May 102017
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (October 4, 2015)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARK HERZLICH WILL ALSO WORK AT TIGHT END…
New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich has revealed that the reason he changed his jersey number from #94 to #44 was so he could also play tight end on offense. The coaching staff asked Herzlich to also learn the offense this offseason.

“I needed to have an eligible number,” said Herzlich. “It’s exciting. A lot of times I’m playing scout-team tight end the last couple of years just because we were low in numbers and I was able to show I could be versatile in that aspect. So, when it’s, ‘Hey, you want to come add another weapon to your repertoire?’ It’s, ‘Yeah, sure, sign me up.’ The more I can learn, the better. And the better I can help out, the better, too… We’ll see what Coach (Ben) McAdoo puts me at, but I can go back and forth and learn both (offense and defense). I anticipate helping out in all three phases (including special teams).”

“He’s that good from what I see every day in practice,” fellow linebacker Keenan Robinson said. “He can run routes with the best of them. He can block better than probably most of them. He’s just a versatile athlete. He’s got the size and frame, so that helps, also.”

J.T. THOMAS STILL RECOVERING FROM HIS KNEE INJURY…
New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas, who missed virtually all of the 2016 NFL season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, is still recovering from the injury.

“I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m at about 75-80 percent. I’ll be ready to go in training camp,” Thomas said. “I’m really, really trying to time the thing up, so when that light comes on Sunday there isn’t any excuses why you won’t see #55 on the field.”

Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants signed Thomas in March 2015. In 2015 with the Giants, Thomas played in 12 games with 11 starts, missing four games with an ankle injury.

Thomas currently has the team’s 10th largest 2017 cap hit with $4 million.

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)

ARTICLES…

May 072017
 
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Travis Rudolph, Florida State Seminoles (September 5, 2016)

Travis Rudolph – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP STARTS ON FRIDAY…
The New York Giants will hold a 3-day rookie mini-camp starting on Friday, May 12th. Head Coach Ben McAdoo, team coordinators, and select players will be available to the media on Friday.

Those players in attendance will include the Giants’ six draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, players who were signed to reserve/future contracts in the offseason, and rookie and veteran street free agent tryout players.

REPORT – GIANTS ADD ANOTHER ROOKIE FREE AGENT…
NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback DaShaun Amos.

JERRY REESE ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese is available at ESPN.com.

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Apr 072017
 
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Tavarres King, New York Giants (January 1, 2017)

Tavarres King – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MORE DETAILS ON THIS YEAR’S DUKE PASSING CAMP…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning held his annual unofficial passing camp at Duke University this week. Those who attended reportedly included wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King, and Roger Lewis; tight ends Rhett Ellison, Will Tye, and Jerell Adams; running back Shaun Draughn; and quarterback Josh Johnson. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. did not attend this year due to oral surgery.

Manning told The New York Post that he is impressed with Marshall, who the Giants signed in free agency after he was cut by the New York Jets.

“I think Plaxico (Burress) was kind of the last one similar to that size,” said Manning. “They can be open when they’re not really open. You don’t want to get into a habit, it’s not a jump-ball but you can throw him open. He’s been in lots of offenses and he gets open a lot of different ways, very disciplined in his route-running and understanding concepts. I think he’ll be good for that receiver room and in our locker room, having that veteran presence.

“I was excited when we made that acquisition. He’s obviously a big target and smart, asks a lot of questions, he’s going to pick up the offense quickly. And he’s excited. He’s excited about coming to this offense and staying in New York and having a No. 1 receiver (Beckham) on the opposite side of him.”

The workouts are overseen by current Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe, who was Eli Manning’s head coach at the University of Mississippi from 2000 to 2003. The program consists of on-field work that lasts two and a half hours per day, split into two sessions. The players also do strength and film work. For years, Cutcliffe has coached Manning on his fundamentals, including footwork and throwing motion.

