May 062015
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There is a negative way and a positive way to look at the New York Giants 2015 NFL Draft class:

Negative: The Giants drafted a right tackle with a top 10 pick. They desperately drafted two safeties in a very weak draft at that position, actually spending four picks to do so. The team also drafted a defensive end with a bad hip, a wide receiver who had trouble separating from collegiate defensive backs, and a guard who can’t run.

Positive: The Giants drafted three players who many thought could have gone in the first round. In what was widely considered to be a weak draft class, the Giants drafted two immediate starters in offensive tackle Ereck Flowers and strong safety Landon Collins and possible eventual starters in defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa and free safety Mykkele Thompson.

I am going to lean towards the positive interpretation for this draft. If you told me before the draft that the Giants would come out with Flowers, Collins, and Odighizuwa, I would have said you were crazy. Even some of the most critical NYG fans were giving New York an “A” after the first two days of the draft. Day 3 left a bad taste with many, but regardless of how you feel about that day, it should not erase the fact that the Giants drafted three players who should have both an immediate and a long-term impact on the franchise.

Before we get into the pros and cons of the Giants first three players, let’s take a higher-level look at what these three players bring to the table: TOUGHNESS. Whether NYG fans want to admit it or not, the New York Giants since 2011 have not been a very tough or physical team. This is best demonstrated by their shoddy ability to run the ball and stop the run. But really, the issue has been even deeper than that. This is a team that has folded in some games after it got punched in the mouth. Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa won’t put up with that shit. This team just got a lot tougher on both sides of the football. New York Giants are supposed to be tough. End of story.

Also looking at this draft from a more strategic level, two things stand out to me: (1) regardless of what the team says, the Giants drafted almost solely for need, and (2) unless one of the Day 3 picks really surprise, this may turn out to be a three-player draft.

OT Ereck Flowers, 6’6”, 329 pounds, 5.35, University of Miami

To be blunt, the team had to come out of this draft with a rookie starter on the offensive line. That’s why it was almost guaranteed that the Giants were going to draft Brandon Scherff, Ereck Flowers, Andrus Peat, or La’el Collins (pre-off-the-field issue). The Giants were clearly targeting Scherff, but were not surprised to see him drafted before they picked. Unless WR Amari Cooper somehow landed in their lap, it was going to be Scherff or Flowers. Now the big question here is were the Giants forced to reach for Flowers because their desperate need on the offensive line? Many who liked Flowers did not consider him a top 10 pick. Top 20 or 30, but not top 10. These people suggest that the Giants may have been better off drafting RB Todd Gurley, DT Danny Shelton, or WR Devante Parker. A few made a case for CB Trae Waynes. But all four of those players had their warts too: Gurley the ACL, Shelton being one dimensional, Parker’s mental make-up, and the grabiness of Waynes in coverage.

Ereck Flowers, Miami Hurricanes (September 28, 2013)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

For weeks leading up to the draft, I thought that unless wideouts Amari Cooper or Kevin White fell to the Giants, from a value-need perspective, the pick was obviously going to be an offensive lineman. Scherff, Flowers, Peat, and Collins were all widely regarded as being worthy first round draft picks. All signs pointed to one of these four. The question really become, which one? The Redskins took Scherff out of the equation. Tragic circumstances took Collins out of the equation. So it came down to Flowers versus Peat. Each has their advocates. Peat is the smoother, more technically-sound left tackle; Flowers the meaner, more physical one. Most assume Peat will be an NFL left tackle; Flowers may be limited to right tackle (though the Giants don’t share this view). If I were making the pick, it would have been a coin flip between Peat and Flowers. I’m just glad the Giants got one of them. As I said, they needed to come out of this draft with an immediate starter on the offensive line. And they were fortunate that in this case, the value seemed to match up with the need. My only reservation? I do wonder if they missed out on a special player in Gurley. That said, this draft was simply too important for the Giants to screw up. They could not afford to take the risk on Gurley’s knee. The responsible pick was the offensive lineman.

Ereck Flowers brings size, strength, toughness, and nastiness to an offensive line that needed all four of those attributes. He looks born to play right tackle in the NFL and the combination of Flowers and Geoff Schwartz will give the Giants almost 700 pounds of beef on the right side of the line. Flowers’ biggest negative – technique – is correctable. You can’t teach size, athletic ability, or toughness. Moreover, if the Giants are right and Flowers can eventually be a franchise left tackle, then there is no arguing against this pick. But it will be interesting to track the careers of Flowers versus Peat.

S Landon Collins, 6’0”, 228 pounds, 4.48, University of Alabama

The inability to sign Devin McCourty from the Patriots and the departure of Antrel Rolle in free agency left the Giants desperately thin at safety, both in terms of numbers and talent. While Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor may end up being very good NFL players, they are relative unknowns. The problem for the Giants was the 2015 NFL Draft was obviously weak at safety. There were some suggesting that the Giants should consider drafting the consensus #1 safety in the draft – Landon Collins – in the first round, either at the #9 pick or after trading down. I was not among those people as I saw Collins as more of a strong safety-type and drafting him in the top 20 would have been a reach. But drafting Collins at the top of the second round is almost a no-brainer, again from a need-value perspective.

Landon Collins, Alabama Crimson Tide (October 18, 2014)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Collins is a big, physical, tough strong safety type who hits and tackles well. He was a team leader and versatile, having played strong safety, free safety, slot nickel, and probably even some linebacker in Nick Saban’s pro-style defense. After meeting with Collins before the draft, New York Giants Safeties Coach David Merritt told Tom Coughlin that Collins could orchestrate and direct traffic in an NFL defense from day one as a 21-year old rookie. Let that set in for a moment! Collins will bring leadership, stability, gravitas, and a physical presence to the secondary, middle of the field, and defense as a whole.

There are still detractors about the decision to surrender a 4th and 7th round pick to move up just seven spots in the second round. It may very well be there were better options for the Giants – with or without the trade up. A few names mentioned at the time included DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (ironically taken by the Giants a round later), DE Preston Smith (taken five picks later by Redskins), DT Eddie Goldman (taken six picks later), CB Jalen Collins (taken nine picks later), LB Eric Kendricks (taken 12 picks later), CB/S Eric Rowe (taken 14 picks later by Eagles), and DE Randy Gregory (taken 27 picks later by Cowboys). Others will point to Collins’ stiffness/lack of range in coverage (though the Giants insist he is not just a strong safety). Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue against the Collins pick. And another team known for drafting good defensive players, the Pittsburgh Steelers, was supposedly also trying to trade up to draft Collins. I don’t like giving up draft picks, but Collins should have a MAJOR impact on the Giants defense immediately and the foreseeable future.

DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, 6’4”, 267 pounds, 4.59, UCLA

To me, Owamagbe Odighizuwa was one of the steals of the draft for where the Giants selected him. Of course, this assumes his the twice-surgically repaired torn labrum in his hip is fine. The Giants doctors cleared him, but some teams reportedly took him off their draft boards. Three weeks ago I told my wife the Giants would draft Odighizuwa simply because it would be another pain-in-the-ass name I would have to repeatedly type in the tradition of Umenyiora, Kiwanuka, and Amukamara. Thanks Giants!

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA Bruins (August 30, 2014)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Odighizuwa is one of the rare collegiate defensive end prospects who can play the run from the left (strongside) defensive end position AND rush the passer. In fact, of all of the defensive end prospects in this draft, he is the one who interested me the most. The icing on the cake is he is one of those 100 percent motor-is-always-running guys. He’s no dummy either. Minutes after he was selected, Odighizuwa was regaling the New York media about his admiration and knowledge of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul. “I studied everything about the Giants defensive line,” said Double-O.

I agree with former Redskins and Texans General Manager Charlie Casserly in saying that Odighizuwa may be a better pro than college player. In college, he played more of a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense, meaning his primary role was to two-gap and occupy blockers to allow the linebackers to make the play. In New York, Odighizuwa will have his superb athleticism unleashed as he will be allowed to immediately attack up the field. If the Giants wanted to keep Jason Pierre-Paul at right end, they needed to draft a potential impact two-way, strongside end. The fact that they may have gotten that guy in the third round is astounding. Talk about need meeting value.

S Mykkele Thompson, 6’2”, 191 pounds, 4.48, University of Texas

Before Day 3 began, I posted in The Corner Forum that this class had the look of a three-player draft. I still stand by that as the three players taken on Day 3 in rounds 5 (safety Mykkele Thompson), 6 (wide receiver Geremy Davis), and 7 (offensive guard Bobby Hart) were not highly regarded prospects by most. Now, if one of these guys or more proves the experts wrong, then New York deserves a tremendous amount of respect for its effort in a very shallow NFL draft.

Mykkele Thompson, Texas Longhorns (October 27, 2012)

Mykkele Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Thompson is not without talent. He has a good combination of size and athleticism. He’s a corner-safety ‘tweener, but that appears the direction the free safety position is heading in today’s NFL. Thompson is also versatile, having the ability to play nickel slot corner or outside corner in a pinch. He has good speed and reportedly made big strides as senior after converting from quarterback and wide receiver to cornerback and safety. The knock against this pick is that many argue he would have been available later in the draft or after the draft. How anyone can know that is beyond me, but Thompson himself was somewhat surprised he was drafted. Also, more importantly, those who followed the Texas Longhorns say that Thompson never really stood out to them as a collegiate player. He certainly wasn’t a play-maker with the ball in the air (only two career interceptions). The keys with him will be his tackling (Giants say he is a good tackler) and his intelligence (Giants say he is smart). It seems as if the Giants are betting that the arrow is really pointing up with Thompson and that he has only scratched the surface given his late conversion to safety. I will say this, he has one of the stranger builds I’ve seen on an NFL defensive back…he has very, very long and thin legs…I would imagine that it is difficult for him to make sharp, quick cuts, hence the reason he was probably moved to safety by the coaching staff of the Longhorns. After the draft, the Giants remarked that Thompson would be a nice complement to Collins…so they clearly think he has starting potential.

WR Geremy Davis, 6’2”, 216 pounds, 4.47, University of Connecticut

Unless Geremy Davis is a kick-ass special teams player along the lines of Larry Flowers, Reyna Thompson, and David Tyree, his selection made the least sense to me. And worse, Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Chris Mara said the team almost drafted Davis in the 5th round. Davis has good size, strength, and excellent hands. My problem is that he simply is not very quick or fast. And while he doesn’t play to his timed speed (sub-4.5), the quickness issue is more disconcerting. How is a receiver who had issues separating from collegiate defensive backs going to separate from NFL defensive backs?

Geremy Davis, Connecticut Huskies (September 6, 2014)

Geremy Davis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“He doesn’t play to that time speed as much,” said Jerry Reese.

“A big guy like that is going to make it as your fourth receiver,” said Marc Ross.

“I don’t know if he is going to separate the way some of people that we have would,” said Tom Coughlin.

Talk about setting a low bar. I don’t get it. These types of guys are a dime-a-dozen and you can sign them usually after the draft. Either this was an exceptionally weak draft class or Davis is quicker than advertised or the Giants screwed up. On the surface, this feels like a lazy pick. If he turns out to be Reyna Thompson, good pick. But that’s a really high bar.

OG Bobby Hart, 6’5”, 329 pounds, 5.67, Florida State University

Bobby Hart, Florida State Seminoles (August 30, 2014)

Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

I have no problem with the last pick. Bobby Hart played right tackle at Florida State but is strictly a guard at the NFL level. For a 20-year old, he has a ton of experience, having started nine games as a 17-year old freshman and starting all 28 games for FSU as a junior and senior. He’s another huge 330 pounder who can maul you in the run game. He started three years at tackle on one of the best teams in college football. The question with him is does he have the feet/mobility to play guard at the NFL level? He ran in the 5.6 range – which is really bad. But I think he’s good value for a 7th round selection. And Heaven knows the Giants can certainly use some quality offensive line depth.


Six players. On paper, three “good picks” and three “questionable” ones. Usually that sounds like a “C” grade for a team. But you have to give much higher value to the the top three picks. The Giants may have come out of this draft with three of the top 50 players available. If true, and they can get any serious contribution from Thompson, Davis, or Hart, this draft is a home run.

What the Giants Didn’t Accomplish

You can only do so much, especially with only eight picks (which turned into six after the Collins trade). The talent/depth situation at cornerback makes me nervous. While Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the injury-prone Prince Amukamara look very strong, Trumaine McBride is a de facto starter as the nickel back. And depth is VERY thin unless you believe in Mike Harris, Chykie Brown, Chandler Fenner, Jayron Hosley, Trevin Wade, or Bennett Jackson.

