Dec 122016
 
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Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins, New York Giants (December 11, 2016)

Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 10 – DALLAS COWBOYS 7…
The New York Giants defeated the heavily-favored Dallas Cowboys 10-7 on a cold Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the victory, the Giants swept the season series against the Cowboys and improved their overall record to 9-4 (3-1 in the NFC East). Dallas fell to 11-2 (3-2 in the NFC East).

In a defensive war, both teams struggled mightily on offense. The Giants and Cowboys each accrued an identical 260 total net yards with Dallas gaining slightly more on the ground and New York slightly more in the air. The Cowboys only finished with 13 first downs and were 1-of-15 (7 percent) on 3rd down and 1-of-2 (50 percent) on 4th down. The Giants only gained 12 first downs and were 2-of-14 (14 percent) on 3rd down and 2-of-2 (100 percent) on 4th down. Both teams turned the football over three times.

The Giants did not score in the first half. Their seven first-half possessions resulted in five punts and two fumbles as New York only accrued six first downs and 84 total net yards. The Giants were limited to 30 yards rushing in the first half on 10 carries. Quarterback Eli Manning completed 10-of-16 passes before intermission for 80 yards and was sacked three times. Two of those sacks resulted in fumbles that were recovered by Dallas.

Meanwhile, the Giants defense kept New York in the game against what had been the NFL’s 4th-best offense. Only two Cowboys drives in the first half picked up more than one first down. Dallas did drive 67 yards in 10 plays on their second possession to take a 7-0 lead when quarterback Dak Prescott hit wide receiver Terrance Williams for a 31-yard score. The Cowboys also drove 42 yards in five plays on their seventh and last drive of the half, but place kicker Dan Bailey missed a 55-yard field goal effort as time expired (the ball hit the crossbar). Dallas’ five other possessions resulted in four punts and an interception by cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who kept Cowboys star wide receiver quiet all game.

At the half, Dallas led 7-0.

As good as the Giants’ defense was in the first half, it turned it up another notch in the second half. Dallas only picked up three first downs and 76 total net yards for the rest of the game. The Cowboys’ eight second-half possessions resulted in five punts, two turnovers, and one turnover on downs to finish the game. Cornerback Leon Hall intercepted Prescott as the Giants picked off a quarterback twice who had only thrown two interceptions all year coming into the game. Bryant caught one pass all night – for 10 yards. And after this catch, Jenkins forced a fumble that safety Landon Collins recovered with 2:13 left to play.

The Giants’ offense continued to have issues in the second half. Like the first half, New York only accrued six first downs. Four drives ended with punts and Manning was intercepted for his third turnover of the game. But the Giants’ second and third drives of the 3rd quarter provided New York with their margin of victory.

First, an 11-play, 35-yard drive set up a successful 39-yard field goal by place kicker Robbie Gould. (The Giants converted on 4th-and-3 on this drive). Then after Hall’s interception and a running back Rashad Jennings’ run that picked up no yardage, Manning found wide receiver Odell Beckham on a slant pass. Beckham caught the ball and raced his way to the end zone en route to a 61-yard scoring strike. Remarkably, those ten points were enough for the Giants to win the game.

Offensively, the numbers were not good. Manning finished 17-of-28 for 193 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also lost two fumbles. Beckham caught 4-of-9 targets for 94 yards and a touchdown. No other target had more than three catches and 39 yards. Running backs Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins each rushed 15 times for 45 yards.

The defense won the game. Dallas was held to 108 net yards rushing and 152 net yards passing as the Cowboys never reached the red zone. Jenkins and Hall both came up with interceptions. Jenkins also forced a fumble that Collins recovered. Defensive end Romeo Okwara, who started for the injured Jason Pierre-Paul, led the team with 8 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 sack, 3 quarterback hits, and a pass defense. Linebacker Devon Kennard was credited with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for losses, 1 sack, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas had the team’s third sack. Overall, the Giants defended nine passes with two each by Jenkins and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Perhaps the unsung hero of the game was punter Brad Wing. He punted nine times, averaging 43.2 yards per punt (42.9 yard net) with no touchbacks and five punts downed inside the 20-yard line (and two downed inside the 5-yard line by Dwayne Harris).

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were left guard Justin Pugh (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle), defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), wide receiver Tavarres King, and quarterback Josh Johnson.

Running back Shane Vereen (concussion) left the game in the 2nd quarter. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (burner) did as well, but he returned.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants have clinched a winning record. It is their first since 2012, when they finished 9-7.

The Giants swept the Cowboys for the first time since 2011. They have won three consecutive games against the Cowboys after losing five in a row.

The Giants improved to 6-1 at home, including 2-1 in NFC East games. That ties their highest victory total in MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 (they were 6-2 in 2012).

The Giants’ Sunday night record improved to 21-28-1, including 11-12 at home.

The Giants won a game in which they scored no more than 10 points for the first time since December 28, 2002, when they clinched a playoff berth with a 10-7 overtime victory against Philadelphia.

This was the seventh time in their history the Giants played a regular-season game against a team that had won at least 11 consecutive games. The Giants have been the home team in every game. They’re 2-5 in those games, and each of the last five games has been decided by just three points.

QB Eli Manning’s 28 passes increased his career total to 6,707, which moved him past Vinny Testaverde (6,701) and into ninth place on the NFL’s career list. Manning’s 17 completions increased his career total to 3,997 completions and moved him past Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon (3,988) and into seventh place on the all-time list.

WR Odell  Beckham’s touchdown was his 34th on a pass from Manning. That is the most by any receiver. Beckham had been tied with WR Plaxico Burress, who played for the Giants from 2005-08.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Saturday, the New York Giants activated running back Shane Vereen from Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster. To make room for Vereen, the team terminated the contract of offensive guard Adam Gettis.

Vereen was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2016 with a triceps injury that required surgery. Vereen was originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2015. As the team’s third-down back, playing in all 16 games with no starts, Vereen had his most productive year in the NFL as a pass receiver in 2015, catching a career-high 59 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns. It was the most receptions by a Giants running back in a single season since Tiki Barber. Vereen also carried the ball 61 times for 260 yards (4.3 yards per carry).

Gettis was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016 and to the 53-man roster in November 2016. Gettis was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with the Redskins (2012-2013), Steelers (2014), Giants (2014-2015), Raiders (2015), and Giants again (2015-2016).

Oct 042016
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MINNESOTA VIKINGS 24 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
The New York Giants were soundly beaten by the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 on Monday night at new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. With the loss, the Giants fell to 2-2.

The three most telling statistics in the game were the turnover differential, 3rd-down efficiency, and time of possession. For the fourth game in a row, the Giants lost the turnover battle (2 to 0) with the New York defense yet to force a fumble or interception this season. The Giants were 2-of-12 (17 percent) on 3rd down while the Vikings were 8-of-16 (50 percent). The Giants were also 0-for-2 on 4th down. The Vikings owned the clock (35:32 to 24:28).

The Giants had six first-half possessions with the first five resulting in punts and only six 1st downs. The only points came on their last drive, an 11-play, 44-yard affair that resulted in a 40-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown.

Meanwhile, the Vikings scored two first-half touchdowns. The first was set up on short field after Dwayne Harris muffed a punt at the Giants 41-yard line. Six plays later, the Vikings were up 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run. In the 2nd quarter, Minnesota put together a 9-play, 75-yard march that gave them a 14-0 advantage on a 7-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-4.

The Giants offense remained anemic in the 2nd half. The Giants five possessions resulted in an interception, a punt, a touchdown, and two turnovers on downs. New York drove 91 yards in five plays for their only TD of the night, with the big play being a 67-yard catch-and-run by running back Paul Perkins on a pass from quarterback Eli Manning. Two plays later, running back Orleans Darkwa scored from one yard out.

The Vikings drove to the Giants 28-yard line on their first possession of the second half but missed the 46-yard field goal. Nevertheless, Minnesota got the ball right back after Manning’s interception, and they  only needed to gain 17 yards to set up a successful 44-yard field goal. The Vikings last scoring drive – an 8-play, 76-yard effort – came in the 4th quarter and resulted in a 4-yard touchdown run.

Offensively, Eli Manning finished 25-of-45 for 261 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. His top pass receiving targets were running back Bobby Rainey (7 catches for 43 yards) and wide receiver Victor Cruz (5 catches for 50 yards). Wide receiver Odell Beckham was held to a career low three catches for 23 yards. Running back Orleans Darkwa was the leading ball carrier with 48 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, as mentioned, the Giants were shut out in the turnover department for the fourth game in a row. New York did not register a sack and quarterback Sam Bradford was officially hit only twice. The Giants also only defensed one pass.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), free safety Darian Thompson (foot), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness), running back Rashad Jennings (thumb), offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf), and quarterback Josh Johnson.

Tight end Larry Donnell suffered a concussion in the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Video)

ARTICLES…

Aug 302016
 
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Will Beatty, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Will Beatty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN WILL BEATTY…
Though not officially announced, the New York Giants have re-signed offensive tackle Will Beatty. The contract is reportedly a 1-year deal that includes $1.1 million in guaranteed money and $750,000 in incentives. Beatty was released/failed physical by the Giants in February.

Beatty had two years left on his contract before the Giants cut him in February. He was scheduled to make $6.625 million in salary in 2016 and count $9.175 million against the 2016 salary cap. Cutting Beatty in February saved the Giants $4.175 million against the cap with $5 million in dead money.

Beatty was placed on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List in September 2015 as he was still recovering from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in May lifting weights. He remained on the PUP the entire season as a rotator cuff injury that required surgery also became an issue. Beatty started all 16 games at left tackle for the Giants in 2014 and had a solid season. He rebounded from a terribly inconsistent 2013 season, as well as a fractured tibia that he suffered in the regular-season finale at the end of that year. Since Beatty was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Giants, he has had issues staying healthy, including a broken foot in 2010, a detached retina in 2011, a back injury that caused him to miss offseason work in 2012, the broken leg in 2013, and the pectoral tear and rotator cuff injuries in 2015.

Beatty is a big lineman with long arms and a very good athlete. When on top of his game, Beatty can mirror and slide with the best pass rushers, and is athletic enough to pull and engage defenders at the second level in the run game. However, Beatty is more of a finesse player. He does not play with a lot of strength and power and he is not a very physical or aggressive blocker. Beatty still has consistency issues.

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT ELEVEN PLAYERS…
The New York Giants made 12 transactions to get under the 75-man roster limit that all teams need to reach by 4:00PM on Tuesday.

