is pretty apparent that the Giants wanted middle linebacker Rolando McClain, but the Giants would have had to give up at least their #2 draft pick to move up that far. That was not a serious option. McClain is good, but he’s not that good.

When I look at internet highlights/lowlights of Pierre-Paul, I see a tall, long-limbed, incredibly athletic player who disrupts – even on those plays where he did not finish because he missed the tackle because he did not break down completely, bringing himself under control. The latter should come with improved technique and experience. He can play on the right or left side and he is going to give tackles fits with his first step. He also seems to be a good kid and a hard worker. Some scouting reports say he struggles against the run. “He can play the run,” says General Manager Jerry Reese. “He can play the run, the pass; he has the whole package. We think that he has the entire package as a defensive end.”

But a defensive end? The Giants don’t need a defensive end you say. Again, as I said in my draft preview, I disagree. Justin Tuck has been injury prone. Osi Umenyiora was benched last year and we still don’t really know where his head is at. Mathias Kiwanuka is a nice player, but he has not proved to be a difference maker. And it is VERY likely that Kiwanuka (free agent) or Umenyiora (unhappy) will be ex-Giants in 2011. In addition, while it is certainly possible that all of these guys MAY have stellar seasons in 2010, it is also certainly possible that all will not (again). Or perhaps only one or two will. The Giants’ defensive scheme is predicated on having three or four excellent pass-rushing defensive linemen. In a 4-3, your best players need to be on the defensive line. It’s why many 4-3 teams, including the Giants and Eagles, do not tend to spend a lot of high draft picks on linebackers. Now if the Giants ran a 3-4, then you focus more on the linebackers. It would be great to do both, but you can’t.

So what to expect from Pierre-Paul in 2010? The odds are that he will be a very valuable reserve who sees a lot of playing time in the Giants’ “four aces” pass-rushing package that became so famous during the 2007 NFL Championship season. Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Kiwanuka, and Umenyiora all on the field together? Offensive lines are going to have problems with that if everyone is focused and healthy. Keep this in mind too when evaluating Pierre-Paul’s rookie season: former NFL team personnel man Mike Lombardi said on The NFL Network that defensive linemen usually take a year to adjust to the pro game. His comments were in reference to the two top defensive tackles in the draft (Suh and McCoy). So the odds are that Pierre-Paul won’t seriously contend for a starting job his rookie year. But I would not count out the possibility. With proper coaching, he may quickly become the best defensive end on the team.

OK, second-rounder Linval Joseph. This is easily my favorite pick. As long as I have been watching the Giants, they have not had this type of 325+ pound mountain inside. Sure, the Giants have had good tackles – Jim Burt, Erik Howard, Keith Hamilton, Fred Robbins, etc., but no one with this kind of combination of size, power, and athleticism. It’s why I was pushing hard for Dan Williams in the first round. I wanted a HUGE nose-tackle type to plug inside along with Chris Canty, potentially forming a massive wall to keep opposing linemen off the Giants’ linebackers. Reese seems to concur: “This guy is a big anchor. He is a load inside and it’s hard to push this man back. He is kind of like one of those guys who is a presence and is like a human post. He’ll give the linebackers a chance to run to the ball and he will block the inside…If you have some big, good space-eaters and block-eaters up front, the linebackers can make a lot more plays. It sure helps if you have some guys who can pick up a lot more blocks.”

Now why not someone like Terrence Cody (Alabama) instead? Well Cody is limited athletically. He’s really only a 3-4 nose-tackle type while Joseph can play nose or 3-technique in a 4-3. Why? Because Joseph has better movement skills. He’s a better athlete. Joseph’s pass rush is really only the bull rush, but he can disrupt and penetrate too with good quickness for his size. Honestly, I can see Joseph starting as a rookie.

I do not have a good feel for third-round safety Chad Jones. Most fans expected the Giants to take a safety at some point as (1) insurance for Kenny Phillips, (2) someone to groom for 2011 since Deon Grant was signed for only one season, and (3) possibly force Michael Johnson off the roster. Jones is a guy with a lot of upside. He has a super combination of size and athleticism. The big question with him is instincts. Is he a player? Some are more optimistic than others. We shall see. But he is now easily the biggest safety on the team – almost linebacker-like in size. And based on comments from Ross after the draft, it is clear that the Giants thought he was a better prospect than Taylor Mays (USC).