Pray Victor Cruz rebounds near 100 percent because right now there is Odell Beckham and a whole lot of questions marks (yes, that includes Rueben Randle in my eyes). Adrien Robinson may be safe another year at tight end. It looks like the Giants are counting on the winner of the Cullen Jenkins/Kenrick Ellis/Jay Bromley/Markus Kuhn competition to become a viable starter alongside Johnathan Hankins. The Giants also did not draft a linebacker, although Cole Farrand, who they signed after the draft, is a very interesting pick-up.

May 042015
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New York Giants 2015 NFL Draft Analysis

by Contributor Sy’56

This is my draft analysis of the NYG picks and what I would have done differently with each pick. I do this every year, as it’s fun to look back years from now and compare draft classes.

I make my picks in REAL TIME. Meaning when NYG picks a player, I choose who I wanted at the time. As you’ll see, I selected a guy in the 6th round who went undrafted. I don’t wait until the draft is over and choose guys who weren’t selected yet.

And I feel the need to say this so some of you don’t have a heart attack: in no way do I view my knowledge of these guys higher than the NYG front office. They have more access to information that I do from start to finish. I do what I can and have connections here and there, but it’s not close to the resources they have. This is just a fun exercise and slightly different approach to analyzing a draft class.

In all reality, we won’t know a thing about “grades” for another 2+ years at the very least.

Ereck Flowers, Miami Hurricanes (October 4, 2014)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 1 (#9 Overall)
Ereck Flowers – OT/Miami – 6’6/329
#5 OT/#61 overall

As seen with where I had Flowers ranked, I didn’t think NYG got their value out of the pick. In no way do I look down on the selection or the player, I simply felt there were better players there and more importantly, better offensive linemen.

That said, as I stated in the OT preview, Flowers has an upside that very few OL have. His size and movement alone are worthy of a draft pick. Factor in his constantly-aggressive nature, quality tape over the past two years, and left/right versatility…one can easily make the case that Flower was a very good selection.

What does he bring to the table? NYG has needed more bullies along their offensive line for years. Too often we’ve been watching them get tossed around and physically overmatched. It almost seemed these guys were lesser than their opponents and they knew it. Bring in a force like Flowers and immediately the personality can be altered. We all know he has the size, weight room strength, and overpowering presence. But if you watch him enough (and by enough I mean a series of 10-12 plays) and you’ll find that Flowers takes a lot of pride in protecting his teammates. He hates to see his QB sacked. He fumes when defenders take extra hits at the ball carrier. It’s obvious Flowers is a protector of the offense and that is a role he takes a lot pride in. NYG has lacked that. They used to have an OL full of guys who wouldn’t hesitate a second to get in the face of an opponent if they felt a line had been crossed.

Why the lower-than normal grade on Flowers? As confident as one can be in his upside and eventual dominance, you have to realize there is just as good of a chance he doesn’t take his game to the next level. Physical attributes only bring you so far and we wouldn’t need a lot of time to show you the countless examples of that in the NFL. Flowers has a lot of starting experience but he has some terrible, and I mean terrible, stretches where his mechanics and technique make him about as effective as a tight end. We all know he can be coached up and there are probably 200+ rookies entering mini-camps across the league who have the same line attached to their name. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. My fear with him is that he’s already had plenty of experience and some quality coaching to boot, yet he has several plays where he looked like a freshman OT who just made a switch to the offensive side last week. Time will tell.

Where do I see him down the road? I think Flowers will be a starting RT in the league for awhile. I would even venture to say that if things just “kind of” work out for him, he’ll have a starting role for a decade. The questions are will he ever play the left side? And will he be a Kareem McKenzie type? My unbiased guess for both is no. I think Flowers projects to be a little less than what we see Phil Loadholt being in Minnesota. Solid but unspectacular. A starter but not a guy who you put in stone for that long, as there will always be someone out there who can replace him.

Andrus Peat – OT/Stanford – 6’7/313
#1 OT/#4 overall

It was tough to see Peat available (as I heard NYJ had him in their top 5 overall and I assumed he was going to be their pick at #6) and watch NYG pass on him. I’ve discussed Peat more than several times over the past 6+ months, so I won’t be overly repetitive here. Peat is a left tackle of the future type. He has better feet, better hand placement, better balance, and better flexibility than Flowers. There isn’t much debating that if you watch the two back to back. Peat, however, doesn’t have the body NYG was looking for and I am convinced that was the major factor between the two that led to NYG selecting Flowers. Peat had a slight pectoral issue, a minor elbow issue, and battled a sickness throughout pre-NFL Combine training. None of which were red flagged by NFL doctors anywhere but it hampered his training. Just bad timing. Even with that in the picture, Peat had a couple impressive workouts at the combine an pro day. This guy has football in his blood and I think he is further along and more equipped for dealing with NFL defensive linemen. There are a couple issues that need fixing, but I am a lot less nervous with Peat and his progression than Flowers. I feel Peat is starting off at a higher point and they have equally high ceilings. Very curious to see how he fares in New Orleans, where he will likely play RT.

Landon Collins, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 1, 2015)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 2 (#33 Overall)
Landon Collins – S/Alabama – 6’0/228
#1 S/#15 overall

When I saw NYG made the trade up, I didn’t think of a single prospect other than Collins. I’ve been saying since the beginning of the process that NYG would have a nice grade on him, as he fits exactly what they lost out on in Rolle. I also stated that Collins plays the game very similar to what we saw in Rolle throughout his NYG career, however he is obviously a younger and more athletic version.

What exactly is NYG getting in Collins? Your typical answer is going to be that he is an in-the-box safety with the size and tackling ability of a linebacker. That’s true. But if you took the time to watch his games in their entirety over the course of the past two years, there weren’t enough roles in the Alabama defense for this guy. Strong safety? Check. Free safety? Check. Nickel cornerback? Check. Cornerback? Check. Weakside linebacker? Check. He can do it all and when you have a guy in the secondary who can do that at a high level, the options you have are limitless. Collins won’t stick with Dez Bryant in man coverage. He won’t roam the deep Cover 1 role like Earl Thomas. I get it. How many safeties can? I am more concerned with a safety’s ability to tackle, be in the right place at the right time, direct traffic, and have the versatility to prevent a quarterback from knowing where he is going to be and what his role is on a given play. Collins does all of that for the defense.