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • LT Byron Stingily (concussion)

Waived/Injured:

  • TE Ryan Malleck (burner)

Waived:

  • RB Marshaun Coprich
  • WR Kadron Boone
  • WR K.J. Maye
  • OC Shane McDermott
  • DE Mike Rose
  • DT Davon Coleman
  • DT Greg Milhouse
  • CB Joe Powell
  • S/CB Bennett Jackson
  • S Cooper Taylor

All NFL teams must reach the regular-season 53-man roster limit by 4:00PM on Saturday.

AUGUST 30, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Fullback/tight end Will Johnson (burner), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (ribs), linebacker Jasper Brinkley (knee), linebacker B.J. Goodson (concussion), cornerback Leon Hall (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (shoulder) did not practice on Tuesday.

Right guard John Jerry (ankle) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (back) returned to practice.

Tight end Ryan Malleck (burner) and left tackle Byron Stingily (concussion) left practice early.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There will be no media availability on Wednesday. The Giants play the New England Patriots at home on Thursday.

Aug 232016
 
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Eli Apple and Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 15, 2016)

Eli Apple and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) was activated off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. He practiced on Tuesday for the first time since training camp began.

Tight end Will Johnson (burner), tight end Matt LaCosse (knee), safety Darian Thompson (shoulder), and safety Mykkele Thompson (concussion) did not practice.

“We’ll evaluate (Darian Thompson) week-to-week,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He’s going to be out this week. We’ll look at him again next week. He’s getting the treatment. It’s important to him and he’s going to do everything he can to get back here as quickly as he can.”

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (groin), wide receiver Geremy Davis (hamstring), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (knee), left guard Justin Pugh (shoulder), defensive end Kerry Wynn (groin), cornerback Eli Apple (strained leg muscle), and cornerback Leon McFadden (bruised lower leg) practiced.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The team will hold practice on Wednesday at 11:00AM.

Jun 262016
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (June 15, 2016)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ARTICLES…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSE…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS DEFENSE…

May 182016
 
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Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans (November 1, 2015)

Zach Mettenberger – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – GIANTS PUT IN CLAIM FOR ZACK METTENBERGER…
The New York Post and New York Daily News report that the New York Giants put in a waiver claim for quarterback Zack Mettenberger, who was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans and claimed by the San Diego Chargers off of waivers.

The 24-year old Mettenberger was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Titans. In his two NFL seasons, Mettenberger has started 10 regular-season games, completing 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.

The Giants currently have three quarterbacks on their roster: Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib, and B.J. Daniels.

ARTICLES…

May 102016
 
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New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2016 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
1 10 10 CB Eli Apple (Video)
2 9 40 WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
3 8 71 S Darian Thompson (Video)
4 11 109 LB B.J. Goodson (Video)
5 10 149 RB Paul Perkins (Video)
6 9 184 TE Jerell Adams (Video)

2016 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – CB Eli Apple, 6’1”, 199lbs, 4.40, Ohio State University
Eli Apple, New York Giants (April 28, 2016)

Eli Apple – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Third-year sophomore who turns 21 in August. Apple started 27-of-28 games for the Buckeyes. Apple combines good size with excellent overall athletic ability, speed, and quickness. He has the physical tools and plays a physical game. He demonstrates very good aggressive man coverage skills and makes plays on the football (22 pass defenses the past two seasons). However, Apple needs to improve his overall coverage technique and reading routes. Apple makes a lot contact with receivers in coverage, drawing flags. He has a big upside.

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

Reese: Eli Apple, cornerback, Ohio State. A really good, young player. Height, weight, speed. Big school. Only 20 years old. Has all the tools. He holds all the tools to be a starter. He was the highest graded player on our board, beyond the guys with issues.

Q: Were you concerned going in that the Titans and Bears might do what they did?

A: You never know what people are going to do during the draft. We knew there were going to be nine picks in front of us. People say they knew or thought something was going to happen in front of us, you don’t know that, nobody knows until the name is turned in. We’re very happy to have this player, this is a good player. He’s a terrific young player, and it’s a need pick. It’s a value pick where we had him ranked, and it’s absolutely a need pick. Look out there and see our corner depth, you guys can see that.

Q: You mentioned big school…does that upgrade a prospect?

A: You like to get kids who’ve played in big time programs. It’s not the end all, but kids that come from big programs are usually more ready to jump in and play at this level.

Q: Can he play in the slot? Is that something you envision?

A: I think he can play all over. He is big, he’s over six foot. He’s a 200 pounder, ran 4.4. He can play somewhere back there for us.

Q: Do you envision him starting immediately?

A: Everybody has to come in and earn their spot for the New York Giants, but we think he has starter caliber tools.

Q: Do you look at him as only a cornerback or do you think he’s a guy who can play safety?

A: No, he’s a corner.

Q: Because Vernon Hargreaves plays the same position and went one pick later, can you explain to us from a scouting perspective the difference in the two players?

A: We thought (Eli) was a better player, that’s all you need to know. We thought he was a better player. We had him ranked higher, we thought he was a better player. We think Hargreaves is a good player, we thought this guy was a better player.

Q: Prospect-wise, how would this guy compare with Prince Amukamara when Prince came out?

A: Yeah, that’s been so long ago…I’ve looked at hundreds of guys since Prince came out. I don’t know if it’s fair to try to couple him with Prince. We just know that he’s a terrific young player with a huge upside, highest guy on our board, and a need pick. We’re very excited to have him.

Q: No disappointment at all when the Bears jumped ahead of you and took Floyd?

A: No, you don’t get disappointed up here. You just stay with your board and when they come off, they come off. Nobody’s crying in there when somebody gets picked. You know, “Okay, who’s the next best guy available?” We think we got a really good player.

Q: You talked about a need…most of the time there’s only two cornerbacks on the field. Are one of the other two corners possibly a safety—DRC or Jenkins?

A: No. When you have two corners in this league, you’re short one because the offensive teams throw the ball so much and you’ve got to have three quality corners to really get out there and function at a high level, I think. This guy gives us three quality guys that we think we can play with anybody around the league with these three kind of guys.

Q: Eli Apple was talked about recently in the last 24-48 hours and referred to by an anonymous scout questioning his life skills. Is that anything that you guys worried about?

A: You hear everything. It’s all people talk about, the draft, it’s a phenomenon now. Half the stuff people we’re talking about, they don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s stuff spewed all over the place. We listen to our scouts, we do the work. Hey, this guy is a good player, he’s clean. We don’t have any issues with him.

Q: Do you care about his cooking?

A: I don’t care about his cooking.

Q: Can you clear up the perception about whether you could have gotten him further down in the round?

A: You can always say that and you’ll say, “We’ll be cute and we’ll move back,” and the next pick is the guy you want. You can always speculate on about where you could have got him. People might say, “Well, they could have moved back later and got him.” Nobody knows that…nobody knows that.

Q: Eli has some great experience on college football’s biggest stage. He was the MVP of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, he has a Big Ten championship, he has a college football national championship. How much did that play into your decision?

A: All that’s part of the equation, but what he does on the field, how he played, he’s a big time player, big time program. He’s 20, he’s got a huge upside, he was the highest player on our board, it’s a need pick. We’re very happy to have Eli Apple on the New York Giants football team.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: What was it about Eli Apple that stuck out to you guys?

A: We like Eli just because he’s the number one corner on our board. The guy is big. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He’s clean off the field. He’s got tremendous upside. He played at a high level on a quality defense with a lot of other playmakers and guys that were going to be drafted. We just felt this guy would come in, and with the cornerback group we have, fit in right away and give you some versatility. It was a need position. It was value and need and it worked out good for us.

Q: When did Eli first catch your eye?

A: In the fall, when you go to Ohio State, you know you’re coming there for some seniors, but you’re coming for this star-studded class of juniors that they have there that are coming off the board and more to come. You’ve got your eye on them, and then obviously once he declares, then you hit it hard. We’ve got three area guys going to Ohio State. I’ve been there for the Pro Day, Combine, and the whole deal. He’s been vetted thoroughly.

Q: Was there a specific game when you were there that stuck out to you at all?

A: No. Practice was my first exposure to him.

Q: Is Eli a guy that can play in the slot right away or is he an outside guy?

A: No. He can do both. The guy can bend. He’s very flexible. However Spags wants to use those guys, it’s up to him. But I think all three of those guys can give you a little something different. I’m talking about the two starters we have and now Eli. We’ve got some big, athletic, fast guys.

Q: With the way the league is throwing the ball, is it almost a necessity to have three guys who can play corner?

A: For sure. What is it up to, 60% now, that teams are in three wide or more? So your third corner is essentially a starter now and that’s the way you’ve got to look at it. A guy like Eli, with size, is almost more than a third corner. You can use him in different ways.

Q: What do you think when you hear the cooking comment about Eli?

A: It’s ridiculous. You look at players and you scout them for the qualities that are important. Somebody asking about cooking is ridiculous.

Q: You said you’d use him in different ways. Do you see him at the line of scrimmage?

A: Spags was excited. Our corners coach was excited because he’s got a really good feel for the game. I’m sure in different packages we can move those guys around. This guy, although he’s only played two years, has a really good feel. He’s not raw in terms of his football mind. His film study is excellent as far as analyzing the game on the tape. He studies tons of film. He’s got a smart football mind.

Q: He didn’t have a high interception number the past year. Does that bother you at all and how does that factor in?

A: No. Sometimes stats lie. There’s true stats and when you watch the film, there’s production. So stat production and then real production. If you watch this guy, he can lock people down and they don’t even throw his way. Whereas you have some corners where balls just fall on them and they could be standing there and balls fall on them. The guy that set an NCAA record in interceptions last year went undrafted. We think (Eli’s) production was more so shutting people down as opposed to getting interceptions.

Q: How were his ball skills when you saw him at the combine?

A: Really good.

Q: Was he destined to be here as the other Eli?

A: We’ll see. Hopefully he makes a name for himself. He’s got the perfect name for New York and here.

Q: Was that a factor in picking him?

A: Of course. Just like the cooking was and ironing and laundry.

Q: You joke about that, but how much of a concern is it when you draft a kid who is that young?

