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2006 NFL Draft Review and Rookie Free Agent Signings
Posted By Eric From BBI On September 17, 2007 @ 4:17 pm In | Comments Disabled
by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
1st Round – DE Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College (6-6, 265lbs, 4.71):
Scouting Report: Kiwanuka was an odd selection given the Giants’ quality and depth at defensive end, but the Giants clearly must have felt he was too good to pass up. In 2003, he accrued 83 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, and 11.5 sacks. Kiwanuka was named “Big East Defensive Player of the Year” in 2004 when he totaled 67 tackles, 25.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, and two interceptions. An sprained ankle and knee limited him in 2005, but he still finished the year season with 51 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks. Kiwanuka has excellent size for a defensive end and has long arms. He is very athletic – fast, agile, and quick. Better pass rusher than run defender. Kiwanuka needs to play with better leverage at the point-of-attack on running plays. Kiwanuka has Pro Bowl-potential, but he needs to become a more aggressive and intense player. Needs to get stronger. Very good intangibles – smart and a solid character.
Media Q&A With General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
Accorsi: We selected Mathias Kiwanuka, a defensive end from Boston College. I’ll just say this, it is my philosophy and is shared by the people in our organization, you never, never have enough pass rushers. And he is a pass rusher. Obviously every team in the league says this, but we no had inkling that he would be down there. When we traded down we felt pretty confident that we had three or four names that we would have been happy with. And he was at the top of our list at all times. He was the highest rated player in that whole group. You can talk to Tom when he comes down on how he is going to be used, but suffice it to say that we wouldn’t have picked him if we didn’t feel he was going to be on the field. And I know that he is at a position where we have two Pro Bowlers, but there are different ways to use pass rushers. As I said before, you never have enough pass rushers. And like home run hitters and pitchers, you just never have enough of them, because we have other needs, too. But when you put pressure on the passer, everybody else’s job is easier.
Q: What did you see on tape?
A: He is just a big, fast pass rusher. That is what he is. He will probably get bigger weight-wise. There are games he just dominates. You can turn the tape on and see him against certain teams. Or he just burns the edge. He can run around the corner. He has great speed. And they are just hard to find.
Q: Trading down from 25 to 32 with Pittsburgh and picking up a third and fourth?
A: We thought, to get two extra picks – we had several offers because, obviously, there were some teams – and you saw one that traded with Chicago right behind us, that were obviously trying to get up there for players and you can see obviously who they were – running backs and receivers. But we felt – and we talked to some teams that were three or four spots below – this was seven and there was a risk to it, but we had five players that we felt if we had to survive two – and if those five would have been gone we did have two other players that we would have been pleased with and to get two extra picks we thought it was worth it. We ended up, like I said, I don’t blow smoke around here – this was the top rated player. We lost a couple of those five in that wait. But we didn’t lose our top rated player.
Q: Value vs. need?
A: He was picked when we were picking. We were not going to pick just a need pick – we were going to pick the best. And I have said this before, if it was close, we would have gone with need; but it wasn’t close on the grade.
Q: More on Kiwanuka’s ability?
A: He is an outside player, he is a pass rusher. And I learned years and years ago that number one is pass rusher for a defensive end. But he is a big guy and he came back from a pretty critical injury which you are all aware of – when a player was suspended. He came back and played his best games at the end of the year. So he is tough; I’m not worried about his toughness. We just think that he has an upside. He is big and tall and fast. And we can put out there now in different combinations our two great ends, Arrington and him as far as pass rush. That is a lot of pass rushing going on. And that is a scary thought, I would think, to try to block.
Q: Deployment of pass rushers?
A: I’m not trying to coach the team, believe me. But it is possible. You all know now, it has all changed. The defensive lines are rotated all of the time. He is going to play. Tuck played a lot. We picked him in the third round. And that is another pass rusher we have. Quarterback, pass rusher, left tackle and corner – those to me are the foundations of your team. But pass rusher comes second.
Q: Did Mathias’ stock drop?
A: I heard that after the Senior Bowl. Obviously people might have had him rated higher earlier, so he dropped, or we wouldn’t have gotten him. But we studied him pretty thoroughly. If he wouldn’t have dropped, we wouldn’t have gotten him, obviously.
Q: There were a lot of intriguing names available at 25. Were you tempted to just take a pick at 25?
A: Oh yeah, we were tempted. We weren’t as worried if we would have gone down two, three or four spots. We were worried at seven. This was still the player that we were going to pick. There are other linebackers, receivers and corners and we have a lot more picks. But this was the highest rated player, by far. And we made the trade. We thought we could lose him, certainly but we were pleased with what was left, the same type of players you are referring to, in case we started to lose some players.
Q: Players you were interested in when you made the trade?
A: Yeah, we had seven that we could have lived with, five that we would have been happy with. And it ended up when we picked, three of the five were there – of the original five.
Q: Three different positions?
Q: You had three different names…
A: I don’t want to get into that. Just look who is picked. You can figure it out. We weren’t going to pick a running back.
Q: Initial impressions of Kiwanuka?
A: Character is very important. You need character not only as a good citizen but as a competitor. I was in the interview in Indianapolis. I have watched him. I see Boston College play every year. So I have watched him since he was, maybe a freshman; I know for sure as a sophomore. I will say this. When you sit in his interview – I equate it to Hali of Penn State. They were both that way. You could hear a pin drop in our room. His story is unbelievable. And his response to it and the way he tells it. He is just an extraordinary person; there is no question about that. He had 37 ½ sacks. He has been productive. He had, as we said yesterday, he had to overcome quite an experience this year. It resulted in an offensive lineman being suspended. He came back, and I thought, had his two best games after he came back. But he is a special kid. We really drafted a lot of character so far in this draft.
Q: Timing of your first-round trade? Was that something that just came up when you guys got on the clock or something that you had set up earlier in the draft?
A: We hadn’t set it up earlier in the draft. There were three teams that were trying to get up there. We were talking to one team that was just a few notches below, but they wouldn’t give us what Pittsburgh was offering. And I gave them one last chance because obviously, we would rather go down a couple spots than go down seven. But, no, it was right down to the last second. We weren’t on the clock yet but it was getting close. Obviously what happened, there were teams going up there. We thought they were all going up there for running backs. As it turned out, Pittsburgh wasn’t. They were going up there for a receiver. But we knew there would be some interest for running backs. We kept hearing all along that Maroney was going to go to New England. If Maroney would have slipped, I think there would have been more action for our pick. Although the counter argument to that is that took one away. But I thought that is what the action was for, but they just wouldn’t give us the third that we wanted.