Where will Collins struggle? When he is asked to play with his back towards the quarterback, he can become lesser of a player. He has all the downhill and lateral pursuit speed and quickness you can ask for. But when he is roaming in deep coverage and needs to make left/right reads and decisions, there is definitely stiffness there. Besides that, Collins doesn’t have a glaring weakness and I think that is what NYG likes most about him.

For those that say he isn’t fast enough or he doesn’t make plays, I think you are wrong (respectfully). I have a guy who clocked him at 4.45 and 4.49 at the combine. Those “official” numbers are not used by everyone. And I would venture to say that they are not used more so than they are by teams. He carries 220+ with ease. He has really long arms. He is always moving in the right direction. He gets others moving in the right direction. Coaches and teammates always talk about his impact on others. That’s the kind of defender who needs to be brought in to play this up-and-down, left-and-right type role. And the icing on the cake? He’s been one of the best special teams gunners Nick Saban has ever had.

Landon Collins – S/Alabama
#1 S/#15 Overall

Nothing else to add here, Collins was without a doubt my top available player left. Love the trade up and wouldn’t lose sleep over a 4th rounder (less than 15% success rate). Collins was needed on this defense and getting him at #33 was great value.

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA Bruins (August 30, 2014)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 3 (#74 Overall)
Owa Odighizuwa – DE/UCLA – 6’3/267
#1 DE/#17 Overall

As you can see, my grades are my own and the rankings of others will never deter me from my own thoughts. My rankings are based on how I think these guys will perform over their career, not how high they will be drafted over the weekend. For the first time in a few years, I let out a very loud “YES!” after a NYG selection on day 2 of the draft. The Odi selection was the best value pick NYG has made ever since I’ve been grading players and he was also the top value pick of the weekend (among all teams).

When you watch Odi on tape, it’s hard not to admire two things from start to finish. His body and his relentless motor. Odi looks like he’s been etched out of stone for the NFL 4-3 DE position. He’s evenly distributed muscle wise, he has long arms and huge hands and his joints are surrounded with an abundance of stable muscle. Ironic that his main red flag was a hip injury. Oh well. Odi brings an explosive and flexible edge rusher who can power his way through a tackle or run by him on one play, and an inside match-up problem on the next. He can certainly be moved around. I know we all think about pass defense when looking at DEs, but Odi may come in and give NYG another JPP-caliber run defender for the outside. That is a huge factor here that can impact this defense in a big way.

Some information (nothing earth-shattering) regarding the hip: there are teams in the league that didn’t even factor it in to his final grade. There are teams that took him off their board entirely. It’s crazy how there can be such differing opinions about a player’s injury past. From what I have heard and read, NYG didn’t downgrade him at all from it and he was likely a #30-#45 overall guy on their board. Their biggest issue is likely what I discussed in my report of him, he has a hard time disengaging from blockers far too often at the collegiate level. When he gets the initial pop out of his stance and his hands inside, he usually fared pretty well. But if he was hit from an unexpected angle or didn’t get off the ball fast enough, he was very ineffective. There are mechanical flaws here and there but what I noticed the most was a consistent lack of awareness and/or instinctual movement. Odi is a fast-twitched, good reaction guy but he rarely got himself in position prior to the action. He got by because he was simply that much more talented than everyone he played against.

It’s hard to tell what his role will be in the Steve Spagnuolo defensive scheme. But I think we can eventually expect a Justin Tuck type when he learns the scheme and earns his stripes. From everything I am told, he is very coachable and brings the blue collar approach on a daily basis. I think he’ll be a coach’s favorite, media favorite, teammate favorite, and fan favorite. He is exciting to watch, he works hard, and his limit is through the roof.

Owa Odighizuwa – DE/UCLA – 6’3/267

Again, another pick I was on the same exact page with but in all honesty, he would have been a round 2 option for me if Collins was off the board. Ecstatic about this guy and I think he will be a game changer.

Mykkele Thompson, Texas Longhorns (October 27, 2012)

Mykkele Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 5 (#144 Overall)
Mykkel Thompson – S/Texas – 6’2/191
#31 S/#324 overall

Based on what I read on the surface, this has been the most “controversial” pick of the bunch. But getting bent out of shape about it is just wrong. Disagree? Fine. But totally blasting anyone for making a pick this late in the draft is just foolish. Thompson has size and speed, good versatility grades and was held in very high regard by the coaches and support staff at Texas. He has the traits the front office and coaches were looking for, end of story.

Many people don’t know much about Thompson and what can bring to a defense. He is tall and lean but showed a good amount of functional strength on the field. He is a long strider with the speed to catch up to guys from behind and to be honest, he may play even faster than a 4.45 guy normally would. I spent a lot of time scouting the Texas CB Quandre Diggs. He was a favorite of mine three years ago and he didn’t do very well in the eyes of people I respect over 2013 and 2014, thus I gave him lot of looks to see if there was still something there. Naturally, I got to see a lot of Thompson as well. He does have the athletic traits you want out of a guy who is paired with Landon Collins at the safety spots. He is easy and fluid in space, shows some intelligence out there. You want a deep cover man to have a lot of range, and that he does.

Why did I have a guy like this graded so low you ask? I think Thompson won’t be a good tackler in the NFL and he doesn’t have the quick-reaction to the ball. He lacks ball skills and doesn’t use his athleticism the you would think he should. We can talk about his speed and easy hips all day and rightfully so, but at the end of the day, he appears to be a better athlete than he is a football player. I just don’t like that type and I never will. They much more often than not, never pan out.

Thompson was a classic Reese/Ross mid to late round pick. A guy they could have gotten later but they took anyway because they like what he can do movement-wise. I won’t be critical of their selection but he isn’t a guy who makes me want to pass on players at other positions with much higher grades, that’s all. I feel you can get a Thompson-type every year in the UDFA period. Why use a 5th rounder on him? Regardless of that, I understand their idea to give Collins another young safety to work with as they grow up with different approaches and skill sets. But I don’t think this guy ever makes an impact on the defense long term.