A: This guy came from a good family, went to college and we’re asking about cooking. We’re talking about practice… Come on. The guy plays football. He shows up to practice. He goes to class. He’s got great parents and we’re talking about cooking? It’s not a factor at all. It’s that he does things that are football related that work out.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Hope you are all doing well tonight. [It is an] exciting time for us.  [We] drafted a young man, Eli Apple, have a chance to bring him home, exciting time, young player, 20 won’t be 21 until, I think, August 9th. [He is a] combative, physical corner who interviewed great. [He] tackled well on tape. We like his size, we like his length, good ball skills — that showed up, which is something that he is working on, and we are excited to get him in here.

Q: What was the experience like for you watching everything happen in the nine picks before you?

A: That was exciting. I mean it is like anything else, you go through the process, trust your board, you see how things come off and you hope you have somebody sitting up there you like when it comes time to pick, and we obviously did and we are excited we have Eli.

Q: It did not look from an outside perspective that things went according to plan. Is this a scenario you planned for?

A: We planned to pick the highest guy on the board and Eli is a guy who is an outstanding young man, high character, good football player, his best days are ahead of him as a player and we are excited to have him.

Q: When you have a young guy, do you give him a little bit of a longer leash when you coach them up because they may not be as developed as a 22 or 23 year old?

A: He is young but he is mature. He showed that in the interview where he could — he did a great job communicating with us about football, about things that weren’t about football, about his personal life. He did a great job when the film was on. He can jump on the board and communicate that way, so he is a mature young man who comes from an outstanding program that has a lot of great players and he shined there.

Q: His interception total went down this year. Were people staying away from him or what?

A: That is a good question. I think he has some things that he needs to work on. I think he shows that he has the ball skills to do it. It is tough when you are playing press man coverage to intercept the ball if you are playing a man not with vision. When you play with vision, it is a lot easier to intercept the ball than it is when you are playing press man. That is where we like him. When he learns to catch the flash of the ball a little bit better, which he will and he showed he improved on, he will have more opportunities for picks, for sure.

Q: Do you see his skills as somebody who can play in the slot?

A: He can play in a variety of roles for us. We will take a look at him everywhere and we are not going to pencil him into any role right now. We are going to get him in here, get a feel for his skill set — he will be in here for two weeks in phase two after this week. We will get him in the rookie minicamp and he will have an opportunity to get out there versus Frank Air in phase two and work on his skills that way, without anyone across from him, and then we will get a chance to look at him there.

Q: Is he similar to DRC in any way?

A: I think they are a little bit different of a player. He may like to press a little bit more but I think he is a — I’m not going to compare him to anybody at this point but I think he is a young, combative, physical guy. He likes to tackle, he can make plays pressuring off the backside edge to the boundary. He is aggressive in the run game and again, it is hard to find guys of that size, that young, that have his skill set.

Q: You mentioned a few times how well he interviewed. The one anonymous scout stated that his life skills weren’t great. Are you telling us that that was not your experience with him?

A: As far as the life skills, I am not sure what you are referring to. I just know from the interview, I thought he did an outstanding job at the interview. He was very well read, he knew football, he got ball and that was important to us, and he seemed like a high character young man and I’m sure he is and we look forward to getting him in here.

Q: Was there any temptation from you to maybe roll the dice based on how crazy those first nine picks were?

A: No, I think you trust your board and we got exactly what we wanted, where we wanted.

Q: What was your interaction with him during the process? Where did you meet him, where did you talk to him and did you send someone to go work him out at Ohio State?

A: Yeah, we have had plenty of opportunities to look at him. We viewed him in a bunch of different situations and at a bunch of different locations and he made a great impression on us.

Q: You personally met with him multiple times?

A: We had a variety of looks at him at a variety of different locations and he made a great impression.

MEDIA Q&A WITH ELI APPLE:

Q: Did you think the Giants at number 10 could be a possibility?

A: Not really, honestly.  They talked to me one time at the combine, but that was about it. It’s kind of crazy to see myself on the screen (at) like number 10 and all that stuff, but I’m excited.

Q: You’re going to have a chance to work with a great coaching staff here in New York. Who have you talked to so far and how confident are you that you can contribute immediately to this team?

A: I’m very confident. I talked to the defensive coordinator and a couple of the other guys as well on the phone. They’re just very excited to have me come, and I am as well.

Q: How does it feel to be part of something that’s absolutely historic right now going on at Ohio State? So many guys being picked in the first round here…

A: It’s the greatest feeling. Those are guys that you battle with, guys that have just been through so much. So to see us succeed right now and go through all this good stuff is a great celebration.

Q: I know it’s 90 minutes or so from where you grew up, but you’re kind of coming home.

A: I know.

Q: Did you think about that at all?

A: Yeah, that was like the first thing I thought about. When I saw them calling me and it was a New Jersey number, it looked kind of familiar. I didn’t know if I had to pick it up. I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is probably one my friends trying to prank call me.” My mom was like, “Yeah, don’t pick it up.” My coach was like, “What you mean? Pick it up.” So I pick it up and it was one of the Giants coaches and I was very happy.

Q: When you picked it up first were you worried it could still be a prank?

A: Yeah, I was just a little guarded like, “Okay, this better be a coach or something.” I didn’t know who it was, but then it was the dude from the Giants, so I was very happy.

Q: Who was it? Do you remember who it was?

A: I believe it was the head coach, McAdoo.

Q: You said you were surprised…did you ever think you’d go this high?

A: I didn’t know where I was going to go, honestly, you hear a lot of things. My sister was telling my all the different stuff, my parents were telling me all this different stuff…you never know. I was just playing it by ear, just expecting everything.

Q: How do you see yourself fitting in right away with this team and this defense? Have you given yourself an opportunity to look over the depth chart, look at the names, see the guys who are here?

A: Yeah, I got it. It’s DRC, it’s going to be Janoris Jenkins. I’m excited to get with those guys and really get to work and try to build a great secondary and be legendary, that’s the goal.

Q: You had a couple of sort of weird controversial things come up in your pre-draft process back at the Combine and then again yesterday. What was it like to go through that and be at the center of those couple of things?

A: It’s all good. That’s the part of the process, I knew it was going to be crazy. I didn’t think it was going to be like this crazy, but now that it’s over, I’m happy. I can’t wait to start playing football and do something I actually love to do, so I’m excited.

Q: What’d you think of the cooking comment when you first saw it?

A: I just laughed at it…it was something very funny. You don’t think too much of it, it’s just something funny, I guess. It’s whatever.

Q: Do you know where that came from? Did you mention that to anybody in an interview or something?

A: No, I never talked about it. I never talked about it. It’s weird.

Q: You’re from Voorhees…were you an Eagles fan?

A: I was not an Eagles fan, I was kind of a fan of a lot of players. My dad was an Eagles fan, he still is a little bit, but he’s not going to be for too long. I wasn’t really a fan of anybody.

Q: Have you talked to Urban Meyer at all since the selection?

A: Of course. He was showing me good love, he told me he loved me and everything after I got selected. So yeah, he talked to me.

Q: Have you ever played in the slot. If so, how much and when and where?

A: Only when I was tracking the number one receiver. So I played it a couple times, and that’s something I can be comfortable in. As long as I’m out there on the field playing man or playing anything—just playing corner, playing football—I’m cool.

Q: They joked about your name a little bit as being suited for being here, obviously with Eli Manning but also the Big Apple. What are your thoughts about that? I would imagine it would make for some attractive headlines.

A: Yeah, of course. I guess it fit. Changing my name coming out of high school and now being drafted by the New York Giants, going to the Big Apple, it’s definitely going to mean a lot.

Q: The NFC East has a lot of elite receivers—you’ve got Dez Bryant, you’ve got Jason Witten, you’ve got Pierre Garcon, you’ve got Jordan Reed, you’ve got Jordan Matthews. How do you think playing in the Big Ten against some pretty good offenses prepared you for that?

A: That definitely will prepare me a lot, just going against great guys, especially in practice as well, like Michael Thomas. A lot of the guys in the Big Ten, they’re physical and that’s how the receivers in the NFC East are. I think I’ll be ready.

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2nd Round – WR Sterling Shepard, 5’10, 194lbs, 4.43, University of Oklahoma
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma Sooners (November 21, 2015)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: The 5’10”, 194-pound Shepard may lack ideal size, but he was arguably the best slot wide receiver available in the draft. Shepard is a very strong, extremely quick, and super-productive receiver with good speed. He plays bigger than his size due to his strength and excellent leaping ability. Shepard is an excellent route runner who knows how to get open. Sudden and creates separation. He is tough, fearless, and super-competitive. He attacks the football and has excellent hands. Runs well after the catch. Shepard has an outstanding work ethic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He has experience returning punts.

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

Reese: Sterling Shepard, wide receiver, Oklahoma. Slot receiver. Has some return specialist to him. Terrific competitor. Just everything you want in a slot wide receiver. Our coaches believe he can play on the outside as well. The highest player on our board. I know you guys think I’m kidding when I say that, but highest player on our board, and an easy pick for us. Had a couple more names around that we liked as well, but it was too much value for us to pass this guy up. We think he’s going to come in and he’s NFL-ready —ready to play right now. He’ll be right in our receiver corps, and get a lot of competition in there, we hope. Any questions?

Q: Is he a little bit like a young Victor Cruz?

A: Yeah, some of scouts—that name came up when our scout group talked about him. That’s one of the names that came up, a young Victor Cruz. Very similar in some ways, body type. The one thing about this kid is he’s 5’10 and some change, but his strike zone—what we call a strike zone—is bigger than that. He’s got a 41-inch vertical jump, he’s got big hands…he’s a tenacious slot receiver, run after the catch. Get the ball to him quick and he does some nice things after that catch as well. Yeah, Victor Cruz was one of the names that came up.

Q: Does that worry you at all? Is that anything you guys even think about? Obviously Victor is a smaller guy, Odell plays bigger but under six foot, now a third guy under six foot.

A: You’d like to have all of them 6’5 that run 4.4 and all that, but it’s just not the way it is all the time. I think that there’s a lot of tall receivers in the Hall of Fame that probably never even played in a Super Bowl, if you look at that history. We think he’s plenty tall enough, and we think he’s a terrific young receiver.

Q: You said he’s NFL-ready…what are some of the things he has picked up to be able to play?

A: He plays in the slot…he’s just crafty and knows how to get open in his routes. He has the quickness, the explosion in his route, the run after the catch, and the toughness to go over the middle, those kinds of things. Good bloodline, too; he’s been around football all his life.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: What did you like about Sterling Shepard as a player that drew you to him?