Media Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin:
Coughlin: We’re excited about this pick. It’s truly a valuable pick at this point. Picking 32nd, you know we traded down and got extra picks. We had a group of players that we really liked and from that group, without a doubt, he’s the highest rated player and we’re excited because of 11.5, 11.5 and 9.5. Those were his sacks over the last 3 years. Everyone was aware of the fact that this year he was injured for a little bit. But you’re talking about a quality, quality football player. A quality young man, a two-time captain who played and performed well in the first year that Boston College was in the ACC. The ability to put pressure on the quarterback is a paramount need on any football team. We just felt that this particular individual was very good at that and with the combination of the players that we have, this will again allow us to continue to fortify our defense.
Q: Ernie said he wouldn’t have made this pick if he didn’t think he would see the field right away. How is that possible?
A: Scheme-wise we can arrange that. And we’ll work on that at this point. I think right away, when you have a young man with this kind of talent, you’re talking about all the second-and-long, third-and-long situations that are presented in our game. The personnel combinations that we might be able to utilize to create some problems with the defenses…I like those options going forward.
Q: He is a defensive end?
A: He can play standing up but I think he’s a pass rusher. He’s better in that role and I think that is the spot we will start with.
Q: What did you see on the tape and in his workouts that will translate to him playing on the NFL level?
A: 11.5, 11.5 and 9.5. The kid can rush the passer. He’s smart, he’s aware. He has a great sense and feel for the game even though he’s relatively new to the game, so we think it’s all in front of him as well.
Q: Waiting after trading down, is there any part of you that says, let’s just make this pick?
A: We had lengthy discussions as we saw this thing taking place and in each of those discussions every aspect of trading down or remaining where we are was discussed. So we felt thoroughly confident in going over all the options. We had players that were available that we really liked in a section there in our minds and on the board and we thought that by picking up extra picks, we’d help ourselves down the road. Give ourselves some flexibility, who knows how we might use them but give ourselves some flexibility and still have a player of very high quality that could help our team.
Q: If you didn’t make the trade would you have picked this guy at 25?
A: I think that Ernie answered that question before, didn’t he? As I said, he was very highly rated on our board and in all likelihood could have been our pick right there as well.
Q: Do you think you had him rated a little higher than most other teams?
A: I don’t think so. We didn’t think so at all. We did a very thorough analysis. We had a large number of people evaluate him. Our scouting staff. Our coaches. The young man had very, very high grades. We discussed in our meetings each individual as we do every year, we put a final grade on him and after discussing and reading the player and talking about it with all the people in the room, the grade was a very high grade and we felt good about it.
Q: Does this pick affect Justin Tuck at all?
A: No I don’t think so. Tuck is one more solid, solid young football player that we are excited about. Tuck has the ability as we saw a year ago to play on the outside and the inside.
Q: Is it a little surprising that you took a pass rushing defensive end when you already have two Pro Bowlers at the position?
A: No, because again the statement being that this player represents the highest rated player on the board at the time we made the pick. He is a solid defensive player. You can never have too many pass rushers. Again we’ve fortified our defense. It may not have been a specific need as pinpointed prior to, but this is a guy who will pay huge dividends.
Q: Kiwanuka’s life story?
A: I think the whole story. His family. I think the whole story of his. His experience, his grandfather’s experience. I think all of that was particularly interesting. I’ve known about the kid for a few years. The fact that he was at Boston College and some of the information and feedback that I get about the kid. People have been talking about him for a long time now. Since his sophomore year, really.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
Q: What are the positives?
A: We got another pass rusher; you can never have enough pass rushers. Just thinking back to the playoffs, when we played against the 49ers a couple years back, we ran out of guys, had no pass rushers and we lost the game because of that, in my opinion. You can never have enough guys that can rush the passer.
Q: Why this pass rusher?
A: He has got 21 sacks, he is 6-6, he runs 4.75. He got a 29 on his test, he played at a high level of competition. He plays hard, he is smart. It is all in front of him. Everything wrong with this guy is strength related. When this guy gets stronger he is going to be a really, really good player.
Q: Does he have the kind of frame that can add some pounds?
A: Most definitely. He is 6-6 and he weighs 266 pounds. He is going to be 275 pounds in a second. He has just got to get in the weight room and get a little stronger and learn the pro game.
Q: Did he slip because of strength issues?
A: It is probably strength issues, because you know he is not as strong as you like against the run but this guy makes plays against the run with his legs. He chases people down from behind and this guy plays hard. You’ll be surprised when you see this guy play, he plays hard.
Q: At what point in the scouting process did this guy kind of separate himself from the other cluster of guys you had an interest in?
A: This draft is kind of funny. It has a few good “A” players but it’s got a lot of good “B” players. You see players come off all over the board because there are a lot of good “B” players. We liked him from the very beginning. Again, you can never put your pass rushers up high enough on the board.
Q: What did you take away from the meeting you had with him face to face?
A: We came away with a very smart, driven young man who we felt that all you had to do was plug him in the mix with the Pro Bowlers that we have. This guy is going to help us on special teams. I always talk about this when I come down here with you guys; you always want to get guys who can help you on special teams. I can see this guy blocking kicks or field goals; he can run down on the kickoff team. This guy is a big athlete and he’s very smart and physical. It’s all in front of him. I can’t express to you how good this player has a chance to be for us.
Q: Where did you rank him among the defensive ends?
A: I don’t like to talk about our board and where we rank people. There is still a lot of draft left and I don’t want to say where we had a guy ranked. Of course he was after Mario Williams but we had him ranked pretty high. He’s a pass rusher; the guy had 21 sacks in the last two years. We had him ranked up there….we like him.
Q: Any concern with the knee injury?
A: It wasn’t an issue for our doctors. He limped around with it a little bit during the season trying to get it healthy. It probably wasn’t healthy after he got hit on that knee until the last couple of games of the season where he dominated the games. Look at the Maryland and N.C. State games and you’ll see a dominating football player. Maybe he got lost in the sauce because of that, he limped around a little bit and wasn’t really healthy, but he played through it and showed some toughness, so you like that about him. But you can see him healthy the last two games of the season and you see a dominating football player.
