Apr 302013

Tom Coughlin on WFAN Discussing the Giants Draft: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available on CBSNewYork.com. Coughlin not only talked about the Giants’ 2013 draft class but also the contract situation of restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz.

Jerry Reese on ESPN Radio Discussing the Giants Draft: The audio of yesterday’s ESPN Radio interview with General Manager Jerry Reese is available at ESPN.com. Reese not only talked about the Giants’ 2013 draft class but also the contract situation of restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz.

NFL Network Interview with OL Justin Pugh: The video of yesterday’s NFL Network interview with OL Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

Articles on QB Ryan Nassib:

Giants Draft Picks at NFL Combine: Giants.com put together a video compilation of OB Justin Pugh, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Damontre Moore, and QB Ryan Nassib at the NFL Combine.

Apr 292013

Unofficial Reports on New York Giants Rookie Free Agent Signings: According to unofficial sources, the Giants have signed two more undrafted rookie free agents, bringing the total to seven:

  • RB Jeremy Wright, Louisville
  • WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech
  • TE Chase Clement, LSU
  • LB Etienne Sabino, Ohio State
  • LB Charles Dieuseul, Mount Union
  • CB Charles James, Charleston Southern
  • S Alonzo Tweedy, Virginia Tech

For scouting reports and video on these players, check out the BBI 2013 Draft Review section of the website.

Article on OL Justin Pugh: Giants Pick Justin Pugh Grew Into Football Out of Hockey by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Articles on QB Ryan Nassib:

Apr 272013

Giants Draft Ryan Nassib, Cooper Taylor, Eric Herman, Michael Cox: On the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Giants selected the following players:

  • QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (4th round, #110 overall)
  • S Cooper Taylor, Richmond (5th round, #152 overall)
  • OG Eric Herman, Ohio (7th round, #225 overall)
  • RB Michael Cox, Massachusetts (7th round, #253 overall)

To select Nassib, the Giants traded away their 6th round selection to the Arizona Cardinals in order to move up six spots.

For a scouting reports and video on on each of these players, as well as reaction from General Manager Jerry Reese, Head Coach Tom Coughlin, and Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, see our 2013 NFL Draft Review section of the website.

Giants Begin to Sign Undrafted Rookie Free Agents: Various sources are reporting that the Giants have signed the following undrafted rookie free agents. However, keep in mind that sometimes these reports are erroneous in that the player is merely being invited for a tryout at the rookie mini-camp rather than officially signed.

  • TE Chase Clement, LSU
  • LB Etienne Sabino, Ohio State
  • LB Charles Dieuseul, Mount Union
  • CB Charles James, Charleston Southern
  • S Alonzo Tweedy, Virginia Tech

Articles on OL Justin Pugh:

Apr 262013

Giants Draft DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Damontre Moore in Rounds 2-3 of the 2013 NFL Draft: With their second-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft (#49 overall), the Giants selected DT Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State) on Friday night. They followed that up by selecting DE Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) in the third round (#81 overall).

For a scouting reports and video on Hankins and Moore, as well as reaction from General Manager Jerry Reese, Head Coach Tom Coughlin, Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, and the players, see our 2013 NFL Draft Review section of the website.

The final four rounds of the draft will continue on Saturday, starting at noon.

General Manager Jerry Reese on WFAN: The audio of Friday’s WFAN interview with General Manager Jerry Reese is available at CBSNewYork.com.

OL Justin Pugh on Makes the Radio Rounds: OL Justin Pugh was interviewed Friday by the following radio stations:

Giants.com Video Piece on OL Justin Pugh: A video of Bob Papa, Carl Banks, and Shaun O’Hara talking with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and General Manager Jerry Reese on Thursday about the selection of OL Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

OL Justin Pugh Draft Day Phone Call Video: A video of OL Justin Pugh being called by the New York Giants to let him know they were selecting him in the first round is available at YouTube.com.

Apr 262013

New York Giants Select OL Justin Pugh in the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft: With their first-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft (#19 overall), the Giants selected OL Justin Pugh (Syracuse) on Thursday night. For a scouting report and video on Pugh, as well as reaction from General Manager Jerry Reese, Head Coach Tom Coughlin, Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, and Pugh, see our 2013 NFL Draft Review section of the website.

Rounds 2-3 of the draft will continue on Friday, starting at 6:30PM.