A: He’s a guy that you go to Oklahoma, especially over the last few years – you go to certain schools and there are young guys, and you think ‘Who is that guy?’ He’s been that guy at Oklahoma because he’s always made plays. He’s quick, athletic, competitive and savvy. He’s has been a playmaker for them since the time he stepped on campus.

Q: Does his height matter to you and how much do you take that into consideration?

A: You like 6’5”, 200 pounds and run a 4.4 and all that, but this guy overcomes his lack of height with his other skills. He’s got a 41-inch vertical. He’s competitive to the ball. His catch radius is bigger – he plays bigger than his actual size. His catch radius is where he can go up and get the ball. So short receivers who play small are our concern. Short receivers who play big are not a concern.

Q: On tape he looks very tough, like he could break a tackle. Do you see that as well?

A: He’s very tough. That’s the knock on the little guys. They’re tough, but can they play big? He does both. He is very tough. He’ll go inside with no fear, catch the ball, take the hit, make guys miss and keep going.

Q: Do you think his lack of height kept him out of the first round?

A: Maybe, it might have been a factor.

Q: He’s not a skinny guy, right?

A: He’s rocked up. He’s not a frail, short guy. He’s thick and muscled up.

Q: Is he the type of guy to run the entire route tree?

A: Yes, he runs it all. The offense they run at Oklahoma, he runs all the routes, unlike some other college systems where they run up the field and turn around. This guy runs an NFL route tree.

Q: Everyone is saying he’s a young Victor Cruz, who wasn’t drafted. Do you see that?

A: It’s been thrown around. It’s been in our meetings. The comparison has come up. The stature, the quickness, the toughs, the ‘make you miss’ – those things are very similar. But I never like to say guys are the next somebody or compare them like that. But I can definitely see why the comparisons are made.

Q: You said that Shepard was the one you wanted. Were the first eight who went ahead of him not as important to you as he was?

A: All of the players are important. We stacked the board the way we like the guys and the way we think they’re going to fall. Obviously the first round is kind of predictable. The second round is predictable. But once you start getting into the third round, it just goes all over the place. But we stack our guys and say: first round, we like this group of guys, second round we like this guy. But coming into today, this was a guy we really liked to get.

Q: What does it say about how the league has changed, when your first two picks are nickel corner back and slot receiver?

A: It’s basketball on grass. Guys throw the ball. You need athletes getting in space. You still need to block. You’ve got to protect. But the more athletes you have out there, the better. It’s not ground and pound anymore. We throw the ball and a lot of teams do that.

Q: Was Shepard the top-rated receiver you had on your board since the start of the draft?

A: Probably not.

Q: Was this a guy you had your eye on prior to this year’s draft process?

A: Yes. He’s a senior, which is rare. You never see a top player stay for all four years. He had a nice body of work, as opposed to a junior who does one year and comes out of nowhere. This guy has done it for a few years. So when you go to Oklahoma, you always hear about Sterling Shepard – the guy who makes plays.

Q: Do you wait for positioning as you move along in the draft to get a specific position player?

A: We always try to match the need and the value, so hopefully we have a group of guys of equal value and need. We’ll take those guys.

Q: Did someone from the scouting department see all of Oklahoma’s games last season? Either in person or on film?

A: Yes, throughout our process, we had three scouts that go there. We break it down to early, middle and late, where our scouts go in and watch film that particular time of year. I immerse myself in the tape; Jerry, the receivers coach, as well.  We’ve pretty much seen anything this guy has done.

Q: Was there any particular game that made him pop out?

A: The Tennessee game. That’s a quintessential game if you want to see what he’s all about. They were down and he’s making big touchdowns at the end to win the game.

Q: How instrumental was Ben McAdoo in the process given he’s an offensive coach?

A: No more than any other one. He was instrumental in that he liked him, which makes it good.

Q: Do you see Shepard augmenting or helping a guy like Odell Beckham Jr. go to another level?

A: I hope so. The more playmakers you have around a guy like Odell, the better. You want to double Odell, this guy will kill you. If he’s healthy, that’s a nice scenario for us.

Q: Is the goal of the draft to find a guy to complement Odell?

A: We definitely had our eye on the receiver position.

Q: Does it concern you that a guy you had your eye on has a big Senior Bowl week?

A: Without a doubt. That’s happened in the past, where we think we had a guy who wasn’t as highly rated as you think he is and then he blows up at the combine or the Senior Bowl. Then everyone jumps on him.

Q: Do you hope that doesn’t happen when you have a guy you like?

A: Yes, for sure, especially the combine. You like a guy, then he blows it out and becomes a combine superstar. Then it’s over with for you.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Hope is everyone is well tonight. We got a great pick tonight, Sterling Shepard, tremendous young man, high character, plays the game the right way, plays the game the way it should be played, feisty player, can separate both inside and outside, strong hands, he’ll block you and we’re fortunate to have him, fortunate that he was on the board when he was.

Q: Is there a little Victor Cruz in him?

A: There are times when you see him make some moves inside where you see that strength and that explosiveness that Victor has, yes, but they are different players.

Q: Is he a classic example of a player who plays bigger than his size?

A: Absolutely. He has a bigger catch radius than someone who is 5’10. He has big hands, so he is not afraid to reach out and pluck it away from his body and he is very confident after the catch.

Q: Does he remind you of anyone who has played or currently plays in the NFL?

A: There are some similarities between he and Victor [Cruz]. There are some similarities that I have seen with some of the guys I have coached in the past in Green Bay. He is a high character guy and when you take a look, there may be a little Randall Cobb in him, you see that. He will reach back and pluck the ball the way James Jones did a little bit in Green Bay in the past, so he has that in him; strong, confident hands as far as being a hands catcher but there are some guys out there that he reminds you of.

Q: Is he mostly a slot guy?

A: No, he is like the rest of the guys we have. You look at Odell, he can play inside and outside and Victor can play inside and outside, as well, and Sterling is no different that way. He has been productive in the past on the outside, this year he played more on the inside but they need to be flexible that way and they are definitely bright enough to do that and he certainly fits that role for us.

Q: Is it mandatory for him to contribute as a rookie being a 2nd round pick?

A: Well, he is going to get an opportunity to compete just like everybody else and the cream will rise to the top there.

Q: You obviously mentioned Cruz and Odell. Can you see those three on the field at the same time?

A: Yeah, absolutely. We play a lot of receivers and we like to use a lot of different guys there. Dwayne Harris factors there as well. He had a nice year. Geremy Davis is coming along, Myles [White] has done some good things for us and there are a lot of guys who are in the mix as far as that goes and the more the merrier, the better the competition.

Q: Does it make it harder for teams to match up when you have three guys who can play all of the positions?

A: It gives you more flexibility. Obviously, Odell is a difference-maker and Odell is a guy that is going to play inside and outside, he is going to be on the single side, he is going to be to the three-receiver side, he is going to be in the backfield, he is going to be a little bit of everywhere, so the other positions have to have flexibility.

Q: How important was it for you to get a compliment to Odell in this draft?

A: We had the minicamp last week. We have confidence in the guys that are already in the locker room and we expect that they will continue to push each other. They are certainly not going to make it easy on Sterling and that is how we want it, we want competition in that room.

Q: You would have been alright going at it with what you had if the draft had unfolded that way?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What do you find are some of the toughest things receivers have to pick up and learn as they come into the NFL?

A: Well, I think the offenses are different from where they are coming from. He has been maybe in a little bit more of a pro style type offense than some that we see. There will certainly be a little bit of a learning curve for him so that is probably the number one adjustment. We are a little bit different than maybe most because we will spend a lot of time in the no-huddle, so that may help him with the learning curve a little bit. The defenses that he is going to see. He is going to see a lot of big, physical, gifted athletes playing the corner spot. That will be a big adjustment for any receiver coming into the league.

Q: Sterling had some experience at Oklahoma on punt return. Do you envision him fulfilling that role in New York?

A: We will certainly add him to the mix there. He will be a guy that is going to get some opportunities there, yes.

Q: You said the no-huddle with help him a little bit?

A: Yeah, I think it streamlines things as far as the information that they get and how they get it. It is a little more visual than it is verbal and some guys learn a little easier that way.

Q: He made a big jump between 2014 and 2015. Is there anything that you saw on film with that? Maybe a better quarterback?

A: I think the natural maturation of a young player and their quarterback play was better this year. That is a good point.

Q: How is he as a blocker?

A: He gets after you. I like that. He is a complete player. He is not a finesse guy by any stretch of the imagination.

MEDIA Q&A WITH STERLING SHEPARD:

Q: When you found out you were drafted by the Giants, how much did you think about playing with Odell Beckham Jr?

A: I mean that’s one of the guys I look at. I look at (Beckham’s) game every week and I try to pattern my game after him. I was excited to be able to get drafted by the New York Giants and be able to play alongside him, as well as Victor Cruz—another guy that I look at, too. I’m excited.

Q: Odell Beckham recently tweeted out that the Giants got themselves a good receiver or something like that. How does that make you feel to get the Odell Beckham Jr seal of approval?

A: That’s always good. He’s now a teammate so I’m excited to be alongside of him, like I said. To have his approval is great, it’s a great feeling.

Q: How much contact did you have with the New York Giants coming into tonight? Did they talk to you at all at the Combine at all? Did you interview with them?

A: No, that’s the funny part. I hadn’t talked to them very much at all. I went to the Combine, I went to the Senior Bowl and I hadn’t talked to them at all. I think I may have filled out a questionnaire, but that was about it.

Q: You had some good times over at Oklahoma…you had one of college football’s best coaches, Bob Stoops, helping you out down there. How did it feel to play at such an elite program, a program that was nationally recognized and made the college football playoff? How did the experience at Oklahoma prepare you for the NFL?

A: It’s a huge program, and it comes along with a lot of history. A lot of the guys that came before you that made a name for that program, so it was an honor to play there. I got to play after my father and wear the same number as him. It was an honor to put that jersey on every week and go out and give them my all. I loved it, I loved my experience at Oklahoma.

Q: A lot of people here with the Giants know Victor Cruz very well and say you remind them a lot of him. Do you see some of that?

A: Yeah. Like I said, that’s one of the guys that I look at a lot. Victor Cruz is a great receiver…we’re kind of the same size, same stature. I definitely look up to that guy. I can see some similarities.

Q: Do you consider yourself a slot receiver or do you think you’re a guy who can play on the outside? What would you call yourself?