Q: Does his size make it possible to play him at another position?
A: Absolutely. At the combine he worked out as a linebacker as well. It’s not out of the question for this guy to stand up and play some kind of outside linebacker. Put them all in there, put him, Tuck, Osi, Strahan in there and let them all rush. Who says you can’t do that? On a passing down put them all in there and let them rush.
Q: Did you guys hold your breath at all after you traded back a few picks in fear that you may have lost him?
A: No, we didn’t hold our breath because there were several guys there that we liked. It was worth the risk for us to move back and get some extra picks because we still had five or six guys on the board that we liked. We felt safe about moving back and getting extra picks.
Media Q&A With DE Mathias Kiwanuka:
Q: Were you surprised at all by the pick?
A: I was a little bit surprised. I was waiting throughout the whole draft and knew somebody would take me, I just didn’t know who. When it got to that point I was surprised that the Giants took me but I wasn’t surprised that I went.
Q: Did the Giants show a lot of interest in you during the process?
A: I interviewed with them once before. Between the Senior Bowl, Combine and the individual workouts I had interviewed with almost every single team in the league so it’s kind of hard for me to get a feel for which teams were actually looking at me hard.
Q: What did they tell you about how you’d fit in with the other defensive ends?
A: They just told me not to worry about it and to come in and play hard and they’d find a spot for me. It’s kind of the same situation that I went into Boston College with and I’m assuming that the New York Giants felt like they saw a good athlete that they couldn’t pass up on. From my standpoint I’m not exactly sure how I’ll fit in, I just know that I will somewhere.
Q: You injured your knee last year against Virginia? Was it against D’Brickashaw Ferguson?
A: D’Brickashaw wasn’t playing. It was his backup. In my opinion that’s kind of why this injury happened because the player didn’t necessarily feel like he could match up against me. It was an unfortunate incident but I’ve put it in the past and I’m ready to move on. My knee is healthy now and I’m looking forward to just playing football.
Q: What was the damage to your knee?
A: I sprained my MCL. I missed one game and then I was fine after that.
Q: Did you have any surgery in the off-season?
Q: Did you have a team you were hoping to end up with?
A: To tell you the truth, not really. I just wanted to play for an NFL team and from there I just wanted to go as high as I could. Throughout the whole interview process they’re looking at you and you don’t have an opportunity to scout the organization the way you do when you are going into college. All the teams that I met with were good solid teams and I was happy that I had the chance to interview with them and I was just looking forward to getting a chance to play.
Q: Not many defensive ends get to join two Pro Bowlers in their rookie year. What do you think of having Osi and Strahan as teammates?
A: I think it’s a great opportunity and in a lot of ways it’s going to be an honor to play with guys of that caliber. Hopefully a couple of years down the line people will be talking about me the way they talk about them. For now I’m going to try to learn everything I can, play hard and try to find my spot on the field.
Q: You have put a lot of weight on in the past few years; do you still think you can add more to your frame?
A: Yes, if that’s what coach asks me to do then I’ll be able to do that. I have no problem adding or losing weight at this point. I feel like I’m in a real flexible spot.
Q: What’s your weight?
2nd Round – WR Sinorice Moss, University of Miami (5-8, 184lbs, 4.39):
Scouting Report: Sinorice Moss is the brother of Redskins’ receiver Santana Moss. He finished the 2005 season with 37 catches for 614 yards and six touchdowns. Moss lacks size, but Sinorice is a very fast and quick receiver with excellent acceleration. He scares defenses with his ability to get deep and make the big play. Moss runs good routes and gets separation. Jumps well. He adjusts well to the football and has good hands. Moss is elusive and dangerous after the catch. Good intangibles – confident and a hard worker. Moss stood out at the Senior Bowl and was named game MVP. Could factor into the return game.
Media Q&A With General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
Q: Trading up?
A: We really wanted him. You guys know what he looks like; you have seen him play. He is a game-breaking receiver. He is not big but he can catch and he can run. For a short guy he is very powerfully built. He has a chance to be an outstanding receiver.
Q: Where Moss was rated?
A: Well, we weren’t going to take any other player but the guy that we took in the first round. But he was our highest-rated receiver. It was one of those years. It just happens at different positions, like the year we picked William Joseph. There were, what, 10 or 11 defensive linemen picked in the first round? There weren’t that many this year. There were not a lot of highly-rated receivers in this draft. He is not big. That is going to work against him in the overall picture, but it was somebody we obviously had our eye on. I just did not think he was going to last until we were picking in the second round. We had the extra pick.
Q: How much does he remind you of his brother?
A: I don’t want to put that on him. If he is as good as his brother, he will be great. I love his brother. He is similar, but he has to go do it. His brother was on a team that had a little better passing attack. He didn’t get that chance as much. But he is an explosive, high-speed, tough receiver. He is just not real big. Normally you like big receivers but you don’t want to sacrifice speed and game-breaking ability.
Q: Selecting a small receiver?
A: Absolutely. We do have big receivers. And I think you hear Tom talk too, we needed that type of receiver – that we needed one with speed, not just a possession guy. And he is not a possession guy.
Q: Bias against small receivers?
A: I don’t have that bias. I know a lot of people do, but I don’t. I remember there was a big receiver picked the year his brother came out. I heard, “We picked the bigger receiver.” But he wasn’t the better receiver. It is speed that kills. I’m not worried about that.
Q: Moss playing the slot position?
A: Well, yeah. That is what he was drafted for, but I will let the coach worry about playing him. I’m not coaching the team. I’m not Lou Lamariello. I just wrote him a note. I said, “You are my idol as a general manager but I’m not following you to the bench.”
Q: Moss not being a returner in college?
A: They had the great returner in Hester, so he didn’t do a lot but he can do it. He has got that, but we do have two awfully good returners in Morton and McQuarters, so that was a bonus. But we picked him as a receiver.
Q: He was your highest rated receiver on the board?
Q: The whole board?
A: Yeah, I’m not counting Reggie Bush as a receiver. Yeah. It was obviously because of his height. But we wanted him. We were prepared to pick him in the first round if our other options were gone. We had other options. But we just didn’t think he would be there at 24 in the second round.
Q: Did you move up to where you did because that was your only opportunity?
A: No, we tried everybody in there. We came close with another team. We were trying every one in that range from 41 and beyond.
Q: He is not a pass rusher, right?