The 36-year old Manning knows there has been much talk that he is nearing the end of his career. “You take it one year at a time,’’ Manning told The Post. “Right now I feel great. Feel like I can continue to play, but obviously from year to year in this league you don’t know what’s gonna happen and what can change. Work hard to stay healthy and my body feels like I can play a number of years ahead.”

JOHN MARA DOES NOT THINK OWA ODIGHIZUWA IS RETIRING…
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara was asked about speculation that 25-year old defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa may be retiring from football. Odighizuwa tweeted on Monday that “at the point and time I believe it’s in my best interest to take sometime to get away from the game.”

“I don’t think so,” said Mara. “I spoke to him, but I’d rather not comment on that. He’s still on the team, yes, but I’d rather not comment on it.”

TRANSCRIPT OF BBI DRAFT CHAT WITH GREAT BLUE NORTH DRAFT REPORT…
The transcript of Thursday’s BBI draft chat with Colin of the Great Blue North Draft Report is available in The Corner Forum section of the website.

IMPORTANT DATES SECTION UPDATED…
We have updated the important upcoming dates section of the website.

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Apr 022017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 18, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ELI MANNING AND BRANDON MARSHALL BEGIN WORKING TOGETHER…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will begin his annual unofficial passing camp at Duke University this upcoming week. The Daily News reported on Tuesday that newcomer wide receiver Brandon Marshall will participate. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and other Giants receivers have participated in previous years.

The workouts are overseen by current Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe, who was Eli Manning’s head coach at the University of Mississippi from 2000 to 2003. Cutcliffe uses these workouts to help his friend Manning as well as expose his players to the work ethic of professional football players.

“The benefits for (the Giants players) are great as they come in here and get a great, private opportunity to work,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday. “I just enjoy my time with Eli. It’s something that’s celebrating five years of being together in college. At the same time, what a gifted player and person. Not only am I working with Eli and these phenomenal receivers, our players are affected as well. It’s a golden opportunity for us. One of our receivers can ask Odell Beckham questions.”

The program consists of on-field work that lasts two and a half hours per day, split into two sessions. The players will also receive treatment and rehab (if necessary) and do strength and film work. For years, Cutcliffe has coached Manning on his fundamentals, including footwork and throwing motion.

“What those guys are doing is creating the proper chemistry and the proper timing to get more prepared for OTAs (Organized Team Activity practices),” Cutcliffe said. “We work on all types of throws in all areas of the field.”

The New York Giants offseason program begins on April 18 and the first OTA practice will be held on May 22.

“We’re going to throw and watch film,” Marshall said of the Duke University workouts. “It’s just a jump-start on chemistry building and coming together and learning the offense for me. I think for me personally it’s about getting a jump-start on learning the offense and what they are expecting of me.”

ARTICLES…

Mar 272017
 
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Nick Mangold, New York Jets (October 17, 2016)

Nick Mangold – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – GIANTS INTERESTED IN NICK MANGOLD…
The Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in free agent offensive center Nick Mangold, who was released by the New York Jets in late February before free agency started.

The 33-year old Mangold was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. In his 11 seasons with the Jets, Mangold started every game he played in, missing only 12 games (eight of which were in 2016 due to an ankle injury). Mangold has been voted to seven Pro Bowls (2008-2011, 2013-2015) and is a three-time All-Pro (2009-2011). Though an aging veteran, Mangold is still capable of being a very effective run and pass blocker when healthy.