A: Honestly, I play so big, I don’t limit myself to just the inside. A lot of people think that that’s all I can do is play inside just because of my size, but I think guys like Odell and Victor have proven that that’s not the case. I’m definitely one of those guys that can be bounced around and move all around.

Q: Is that something that motivates you — that people look at your size and pigeon hole you as just a slot receiver?

A: Yeah, man. I listen to it and I take it in and move on because I know what I can do. Just gives me a little bit more fire.

Q: Do you know Odell? Do you have any relationship with him? Have you ever met him?

A: No…I mean we have some mutual friends—Kenny Stills—those guys know each other. But no, I’ve never met him or anything like that.

Q: What do you anticipate with that when you do get to meet him?

A: It’s going to be like we’re going straight to work. Everybody is ready to work. I feel like we’ll click when I get there.

Q: In what ways do you feel like you benefitted from going all the way through your senior year as a player and a student-athlete?

A: One, I got my degree…that’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish since I was a little kid, is graduating from Oklahoma, so I was able to accomplish that. Then I got to mature just as a young man. I got to accomplish those two things. As a player, I got to get bigger and stronger and faster. Coach Smitty does a great job with the weight program and the conditioning, so I just developed.

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3rd Round – S Darian Thompson, 6’2”, 208lbs, 4.65, Boise State University
Darian Thompson, Boise State Broncos (January 30, 2016)

Darian Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’2”, 208-pound Thompson is a big, physical safety who lacks ideal overall athleticism and speed. Big hitter and aggressive in run support. He is an intelligent, disciplined, instinctive center-fielder against the pass who makes plays on the football (19 career interceptions). Plays faster than he times – smooth with no wasted motion. Hard working and competitive. Team leader.

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

Reese: Darian Thompson, free safety, Boise State. Big kid, center fielder, checks a lot of boxes for us. We really like how he makes plays on the football. We think he’s a solid tackler back there. Makes the calls. Captain. High test score. A lot of things to like about him. Any questions?

Q: Was Darian once again at the top of your board?

A: There were a couple of guys we talked about right here with this pick…a couple guys.

Q: Did you like him because how he would team up with Landon Collins?

A: Well, we think he’s a free safety. He makes the calls back there for his team, he’s a ball hawk back there. We think he’s going to create a lot of competition in the secondary at that safety position. Looking forward to getting him in here.

Q: Does he free up Landon though to come down to the box?

A: Well, that’s up to the coaches…that’s up to Ben (McAdoo) and Steve (Spagnuolo), whatever they want to do with him. I think his skillset is a free safety skillset. I do think he’s a tough tackler, can come down in the box. I think he’s interchangeable. I think he’s one of those safeties that can do both.

Q: You don’t seem like you have a lot of guys on the roster with that kind of productivity as far as the interceptions, the guy gets the ball. Do you see that translating to the next level?

A: Well, we sure hope so. Never translate until you get them out there and they have to do it. But we sure think he has a skillset to do that. Again, he checks a lot of boxes for us.

Q: You said there were a couple guys in this one…what was it about him that sort of pushed him over the top?

A: It was just the guys we have there…we thought where we are right now and the skillset we’re looking for, we thought he had the best skillset at this point.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: Did you see Darian Thompson in person?

A: I saw him in practice in the Senior Bowl and in the Combine.

Q: What makes him different from the other guys you have that are going to compete for that free safety spot.

A: We have a nice mix of guys who all have something different. Nat’s a box guy and real competitive. Mykkele’s a free range guy. This guy’s a free safety who can also play strong. He plays that way there. He has good ball skills, feel for the game, competitiveness and size. So they all give you something different.

Q: Do you project how he will play and how he will play off of Landon?

A: Sure. What we like is that this guy has played strong safety and the linebacker position, so they move him all around. His versatility definitely was intriguing.

Q: When it comes down to final two guys at the end, for you, what was the determining factor?

A: When you talk them through, you try to highlight the positives. And it comes down to who has the most positives in their profile on and off the field.

Q: I’m not sure of the history of all the other safeties, but this guy has more interceptions than any of them.

A: Yes, he has a ton of them, more than a lot of guys who have played.

Q: You talked yesterday about interceptions being a random statistic. What makes this guy different?

A: This guy’s a ball hawk. His instincts are what separates. He can anticipate where a route is, where a ball is going and he jumps on it. And that’s what distinguishes him with making interceptions.

Q: How is he in coverage in general?

A: You don’t want him covering quick slot guys. He’s better in zone using the field. He’s got some range, so that’s the optimal way to use him.

Q: Is it hard to rate him because she’s not a big conference guy?

A: Boise State is a big time program. They’re a different mid-major. They’re big time, so they’ve had players, first round picks, the whole deal. They’re up there with all of the other upper echelon teams.

Q: He was used as a linebacker in college?

A: Well, not a real linebacker, but nowadays because so many teams play spread, they’ll put their safeties down in maybe a rover or a spur – every team calls it something different, so they used him in that kind of role. It’s not a true linebacker position. It’s just a hybrid safety/linebacker role.

Q: Can you see him doing that in the NFL?

A: Sure.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Darian Thompson, another good, smart player from a winning program, fortunate to have him, excited for him to get here.

Q: When you see 19 career interceptions, that must make your eyes light up a little?

A: Yeah, he is very instinctive. He has tremendous ball skills, but the instincts and the twitch make it happen for him.

Q: Is there a flip side to that? Sometimes a ball-hawking safety can be a gambling safety. Does he gamble sometimes?

A: I think it is more of instincts. He may have a little bit of a gambler in him, but I think it is more off of instincts.

Q: What is your role here with guys in the middle rounds? How much have you conversed with them?

A: It is more off of film study with Darian. I studied Darian on a couple different occasions with some film off of a point of attack tape and off of game film and he is someone that jumped out at me. High character guy, good ball skills, he can tackle in the open field and he plays in a variety of roles. He can play back in the post, he can play back in split safety looks and he can play down in the slot — he did that a lot in their fire zones.

Q: Jerry talked about there being a couple guys there with this pick. What differentiated Darian from those other picks?

A: Well, we had a cluster of guys there we were looking at. To me, the instincts, the twitch, very smart player, high character guy, fits what we are looking for that way and the ability to get the ball back to the offense and change the game that way. The game is about the ball and he can get the offense the ball.

Q: Are you hoping that if his skillset translates quickly enough that you can move Landon Collins more to strong safety?

A: We need to get them both in here and look at them. I think Landon had a nice camp this week. [He] did some nice things back deep and we feel that he is growing and doing a nice job there improving and I don’t think you can say always and never in this business.

Q: Is this any type of statement about the other guys you have at safety?

A: Oh, we have a lot of young guys in the safety mix and quite frankly, we haven’t seen them. They have been nicked up. They basically had a medical redshirt type year last year and it is good to get them back out there, they are working to get back out and get back out 100% so we are chomping at the bit to look at those guys and Darian is a guy we are going to throw into the mix and let them all compete.

Q: When you say he has a twitch, what do you mean?

A: He can stick his foot in the ground and go zero to sixty real quick.

Q: We saw Mykkele Thompson playing in the slot the other day. How much of that is planned for him and how much of that is because you guys are short on corners?

A: Probably a combination of both. We are going to look at guys in a variety of different roles. Mykklele is a guy who has played corner and has played safety and it is always nice to have some flexibility and versatility there.

Q: Is Darian as big as you are going to want him?

A: I think he is a pretty good size right now but I think that when they get here and they obviously have training table where they are coming from at Boise, but when they have a chance to get a little bit of money in their pocket and eat properly, their body composition usually changes a little bit.

Q: Can you use him perhaps as a surprise pass rusher?

A: We are going look at him in a variety of roles right there. I am not going to give you the keys to the kingdom as far as how he is going to show up on game day, but yeah, he is a versatile guy.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DARIAN THOMPSON:

Q: Darian, congratulations.

A: I appreciate that, thank you very much. I’m extremely blessed and excited to get out there and get to work.

Q: Are you at home right now?

A: I am, I’m in California—a little ways away, but I’m ready…I’m ready to make that trip.

Q: Where were you when you found out that you had been selected?

A: I’m back at home in Lancaster, California in the backyard at my girlfriend’s just wondering when the phone call was going to come through, and it happened. It’s truly a blessing and I’m extremely excited about it.

Q: How often did you meet with the Giants prior to tonight?

A: A couple of times, not too often. Not too often, but a couple of times. When I did, it went well. I’m excited that they pulled the trigger on me. I’m sure that they’re excited as well.

Q: If you had to summarize your skillset, what makes you unique from other candidates?

A: First of all, I’m an extremely smart football player. I know how to study film and diagnose plays and put myself in the right spot in order to make plays and make turnovers. I think that’s what I do best. I have a knack for the football, and I feel like an interception is just as much as a touchdown, so that’s what I’m going after.

Q: They used you in a lot of different ways when you were in college. Did you have a specific niche, if you will, out of all the things they asked you to do that you really liked?

A: No, not specific things that I liked. I honestly just like being out there on the field, being able to compete and have fun with the game that I love. So there’s no one thing that I liked over another, just being out there is perfectly fine with me.

Q: A lot of times when somebody gets picked, there’s maybe a veteran starter or somebody who’s already entrenched in that job. It seems like at this point it’s pretty wide open for you. What are your thoughts coming into this season and into camp once you get here?

A: Like I said, I’m extremely blessed to be there. When I get in there, have my best foot forward and just continue to work. I believe I have a great work ethic and nothing’s going to change from that, so whatever happens when I get there, it just happens. I’m excited; I’m going to give it all I have and see what happens when I get out there.

Q: Was that depth chart something that you noticed when the Giants called or when you were thinking about one of 32 landing spots?

A: It kind of didn’t really matter…because I know the type of player that I am. I know that I’m going to come in there and I’m going to work, regardless of whether there’s a veteran in front of me or not. I know I’ll be able to contribute to the team in multiple ways, so I was happy with that.

Q: Have you had a chance to watch the Giants in recent years?

A: I have had a chance to watch the Giants, and they’re always a good football team. To be able to get out there and play with some of those guys that we see all the time on TV and commercials and things like that, and to be a part of the team and to help them achieve their goal of winning the Super Bowl, is just awesome to me.

Q: You were at what is arguably the most renowned mid-major team in the country at Boise State. Can you talk about what it was like being with that team with the national spotlight on you guys? Can you talk about what is probably the biggest lesson you learned in your years with the Broncos?