A: No, might be.
Q: You loved his brother? You almost tried to trade for Santana Moss when he came out, right?
A: Right, right. It is not fair for me to make that comparison. This kid is going to have to live with his brother.
Q: Moss’ physical stature?
A: Yeah. This guy, as you will see, is a powerfully built guy. He is strong. Physically he is short. But he has been durable. What impressed me was that he had surgery on his finger after the season and the workout, which I was at on March 3rd or 4th, that Saturday. No one even knew he had had the surgery. And we found out later and you never would have known the difference. He has a lot of talent.
Q: Did you start calling about a trade right after your first round pick at No. 32?
A: Not right away. We probably started in the mid-30′s; late 30′s. We weren’t really hitting clubs up there as much. We didn’t have enough to do that. What we had wasn’t going to be able to cover it. But we knew starting around 40, we knew that we had an equitable offer with our third.
Q: Was Baltimore on the clock?
A: Just as we made the trade New Orleans picked their player and when Ozzie called me back he said, “We are on the clock.”
Q: There would have been no trade had New Orleans picked him?
A: No. I was about to tell him, “If our guy is there”, and that is when (the New Orleans pick) flashed up the board.
Media Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin:
Q: Sinorice Moss’s size being a concern?
A: No. What the concern was to try to present – we thought this guy could present a different look to the defensive people as well. We have some big targets; we have some speed as well, as you know. We’ve got various heights of individuals who also have speed. This guy gives us another dimension in terms of his quickness and that’s something that has to be considered from a defensive standpoint in how they are going to defend whether he’s in the slot or on the outside. The idea is that this guy presents a little different look and some more for them to have to plan on defending knowing full well what his quickness and speed brings.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
Q: Ernie said that Moss was the number one receiver on the board. How good does a 5-8 guy have to be to warrant that recognition?
A: First of all, he has to be fast. He has to be a guy that can take short pass or a reverse and make a big play out of it. That is what we have been lacking in our offense and we have kind of coveted that kind of guy, so he fills the bill for us. You would love for him to be taller, but he is not. He is a fast, explosive receiver that we feel can make some big plays for us. We have the big skyscraper guys. We just need a big hit underneath guy. I think he can do that for us.
Media Q&A With WR Sinorice Moss:
Q: What are your general feelings about coming to the Giants?
A: I feel great. The Giants have shown a great interest in me since the Senior Bowl and I always thought it would be wonderful to be a part of the New York Giants organization.
Q: Are you aware that the Giants have been in need of a speedy receiver literally since Homer Jones left about 35 years ago? Are you aware of the need around here for a fast receiver like you?
A: Yes, I have been hearing it from William Joseph and Plaxico. They told me they would love to have me on their team, and I’m just happy to be a part of it and I’m ready to come up there and work.
Q: Have you been working out with Plaxico, Shockey, and Joseph down there in Miami?
A: Yes, I’ve been working out with William down here in Miami.
Q: How do you feel about being in the same division as Santana?
A: That’s great; I get to face my brother twice a year. I get a chance to face him and beat up on the Redskins.
Q: Obviously your brother was a Pro Bowler last year; do you have a similar playing style to him?
A: I feel like we pretty much have the same playing style. Our body structure is pretty much the same if you look. We both have speed and quickness. We can turn a short play into a big play and to be able to help our football no matter what situation we are in?
Q: So who is faster?
A: I have no idea. We have never raced. I don’t think we will ever have a real race.
Q: How about the prospect of coming here to play with Eli Manning, who is obviously one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL?
A: To have an opportunity to play on the same team as Eli Manning, that is a big thing. He has a brother in the NFL and I have a brother in the NFL. So I’m sure me and him together will be wonderful.
3rd Round – LB Gerris Wilkinson, Georgia Tech (6-3, 231lbs, 4.67):
Scouting Report: Wilkinson is very versatile – has played all three linebacker positions. In 2004, he accrued 119 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and one interception. In 2005, he was credited with 85 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, and two interceptions. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism. Wilkinson has excellent intangibles – smart and plays smart. He knows his assignments. Hardworking, instinctive, and productive. Wilkinson is a solid all around player who can defend the run, cover, and blitz. Has good range. He has long arms that allow him to play off blocks well.
General Manager Ernie Accorsi on LB Gerris Wilkinson: He’s an outstanding linebacker and a very versatile player. He’s big and fast – he’s 6-3, 231. He can run and he played four positions in four years. He started as a SAM his freshman year, a WILL his second year, a defensive end his third year and he played middle linebacker his fourth year. And he’s a captain. Our coaches think he can play all three positions. And his gymnastics are off the charts.
Wilkinson was a four-year starter at four different positions and a captain of his team. He was a SAM his first year, a WILL his second year, a defensive end his third and a MIKE his fourth. I think I have that sequence right. He can run. I think the coaches are probably more excited about that pick than any pick we have made. He is just a good solid, sound football player at a need position. And what we tried to do – we didn’t sacrifice grades – but we tried to – here is what happens when you get down into the third round and on, is the grades are pretty clustered – pretty close. We didn’t sacrifice grades but we did concentrate on need. There is no question about that. He is a WILL linebacker but for us he can play all three positions. Tim Lewis and Bill Sheridan both think he can play all three positions at our level.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
Q: Everyone seems to be excited about the LB you drafted out of Georgia Tech?
A: There were so many linebackers, it seemed like a really high spot for us early on. We signed some guys in free agency, but there were a lot of linebackers. There were a lot of good players that went in the second round because there were so many of them. So teams probably picked more need because they knew they could get a LB in the second-third round. He was attractive to us because number 1, he is very smart, he has size and speed, he can play all three positions and actually he can play four positions. He has played defensive end, So we feel he is a very valuable pick for us, because he is versatile and he can play on special teams. We are delighted to have him.
4th Round – DT Barry Cofield, Northwestern University (6-4, 303lbs, 4.97):
Scouting Report: Cofield has experience at both defensive end and defensive tackle, but projects inside for the Giants. In his senior season, he accrued 63 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Cofield has good size and is strong. He can anchor against the double-team on running plays. Can two-gap and tie up blockers for his teammates to make the play. He plays with leverage and can penetrate. Can close in a hurry. Pursues well down the line. Cofield needs to improve his stamina. When he tires, he plays high and gets tied up too easily. He graded out as the most athletic defensive tackle at the Combine. Smart.