STEVE TISCH COMMENTS ON HIS TEAM…
New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch spoke with reporters on Monday at the NFL Annual meeting and addressed the following issues:

  • On General Manager Jerry Reese: “There was a lot of heat on Jerry (last year). John Mara, my partner, made it very clear to Jerry, ‘We’re watching you and we have very high expectations, and it’s really your time to deliver, Jerry.’ So the moves he made last season, clearly in retrospect, were hugely significant and really changed the whole defense of the team. I’m thrilled Jerry accepted the challenge, acknowledged what he had to do and he did it. That doesn’t happen every time. It doesn’t happen really all that often… So, Jerry has done a fantastic job. Looking forward to the draft next month, I’m very excited who we’re gonna add to the team.’’
  • On if the Giants need to replace quarterback Eli Manning: “You can’t beat age. I think it’s certainly in the back of everybody’s mind, including Eli’s. There’s no urgency, there’s no panic, but I think if you’re a responsible owner, responsible GM, you’ve got to start thinking about it… We’re not coming at this from any place of desperation or urgent need. Jerry is aware of it, John (Mara) and I are aware of it, and it’s just part of the game, literally, and metaphorically.”
  • On unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins: “I think Johnathan and his agent know where we are. The agent has all of the phone numbers… I’m very optimistic that we’re going to work this out. I’m pretty convinced Johnathan would like to work this out. I hope we can… That’s just going to be another position filled by an extremely athletic, gifted, talented player… No one is panicking right now. There’s time.”

ARTICLES…

Mar 272017
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JOHN MARA COMMENTS ON HIS TEAM…
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara spoke with reporters on Sunday at the NFL Annual meeting and addressed the following issues:

  • On offensive lineman Ereck Flowers: “I’m not giving up on Ereck Flowers yet. I know that seems to be the popular sentiment around, but this is a young kid who’s been in our weight room every day in the offseason — he wants to be good. He wants to be a top left tackle in this game. There’s a spot for him on our team. Hopefully it will continue to be at left tackle, but I’m not giving up on him yet, and I don’t think anyone on our staff is… I think he’s a very prideful guy, I think he was probably stung by some of the criticism and I think that will serve to motivate him next year He’s a good kid, he really is. He wants to be a top player in this league, and I think when you have a guy that’s going to work as hard as he does and is as big and strong as he is, I think you have a chance… I know he believes that he can play better, and we believe he can play better too. And we believe he will.”
  • On his team’s offensive decline: “Well, there were a lot of things. Our running game was not very good last year and I think that was the result of a lot of things. We tried to address that this offseason, I mean, bringing in (Rhett) Ellison, who’s a really good blocking tight end, that’s something we really haven’t had here for a while, that will help us. I think we still need to add another running back at some point in time. (Offensive lineman D.J.) Fluker will certainly help us as far as running the ball. There are a lot of guys who can play better than they did. I think adding (wide receiver) Brandon Marshall will help us too, because now it gives us that other threat out there. I certainly expect to see a better offense next year.”
  • On signing wide receiver Brandon Marshall: “…a spark to the entire organization, getting a player of that caliber. We were talking once the season ended about how it would really be nice to have a big receiver in here to complement our offense, and then all of a sudden he becomes available. I think that’s really going to help us. He’s got a great attitude and he wants to win, and I think he’ll be a good influence in the receiver room.”
  • On if Head Coach Ben McAdoo will continue to call the offensive plays: “That’s up to him, it really is. We’ve questioned him about it a couple of times, he’s still comfortable doing it. I think he still thinks about passing it off to Mike Sullivan, but I think he’s still — (Packers coach) Mike McCarthy still does it, and that was kind of his mentor. If he’s comfortable doing it, it’s fine with us, as long as he feels like he can manage the game properly.”
  • On McAdoo’s first year as a head coach: “You never know when you have a new coach. I think he adapted to it very well. I still think he’s still young, he still has more that he has to learn, as I’m sure he would be the first to tell you. But we were certainly very pleased with his first year. He hit the ground running and he did very well.”
  • On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s 4-year, $62 million contract: “If we didn’t know him at all, I’d be a little more nervous, but I know how prideful he is and how hard he plays and how much he wants to win, so I feel comfortable with that. It’s always a risk when you pay that much money, but he always plays hard and wants to win so badly. I think he’s well worth it.”
  • On unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins: “There’s still one more piece out there that we’d like to keep, but we wanted to try to do that if possible without being irresponsible. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We certainly want him back, but it’s got to make sense for us. He’s an important part of our team, he’s a great kid, he’s young and he fits in very well with us.”
  • On his team’s overall status: “On the field, (2016) was partially successful. You’re never fully happy unless you get to the Super Bowl, but having not been in the playoffs four years in a row, you start to feel that pressure. And when you spend all that money (in free agency in 2016), you really feel that pressure. I was happy to be back in the playoffs. I was disappointed with how we played in Green Bay, but I think it gives us something to build on. We still have a pretty good young nucleus. We still have a quarterback who can play at a high level. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