A: Yeah, Boise State is a great program. Everybody on that team has a chip on their shoulder because they weren’t picked or chosen to go to a bigger school, so everybody has an attitude and everybody has a chip on their shoulder like I was talking about. I still have that chip. Regardless of where I would have gone tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever it would have been, I would have that chip. I’m just excited to bring it to New York. I’m excited to bring it to the Giants and to see what happens from there.

Q: How surprised were you that this ended up being the landing spot?

A: I was pretty surprised. Pretty surprised…and I’m happy. This is the one place I thought before the draft that I could end up, and I’m happy that it happened to be there.

Q: Why’d you think that?

A: Just agent talk and things of that sort. They say, “Maybe this, maybe that.” Nothing’s ever set in stone, and as we see, the draft can go in all different types of ways. I’m happy where I am now, I couldn’t be more excited. Like I said earlier, I’m just ready to get to work.

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4th Round – LB B.J. Goodson, 6’1”, 242lbs, 4.66, Clemson University
B.J. Goodson, Clemson Tigers (December 31, 2015)

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’1”, 242-pound Goodson has a nice combination of size and strength with just enough overall athleticism. Goodson is a stout, physical run defender who can stack and shed at the point-of-attack. He is also adept at avoiding blockers and getting to the ball carrier. Goodson will hit you and is a strong, reliable tackler. He lacks ideal range, recovery quickness, and closing burst. Though not a strong suite, Goodson is better in coverage than advertised, showing good awareness. He also flashes as a blitzer. Goodson is a smart, tough, consistent player and team leader. Versatile, Goodson can play all three linebacker spots.

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

Reese: B.J. Goodson. Middle linebacker from Clemson. He can actually play all three positions. The thing we like about him is that he’s a football player. He’s a tackling machine, lots of tackles. I think he had 5.5 sacks and a couple of interceptions. He was a really productive player. I think he’ll create some competition in the linebacker level.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: B.J. (Goodson) is, I am sure you heard, competitive, tough guy, plays the game the right way, has played multiple positions there, probably best as a middle backer going forward for us. You know, thick, strong body. [He has a special] teams temperament. We had him in on a visit and he did an excellent job. He handled himself very well and just a pro there at Clemson.

Q: With B.J. Goodson, does he remind you of anybody? Maybe a Jon Goff?

A: Goff wouldn’t have come to mind, but not really, no, not really.

Q: When you are talking about him, he really only started one year. Is he a guy that you think can come in and play immediately?

A: Well, it is interesting at Clemson. Shaq Lawson was a one-year starter; Kevin Dodd was a one-year starter, Vic Beasley. For some reason, even their better players only start one year. Some guys are late developers, so what he did this year, the production, the leadership on and off the field, he has the mindset and the temperament to come in here and compete. The guy wants it and so is he going to start? I don’t know, but he is going to push people and he is going to work his butt off to get on to the field.

Q: You don’t think the gap of being NFL-ready is large for him?

A: No. Temperament, mindset, football intelligence, competitiveness, he is NFL-ready in those aspects. He is not raw by any stretch of the imagination. The guy plays the game the right way and knows how to play the game.

Q: The thing that was missing last year seemed to be the ability to cover underneath in passing routes. With what you took, did you address that?

A: Well, you can’t answer every problem with one pick or two picks. So is he that guy? He has the smarts. Do we have other people that can do that? Sure. Do we have other additions that can help out? Yeah. We will see how Spags draws it up and see what players he puts on the field and we will go from there.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: B.J. Goodson. Talented linebacker. Made a move from outside to inside, he can play all three spots if you need him to. Very productive, sound football player.

Q: What’s Goodson’s ideal position in your mind? What’s his ideal role?

A: I think middle of the three.

Q: What is it about him that makes him a middle linebacker to you?

A: I think he’s smart, I think he has good instincts, good wrap tackler, can be physical between the tackles.

MEDIA Q&A WITH LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON:

Q: Where were you when you learned the news that you were going to be a New York Giant?

A: I’m home right in Lamar, South Carolina. I’m just excited, man…excited and ready to go to work.

Q: You visited the Giants—pre-draft visit, correct?

A: Yes sir, yes sir.

Q: What was your takeaway, your feeling after you left the facility?

A: Definitely wanted to be there. Definitely a legendary place…a place where football is very, very important. They talk about the New York Football Giants, man, and finding out how much that means to the city and the community…it’s really, really big.

Q: You talk about going to a place where a city is beloved…you come from a college where football is almost like a religion down there. What was it like playing at Clemson? What was it like helping Clemson rise on the national stage and getting them eventually to the national title game?

A: It was destined to happen. It was empowering, as far as my leadership and helping those guys win all of the games that we won and having the phenomenal year that we had. Definitely just a blessing. I really, really enjoyed the ride. I’m ready to see where this journey will take me in New York. I’m ready.

Q: The draft list had you listed as an outside linebacker. Is that what you would classify yourself as or you think you’re a guy who can play inside as well?

A: Inside as well, can play inside as well. Great help on special teams. I’m ready to get with the veterans and get up under their wings and learn as much as I can and get ready to help that team get ready to win another Super Bowl.

Q: When you visited, did the Giants mention to you what they kind of envisioned you as?

A: Definitely a great linebacker. They saw me helping out on special teams. The special teams coach really likes me a lot. I really, really enjoyed the relationship with the linebackers coach. I really, really just fell in love with everything on my visit.

Q: Can you cover in the pass?

A: Yes sir, definitely. At Clemson I played as a three-down linebacker. It’s normal, it’s natural to me. To me, it’s not a question, just something I want to work on every day and just something to get better at, perfecting my craft. You can never be too satisfied or never not be hungry, there’s always room for improvement.

Q: What was behind the move to MIKE linebacker? Was that because there was an opening there? Is that where they thought you were a better fit for this past year?

A: No sir, that was home for me. I actually moved out to outside linebacker my junior year because Coach saw a fit. He saw how dedicated I was, he saw the talent in me, and he wanted to get me on the field. With having Stephone and Tony Steward, having those guys out there, just being able to get me out there with those guys. So I learned the SAM linebacker position, and then once Stephone left, I went back home to the MIKE position and it played out from there.

Q: What was it like working with a personality like Dabo Swinney?

A: Oh man, brings great, great energy. Fun, fun, fun coach to play for. That guy, he’s phenomenal, he’s about the right things. I don’t have nothing but great things to say about Coach Swinney. He’s a great guy off the field, I love Coach Swinney.

Q: What does B.J. stand for?

A: B.J. is a name that was given to me from my mother. My first name is Billy, my middle name is Javaris. My mother, she just wanted to call me B.J. It was something that just stuck with me from a kid.

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5th Round – RB Paul Perkins, 5’10”, 208lbs, 4.53, UCLA
Paul Perkins, UCLA Bruins (September 12, 2015)

Paul Perkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Fourth-year junior. The 5’10”, 208-pound Perkins lacks ideal size and speed but he is a super-productive and competitive play-maker with excellent vision, balance, patience, and instincts. He can make something out of nothing in tight quarters and bursts through the hole. Perkins is very quick and elusive with superb change-of-direction ability. Perkins is a tough runner who plays bigger than his size, but he lacks power. Perkins is also very productive catching the ball out of the backfield. Team leader.

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

Reese: Running back Paul Perkins from UCLA. All-around player. He can run it. He can catch it. He can block. He’ll play on all of the core teams, just like Goodson will, as well. Solid football player. People say he doesn’t have homerun speed, but I saw him on an 82-yard touchdown against Colorado. Really good, solid football player. I like him a lot. He’s a three-down player.

Q: Where do you stand at running back?

A: We have some good players in there, there’s some good competition and we’ll see where that goes.

Q: Some have likened Paul Perkins to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.

A: I’m not sure about that. We just think he’s a really good football player. We like that he’s going to create some competition in the running back room. That’s a big key on your roster when you can create competition and he’ll help do that.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Paul Perkins, another guy [who is] productive, obviously great pedigree football player, hardest working guy on the team, really good skill set as far as catching the ball out of the backfield. He blocks, makes big plays for them and just another good football player.

Q: On that topic, you have a lot of running backs. What does [Perkins] bring, trait-wise, that you didn’t think you already had?

A: I don’t think it is anything different. I don’t want to say that, but his qualities are: he is a complete back, he has great vision, he has got one-cut quickness, excellent hands, competitive in the blocking game and outstanding off the field, so those were his traits we were attracted by.

Q: It seemed like this was a deep running back draft. How much did that factor into that decision today?

A: It definitely was a deep draft. Maybe not at the top but then later rounds and a lot of successful backs in the league, as you guys know, have been later round picks and he just was there at the time. We felt comfortable taking a guy, the highest rated guy at the time, we felt could help us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Paul Perkins, running back from UCLA. He’s a complete back—can carry it, can protect the quarterback and can protect ball, and is good in the passing game.

Q: You talked about the different skills and the different traits your running backs have now. You describe Perkins as a complete back…is that something you felt like you needed to bring in, somebody who can do all the jobs?

A: The two most important things for a running back: number one, protect the ball; number two, protect the quarterback. He certainly fits that role.

Q: You have a crowded group there now. What’s the plan going forward there?

A: We have a lot of competition in the room. We like all those guys, they all have distinct things they do well, and there will be a lot of competition. It will be exciting to watch and see how it unfolds.

Q: Is the running back more of a classic third down back or do you see him as an every down back?

A: No, he can play first, second and third down.

MEDIA Q&A WITH RUNNING BACK PAUL PERKINS:

Perkins: I’m just honored to be here and going to New York. This is awesome. I can’t even put this into words right now.

Q: Did you have any sense it would be the Giants and it would be now?

A: I had no idea. I can’t even really put this into words right now. Sorry if I’m speechless.

Q: What do you think you bring to an NFL team?

A: I think I can bring it all. I can definitely come in there with hard work and definitely come in there with the mentality to improve the team.

Q: How has UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. prepared you for the NFL?

A: Our whole coaching staff was NFL-ready and they prepared us very well. All the way from coach Mora to the running backs coach to our (graduate assistants), they all did a tremendous job. I’m thankful for them.

Q: What has your interaction been with the Giants during this process?

A: I only talked to them one time. I think it was last week and they were just checking if this was the right number.

Q: Was that sort of the norm?

A: It was the norm. I was getting a lot of calls from a lot of teams with the same type of questioning. I’m glad I got this one. This is the best one so far.