Media Q&A With General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
Accorsi: Cofield is a defensive tackle, a run stopper. There were a couple of them there, but this is the one that we thought could play the nose the best. He is big. Obviously that was a need position for us, as you all know.
Q: Defensive tackle was a need and seemed to be your biggest hole going into the draft. Is Cofield good enough and ready enough to step right in if necessary?
A: We didn’t think it was the hole that a lot of you people did. Seawright has gotten big. We have Robbins, we have Joseph. We have three or four people in there. We lost a nice little player, but we didn’t think of it as that big of a hole. Obviously if we felt that way, we would have done something earlier. He is going to be a rookie, but he is good enough to step in, absolutely. He is big run-stopper. That is what he is. On that defensive line, he took the brunt of the double teams and kind of had to get rid of all of the flack for other people. So he is smart. One thing we did, we have smart people, quality people. There were a number of defensive linemen up there. There were some that played defensive end that could have played defensive tackle. But we just needed the big inside guy who is a nose tackle.
Q: Some of the reports say “has trouble fighting off the double teams.” Is that accurate?
A: Well, he played at Northwestern. That is Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and Penn State. He had a tough time in there. Obviously we don’t agree or we wouldn’t have picked him.
Q: Playing the nose?
A: Well, you have to talk to Tom about a lot of that. The concept of the nose and the way we play our line. I know that when we discuss defensive linemen, they will pretty much specify, “Well, this guy…” To me they are defensive tackles – I don’t think that much of drafting for the system; I draft a player which I think is the best player. But they have to fit them into what they do. And there is a difference between just a regular defensive tackle and a nose tackle. This guy can play the nose tackle. But I would ask Tom more on that. That is more of a coaching thing.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin on DT Barry Cofield: Barry Cofield was an opportunity in the fourth round that we felt, with our two picks to take two linemen, two big people there. In Cofield, we feel he can come in and give us what we are looking for in a physical nose tackle. A first and second down guy, if you will. A run defender who can anchor in there on the center and maintain leverage – he doesn’t get knocked off the ball – he’ll allow those linebackers and our other front seven to work with him holding his own.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
Q: Addressing the DT position?
A: We have some untested guys there. We have some guys that we have some confidence in that we think are going to be good players, but they haven’t been in the heat of the battle yet. We felt we could address that position with a guy that has played the position. Cofield has played that position for three years as a defensive tackle and he plays all over the place. He plays a ‘one’ technique over the nose. He played a ‘three’ technique outside of the guard. He plays outside on the end in the three-man front, like a 3-4 end. Big, strong, hard working guy inside. The production is not there because he does the hard work inside. He is a big player that holds a point, does all the dirty work for that team. We feel we can get a guy that frees up those linebackers and takes some double teams up in there, puts a little pressure up the middle.
Q: Some reports say he has problems fighting off the double teams?
A: Not for us. He is probably not a Pro Bowler fighting off double teams, but at this point in the draft, he is a big body that can hold his ground inside. We feel good about having him on board.
4th Round – OT Guy Whimper, East Carolina University (6-5, 305lbs, 4.95):
Scouting Report: Whimper is an athletic player who was used at linebacker, defensive end, and tight end in college. He was moved to right tackle his senior year, but he also started one game at left tackle. Whimper has good size and the frame to get bigger. He is a very good athlete and has had good feet – should be able to play left tackle. Obviously, he is very raw and will take some time to develop – he needs a lot of technique work. Impressed at both the Hula Bowl and the Combine.
Media Q&A With General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
Accorsi: We picked Guy Whimper as a left tackle. He played some left tackle. He played right tackle there because he really has never participated in spring practices. He has some eligibility problems and he was skipping spring practice. So they didn’t keep him over there. He is a great athlete. He is inexperienced. He is a little raw but he is a great athlete. And the reason we picked him was strictly because we think he can be a left tackle because of his athletic ability.
Q: Is it tough to judge a player like Whimper since he has only played one year at tackle?
A: Yeah. He played well. He is such an extraordinary athlete. And the things that you do see are so impressive that – for us if we are going to pick a tackle for the future, he has to have an ability to play left tackle. And that is a critical position because you can find right tackles; there are a lot of college players playing left tackle that can’t play left tackle in our league. To me, they are one of the critical positions on the team. He has that potential. He is an investment. But you have to pick them when you have a chance – they are just hard to find. They are not ready-made. Sure, Ferguson is, the Orlando Paces are, but they would be in the top four or five in the draft. So he has a real good chance. He also started four games at tight end. So he can be a short-yardage blocker, too, as a tight end.
Q: Are you concerned about his character?
Head Coach Tom Coughlin on OT Guy Whimper: In Whimper, we took a very athletic, young offensive tackle who we think has the ability to be trained to play on the left side. In the Hula Bowl he played left tackle and our scouts were extremely impressed with his speed and his quickness. This guy runs under 5 flat for being a legitimate 300, 305-pounder. So we were very impressed with his athleticism, his quick feet, his ability to play on the left side in the Hula Bowl. That is what excited us about him…Whimper, as I mentioned, is a guy who may be athletic enough – did play tight end, which is interesting, in college as well. So if you’re talking about a guy that runs under 5 flat and you’re talking about a guy who has his athleticism, has quick feet, perhaps there is some goalline and short yardage versatility there that we might utilize in Guy Whimper.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
Q: Character of Whimper?
A: Number one, you project his character, then you project his athletic ability. The guy played defensive end, so he is a really good athlete. He has played left tackle and right tackle. This is a guy that came into his senior year and had no snaps as an offensive lineman. He just out-athletes everybody right now. He really doesn’t know what is going on. He is big, he has long arms, he is fast and this guy can play on special teams. We just feel like after he learns the position and gets stronger, we feel like he is going to be a steal at left tackle for us in a year or so.
5th Round – S/CB Charlie Peprah, University of Alabama (5-11, 202lbs, 4.56):
Scouting Report: Peprah has experience at both cornerback and strong safety. He played safety his last two years in college, but might project to corner in the pros. Peprah was credited with 43 tackles, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries his senior season. He lacks ideal timed speed, but he is quick and agile. Plays faster than he timed at the Combine – has good range. Peprah has some corner cover skills. Good intangibles – smart, good recognition skills, tough, and instinctive. Very aggressive and physical in run support, but he needs to improve his tackling technique in order to become a more consistent tackler. Ran better at his pro day than the Combine (he ran in the 4.4-4.5 range).