Tony Lippett – WR/Michigan State – 6’2/192
#9 WR/#55 overall

I discussed Lippett at great length a few times as a guy I would want to target on early day three of the draft. I knew he would be available and even though I didn’t consider WR a huge need, there was space on the roster for a rookie without a doubt. Lippett is a faster-than-he-runs player with a set of skills that very few receivers have when they enter the league. When you watch Lippett track a deep ball, go up in traffic, and move after the catch you’ll see what I mean. He has longer arms and bigger hands than a lot of offensive linemen and moves with the fluidity and easy-ness of an NFL caliber WR. He passed all of the tests in workouts besides the 4.6 forty. Sure, that hurt his grade but it didn’t kill him. Lippett played plenty fast in the MSU offense on tape. And a little extra here that I thought NYG would be interested in: he played some CB for the Spartans and he played it at a high level. That tells me he could have easily been a force on special teams as a core guy. But you know what? If he just didn’t pan out as a WR, it would be nice to see him get a shot at CB. His tool set would make scouts drool if that’s where he played all four years at Michigan State. It didn’t really factor in to his grade, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t factor in to the decision to draft him.

Geremy Davis, Connecticut Huskies (September 6, 2014)

Geremy Davis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 6 (#186 Overall)
Geremy Davis – WR/UCONN
#26 WR/#175 overall

Slightly puzzled by the selection but again, I refuse to be critical of a 6th round pick. NYG sees something in this kid and they think he will be able to make an impact. There is a trend here with the selection of Davis that we’ve seen this front office use in the past. He came in to 2014 with pretty high expectations after a record setting junior year. Statistically he went backwards and the pre-draft workouts didn’t go as well as anticipated. Davis was expected to be a 4th/5th rounder if we discussed him at this time last year. NYG thinks they are getting a big time value here.

Davis is big and physical. He has a ton of length with big hands. He is limited as a route runner but a guy with this kind of size and catching ability can be used for sure. He is aggressive in a crowd and tough over the middle. Even with that said, I think this pick was primarily about special teams with the long term hope that he can develop a better WR skill set. He has an aggressive nature to him and will work his way up the special teams depth chart.

Why don’t we discuss his WR ability more? There just isn’t much there from an NFL perspective. NYG admitted he is a guy who doesn’t separate from defensive backs and that was my most glaring, consistent weakness that I had on him. It’s tough to get excited about a guy like this because Manning likes to have those quicker-than-fast receivers who can create room. Davis lacks the fluidity and assurance that gets a young player on the field.

I don’t think he will factor into this offense unless the injuries pile up. And when you look at special teams, we aren’t talking about a special guy there. I think there were several options that could have helped in that area more so than what we will see in Davis.

Cole Farrand – LB/Maryland – 6’2/231
#6 LB/#58 overall

Here is proof that I make picks in real time, as Farrand ended up going undrafted and coincidentally picked up by NYG in the free agency period. In all honesty, I would be shocked if he didn’t make this team. He is exactly what this depth chart needs and I think he’ll be a starter down the road.

Farrand is a fiery player who is constantly playing through the whistle and trying to finish off each play with a sense of violence and power. He can read the action before and right after the snap, putting himself in position to make an impact. He is savvy when working his way through traffic towards the ball carrier. Rarely does he get locked on to and his late, explosive gear makes him a tough catch for linemen. Farrand has the sideline-to-sideline range and he is a guy who makes tackles at full speed with finishing power. I wasn’t expecting big time workout numbers but he finished with times that rival some of the best athletes at the position in the entire draft. I think this kid has it all.

Why does a kid like this slip in the draft? Well I think he is playing a position that has simply lost value in the eyes of many teams. He would have been a 2nd or 3rd rounder a decade ago but with the amount of roster spots designated to defensive backs and pass rushers these days, teams are simply showing less demand for this kind of player. Farrand lacks some bulk for between-the-tackles play as well. He weighed in at 231 but I wouldn’t be surprised if he played sub 225 his entire career at Maryland. That is just tough to do in the NFL. He is a guy who needs strength work.

Where would he fit in to this roster? Farrand is a much more athletic version of Mark Herzlich. I would love to see him replace Herzlich this year but I know the staff loves him. Farrand can be a special teams demon with his blend of speed and movement in tight spaces. He tackles well on the move and he plays like his hair is on fire. I think NYG needs more guys like this on defense. They are trending towards a more athletic LB group and Farrand only adds to that. I think he will be a starting NFL linebacker who can stay on the field all three downs.

Bobby Hart, Florida State Seminoles (August 30, 2014)

Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ROUND 7 (#226 Overall)
Bobby Hart – OT/Florida State – 6’5/329
#29 OT/#321 overall

Another young (20-year old) kid who is still growing in to his body. Perhaps this is a trend we’ll look for in the draft for NYG. Hart was part of the best offensive line in the country last year. I think his future resides inside and it appears that’s where he is headed after seeing what the NYG decision makers discussed.

Hart is young but he already has a power presence that rivals guys that are older and stronger than him. He has heavy hands and knows how to use his hips to get a drive. Hart is considered a people mover and could likely hack it as a run blocker right away in the NFL. I think he could have been a higher draft pick had he been playing guard his entire career. His use of leverage and inside hand position shows he understands some of the finer points to playing along the OL.

Hart is a poor space athlete. He was exposed on several occasions at FSU and their protection schemes had to be shifted to aid him too many times. I would be surprised if NYG had any intention of keeping him at OT. Hart shows sloppy footwork and struggled to adjust to double moves and speed rushers. He isn’t ready for the speed and complexity of the NFL defensive pass rush schemes.

I think Hart will be a practice sqiad guy. He’ll be safe there because nobody is bringing this kid in to play in the league this year. Considering what he does have going for him now and the fact that he is still a baby in terms of physical progression, this can be considered a nice gamble by NYG. 7th rounders pretty much never work out statistically but this was a solid pick for them because of where he can be if he just tunes up a couple parts. He already has some things going for him that most OL selected this late need a couple years to develop.

Ben Koyack – TE/Notre Dame – 6’5/255
#2 TE/#67 overall

As I said earlier, taking players this late in the draft is such a crap shoot. What I was looking for here was a guy who had a realistic shot at making the roster at a position of instability. I look at the NYG TE situation and I see a spot for a rookie who can play two ways (blocking/receiving). Koyack comes from a program that has been putting some quality TEs in to the league over the past decade and he will keep the trend going.