Article on the Giants’ Running Backs:Giants ‘May Have Considered’ Brandon Jacobs Return, Running Backs Coach Says by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger

Apr 252013

BBI Draft Review Section Now Live: Our annual “BBI Draft Review” section is now available in The Draft section of the website. Throughout the three-day NFL Draft and afterwards as undrafted rookie free agents are signed, we will be regularly updating this document with scouting reports and video on the new players, as well as reaction from Giants’ team officials such as Head Coach Tom Coughlin, General Manager Jerry Reese, and Director of College Scouting Marc Ross. Interviews with many of the new draft picks will also be available. We recommend that you constantly refresh this section for updates.

Draft schedule:

  • Round 1: Thursday, April 25th at 8:00PM
  • Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 26th at 6:30PM
  • Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 27th at Noon

Michael Boley Could Return?: According to multiple press reports, the Giants have not closed the door on LB Michael Boley returning to the team. The Giants waived Boley in early February along with DT Chris Canty and RB Ahmad Bradshaw.

Giants.com Q&A With General Manager Jerry Reese: The video of a recent Giants.com interview with General Manager Jerry Reese is available at Giants.com.

ESPNNewYork Positional Draft Previews:

Articles on the Giants and the 2013 NFL Draft:

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks Taking It “Easy” But Not “Slow” With Comeback This Time by Ebenezer Samuel of The Daily News

Apr 242013

New York Giants Re-Sign RB Andre Brown: According to press reports, restricted free agent RB Andre Brown signed his 1-year, $2.023 million tender yesterday.

New York Giants’ Most Recent Offer to Cruz $8 Million Per Season?: According to The Daily News, the Giants’ latest offer to restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz is close to $8 million per season with $15-18 million in guaranteed money.

Giants.com Q&A With Director of College Scouting Marc Ross: The video of Giants.com Q&A with Director of College Scouting Marc Ross is available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A With Scout Steve Verderosa: The video of Giants.com Q&A with Scout Steve Verderosa is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the Giants and the 2013 NFL Draft:

Article on Former Giants PK Pat Summerall: Remembering Pat Summerall, the Football Player by Andy Barall of The New York Times

Apr 232013
Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 23, 2013)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Needs

I think there are three ways to look at team “needs.”  The first – and most obvious to fans – is to look at the depth chart and say, “we need a better player here” or “we have a big hole there.”  The second – and less obvious – is to consider what positions a particular team places a premium on in order to remain a strong contender.  The third – and something rarely considered by fans – is that a team like the New York Giants does not look at the next upcoming draft as only a way to address immediate needs.  Indeed, General Manager Jerry Reese and company are considering 2014 and 2015 as much as 2013, when they select a player.  What players are nearing the end of their prime?  Who has injury issues?  What players are making too much money or will be asking for too much money?  Who is likely to not be on the team in two years?

We’ll consider all three factors in this draft preview article.  Don’t let the wide range of positions startle you.  Almost all NFL teams have a bunch of team needs when you consider the three aforementioned factors.  At the same time, do not overrate the talent on the Giants.  This is a team that has won two NFL Championships in the last six NFL seasons.  But many of those key components are now gone or past their primes.  In order for the Giants to seriously contend once again, they must restock the cupboards.  Too often in recent drafts, the Giants have selected players – particularly in the 2-4 rounds – who have not developed.  That needs to change in this draft.

When the Giants pick players in the upcoming draft, also do not overemphasize the position selected.  For example, is it better to draft an average linebacker or an outstanding defensive tackle?  The average linebacker you will have to soon replace.  The outstanding defensive tackle becomes a core player.  Pick good players in the draft; fill in the remaining holes with second-tier veteran free agents after the draft is over.

Linebacker (Both Middle and Outside): Defensively, because they play a 4-3, the Giants correctly place a premium on defensive linemen over linebackers.  In a 4-3 defense, by the very nature of the scheme, the impact players are on the defensive line.  But since players like Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce left years ago, the Giants have not only lacked a steady production at the position, they have also missed that leadership.  A good linebacker – in the 4-3 or 3-4 – is often the leader of the defense.  The Giants are severely lacking in that department.

At middle linebacker, Dan Connor gets a one-year audition.  A once highly-regarded draft pick, Connor has flashed but his career has not progressed as expected.   He could surprise.  Mark Herzlich is a nice story, but he has not taken advantage of opportunities presented to him.  Is he athletic enough to start at the NFL level?  Time may be running out for him.