Media Q&A With General Manager Ernie Accorsi:
Accorsi: Peprah, we drafted him as a safety but he was a two-year starter as a corner. So we have a two-way shot with him. Really we have some needs at both positions as far as depth on our team. So we pretty much went for need. We have filled just about everything that we thought was critical on our team and we still have another pick left. We won’t get a sixth I don’t think because we are not going to give up anything in next year’s draft. I don’t want to leave a draft with any holes in for whoever steps in here. I don’t want to leave next year’s draft with holes in it for anybody.
Q: Is Peprah another one of these character guys you are talking about?
A: Yeah, he is. I think he may be a captain, too. Wilkinson is a captain. Absolutely. They moved him to safety really for the good of the team. The kid had seven interceptions as a two-year starter as a corner. So he was playing fine as a corner. They just moved him there because that was the need for them.
Q: Is Peprah going to be a safety or a corner for you?
A: He is a two-way shot for us.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin on S/CB Charlie Peprah: In the Peprah pick, at that spot in the fifth, we were looking for a guy who had versatility. In this young man, he had played corner for two years with (seven) interceptions. Of course, playing at the University of Alabama, he played in a lot of big games. A guy who played his last two years as a safety, we think he’ll be an outstanding special teams performer as well…Peprah will be an outstanding special teams performer. We expect to start him out at safety but we could start him at corner and move him to safety. It’s just that the amount of quality time spent at the position without creating any real issues in terms of changing positions for him would be the only reason that we would just flat out start him out at safety. He’s a very intelligent kid, he made the calls and we think he can go ahead and do that on this level as well.
7th Round – CB Gerrick McPhearson, University of Maryland (5-10, 191lbs, 4.44):
Scouting Report: McPhearson started 10-of-11 games his senior season and finished with 37 tackles and six pass breakups. Lacks ideal height, but he is well-built and very athletic. Fast, fluid, and really can leap. Strong. McPhearson needs a lot of technique work, especially with his footwork in transition. Plays better in bump-and-run than man-off. He needs to improve his zone awareness. Not very instinctive and has poor hands for the interception. Played with a shoulder injury his senior year and could not hit consistently because of it, but he is an aggressive hitter and tackler. Has a big upside.
Media Q&A With Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese:
A: Gerrick has good size and speed. He has some good skills and he has played against good competition. We project him as a cover cornerback.
Q: Concern about lack of interceptions?
A: There is some concern. But you’re picking in the seventh round. You’re looking for something in a player. Our defensive backs coach scouted him and liked what he saw. He has some of the attributes you look for in a good cornerback, like the speed and the awareness. We want to look at him as a cover corner.
DT Marcus Green, Ohio State (6-1, 285lbs, 5.17): Started 12 games his senior season and compiled 37 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Earned All-Big Ten honorable mention. Green lacks ideal size, but he is a good athlete. Has some quickness and can be disruptive. He is active and pursues well. Not real stout at the point-of-attack and does not shed blocks well. Green needs to get bigger and stronger. Good intangibles – tough, competitive.
DT Sir Henry Anderson, Oregon State University (6-3, 314lbs, 5.22): Anderson finished his senior season with 35 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. He was named second-team All-Pac 10 Conference. Anderson is well built and athletic with some quickness to his game. Flashes the ability to penetrate and disrupt. Can close. He can anchor at the point-of-attack and two-gap, but Anderson needs to play with better leverage. Plays too tall at times and gets driven off the ball.
DE/LB Willie Evans, Mississippi State University (6-1, 269lbs, 4.90): Evans was moved from fullback to defensive end before his junior season. He led the Southeastern Conference in sacks (15) and tackles for a loss (24.5) and was awarded All-SEC first-team honors. Evans also accrued 60 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one interception. Evans lacks ideal size, but he is a tough, smart, competitive football player with good quickness. Good pass rusher who struggles at time against the run from the defensive end spot. Could project to linebacker.
DE/LB Thomas Carroll, University of Miami (6-4, 239lbs, 4.86): Three-year starter at defensive end who could project to outside linebacker. Despite playing with an injured shoulder, Carroll finished his senior season with 25 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. A bit of a ‘tweener – Carroll lacks size for a defensive end and ideal speed for a linebacker. He has good agility and quickness. Good intangibles – plays hard, tough, competitive. Carroll does not have much experience dropping into coverage.
LB Kevis Coley, University Southern Mississippi (6-1, 231lbs, 4.60): Coley was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in his first full year as a starter as a middle linebacker in 2005, accruing 150 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. Coley lacks ideal size and athleticism, but he was very productive. Aggressive and hustling player. Team leader.
CB E.J. Underwood, Pikesville College (6-1, 185, 4.40): Transferred to Pikesville College from Ohio State due to academic woes in the summer of 2005. Underwood is a very good athlete who was expected to be a factor at cornerback for the Buckeyes his senior year. He had started six games at corner for Ohio State in 2004. Underwood finished his senior season at Pikesville with 49 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one blocked kick. Underwood has experience as a punt and kick returner. He drew a lot of NFL teams to his pro day workout, including the Giants.
CB Kevin Dockery, Mississippi State University (5-8, 188, 4.45): Dockery was a three-year starter in college and was credited with 53 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 3 interceptions, 9 pass defenses, and 1 fumble recovery his senior season. Dockery lacks height, but he is a well built player with good speed.
SS Trevis Coley, University of Southern Mississippi (6-1, 227lbs, 4.50): Coley has experience at both safety and outside linebacker. As a free safety, he finished the 2005 season with 109 tackles and two interceptions. Coley has good size/speed combination. Good run defender.
HB James Sims, Jr., University of Washington (6-0, 211lbs, 4.55): Sims played his first two years in college at safety before being moved to fullback in 2004 and tailback in 2005. He became the full-time starter towards the end of the season, yet still led his team in rushing last year with 495 yards on 112 carries and six touchdowns. Rushed for over 200 yards in the game against the University of Arizona. Very good athlete who has a track background. Sims plays bigger than his listed size – has some power to his game.
HB Jerod Void, Purdue University (6-0, 220lbs, 4.58): Void split time in a single-back, pass-oriented offense. In 2005, he carried the ball 130 times for 696 yards and 10 touchdowns. Void has good size and runs with good patience and balance. He lacks ideal speed to turn the corner – better inside runner. However, he runs too tall and does not break many tackles. Void does have good hands. There are some questions about his work ethic.