Q: Someone compared you to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.

A: Tiki Barber is not a bad person to get compared to. He’s been a great running back for a long time. I idolized him growing up and to be compared in the same breath as him is an honor.

Q: Do you see the skill set similarities?

A: We’re similar. I’m not sure how tall or big he was, but I feel like we’re about the same height and we have the same type of abilities.

Q: How much did UCLA use you catching the ball out of the backfield and how much is that a part of your game?

A: I think I can be utilized in the passing game. I just need a team to utilize me like that and I feel like the Giants will use me to my full capabilities.

Q: Are you going to give Owa Odighizuwa a call after you’re done with us?

A: I was actually talking to Owa not too long ago. I FaceTimed him. Now I just can’t wait to go up there.

Q: Did he tell you anything about the Giants?

A: No. He said he would call me back because he had to do something. He’s going to call me back in a little while after I get off the phone with you guys. We’ll chat it up.

Q: You FaceTimed him after you got picked here?

A: I did, right afterwards.

Q: I assume you’re pretty close with him?

A: All of the NFL players do a good job of coming back and talking to the younger players and Owa just happened to be one of the players that helped me and mentored me.

Q: How does it feel to be selected immediately after one of the guys who blocked for you in Caleb Benenoch?

A: It was awesome. I’m honestly speechless right now. I’m feeling great right now.

Q: Do you think you can be an every down, between the tackles runner, as well?

A: Yes sir. I think I can do it all. There’s a lot of great running backs. I feel like I can do it all.

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6th Round – TE Jerell Adams, 6’5”, 247lbs, 4.64, University of South Carolina
Jerell Adams, South Carolina Gamecocks (November 21, 2015)

Jerell Adams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’5”, 247-pound Adams is a tall tight end with long arms who needs to add more strength and bulk. Adams has the tools and temperament to develop into a good blocker. He plays with toughness and works to finish his blocks. Adams has good speed for the position and can threaten a defense down the field. He adjusts well to the football, has good hands, and runs well after the catch. Adams is a bit of a developmental project as he does need to work on his route running and overall technique. His work ethic has been questioned. Big upside.

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

Reese: Tight end Jerell Adams from South Carolina. Big kid. Really good down the seam. He can stretch the seam; can stretch the defense down the seam. He’s a better blocker right now than a receiver, but our coaches really liked him. Our scouts liked him. They think he has a nice upside and can work in that tight end group.

MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Jerell Adams, big, tall, long guy. Fastest tight end in the draft. [It is] rare to see a guy that gives block effort like this guy. You don’t see these guys actually give effort. He does it, he uses his length to get on people, fast down the seam, a little raw on his route running and hands but in the sixth round of the draft a big, fast, competitive guy who is a good person off the field, we thought, was worth a chance.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)

McAdoo: Jerell Adams. Explosive in-line type tight end. Can run down the middle of the field and stress the defense out in that matter, and can block in-line.

Q: The tight ends’ blocking was an issue after Daniel Fells went down last season. Do you think Jerell is someone who can hit the ground running as a blocker?

A: There’s always a learning curve coming into this league. Hitting the ground running, that’s tough to say at this point. But getting him in the building next week will obviously help—see where he is and see how he can handle the terminology that we’re going to throw at him. But we certainly feel that he has traits that we can develop into a good in-line player. He also has good speed down the middle of the field, he’s a big target. He has a unique skillset for the position that we like.

MEDIA Q&A WITH TIGHT END JERELL ADAMS:

Q: Did you meet with the Giants at the Senior Bowl or was it later in the process?

A: The last time I met with the Giants was at the combine.

Q: Did you have a good amount of contact with them?

A: I had a formal interview with them and it went great and they said they liked me and they drafted me.

Q: Do you consider yourself an all-around tight end or more of a pass catcher?

A: I feel like I am more of an all-around tight end. I feel like I can block very well and catch very well.

Q: What was your expectation coming into the draft and what was it like having to sit there and wait until this point today?

A: My expectations coming into the draft were just to get drafted. I was blessed to go through the process and I am just happy to have gone through it and to get drafted by the Giants.

Q: Where were you when you found out you were going to become a New York Giant?

A: I was at home, at my mama’s house.

Q: What was the raw feeling you felt when you picked up that phone?

A: It was the best feeling ever. It was a phone call I was waiting for forever. It was a dream come true.

Q: When you look on the surface at your numbers, people don’t see huge numbers. What do you attribute that to?

A: Honestly, I didn’t have the progress yet that I wanted at South Carolina because of the quarterback situation but I felt like I made the best out of it and did what I could do.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

A: I feel like I can block very well and catch very well. My weakness, I would say is me coming out of my breaks out of my routes. I can use some improvement on that but there is always work to be done, no matter how good you may think you are.

Q: You really did well at the combine athletically. Was that one of your goals for this process? To kind of show that your numbers were not indicative of your ability.

A: Yes, sir, that was my goal for the Senior Bowl and the combine, to just show how athletic and how good I felt I was. At the Senior Bowl and combine, I just felt like I had a chance to show them how good I am.

Q: Do you feel like you accomplished what you had to get done?

A: Yes, sir. I felt like I accomplished everything I needed to.

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Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

QB Josh Woodrum, 6’3”, 231lbs, 4.78, Liberty University (Video) (Since Waived)
Woodrum combines excellent size with good arm strength. Smart, tough, and competitive. Developmental type who did not play in an NFL-style offense and will need a lot of work reading defenses and improving his accuracy. He has decent mobility for his size.

RB Marshaun Coprich, 5’8”, 207lbs, 4.46, Illinois State University (Video)
Coprich lacks ideal size but he is a tough, well-built, instinctive running back with good vision, balance, acceleration, and elusiveness. He lacks power and won’t run through many tackles. Coprich has had some drug issues.

WR K.J. Maye, 5’8”, 191lbs, 4.50, University of Minnesota (Video)
Maye is a very short, but well-built receiver who is more quick than fast. Maye is a good route runner, adjusts well to the football, and has excellent hands. Fearless and very competitive.

WR Roger Lewis, 6’0”, 196lbs, 4.51, Bowling Green State University (Video)
Lewis combines decent size and overall athletic ability. Lewis lacks ideal speed, quickness, and strength, but he makes big plays. Competitive, passionate, productive receiver who adjusts well to the football and has good hands. Film junkie.

WR Darius Powe, 6’3”, 220lbs, 4.49, University of California (Video)
Powe combines excellent size and speed. He caught 47 passes for 560 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season.

TE Ryan Malleck, 6’4”, 249lbs, 4.75, Virginia Tech
Malleck is a tall but thin H-Back type. Malleck is a tough, smart overachiever who plays hard, but lacks bulk strength to be an effective blocker. He is a limited athlete in the passing game, but is a heady receiver with very good hands.

TE Cedrick Lang, 6’7”, 269lbs, 4.95, UTEP (Since Waived)
Former basketball player who only recently switched to football. Superb size but extremely raw. Only played one year of college football, starting one game and finishing the year with only 11 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Mainly used as a blocker. Lang could project to offensive tackle.

DE Romeo Okwara, 6’5”, 265lbs, 4.87, University of Notre Dame (Video)
Okwara has excellent size and arm length. He is a good athlete with fine first-step quickness. He looks the part and plays hard. Okwara is physical and an aggressive tackler. He flashes as both a run defender and pass rusher but needs more development. Okwara plays too high and gets hung up on blocks too frequently. He doesn’t appear overly instinctive.

DE Mike Rose, 6’2”, 261lbs, 4.66, North Carolina State University (Video)
Rose lacks ideal height, but he is well-built, strong, and a better athlete than advertised. Rose can set the edge in run defense and really flashes as a pass rusher. Instinctive and plays hard.

DE/LB Ishaq Williams, 6’4”, 253lbs, 4.92, University of Notre Dame
Other than a January all-star game, Williams last played football in 2013 after being implicated in an academic dishonesty scandal at Notre Dame. A good athlete, Williams played both defensive end and linebacker in college.

DT Melvin Lewis, 6’2”, 343lbs, 5.43, University of Kentucky
Mammouth nose tackle who missed half the 2015 season with a broken leg. Team leader and a hard worker.

DT Greg Milhouse, 6’1”, 295lbs, 4.91, Campbell University (Video)
Milhouse is an active, undersized, athletic defensive tackle. He disrupts with a nice combination of quickness and power. Milhouse plays with natural leverage and flashes on the pass rush.

CB Michael Hunter, 6’0”, 186lbs, 4.40, Oklahoma State University
Hunter has a nice combination of size and speed. He is a physical, press corner.

CB Donte Deayon, 5’9”, 158lbs, 4.48, Boise State University (Video)
Deayon is a fluid, dimunitive corner with very good quickness and leaping ability. Tough, confident play-maker. He has experience returning punts.

CB Matt Smalley, 5’10”, 195lbs, 4.40, Lafayette College (Video)
Smalley lacks ideal size but he has good quickness and speed. Smalley has experience returning punts and kickoffs.

S Andrew Adams, 5’11”, 202lbs, 4.54, University of Connecticut (Video)
Adams lacks ideal height and speed but he is a well-built, athletic safety with good quickness. He is a good hitter and tackler. Adams has an instinctive feel for coverage, but needs to be more aggressive in run defense. Active and productive.

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Eric’s Take on the 2016 Draft

To me, in judging this draft, there are two distinct areas of analysis: (1) what transpired in the 1st round and (2) what transpired after that.

When a team drafts in the top 10, the expectation and hope are that the team will acquire an “impact” player, that is, a true difference-maker who is likely to become one of the game’s best at his position. Did the Giants get that type of player in cornerback Eli Apple? Most pundits don’t think so. Many don’t even think he was the best player available at the cornerback position. Only time will tell, but it’s critically important for the future of the Giants that Apple turns out to be a stellar selection.

Let’s breakdown how the Giants came to draft Apple. First of all, the Giants were badly affected by some unfortunate circumstances. The two most-talented linebackers in the draft – Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith – had major injury question marks. In addition, one of the perceived sure-fire top-5 players – Laremy Tunsil – slipped due to some on-field and off-field concerns. And he became a public relations problem with the draft-day release of his drug use.

It is widely assumed that the Giants’ #1 target in the draft was linebacker Leonard Floyd. That had been the word for weeks from sportswriters who cover the team and rumors from those supposedly in the know. The Giants have not since denied those reports and rumors. If he was indeed their target, the telegraphing of the pick came back to haunt them as the Chicago Bears traded ahead of the Giants to take Floyd. There are also conflicting reports if the Giants had any true interest in offensive tackle Jack Conklin, who the Titans traded up to take before the Giants.