Koyack is a two-way tight end. Prior to the 2014 season he was know for his quality blocking and presence at the point-of-attack. He gets his big mitts on a defender with inside hand position and locks on well. Very quick-footed and easily won the battles in space against linebackers. This past season, however, Koyack was given the opportunity to run more routes and I think he showed glimpses of being a guy who could catch a lot of underneath passes. I gave him a top tier grade for hands and consistency of catching the ball. He is so reliable and will sneak by defenders up the seam if you sleep on him, he isn’t just a blocker who can catch easy balls. Koyack is a complete tight end who was stuck behind some quality guys on the depth chart for the majority of his career.

Koyack lacks the physical ability (speed/explosion/agility) that some are always needing when scouting a tight end. I think it’s less important in a situation that NYG is working with. I think there is a lot of value in a guy like Koyack, very much like what Jake Ballard gave NYG in 2011. I’ll be curious to see what he does in JAC but again, he will find himself behind some quality TEs for a year or two at least.

There you have it, guys. For the millionth time I do this for fun and to compare years down the road. In no way is this a negative post about the NYG decision makers. If anything…I feel they did as good a job on this draft as they’ve ever done. As always though, we’ll have to wait and see.


1 – Ereck Flowers – OT/Miami
2 – Landon Collins – S/Alabama
3 – Owa Odighuzuwa – DE/UCLA
5 – Mykkel Thompson – S/Texas
6 – Geremy Davis – WR/Connecticut
7 – Bobby Hart – OT/Florida State


1 – Andrus Peat – OT/Stanford
2 – Landon Collins – S/Alabama
3 – Owa Odighizuwa – DE/UCLA
5 – Tony Lippett – WR/Michigan State
6 – Cole Farrand – LB/Maryland
7 – Ben Koycak – TE/Notre Dame

May 022015
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Mykkele Thompson, Texas Longhorns (October 27, 2012)

Mykkele Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

On the third and final day of the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected safety/corner Mykkele Thompson (University of Texas) in the 5th round, wide receiver Geremy Davis (University of Connecticut) in the 6th round, and offensive guard Bobby Hart (Florida State University) in the 7th round.

S MYKKELE THOMPSON SCOUTING REPORT: Mykkele Thompson is a former quarterback and wide receiver converted to cornerback and then safety. Thompson is a  bit of a corner-safety ‘tweener. He is tall (6’2”) but thin (191 pounds) with good speed (sub-4.5) but not ideal quickness for corner. Thompson is raw and still learning the safety position, but he really improved as a player his senior season. Versatile, he can play safety, corner, and nickel corner. Thompson is a decent tackler, but he is not a physical player. He has good range, but does not make many plays on the football and has given up some big pass plays at the collegiate level. Thompson is smart with very good intangibles. He is a good special teams player who blocked three punts in college.

WR GEREMY DAVIS SCOUTING REPORT: Davis is a big (6’2”, 216 pounds) wideout with excellent hands. Davis is well-built with long arms and very strong. While Davis has decent timed speed (sub-4.5), he’s more of a possession-type receiver than deep threat. Lacks ideal quickness and agility and may have problems separating from defensive backs at the NFL level. Davis has a good catch radius, adjusts well to the football, and will make the contested catch. He lacks run-after-the-catch creativity. Team leader.

OG BOBBY HART SCOUTING REPORT: Hart played right tackle at Florida State but projects to guard at the pro level. He is very young – will turn 21 in August. Hart has excellent size (6’5”, 329 pounds) and good strength, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism and feet. Hart needs to play with better technique and leverage, but he is able to muscle and maul in the run game.


Opening Statement: Our last three picks… Mykkele Thompson, safety from Texas. They used him in a lot of ways. They used him as a free safety. They used him as a nickel and they used him as a corner. We like the versatility about him. We project him more as a free safety because he can really run. He has range on the back end. Another thing that stuck out for me about this kid is that he’s a good tackler. He’s not really a smash-mouth hitter like Landon Collins, but he’s calm. You see some guys get in space and they miss tackles. This guy was a guy who got people down to give you another chance to play defense. I liked that about him.

Our sixth round pick… Geremy Davis, wide receiver from Connecticut. He’s a big, possession-type of receiver. He actually ran fast. He’s a height, weight, speed guy. He ran fast, but he doesn’t play to that time speed as much. We think he’s more of a possession receiver, first down-friendly-to-the-quarterback kind of player. He plays inside. He plays outside. He’s a big kid. He has the right attitude to play on special teams. The guy can use his body to post people up, jump balls, good route runner. We like him like that.

Our seventh round pick… Bobby Hart, guard from Florida State. Actually he played tackle a lot, but we project him as a guard up here for us. He has played a lot of football. I think he’s only 20 years old. I don’t want to say really long arms, but his arms are 33 inches. He has good arm length. He’s played a lot of ball at a high level of competition for Florida State. I see guys like that with his skill set. We see them every Sunday playing in the National Football League. But we do think he’s a guard and not a tackle.

Q: Overall, what did you think about your draft?

A: We think we picked good players. Obviously, you don’t know until you get them out there and you let them play, but we feel good about this draft class. There are some talented football players. I think we have some tough players. We’ve got some athletes and talent. We like it.

Q: You filled some needs for your football team through the draft. Do you feel good about that?

A: Yeah. We tried to tie that together. We were all about the best player available, but we tried to tie in need with value as well. We were definitely cognizant of that and we tried to do that.

Q: How much do you think Geremy Davis’ injury affected his numbers last year?

A: That may have had something to do with it, but we’re kind of looking at him in how he played this past season. He’s a good football player. He kind of reminds you of Jason Avant. I think that was a name somebody brought up in our meeting. One of those kind of guys that could be your fourth, fifth receiver, play on special teams, has size, can block, good route runner, and catch the ball nice.

Q: Why is there a disparity from Geremy Davis’ combine speed and game speed?

A: He ran a fast time. I think he ran a 4.51, but we think he’s probably more like a 4.55, 4.56; those kind of guys. But you look at the time and this guy has got really good speed. He doesn’t quite play that fast for us, but he ran it and it’s on his card.

Q: Could Davis be a potential gunner?

A: He could be a gunner. We definitely think he’s a core special teams player. These kind of guys get jerseys because they play on special teams on Sunday.

Q: There’s a story on Mykkele Thompson and his contact lenses, which led to a drop in his production last year. Have you heard about it?

A: No.

Q: What makes you think Thompson can play free safety as opposed to playing closer to the box?