The Giants finally addressed the middle linebacker spot in the fourth round. Phillip Dillard, who the Giants also considered in the third round, is a very interesting prospect. First of all, he has ability. Dillard has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He can play the run and, while not a strong suit, can cover. Just as importantly, he appears Antonio Pierce-like in being a big part of the Nebraska defense in making defensive calls, diagnosing plays, and getting fellow defenders set properly before the snap. “I am great between the tackles,” says Dillard. “I always stay square…I just love contact. I love being physical and aggressive. And my mental aspect is that I love to be in control of the checks and make the checks. And if you look at our defense, I made all of the checks from blitzes to checking high coverages, to checking man coverages, and telling our corners or safeties or dimes what they are going to do and what check to make. That is just something that I love to do. I love to lead and have that on my shoulders, the quarterback of the defense. And if I get that responsibility, I am going to handle it with care.” If Dillard pans out to be a younger, bigger, more athletic Antonio Pierce, what a coup that would be! Dillard has a decent shot to start as rookie.

There is a lot of confusion by fans regarding OG Mitch Petrus, a great value pick for the Giants in the fifth round. Because Petrus benched the most reps at the Combine (225 pounds 45 times), many think he is a mauling, root-them-out run blocker. He is not. That strength of his does not translate to the playing field. He is more of a position blocker than mauler. It is because of his build and lack of natural power in his lower body. But Petrus is very good guard who fits the Giants’ system. He may be the best pulling guard in the entire draft. And Jerry Reese described him as “vicious” a couple of times. This guy loves the game and will likely become a fan favorite. There is a good chance that he the Giants’ new starting left guard in year or two. But don’t count out Rich Seubert, one of my favorite Giants, just yet.

The Giants took Adrian Tracy in the 6th round – a small school, DE-to-LB conversion project. Those are two big obstacles to overcome to make it in the NFL. The good news is that Tracy is big, athletic, and very smart and hardworking. “He kind of has a body type like Reggie Torbor,” said Reese. “We think he is a little bit better athlete than Reggie Torbor was.”

In the seventh round, the Giants selected a punter who many felt was the second best punter available. This decision to do this became obvious immediately after the draft when it was revealed that Jeff Feagles is probably retiring. Matt Dodge has a strong leg and apparently has some decent directional punting skills. He will compete with Jy Bond for the punting job in training camp. One would figure that Dodge has a good chance to earn the starting job as a rookie.

Summary: Much obviously depends on Pierre-Paul. But if he pans out, there is a reasonable chance that the Giants came out of this draft with five eventual starters: Pierre-Paul, Joseph, Dilliard, Petrus, and Dodge. Unless Phillips’ knee is permanently screwed up, Jones will be stuck behind him and Antrel Rolle, but provide excellent depth. Tracy is insurance/depth behind Clint Sintim.

Apr 202010
 
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The Offensive Approach to the New York Giants 2010 NFL Draft

by Sy’56, New Era Scouting

The perception among many resides around the concept that the New York Giants offense is set for both the present and future.  However the Giants are good, not great, across the board on this side of the ball.  While the offensive talent is not as strong at the top in comparison with the defensive prospects, there will be opportunity for Reese to upgrade the team speed and play-making ability on an offense that, at times, appears to be a step behind the rest of the league.  The Giants will look at the offensive line, tight end, running back, and possibly even the wide receiver positions this weekend.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Top 3

1 – Russell Okung – Oklahoma State – 91
2 – Bryan Bulaga – Iowa – 88
3 – Trent Williams – Oklahoma – 85

Top Mid Round Value

Kyle Calloway – Iowa

Top Sleeper

Chris Scott – Tennessee

***

After a very strong offensive tackle group in 2009, 2010 brings the draft another solid crop of athletes to the top two rounds.  Okung graded out higher than any of the tackles from last year’s crop, and I think he is going to be the next Chris Samuels for the Redskins.  Similar player that fits in well with what Shanahan wants out of his left tackle.  I’ve seen him absolutely dominate as a run blocker, sending defenders flying on to their backs.  He has the elite feet that are light and sound.  Bulaga was up and down for me, but he is a young athlete that showed flashes of dominance against some of his toughest competition.  Outstanding knee bend and NFL ready technique from top to bottom could warrant a #15 selection if he is there.  He plays with the low center of gravity that the Giants like in their offensive linemen.  Trent Williams was a name I had high expectations for because I was higher on Phil Loadholt (2nd round pick in 2009) than anyone I talked to at this time last year.  However the people I respect most told me that Williams will be the better pro player, and his 2009 campaign that would finally get him on the left side would prove it.  He did not meet my expectations but he is a legit first round talent.  Is he an option at #15?  Yes, but I believe there will be better players at positions of greater need.