Outside, not only are there talent questions, but quantity seems to be a problem, especially if Mathias Kiwanuka is moved back to defensive end as many hope.  Michael Boley is gone.  Left is Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, and Spencer Paysinger.  That’s it.  Supposedly the Giants had big plans for Williams last year in their sub-defensive packages but he missed much of the year with injury.  He’s a bit undersized and not the most physical guy in the world against the run.  Keith Rivers – like Connor – has not lived up to his NFL Draft hype.  He simply can’t stay healthy.  He gets one more year in New York to turn his career around.  Paysinger has made more of an impact on special teams than on defense to date.

Offensive Line (Both Tackle and Guard): The Giants need to invest more premium resources here to restock an area of the team that has been fraying at the edges.  The Giants have a number of issues on the line.  Assuming everyone stays healthy and/or recovers nicely from offseason  medical procedures, the Giants should be OK in 2013 at left tackle (Will Beatty), left guard (Kevin Boothe), center (David Baas), and right guard (Chris Snee).  But there is a big question mark at right tackle where David Diehl will battle James Brewer for the starting job.  Diehl is obviously nearing the end of his NFL career.  And while Brewer has a nice combination of size and athleticism, we really do not know if he has the skills and temperament to succeed at the NFL level as a starter.

But right tackle is not the only issue.  Both starting guards may be gone in 2014.  Chris Snee’s play has been declining for two years, he is very expensive, and he has talked about retirement.  Kevin Boothe only re-signed for one season and will be an unrestricted free agent again.  At center, for better or worse, re-structuring David Baas’ contract likely means the Giants are stuck with him for one, maybe two more seasons.  He’s a good player when healthy, but Baas always seems to be hurt.

Also impacting this analysis is, aside from Brewer, we do not know how the Giants really feel about Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants, Selvish Capers, and Stephen Goodin.  They have some talent, but do they have a future?  Can the Giants risk relying solely on their development?

Defensive Line (Both End and Tackle): This is the heart of the Giants defense.  If this area is not strong, the Giants’ defense will not be strong.  And this area was not strong in 2012.  It lived more off of reputation than ability.  The Giants may have enough talent here to get by in 2013, but much depends on aging veterans.  There are also bigger concerns for 2014 and beyond.

At end, Jason Pierre-Paul had a very disappointing season.  While his run defense was good, he did not accrue a sack in the last seven games of the season.  He is still very young and has a big upside, but the Giants need him to play like he did in 2011.   I expected Justin Tuck to rebound from a down regular-season in 2011, but he did not.  He seems re-energized this offseason, but one wonders how much his body is beginning to betray him?  He is entering a contract year and the Giants may choose to move on in 2014.  If Mathias Kiwanuka moves back to defensive end, then the immediate talent/depth concerns decline.  But keep in mind that Kiwanuka is 30 years old  and has had serious neck issues.  Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo, Justin Trattou, and Matt Broha have all flashed but it remains to be seen what their true ability is against NFL starting competition.

At tackle, the Giants were not strong up the middle in 2012 and the whole defense suffered because of it.  Heading into the draft, while the Giants have a lot of bodies, the only one without serious question marks is Linval Joseph, and he will be a free agent in 2014.  Cullen Jenkins should help in the short term, but he is 32 and on the downside of his career.  Fellow ex-Eagle Mike Patterson never lived up to his 1st-round hype, but he can be a steady Rocky Bernard-type if he makes the team.  Shaun Rogers missed all of 2012 with a health issue, is clearly nearing the end, and will have to fight to make the team.  Markus Kuhn is coming off of a serious ACL knee injury.  And Marvin Austin has been a 2nd-round disappointment.  Quantity does not equal quality.  This position is too important.

Defensive Back (Both Cornerback and Safety): At cornerback, again the Giants have numbers and recognizable names, but how good are these players?  The hope is that Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley continue to develop, or the Giants are in worse shape than it seems.  Amukamara has a solid – not special – season.  Hosley really struggled much of the time as the nickel slot corner, but the team seems high on him.  Corey Webster was very inconsistent, had some horrible games, and saw his salary cut.  He has a history of rebounding nicely but he is on the wrong side of 30 for an NFL corner and this could be his last year with the Giants.  Terrell Thomas is coming off his third ACL tear and may never be the same player; he’s on a 1-year deal.  Aaron Ross was brought back for veteran depth but turns 31 and also signed only a 1-year contract.  So in many ways, a good, young cornerback makes a lot of sense for the Giants.

The Giants lost Kenny Phillips in free agency and hope that Will Hill or Stevie Brown can adequately replace him.  Hill has a lot of ability but has to keep his nose clean.  Brown was a major surprise last year with his nose for the football, but he has to prove that he is not a one-year wonder and improve the more mundane aspects of his play such as run defense and not making mistakes in coverage.  Antrel Rolle is 30 and has a huge contract.  He could become a cap casualty in 2014.  Ryan Mundy did not impress in Pittsburgh other than on special teams.  Tyler Sash appears to be just a special teams guy.