A: Because he’s not a guy that goes down in the box like Landon Collins does. He’s more of a coverage safety. He can really run. He’s played corner. He plays in the slot sometimes as a nickel. He plays in the back end. We project him as a free safety. Those are the kind of guys that you play on the back end and he’s about as heavy as Collins as well.

Q: Thompson said he almost expected to be an undrafted free agent. When you have a guy like that, do you contemplate taking a risk and waiting until later in the draft even if he’s at the top of your board?

A: It was a position that we talked about. He was in the group of players we were talking about with the skill set we were looking for. It fit what we wanted and we drafted him.

Q: It doesn’t sound like he’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder.

A: Maybe not. You never know. If he talks to you guys, he’ll have a chip on his shoulder pretty quickly.

Q: You have two spots on the roster now.

A: We have some guys that we might swap out, when free agency starts. We’re going to look at it right now if there are some guys on the board that we like better than some guys we have on the roster. There could be swap outs.

Q: How many people do you anticipate bringing into the rookie camp?

A: Probably between 60-65.

Q: Do you think you made a concerted effort to get bigger, faster and stronger?

A: We always want that. Everybody wants big, strong, fast, tough football players.

Q: You picked a lot of really young players. Is that by design?

A: We don’t think that’s a negative. They’re developing and you can teach them as they go, grow and mature. That’s not a negative for us. I think Michael Strahan was 20.

Q: It’s a positive?

A: We think that’s a positive. If a guy is 25, that’s more of a negative than a 20-year old.

Q: If you draft someone older, is it harder to have him adapt to what you’re doing scheme wise?

A: Not necessarily, but if you’re 25, you’re almost out of the league. When you’re 25, you’re almost gone.

Q: So it’s lower upside?

A: Yeah. It doesn’t fit everything quite that nice, like you said it, but we would rather have a 20-year old than a 25-year old.


Q: How do you look at the totality of the draft from your perspective?

A: It was good. We had a good time up there. We had a good process, good conversations and we came out with some players that we really like.

Q: Did the draft fall the way you expected or hoped it would?

A: Definitely the earlier rounds we had a good idea and then this year was probably the most unpredictable draft in years with guys just going from all over. It thinned out really quick, so guys were coming from everywhere.

Q: What did you see in Mykkele Thompson that nobody else saw?

A: We told him when he was here that we were going to draft him. I guess he wasn’t paying attention. Just jokes. We did have him in here on a visit and he was really smart on the board. Playing-wise, he is a competitor, he is really smart and they played him in a bunch of different positions. He was in the slot, free and strong [safety spots]. He can handle that in game. He can run. The kid can run. He is not your classic corner, not your classic safety, but we think he can provide versatility. More of a free safety for us.

Q: Does that scare you off from a player if no one else shows interest in him?

A: Not at all. We trust our scouts. We trust our coaches. We trust our process and what the media writes or what other teams do [in regards to], if they like him or don’t like him, has very little to no bearing on what we do.

Q: Is that something you even know if other teams have interest?

A: Yeah, when we bring him in and talk to him and our scouts call guys during the week and ask what visits have you had and who has brought you in and who has worked you out. We keep a tab total of guys and the teams who may be interested. Our pro [personnel] guys do a great job of trying to track media things in the different cities and the players. We have a good idea.

Q: Did you think you could wait for someone like him or because he was on the top of your board…?

A: At times we think we can get him as a free agent, but if everybody feels strongly about the player at a certain time, then we just take him.

Q: When you picked Bobby Hart, did you consider La’el Collins at all?

A: We thought about La’el the whole draft because he is sitting up there, but we were going to pass on that.

Q: Would you have noticed a player like Bobby Hart if he had not come from such a prestigious school?

A: Yeah, I think so because the guy is 6-6 and 330 pounds. Those guys just don’t walk down the street and you don’t notice them. We would have noticed him. He is a big, competitive kid. He is smart. He is very young. He started as a freshman at Florida State, and he is still only 20-21 years old. He has played a lot of football for a young player at a high level, obviously for a winning program, so those are the things you have to think that he is not going to come here and be intimidated by anything. He is going to come here and come to work.

Q: What makes you view him as an inside prospect?

A: He’s more of a box-area athlete. He is not a nifty mover. He is a big, massive, mauling guard type of profile as opposed to a tackle with movement. He has excellent length and strength for an inside player.

Q: Did he play any inside?

A: Maybe when he was younger, but he has been a right tackle the last couple of years.

Q: Do you think of [Geremy Davis] as someone who could fill a role like David Tyree did here?

A: You mean catch balls off his helmet? This guy is a big guy who is strong, competitive and more of a possession type receiver, even though he ran really fast at his pro day. He is more of a possession type. He catches the ball. A big guy like that is going to make it as your fourth receiver and special teams player if you want to say the Tyree role. Preston Parker did it for us last year. You need those utility backup guys to help you win. Be ready. Be prepared. If you get in the game, make a catch and play on all the core special teams. Every team needs has to have those kinds of guys to win and that is what we think this guy can do.

Q: Do you like the [Jason] Avant comparison with Davis?

A: Yeah, one of our scouts, Ryan Jones, compared him to Avant. That was a good one. Hopefully he can be an ‘Avant.’

Q: Going after undrafted rookies?

A: We are in the process of doing that right now. We target a few guys and we like to go after those and if we don’t get them, then the roster fluctuates by what we are going to do. That is what we are in the process of doing right now. Preparing for that.


Opening Statement: I think you can see what the intent was going into the draft, not only had a need, but we were also able to put ourselves in a position to help ourselves out from a standpoint of the quality of the player. We have talked about the first three rounds so I will just jump right into the afternoon.

We felt like in [Mykkele] Thompson we had a guy that actually will go very well with Landon Collins. Thompson has played corner, as you know, the majority of his collegiate career. He is a good cover guy and he is fast. He can play in the centerfield position. There is no way around it, you are going to have to bring him down to the line of scrimmage on occasion. As we go forward, if we could create it, we would create it the other way around. It also has been said that Thompson can play some nickel. We do have some guys that can play over the slot. We will just have to play that out as we work.

In Geremy Davis, we took a big wide receiver that also is going to be a contributor on special teams. You had a guy whose projection isn’t the greatest. I am not going to – you guys know more about the collegiate numbers than I do and the different teams. Davis is a big, fast wide receiver who catches the ball well. I don’t know if he is going to separate the way some of people that we have would, but he is going to contribute on special teams as well.