Despite the top notch economic contribution of David Diehl at left tackle, I do not believe he is the answer for the long term there.  William Beatty will receive his opportunity, but he did not give me the amount of confidence I want in Eli’s blind side protector.  There may very well be the proper value available for this position at #15, and Reese should bite if it is there.  The offensive line must return to the dominant form we saw in 2008 if the Giants want to remain a consistent contender.  While they can survive with that is on the roster, they should look to locate the best value spot to add depth both inside and out.

I saw a lot of Iowa football in 2009, and their right tackle Kyle Calloway stood out to me each time.  He is a very long athlete that has light feet, natural knee bend, and strong hands.  While he could play the left side because of his tool set, he is a nice middle round target that could supply the proper depth at right tackle behind the oft-injured McKenzie.  Chris Scott was an unexpected addition to the South’s Senior Bowl roster, and he performed very well in each practice and in the game.  He played all over the line, mostly at left tackle, within the fastest conference in college football and performed well there too.  I want a lineman (offense and defense) that plays well with his hands.  Scott exerts massive pop from his bear paws and controls his man play in and play out.  A poor man’s Phil Loadholt here that could be a quick impact player if needed.

GUARD/CENTER

Top 3

1 – Maurkice Pouncey – Florida – 89
2 – Mike Iupati – Idaho – 85
3 – John Jerry – Ole Miss – 80

Top Mid-Round Value

Zane Beadles – Utah

Top Sleeper

Thomas Austin – Clemson

***

The grade that I placed on Pouncey will raise a few eyebrows I suspect, but I am confident in saying he is going to be one of the top linemen to come out of this class.  We have seen the bigger nose tackles in the league maul Shaun O’Hara to a point where the Giants interior rushing attack turns in to a non-factor.  Pouncey is a big body that moves well and one of the top performance’s I’ve seen out of him came against Terrence Cody.  He responds to the top competition very well and he brings one of the meanest attitudes in to the trenches every week.  Iupati’s stock soared sky high following the Senior Bowl week, mainly because that was the first  time the national audience really watched him.  Sure he is fun to watch and when he is on technique-wise, he obliterates 300+ pounders with ease.  But there is a lot of work that needs to be done with him.  Sheer power only gets you so far in the NFL.  He would not present the proper value at #15 overall, but if the Giants find themselves somewhere in the 20’s, he could be the pick.  Jerry is a guy I liked on tape, and loved in person down at the Senior Bowl.  Great body and he is a tremendous athlete that carries 320+ pounds with comfort.  He plays with natural nee bend and is capable of delivering a Leonard Davis type punch at the point of attack.  He should be there in the 2nd, possibly even in the 3rd and I would take him at either spot.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to the interior portion of the Giants offensive line.  Will Diehl eventually make the move back inside?  How much to O’Hara and Seubert have left in the tank?  No matter what, the Giants have room for one or two rookies in there.  Ideally they can grab a guy that projects at both center and guard if need be.  Adam Koets and Kevin Boothe as the backups can easily be upgraded with mid round selections and as I said before, the offensive line is not something you want to gamble on.  I would gladly sacrifice the possibility of selecting a play-maker for a top notch blocker up front.  Reese needs to keep this unit strong and deep because without that, it won’t matter how good your play-makers are.

Beadles is a versatile guy that I did not give a lot of attention to until late in the season.  He played left tackle at Utah and was 1st team all MWC in 2008 and 2009.  I think his future resides inside, and it is a spot where he performed well at in Mobile.  Very good drive blocker that plays low and quick, just how the Giants like them.  If the Giants are looking to add depth, I want a guy that can play across the line. Beadles has experience inside and out, and he would provide the security that the Giants do not exactly have.  Austin is another versatile option, but not on the outside.  He played center in 2008, winning 1st team all ACC honors and was a 2nd team all ACC guy as a guard in 2009.  C.J. Spiller raves about his leadership inside, very smart player that can provide the Giants with the eventual replacement to O’Hara.  Something they may need sooner than most want to believe.