Summary/Other Positions: The Giants’ biggest needs are the offensive line and everywhere on defense.  This is a defense that ranked 27th in 2011 and 31st in 2012.  They are clearly living off of past reputation more than anything right now.  To be blunt, the Giants’ defense stinks.  The offense – aside from some depth issues – is in pretty good shape except for the short- and long-term questions on the offensive line.

Here are some other areas where the Giants could use some improved depth or could take a special player if someone becomes available:

Tight End: The top guys will be Brandon Myers, Adrien Robinson, and Bear Pascoe.  But the Giants could use a solid, two-way tight end for depth and competition.  Myers is basically on a 1-year contract and Pascoe is just a guy.  Robinson should become the best blocker of the group, but another body would be nice.

Wide Receiver:  If the value is too great to pass on, the Giants certainly could add another receiver.  But I think Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will both be here for a while.  Rueben Randle is going to be a player if he works harder.  And the Giants have Louis Murphy and Jerrel Jernigan competing for playing time as the fourth and fifth receivers.  The Giants also seem to always find an interesting undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver.  Not a pressing need, but if someone slips…

Running Back: The top two backs are clearly David Wilson and Andre Brown.  But since Wilson isn’t the biggest guy in the world and Brown has been injury-prone, a third option would be nice.  That could be a draft pick or a veteran such as Ryan Torain.

What about a developmental quarterback?  No room on the roster and a good one would be snatched off of the Practice Squad.

Apr 232013
Stevie Brown, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Stevie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Safety

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Safeties on the Giants Roster:

Antrel Rolle – 30 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Stevie Brown – 25 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Ryan Mundy – 28 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Will Hill – 23 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Tyler Sash – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

David Caldwell – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

Perry Fewell’s scheme puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of its safeties and calls for versatile athletes that are at least capable of man coverage as well as a presence against the run.  Their current personnel at this group may not be well known around the league, but it is a reliable component to the defense as a whole.  They are led by a savvy veteran and team leader Antrell Rolle.  Since signing a big contract via free agency in 2010, Rolle has been the steady presence in the middle of their secondary that had been missing out for years.  His versatility is a vital attribute to this defense.  Brown came out of nowhere and led the team with 8 interceptions.  While I don’t use that stat alone to judge how good a player performs because interceptions are frequently a “right place-right time” occurrence, Brown earned the right to start in 2013.  He is a well rounded safety that tackles well and anticipates the action.  Will Hill is another nicely-priced, versatile safety with the best physical tool set in the group.  He is a capable backup that has shown flashes of physical presence across the middle.  Mundy was brought in via free agency to provide an extra layer of depth to the group.  He is an average pass defender that can make big hits over the middle.  He will make the team, but he’s not a guy that is in the long term plans.  Sash is a special teams weapon that that can contribute to the defense as a guy in the box.  He lacks the athletic tool set and reaction skills to play a role in coverage schemes.  Caldwell is a training camp body that will likely not make the team.  When considering the economics of a football roster, these safeties are an efficient group with enough youth.  There is a nice blend of talent that mixes in well when put together.

Top 10 Grades:

Kenny Vaccaro – 6’0/214 – Texas: 83

Matt Elam – 5’10/208 – Florida: 78

Jonathan Cyprien – 6’0/217: 77

Shamarko Thomas – 5’9/213 – Syracuse: 77

Josh Evans – 6’1/207 – Florida: 77

Zeke Motta – 6’2/213 – Notre Dame: 76

Eric Reid – 6’1/213 – LSU – 75

Tony Jefferson – 5’11/213 – Oklahoma: 73

T.J. McDonald – 6’3/219 – USC: 72

Duke Williams – 5’11/203 – Nevada: 70

Early Round Target (1st-2nd):

Kenny Vaccaro – Texas

Easy and fluid hips.  Minimal effort to turn and run.  Very agile and flexible, natural mover in space.  Tenacious player that plays faster than he times.  Will catch a lot of guys from behind.  Closes a 10-15 yard window as fast as anyone.  Explodes downhill and will play a physical game against the run.  Good tackler that will wrap up.  Versatile enough to play safety and cornerback.  Was used all over the field in the Texas scheme.  Always around the ball, a true gamer.  May not be a deep cover safety.  Doesn’t show the same speed when chasing the deep route runners.  Will get reckless at times, losing track of assignments.