WR Anthony Mix, Auburn University (6-4, 235lbs, 4.45): A ‘tweener, Mix is a huge wide receiver who could also project to H-Back. Mix started three games as a senior and finished the season with 23 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Mix is very big with long arms. Athletic, but he does not play to his timed speed and he is not very quick for a wide receiver. Needs to improve his routes. He has so-so hands and is not much of a blocker from the H-Back or tight end spot. Needs to run tougher after the catch. Some reports question his work ethic and maturity.
TE Darcy Johnson, University of Central Florida (6-5, 252lbs, 4.91): Johnson was a three-year starter at tight end for Central Florida. He finished his career there with 81 receptions for 919 yards, including six touchdowns. Johnson earned All-Conference USA second-team honors his senior season with 36 catches for 435 yards, and two touchdowns. Johnson is a good athlete with good hands.
OT Jai Lewis, George Mason University (6-5, 292lbs): Collegiate basketball star for a Final Four team who did not play football in college. Lewis last played tight end and defensive end in high school. Eleven NFL teams sent representatives to watch his workout in April, including the Giants. Some teams envision Lewis as a possible tight end, others an offensive lineman. The Giants will try him at tackle. Excellent size-speed combination, but a development project who is as green as one possibly could be. Long shot at best. “He’s a project. It’s not going to happen overnight,” Accorsi said. “Basketball teams are filled with great athletes. The question is, does he have the fortitude to play this sport, where you’re getting hit in the mouth every play? It’s going to depend on how hard he wants it and how hard he works…He’s a two-way shot. If we get him in the weight room and get him down to 275, he could be a tight end. If he gets even bigger than he is now, he can be a tackle, because he’s got great feet.”
OT Na’Shan Goddard, University of South Carolina (6-5, 315lbs, 5.31): Goddard has experience at right tackle, left tackle, right guard, and even center with 37 starts. He has decent size, strength, and athleticism, but his does not play up to his ability. Not consistently aggressive enough as both a run and pass blocker. Flashes at times. Needs to play with greater awareness – has problems with stunts and games on the pass rush. Goddard can pull, but he is an inconsistent blocker on the second level.
OC Todd Londot, Miami University (Ohio) (6-5, 301lbs, 5.14): Londot has experience at both center and right tackle, and he played at a variety of positions at the Hula Bowl in January. He was a four-year starter at Miami and a three-time second-team All-MAC selection. He started 42 games in college and was twice honored with the “Trench Warrior Award,” presented to Miami’s top offensive lineman. Londot has good size and is a decent athlete. San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans were all interested in signing Londot after the draft.
OG Matt Lentz, University of Michigan (6-6, 320lbs, 5.30): Lentz was two-time All-Big Ten first team (2004-05). He has started 36 games at right guard. Lentz has good size, but is limited athletically. He is a blue-collar overachiever. Tough, smart, competitive, and strong. Lentz is an aggressive run blocker, but he is not really a mauler at the point-of-attack. He will struggle against quickness in pass protection. Picks up stunts and blitzes well.
OG Tony Tella, University of Miami (6-4, 306lbs, 5.42): Tella started 23 games at Miami with experience at both right and left guard. He has decent size and athletic ability. Quick footed. Can pull and block on the second level although he will sometimes miss his target in space. He has the frame to get bigger and needs to get bigger and stronger. Tella needs to improve his blocking technique, especially in terms of playing with better leverage, and become more aggressive. Not a mauler.
OG Kevin McAlmont, Western Carolina University (6-2, 320lbs, 5.10): McAlmont was named second team All-Southern Conference in 2005. During his sophomore year, McAlmont was moved from defensive tackle to offensive tackle. The last two years he has played left guard for WCU. Has a track and field background. During the summer of 2005, McAlmont set a WCU record with a bench press of 505 pounds and ran a time of 4.98 in the 40-yard dash. McAlmont lacks ideal height and agility, but he is a strong, tough lineman. He was invited to the rookie mini-camps of the Redskins and Jets in May.
My overall impression of the draft is favorable. I think the Giants addressed many of their needs that I talked about in my draft preview. They acquired a speedy, big-play wide receiver; a quality linebacker and eventual starter who can play all three linebacker positions; a two-gap nose tackle; and an athletic left tackle. The only position of need that may not have been adequately addressed is cornerback. Unless S/CB Charlie Peprah or CB Gerrick McPhearson really surprise, the Giants probably did not come out of this draft with a future starter at that critical position. But if the receiver, linebacker, nose tackle, and left tackle develop into quality football players, then the Giants accomplished more in this draft than I expected them to be able to do.
I do have a sense of unease at the first pick. But more on that in a moment. First, I will say that I loved the fact that the Giants traded down in the first round. By moving down seven spots, the Giants picked up an additional third and fourth round pick. If they do not do this, the team does not acquire WR Sinorice Moss or LT Guy Whimper. So you have to keep that in mind when thinking about the players who the Giants passed on by trading down. Some have argued that the Giants should have drafted WR Chad Jackson or WR Santonio Holmes, but the Giants had Moss rated as the #1 receiver in the draft so that was not an option (whether you agree with the Giants or not). The two players who the Giants may have missed out on were CB Kelly Jennings and DT John McCargo. Either would have made sense, but the Giants would have then missed out on all of the receivers if they did not trade down. (Still I wonder who the Giants would have truly had picked if both Jennings and McCargo were still there at #32).