GIANTS STILL OFFERING MULTI-YEAR DEAL TO JOHNATHAN HANKINS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants “continue to offer (unrestricted free agent defensive tackle) Johnathan Hankins a multi-year deal that stacks up well in this free agent market.” Hankins is the team’s last high profile free agent.

ARTICLES…

Mar 102017
 
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Menelik Watson, Oakland Raiders (August 12, 2016)

Menelik Watson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN MENELIK WATSON…
The Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders).

The 28-year old Watson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Since that time, he has played in 27 regular-season games with just 17 starts, including five games in 2016. Watson has been injury prone and missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon. He also missed time in 2013 (knee and calf), 2014 (foot and ankle), and 2016 (groin and calf). Watson has good size, is athletic, and is versatile, having played both tackle spots. Watson is a good run blocker, but he has had issues in pass protection.

(Late Note: Watson signed with the Denver Broncos).

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN D.J. FLUKER…
The Bergen Record and ESPN are reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in free agent offensive tackle/guard D.J. Fluker, who was cut earlier this week by the Los Angeles Chargers. ESPN says Fluker has a visit scheduled with the Giants and is drawing strong interest from the New England Patriots as well.

The 25-year old Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker has started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker has struggled since and was cut by the Chargers in March 2017. Fluker has excellent size (6’5”, 339 pounds) and strength, but he has struggled in pass protection. Tough, he’s played through injuries but has had issues with the cerebral elements of the game such as picking up stunts.

RHETT ELLISON SIGNING OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent tight end/H-Back/fullback Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings) on Friday. Ellison is reported to have signed a 4-year, $18 million contract that included $8 million in guaranteed money.

“Rhett is a versatile, hard-nosed player who we feel is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He also has good hands and is a very capable receiver in the pass game.”

Ellison said the Giants were interested in him before the 2012 NFL Draft and had hoped the team would select him nearly five years ago.

“It just kind of came together at the right time,” Ellison said. “It was unbelievable. It was cool to see that they were still following and still keeping an eye on me, and still wanted me to come here. It was the best-case scenario.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to be part of a team like this. I can already tell the culture is a whole different thing here. It’s a family. Everybody is all-in from the G.M. to the dishwasher. I can already feel the family here.

“(Blocking is) a big part of what I do. It started as a survival thing at USC, where that was the only way I was getting on the field. That was the pride of my game, being physical, being in the right spot, being a technician, and just effort. In the run game, it’s all about effort.”

At USC, Ellison was a teammate of Giants linebacker Devon Kennard.

“I had a lot of battles with him,” Ellison said. “He’s a strong dude, so it’s going to be fun to compete with him again. I think we definitely made each other better in college. He’s one of my favorite guys.”

Ellison’s father, Riki, played on the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1989) when the Giants and 49ers had an intense rivalry.

“He’s excited,” Ellison said. “He wants me to have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. And he couldn’t be more excited. He had some run-ins with the Giants back in his career. Oddly enough, they were one of his least-favorite teams, because they had some losses to them in the playoffs.  Now he’s a big Giants fan. He’s already asking for all the gear.”

The 28-year old Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. In five NFL seasons, Ellison has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in Week 17 of 2015. He returned in 2016, but only caught nine passes for 57 yards. Ellison has good size (6’5”, 250 pounds) and is a good blocker. He is very versatile, having the ability to play tight end, H-Back, and fullback. Lacking speed and quickness, Ellison is not much of a threat as a receiver. Ellison is a good special teams player.