If there is one safety in consideration for round 1, it is Vaccaro.  He almost came out last year after receiving a second round grade, but went back to refine some skills, notably as a cover man.  Texas’ scheme had Vaccaro moving all over the field and he proved to be a true weapon the closer he moved to the line of scrimmage.  He is a guy that plays as fast as the guy he is up against no matter what, something you don’t see often.  His relentlessness in pursuit and ability to close a gap is Polamalu-esque, any scheme can use that.  Vaccaro is the kind of player that comes in and gets on the field right away because he has such a versatile skill set that elevates the abilities of other players.

Mid Round Target (3rd-5th):

Shamarko Thomas – Syracuse

One of the biggest hitters in the nation.  A brick house that brings a presence to every tackle he makes. Intimidator over the middle that makes in impact on receivers that cross it.  Elite speed in coverage and pursuit.  Moves at such a rapid pace but shows nice balance and body control.  Processes his reads well and shows instinctive movement.  Plays a reckless style and will overpursue.  Needs to slow down sometimes.  Not a consistent tackler, fails to wrap up.  Ball skills are average in traffic, won’t get his hands on a lot of passes.  Run defender that can be exposed in zone coverage.

One player comes to mind every single time I watch Thomas play: Bob Sanders.  Now his career was cut short by injuries because of a reckless style within a small frame, but that doesn’t stop me from giving Thomas a similar grade to Elam.  He is the guy that every defense wants in the middle of their secondary.  He makes an impact on so many plays.  When a physical force hustles the way Thomas does, big things can happen on a weekly basis.  He is potentially a big time playmaker that can be had in the middle rounds.

Late Round Target (6th-UDFA):

Zeke Motta – Notre Dame

Big time presence that will be physically ready for the power of the NFL right away.  Explosive downhill player that plays fast when the action is in front of him.  Sound, physical tackler that makes in impact with each it.  Takes proper angles in pursuit.  Very aware and smart, quick reaction.  Can cover tight ends step for step.  Experienced in zone coverage.  Not a guy you can trust in deep coverage.  Doesn’t have a lot of range, lacks top end speed when running with back to the line of scrimmage.  Stiff when moving laterally in coverage.  Not very versatile.

I really hope the poor forty time bumps Motta down in to the later rounds because I think he is going to be a great value there.  He lacks top end athletic traits when the speed is needed.  He doesn’t have that extra gear that most safeties possess.  But Motta stands out in every Notre Dame tape I watch because of how well he plays downhill.  He can be a force in the box, similar to Bernard Pollard.  He can cover the athletic tight ends all over the field.  Hard worker that will make an impact on special teams.  There are simply some guys that you just know will, at the very least, carve a niche for themselves in the league and consistently contribute.  Motta is one of those guys.

The Plan:

The Giants have room on their roster for another safety, but there is enough within their group for 2013.  Their starters are set and they have a couple of younger guys that are still progressing along with a veteran that can play both positions.  Rolle has played very well over the past few seasons, but I still think they don’t have any star players back there.  A top tier player back there can make a defense completely different because they are so frequently in the middle of the action.  This scheme can do a lot with a versatile safety, thus if the value matches up when they are on the clock, this should be a consideration.  There are a lot of guys in this class that I think are vastly overrated by the media.  Guys like Rambo, Reid, McDonald and Swearinger are highlight-reel friendly but did not grade out as high on my sheet.  I want a versatile athlete that plays with a consistent motor.  Put him in to this depth chart and I think good things will happen.

Apr 232013

John Mara to New York Giants Fans – “Be Patient”: Giants’ President/CEO John Mara had a message for Giants’ fans yesterday regarding the unsigned status of restricted free agent WR Victor Cruz. “It’ll get done at some point,” said Mara. “Just be patient.”

With restricted free agency over, Cruz only has three options: he can sign his 1-year, $2.879 million tender (which can be lowered by the Giants on June 17); sign the long-term deal the Giants are currently offering; or holdout.

Giants.com Q&As with Giants’ Scouts: Video of Giants.com interviews with the following Giants’ scouts are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the Giants’ Scouting Staff:

Articles on the Giants and the 2013 NFL Draft: The 2013 NFL Draft begins on Thursday at 8:00PM.

Article on WR Louis Murphy: WR Louis Murphy Can Bring Big Play Offense by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on Former Giants RB John Tuggle: Once Mr. Irrelevant, a Giant Remains an Inspiring Force by Robert Weintraub of The New York Times