WIDE RECEIVER

Top 3

1 – Dez Bryant – Oklahoma State – 89
2 – Golden Tate – Notre Dame – 84
3 – Demaryius Thomas – Georgia Tech – 83

Top Mid Round Value

Jordan Shipley – Texas

Top Sleeper

Freddie Barnes – Bowling Green

***

We are starting to see rookie wide receivers make that early impact more and more with each season that passes.  Dez Bryant, despite not playing for the majority of the 2009 season because of a suspension, is going to enter the league as one of the most NFL  ready receivers I have seen in a long time.  He is built like a young Terrell Owens and I love his ability on game day.  He is a tough, physical receiver that shows the deep speed.  Excellent tracker of the football that is at his best near the end zone.  The Giants seem to have a strong unit already in place at WR, but selecting Bryant could prove to give Manning a legit #1 receiver.  I did not give Tate a ton of attention during the season, but luckily I got to watch 4 of his games on tape after he declared for the draft.  He does everything you want a receiver to do, especially in the Giants scheme.  A big time threat with the ball in his hands, Tate could bring that much needed play-making ability to New York if the Giants can make a move up or down in to the 20’s.  I’ve spoken at great length already when it comes to Thomas.  His upside his higher than any of the other receivers in this class.  If he can fully get over this foot injury, he will need a year to learn the nuances of an NFL offense.  He ran a limited route tree at Georgia Tech and he is coming off a broken foot, which only slows down his much needed progression.  While he is a risk, Thomas has the ability to be a special player.

A quick glance at the roster and one could easily believe that there is zero chance we see Reese going after a receiver early in the draft.  While they can win with what they’ve got, they still lack a true #1 threat that consistently demands double teams.  If the proper value presents itself anywhere in the draft, Reese should look to add another body in there.  Hixon and Manningham are far from sure-things, and in today’s NFL you need at least three quality receivers.  This is a pretty average group across the board, but if there is one thing I think the Giants offense could use more of, it is yard-after-catch ability.  Nicks showed flashes, but grabbing a receiver that can do a lot after he makes the catch would give this offense a different look, something they have not had in quite some time.

Shipley, despite being one of the more productive receivers on one of the best teams in the nation over the past few years is a guy that is being overlooked.  He plays with outstanding game speed, as I’ve seen him run away from numerous speedy defensive backs.  He is a bigger version of Wes Welker.  Having him and Steve Smith roam the underneath and intermediate route tree will give Manning a ton of confidence as well as open up lanes down the field for Nicks and Manningham.  He will be a 3rd or 4th round consideration for me.  Freddie Barnes, yet another highly productive receiver (155 catches in 2009 alone) impressed me in his week of practice at the Shrine Bowl.  Literally catches everything within reach and he is one of the most route-savvy receiver’s I’ve ever seen.  He lacks the speed of the Giants own Steve Smith, but he can be a similar player to him right away.  Projected as a 7th round/FA type, Reese should give him a serious look if their draft class is WR-less late.

TIGHT ENDS

Top 3

1 – Rob Gronkowsi – Arizona – 84
2 – Logan Paulsen – UCLA – 77
3 – Jermaine Gresham – Oklahoma – 76

Top Mid Round Value

Garrett Graham – Wisconsin

Top Sleeper

Logan Paulsen – UCLA

***

Not a very strong group of balanced tight ends that can do it all here.  However the class has a good amount of guys that can really block, or really move well and create mismatches in space as receiving threats.  With that said, Gronkowski is one of the more complete tight ends I’ve scouted.  He missed all of 2009 with a back injury that needs to be investigated but the games I have been able to watch from 2008 were very impressive.  Tremendous drive blocker with a pair of big, soft hands.  He will be a first round pick but the fit is not here with the Giants.  Every year I have at least one guy that I have a much higher grade on than anyone out there.  This year?  Logan Paulsen from UCLA.  He was used in a tight end rotation at UCLA that hindered his ability to show his skill, but I am confident he can be a big time threat at the next level.  He is the best blocker in the group, and he has shown surprising athletic ability with the ball in his hands.  NFL-ready body.  NFL-ready technique.  NFL-ready mentality.  I’ll discuss him more in the final tight end paragraph.  Gresham needed to have outstanding workouts for me to put him in to the first round tier because the notes I had on him from 2008 were merely average.  He lacks the top tier athleticism I want in a receiver, but also does not play with the physicality one should at his size.  He will likely be off the board before I feel the value is right for him as a Giants draft pick.