My unease comes from the selection of DE Mathias Kiwanuka. It’s not that Kiwanuka is a bad player. Far from it, he could end up being a steal at that point in the draft. However, in my opinion, the Giants did not need a defensive end. It was the one position on the team where the Giants were rock solid. The Giants were in great shape there with Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Eric Moore, and Adrian Awasom. Tuck is a player who I really like. I think he is going to be a very, very good two-way defensive end. Moore is a guy who the Giants thought so highly of that they kept him on the active roster despite him missing almost all of camp and all of the preseason with an injury. While I certainly understand and appreciate the “best player available” strategy, I am concerned about what this move means for Tuck. In the Giants’ base defense, you can only play two defensive ends. When the Giants’ go to their more exotic pass rush packages in obvious pass-rushing situations, one would assume that Strahan, Umenyiora, LaVar Arrington, and William Joseph will be on the field. Indeed, Coughlin mentioned these four plus Kiwanuka in his WFAN interview after the draft as being part of the pass-rush package. He did not mention Tuck, one of the team’s best pass rushers. Well, one could argue put Tuck out there too, but you can only rush so many players on a given play. Someone has to cover. I really doubt the Giants are going to have all six players on the field at once except for possibly a few plays each game. So unless someone gets hurt, I think the selection of Kiwanuka marginalizes Tuck and completely erases Eric Moore from the picture. Furthermore, I see no reason for Tuck to want to stay with the Giants when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2009. I know that seems like a long way off and a lot of things can happen between now and then, but I really did envision Tuck and Umenyiora being our starters in a few years. Now I think the Giants have to consider trading him in 2008 before he hits the open market. After all, I wouldn’t want him to sign a lucrative deal with the Redskins or Eagles for example.
But let me reiterate. Kiwanuka is a good player and if he develops as the Giants hope, in the long-term he will be Strahan’s eventual replacement. Strahan is 34 years old (though there was a newspaper report that Strahan’s deal will be extended beyond 2008). In the short-term, he adds a dangerous component to the Giants’ pass rush packages and very valuable depth. Let’s just hope he turns out to be a much better player than Tuck or the Giants may have made a mistake.
OK, so who should have the Giants drafted after they traded down? That’s an excellent question. What about LT Winston Justice? There were concerns about his character and toughness by many teams. It looks like the Giants were one of those teams. It will be interesting to see how his career develops in Philadelphia. Linebackers DeMeco Ryans, D’Qwell Jackson, Roger McIntosh, or Thomas Howard? I truly get the sense that the Giants got a linebacker in Gerris Wilkinson that they felt was of similar talent. But how those four players do will be interesting as well. The guy who would have made a lot of sense in terms of his ability was CB Jimmy Williams, but there were huge character concerns with him. Still, let’s see how he does in Atlanta. In hindsight (and it is wonderful to have hindsight after the draft is over), I think I would have preferred to have the Giants trade down again (if there were any takers) and draft Moss. Or draft Moss at #32. Then they could have kept their original #2 pick and used it on CB Richard Marshall. That way, they keep their own #3 pick too (maybe use it on a guy like WR Maurice Stovall).
But what the heck do I know? After all, I was advocating taking Gabe Watson in the first round!!! If Kiwanuka becomes a Pro Bowler and Tuck an above average player, then the Giants did the right thing.
Enough of the first pick, let’s talk about the rest of the draft. I really like the selection of Moss. Kudos to the Giants for trading up to select him in the second round. I was not high on Chad Jackson and the only reason I listed Santonio Holmes above Moss was the three-inch height discrepancy – which cannot be completely discounted. But Moss is an incredibly dangerous player. He is going to be deadly on those wide receiver screens that Coughlin loves to call, especially with Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer blocking in front of him. He also will be a nightmare to cover out of the slot. What we don’t know is if he is capable of eventually replacing Amani Toomer down the road. Simply put, is he too short to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL? Regardless, I expect Moss to have a huge impact on the Giants immediately. He can take it to the house every time he touches the football.
Gerris Wilkinson is a perfect pick for the Giants. He can play all three linebacker spots. He is very athletic, smart, and hardworking. With the Giants starting Arrington on the strongside and Wilkinson competing on the weakside with Carlos Emmons and Brandon Short, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Wilkinson could make an impact sooner rather than later. Indeed, if the Giants planned to play Arrington on the strongside all along, then the weakside linebacker spot was truly a greater need heading into this draft than we all realized after the Giants signed Arrington. I bet you that Wilkinson is the starter at this position in 2007.
Barry Cofield is the type of defensive tackle that the Giants needed. He is a stout run defender who can two-gap and play the nose tackle position. He also has some athletic ability and could develop into a bit of a penetrator as well. I doubt he starts this year, but he will become an important factor in the rotation.
Guy Whimper is a very interesting developmental project. He has the size and athleticism you look for in a left tackle. He also is supposed to be a hard worker. He’s green so it will take a while, but he does have the physical ability to eventually replace Luke Petitgout in 2-3 years. Honestly, I am more comfortable with the pick of Whimper in the fourth round than Justice in the first round.
CB/S Charlie Peprah is a bit of a ‘tweener. At worst, he is probably an athletic safety. But he does have some corner cover skills and he runs faster than he timed at the Combine. If he or CB Gerrick McPhearson develop, the Giants may truly have hit a home run with this draft. Because, on the surface, cornerback is the one position that they did not address until late.
In summary, this appears to be a solid effort because they came away with good prospects at four need positions – wide receiver, linebacker, defensive tackle, and left tackle. They may have drafted the second best defensive end in the draft and a possible future impact player at that position. I just hope there is a way they can find a way to use (and keep) Justin Tuck.
Rookie Free Agents: As for the rookie free agents signed after the draft, this is a pretty good group of prospects (17 in all). However, the problem for these young men is that the Giants’ roster is both pretty deep and talented right now. For example, two interesting pass rushers who the Giants signed are DE Willie Evans (who led the SEC in sacks) and DE Thomas Carroll (who played hurt as a senior). But both are facing an almost impossible situation given the Giants’ depth situation at defensive end. The players with the greatest chance to stick are those who play at a position where the Giants are still a bit unsettled such as defensive tackle and cornerback. Both DT Sir Henry Anderson and DT Marcus Green were very good post-draft pickups. Both have ability and I could actually see one of these two making the active roster (though the Practice Squad is more likely). Anderson is a big guy with good athleticism, but he needs to play with better leverage. He could factor in at nose tackle. At cornerback, E.J. Underwood is an interesting pickup given his Big 10 background, size, and speed.
Another player worth watching is HB James Sims. With Ryan Grant out for the season, Sims could make the Practice Squad. WR Anthony Mix is a bit of a ‘tweener. He will have to lose some weight and increase his quickness in order to have a chance, but he is a tall target and a good athlete. And there are three intriguing interior offensive linemen. Matt Lentz started a ton of games at right guard for Michigan and is a tough, competitive player. Tony Tella is a more athletic left guard and was a two-year starter another major program (Miami). And center Todd Londott was pursued by a number of teams after the draft. Unless someone gets hurt, their best chance is the Practice Squad, but each of these three could develop down the road.
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