The transcript of today’s media conference call with Ellison is available in The Corner Forum.

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Mar 092017
 
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Rhett Ellison, Minnesota Vikings (November 6, 2016)

Rhett Ellison – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN RHETT ELLISON…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent tight end/H-Back/fullback Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings) to a 4-year, $18 million contract that includes $8 million guaranteed money.

The 28-year old Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. In five NFL seasons, Ellison has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in Week 17 of 2015. He returned in 2016, but only caught nine passes for 57 yards. Ellison has good size (6’5”, 250 pounds) and is a good blocker. He is very versatile, having the ability to play tight end, H-Back, and fullback. Lacking speed and quickness, Ellison is not much of a threat as a receiver. Ellison is a good special teams player.

ANTHONY FASANO SIGNS WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS…
Unrestricted free agent tight end Anthony Fasano (Tennessee Titans) has signed a 5-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. The New York Giants were reported to have some interest in Fasano.

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Mar 092017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (November 8, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN ORLEANS DARKWA…
Newsday is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed free agent running back Orleans Darkwa to a one-year contract. Darkwa was eligible to be a restricted free agent but the Giants chose not to tender him at the $1.797 million original-round level. This in effect made him an unrestricted free agent and allowed the Giants to re-sign him for a cheaper amount.

Darkwa was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2016 with a lower leg injury. Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014. In 2015 with the Giants, Darkwa carried the ball 36 times for 153 yards and one touchdown.

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN RHETT ELLISON…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent fullback/tight end/H-Back Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings).

The 28-year old Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. In five NFL seasons, Ellison has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in Week 17 of 2015. He returned in 2016, but only caught nine passes for 57 yards. Ellison has good size (6’5”, 250 pounds) and is a good blocker. Lacking speed and quickness, he is not much of a threat as a receiver. Ellison is a good special teams player.

REPORT – GIANTS AND JASON-PIERRE-PAUL NOT CLOSE ON NEW DEAL…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants and franchise-player defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are not close on a new, long-term deal. Pierre-Paul’s franchise tender is currently taking up $16.934 million of the 2017 salary cap.

TERRELL MCCLAIN SIGNS WITH WASHINGTON REDSKINS…
Unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) has signed a 4-year, $21 million contract with the Washington Redskins. The New York Giants were reported to have some interest in McClain.

BRANDON MARSHALL ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Thursday’s ESPN Radio interview of New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall is available at ESPN.com.

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Mar 082017
 
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Brandon Williams, Baltimore Ravens (September 25, 2016)

Brandon Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS INTERESTED IN BRANDON WILLIAMS AND TERRELL MCCLAIN…
According to media reports, the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defensive tackles Brandon Williams (Baltimore Ravens) and Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys). The Baltimore Sun is reporting the team’s interest in Williams, while First Coast News is reporting the Giants interest in McClain.

If the reports are accurate, the Giants could be using this interest as leverage against unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Or the Giants may know that they will not be able to re-sign Hankins.

The 28-year old Williams was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Ravens. He has started all but two regular-season games in the last three seasons. Last season, Williams accrued 51 tackles and one sack. Williams lacks ideal height (6’1”), but he mammoth (340 pounds) and considered one of the very best run-stuffing nose tackles in the NFL. Williams is not much of a pass rusher (4.5 career sacks).

The 28-year old McClain was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has played for the Panthers (2011), New England Patriots (2012), Houston Texans (2012-2013), and Dallas Cowboys (2014-2016). In six NFL seasons, McClain has played in 62 regular-season games with 27 starts. In 2016, he started 15 regular-season games and finished the year with 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. McClain lacks ideal size (6’2”, 302 pounds) but he was a disruptive player against the run and the pass in 2016. McClain has been injury prone.

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