My biggest problem with the Giants in this draft? Not keeping their mouths shut. The word was out in 2015 that they wanted Ereck Flowers and the word was out this year that they wanted Floyd. This time it hurt them. Now some may argue that teams would have been able to figure this out on their own. I don’t agree with that. In fact, you can present false narratives to hide or confuse your real intent. Regardless, I think the Giants made the correct decision not to give up another one of their six draft picks to take Floyd – an intriguing pass rusher and cover linebacker, but not a very physical player. It will be interesting to see what kind of pro career Floyd has, however.

So what were the options for the Giants at #10? With Floyd and Conklin gone, the prevailing opinion among pundits and fans was that the Giants would consider Tunsil, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, or possibly even wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Many fans were probably looking for a trade down.

Going into the draft, I felt the Giants could have used help at every single position other than quarterback and kickers. But I believed the two biggest need areas on the team were wide receiver and cornerback. A quick look at the depth chart would tell you that. Outside of Odell Beckham and a nice 3rd/4th receiver in Dwayne Harris, the Giants had nothing but question marks or “just guys” at wide receiver. And I’ve argued for years that the third cornerback on any team is a de facto starter. That fact is more true in 2016 than ever. In addition, depth at the cornerback position was woefully inadequate with only Trevin Wade, Tramain Jacobs, and Leon McFadden behind the top two corners.

So when the Giants were on the clock, my gut told me they were going to go Hargreaves or Treadwell. Right or wrong (probably wrong), the Giants simply don’t trade down. I didn’t think they would take Tunsil.

Hargreaves was considered by most to be the best cornerback in the draft. But the Giants shocked many by taking Apple, who likely would have gone off of the board fairly quickly after the Giants picked. It’s important to emphasize two things here: (1) the Giants obviously felt Apple was the best cornerback in the draft, and (2) their interest in Apple was not advertised; his name was never connected with the Giants. Indeed, Apple himself said he was shocked the Giants picked him. So while I condemn the Giants for having loose lips with Floyd, I applaud them for keeping their interest in Apple unknown.

Apple is bigger and faster than Hargreaves. Because of that, he has a bigger upside and he matches up better with bigger receivers. Apple is a great kid, an exceptionally hard worker, and a very pesky coverman. The concerns are his grabbiness (he makes a lot of downfield contact), his lack of interceptions, and his lack of physicality as a run defender and tackler. To be frank, I’m not sold on the pick yet. He will forever be judged against Hargreaves, who was taken one pick later, and Tunsil, who was taken three picks later.

It is very hard to complain about the rest of the Giants’ draft. Did they address all of their needs, such as the offensive and defensive lines? No. But the Giants only had five more picks and a ton of needs. The Giants absolutely had to get at least one QUALITY cornerback in this draft and that was likely only to have happened in rounds 1-3. Had the Giants not drafted Apple or Hargreaves in round one, they would have had to look at that position in rounds 2-3 or have a mammoth area of concern at that position.

Getting Sterling Shepard in round two was huge. Not only is he a perfect fit for this offense, but it took off another primary area of need off of the board. Shepard should thrive in McAdoo’s offense and I would not be shocked if years from now people say he was the best wide receiver taken in this draft.

The next two picks were defensive players at clear-cut need positions: safety and linebacker. Both were under-the-radar types who will add play-makers, physicality, and leadership to a defense that desperately needs all three qualities. Darian Thompson is a better-than-advertised athlete and center-fielding free safety who will allow Landon Collins to move back to his more natural strong safety position. Linebacker B.J. Goodman is a throwback linebacker. You don’t see many guys coming out of college anymore who can stack-and-shed at the point-of-attack like he can. When he hits you, you know it. The Giants have lacked that at the position for years.

The final two picks on offense were absolute steals where the Giants got them. It’s often unfair or inaccurate to make comparisons to other great players, but I have to admit there are similarities with running back Paul Perkins to Tiki Barber (minus the fumbling). Both are undersized running backs with great vision, patience, balance, and elusiveness. Both can catch the ball. Both can break the big play. Jerrell Adams was the fastest tight end in the draft. The Giants have said they also think he was the best blocking tight end in the draft. In watching highlights, you see a big man who can get down the seam, adjust well to the football, and do damage after the catch. If his head is screwed on right, Adams could be a major addition to the team.

Most teams only can really hope to get 2-4 eventual starters out of a draft class. Many – if not most – of the picks end up being role players or back-ups. When looking at the Giants’ 2016 draft class, it really is not out of the realm of possibility that all six picks could be eventual starters – and good ones at that. To me, the key is Apple. Will he be “just a guy” – a Will Allen or Prince Amukamara type – or will he become one of the game’s best corners? As for the other picks, something tells me that Shepard, Perkins, and Adams are going to be significant offensive contributors for years to come.

The Giants were not able to address the offensive line and the defensive line so there are no new big men for the trenches. That’s a bit troubling. But had the Giants taken Floyd or Conklin in round one, cornerback would not have been addressed and/or there would have been a domino effect on the rest of the draft. The Giants are still rebuilding and the additional building blocks will have to come in 2017. This is what happens when you have a string of bad drafts in a row like the Giants have had. They are now paying the price.

Lastly, the Giants brought in a huge undrafted rookie free agent class. There are a number of very interesting players who have a legitimate shot at making the roster at wide receiver, defensive line, and in the secondary.

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Mike Rose, North Carolina State Wolfpack (October 24, 2015)

Mike Rose – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Though not official, the New York Giants have reportedly signed the following 15 undrafted rookie free agents. However, sometimes these reports are a bit premature and those who supposedly have signed are merely rookie mini-camp tryout players.

The Giants will hold a rookie mini-camp on May 6-7 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Those participating will include the team’s six 2016 NFL draft picks, signed rookie free agents, and rookie and street free agents invited on a tryout basis.

QB Josh Woodrum, 6’3”, 231lbs, 4.78, Liberty University (Video)
Woodrum combines excellent size with good arm strength. Smart, tough, and competitive. Developmental type who did not play in an NFL-style offense and will need a lot of work reading defenses and improving his accuracy. He has decent mobility for his size.

RB Marshaun Coprich, 5’8”, 207lbs, 4.46, Illinois State University (Video)
Coprich lacks ideal size but he is a tough, well-built, instinctive running back with good vision, balance, acceleration, and elusiveness. He lacks power and won’t run through many tackles. Coprich has had some drug issues.

WR K.J. Maye, 5’8”, 194lbs, 4.50, University of Minnesota (Video)
Maye is a very short, but well-built receiver who is more quick than fast. Maye is a good route runner, adjusts well to the football, and has excellent hands. Fearless and very competitive.

WR Roger Lewis, 6’0”, 201lbs, 4.51, Bowling Green State University (Video)
Lewis combines decent size and overall athletic ability. Lewis lacks ideal speed, quickness, and strength, but he makes big plays. Competitive, passionate, productive receiver who adjusts well to the football and has good hands. Film junkie.

WR Darius Powe, 6’3”, 220lbs, 4.49, University of California (Video)
Powe combines excellent size and speed. He caught 47 passes for 560 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season.

WR Michael Esiobu, 6’2”, 223lbs, 4.55, Lakeland College (Video)
Esiobu combines very good size, strength, and overall athleticism. He is a very raw, developmental prospect.

TE Ryan Malleck, 6’5”, 247lbs, 4.75, Virginia Tech
Malleck is a tall but thin H-Back type. Malleck is a tough, smart overachiever who plays hard, but lacks bulk strength to be an effective blocker. He is a limited athlete in the passing game, but is a heady receiver with very good hands.

TE Cedrick Lang, 6’9”, 290lbs, 4.95, UTEP
Former basketball player who only recently switched to football. Superb size but extremely raw. Only played one year of college football, starting one game and finishing the year with only 11 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Mainly used as a blocker. Lang could project to offensive tackle.

DE Romeo Okwara, 6’5”, 265lbs, 4.87, University of Notre Dame (Video)
Okwara has excellent size and arm length. He is a good athlete with fine first-step quickness. He looks the part and plays hard. Okwara is physical and an aggressive tackler. He flashes as both a run defender and pass rusher but needs more development. Okwara plays too high and gets hung up on blocks too frequently. He doesn’t appear overly instinctive.

DE Mike Rose, 6’2”, 281lbs, 4.66, North Carolina State University (Video)
Rose lacks ideal height, but he is well-built, strong, and a better athlete than advertised. Rose can set the edge in run defense and really flashes as a pass rusher. Instinctive and plays hard.

DT Melvin Lewis, 6’2”, 343lbs, 5.43, University of Kentucky
Mammouth nose tackle who missed half the 2015 season with a broken leg. Team leader and a hard worker.

DT Greg Milhouse, 6’1”, 295lbs, 4.91, Campbell University (Video)
Milhouse is an active, undersized, athletic defensive tackle. He disrupts with a nice combination of quickness and power. Milhouse plays with natural leverage and flashes on the pass rush.

CB Michael Hunter, 6’0”, 186lbs, 4.40, Oklahoma State University
Hunter has a nice combination of size and speed. He is a physical, press corner.

CB Donte Deayon, 5’9”, 158lbs, 4.48, Boise State University (Video)
Deayon is a fluid, dimunitive corner with very good quickness and leaping ability. Tough, confident play-maker. He has experience returning punts.

S Andrew Adams, 5’11”, 203lbs, 4.54, University of Connecticut (Video)
Adams lacks ideal height and speed but he is a well-built, athletic safety with good quickness. He is a good hitter and tackler. Adams has an instinctive feel for coverage, but needs to be more aggressive in run defense. Active and productive.

Other players who will supposedly attend on a tryout basis include:

  • RB Mercer Timmis, University of Calgary (Canada)
  • RB Terry Williams, Kutztown University
  • WR Miles Shuler, Northwestern University
  • WR Doug Corby, Queens University (Canada)
  • OG Charles Vaillancourt, Laval (Canada) University
  • OG Brandon Revenberg, Grand Valley State
  • OG Mykhael Quave, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • DE Ishaq Williams, University of Notre Dame
  • DE Nick Woodman, Utica College
  • LB Kassan Messiah, University of Massachusetts
  • S Taylor Loffler, University of British Columbia (Canada)

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