Kevin Boss is the present and future at the tight end position, and this is a spot that does not give a notion of big time need.  But in a system where the team asks a lot out of the backups, there could be better depth.  I was not a fan of the Travis Beckum selection in 2009 and while he deserves a shot to be a difference maker, he is not a guy that I would base draft day decisions around.  The talent the Giants have competing for the third spot is less than appealing.  There are some outstanding late round blockers that could fit in well here, and I expect Reese to go after one of them.

I got to see a lot of Garrett Graham in 2009 and to be honest, I feel he is entering the league as a more attractive player than Beckum was coming out.  Very good catcher of the football that shows high effort each play.  He needs to add bul so he can compete as an in-line blocker, but he showed surprising ability to lock on to a defensive lineman and take him out of a play.  Chris Cooley type here.  And back to Paulsen, a guy that may not even be drafted.  I watched him completely dominate both Tyson Alualu and Everson Griffen at the point of attack.  He plays low and strong, showing tremendous lower-half flexibility.  He was always found locked on to this defender he was assigned to, keeping his feet chopping and playing through the whistle.  As a receiver, he has a few long plays to his name that show his sneaky speed and efficient route running.  On top of that, he does not just move a pile forward, he carries it a la Bavaro.  He is going to be one of the top late round steals in this class and he fits in perfectly with what the Giants need at the position.

RUNNING BACKS

Top 3

1 – C.J. Spiller – Clemson – 88
2 – Ryan Mathews – Fresno State – 81
3 – Jahvid Best – California – 78

Top Mid Round Value

LeGarrette Blount – Oregon

Top Sleeper

Deji Karim – Southern Illinois

***

From day one I have been a huge supporter of selecting C.J. Spiller should he fall in to the Giants lap at 15.  I don’t see it happening because of the league wide desire for speed and versatility, arguably Spiller’s top two traits, but it is still a possibility.  Giving him 8-10 carries, 4-5 passes, and a return responsibilities early on would give the Giants another dimension on this team that they have not had since Barber’s early days.  He is a tough, hard nosed kid that plays through pain and pours his heart out on to the field.  That mentality with that talent, it just does not get much better than that.  Mathews is one of the safer bets in this class because of the skill set he brings to the table.  He is the best inside runner in this draft, and his ability to rip off the big run in key situations is not something that should not go overlooked.  Does not fit the value for the Giants in round one however.  Jahvid Best is a hard guy to figure out, but the potential reward here is enormous.  His speed and explosion is in that Chris Johnson tier, but he shows no ability to break tackles and that is the number one thing I look for in a back.  Because of that, he is a 2nd or 3rd round option for the Giants but will likely be off the board before then.

I feel there is a greater need than most want to believe at the running back spot on the Giants roster.  If there is one aspect of the offense I have soured on, it is the lack of speed and receiving ability coming out of the backfield.  Jacobs is what he is, a mauler that can wear down defenses but has major issues staying on the field.  Bradshaw is a gutsy runner that can handle 10-15 carries per game.  Danny Ware and Andre Brown are unproven but show the ability to add more power to an already strong rushing attack.  However none of those guys are players that really run away from defenses.  None of those guys can come out of the backfield and give you the receiving skill set that Barber left with.  Adding a speed dimension to the backfield would balance out the slow footed offense and put more points on the board for a team that is a bit behind the curve in that realm in comparison with the league’s elite.

When it comes to Blount, I have to be honest and say I’ve only seen two game tapes.  One of which was his horrid performance at Boise State.  However what I saw out of him down in Mobile was enough for me to believe that he has legit first round talent.  The character concerns are noted, but its not like he has been in and out of rehab or spending years in jail.  He has a temper issue, and he plays like it.  I want that on the Giants.  He has surprising speed in the open field, not just a bruiser inside.  He also blocks better than any back in this class by a wide margin.  I could see the value for him in the 4th round and I think he will be there.  I discussed Deji Karim with you guys last week I believe, and he finished with a grade just under Jahvid Best.  Very fast runner with excellent short area burst.  Has the NFL-ready bulk to his body.  I’d like to see him come here and compete with the guys at the bottom of the depth chart and simply let the best man win.