In Bobby Hart we took a guy that has played four straight years for a team that won a national championship. Truly a football university that has been outstanding in collegiate football for long, long time. A hard-nosed outfit. This guy has played a lot of football. There are some things we will have to do to shape exactly how that works with him, in terms the guard or tackle position. He has shown the ability to play both. We’ll establish that when we get him in here.

Overall, we made the maneuver. We traded up to be in position where we would take a player that we really felt would help us. In doing that there were a couple opportunities for choices that were subtracted. Overall that is the price you have to pay sometimes to get the player that you want in the program.

The draft, with the exception of the free agent part of it, which we do have some numbers that we are going to have to jump on right at the conclusion of the draft in free agency. Hopefully we will do well there because, to be honest with you, there are always opportunities for people to make your team that come out of that collegiate free agency. We will approach that as soon as the draft ends and put together, not only our 90 roster, but what we are going to do with our rookie mini-camp, which some of the players that are currently on our roster are eligible to be involved in that, which is a good thing. The rest will be a tryout camp as well.

Q: Was need more of a focus in this year’s past?

A: No. This is a franchise that in all the years that I have been around — you may have some legitimate battles of things of this nature, but the best player is going to get taken. Sometimes it looks as if we already have people at that spot, but over the years that has been proven the way to go. This organization does not change from that policy.

Q: In the beginning it looks like with the first three picks….?

A: If you can match them (value and need) up, that is what you want to do.

Q: That is the dream scenario?

A: It is. When you have needs and you have to fill them, but sometimes as you sit there and the players come off the board, it doesn’t work that way. We put ourselves in position with the number two spot to accomplish both and also the number three spot worked out very well for us in that regard.

Q: Would you be okay with two rookies starting at safety?

A: Let’s see how that plays out. We are glad to have those young men here and competing for that very situation, but let’s let it play out.

Q: How much do you think you guys improved or where do you see the biggest improvement this offseason?

A: Take a look down the line right here. Offensive line.

Q: Combining this and free agency?

A: There have been some changes, not quite as many as there was a year ago, but there have been changes. There always are. There is a certain percentage of your roster that you know is going to change throughout the course of free agency and the draft, so we are excited about those that we have here from a free agent standpoint and we are anxious to get them on the field and out of the meeting rooms. That will take place this week for us and the rookies will be here so we can take a look at them this weekend and put them right in the program the following week.

Q: Is there a specific area where you think you are better at?

A: I am not going to say that now. I hope we are better at all of them. We should be better in all the spots. That is the purpose of going out in free agency and bringing in players that you hope can help you. Not only on offense and defense, but certainly with [Dwayne] Harris on special teams.

Q: Do you think in the last three days your team got bigger and stronger and tougher?

A: That was one of the intents. And faster, too. Certainly younger. The roster will end up being younger.

Q: Can you realistically get all 12 receivers you have on the roster snaps?

A: It won’t stay that way. You have a number that you have in mind for camp. You are going to work with that number. If that number happens to be, whatever the position might be, over, then you are going to have to adjust.

Q: Will the rookies jump in right away with the veterans before the mini-camp?

A: No, they can’t. They don’t get here until Thursday. Once the rookies are here, the veterans are out the door. They cannot be here, other than the guys that are presently here eligible. We do have a few.

Q: You didn’t have a rookie camp last year. Do you like having the minicamp to introduce the rookies?

A: We have done mini-camps forever, so that is probably I would prefer it. Sometimes it doesn’t fall that way. Sometimes where you are with your team, they just roll right in anyways, regardless. This gives a chance to introduce the fundamental concepts, the terminology etc. on a little bit lesser scale in terms of the intensity of it. Then take them on the field and I think that will help some of these guys be introduced to where we are.


Q: Did this catch you by surprise getting drafted by the Giants in the fifth round?

A: It was a surprise to me. I don’t even know how to explain it right now.

Q: What’s surprising to you about it?

A: Just the place. It sounds right. This was the only team I took a visit up to. I’m just glad they believed in my ability and picked me up.

Q: What was the visit like? Who did you meet with and what was the impression you came away with?

A: I met with everybody. Of course, I was mainly with the defensive coaches and the defensive back coaches. It’s just a great vibe around there. They all really care and they want to win. I got a positive vibe from every one of them.

Q: Is this where you expected to go in the draft or did you have a different feeling heading into this process?

A: Honestly, I had no idea where I was going to go. Obviously, free agency was a possibility. Me thinking that I didn’t put that good of numbers up this past season, I thought free agency was going to be the main goal probably.

Q: Was there a reason for the numbers you put up this season?

A: There was no reason for it. I didn’t have too much action this past season.

Q: What do you bring to the NFL?

A: Honestly, I’ll play wherever they want me to. In college I played every defensive back position, so wherever they want me to go, that’s where I’ll play, and, of course, special teams is really big.

Q:  Is it your versatility or something else that you might say is your best quality?

A: My versatility, of course, and, of course, my length and my speed for my size.

Q: Do you know anything about the Giants’ second round pick, Landon Collins from Alabama?

A: I have seen a couple of games on him and of course I have seen his stats and everything.

Q: What were you doing today? Were you preparing for the possibility of being drafted or just taking it as it goes?

A: Of course, that is what I wanted to happen, but I was just here with my family. Nothing too big. We are just relaxing on the couch. I had no clue when or if my name would get picked, so I was just waiting by the phone.

Q: What was the reaction when the phone rang?

A: At first I just thought I was getting a text message. My phone has been blowing up. When I saw the New York area code, I was shocked, and I looked up at the TV and saw that [the Giants] had the next pick. I don’t even know how to explain it right now.

Q: Did you live in Italy very long as a kid?

A: My dad was in the Air Force. I lived in Italy for a couple years, but nothing that I can remember.

Q: When you started wearing contact lenses did that help you when playing football?

A: Yes.

Q: When did that start and how much of a difference did that make?

A: That started probably towards the beginning of this past season. Of course seeing better is always a one-up in your game. With my performance, it seemed like it helped.


Q:  Did you think the Giants might be interested?

A: I know they are close to Connecticut, but I never really heard from them. During this whole process, you never know how teams work this thing out or if they show interest or they might be interested. There is so much that goes on.  I am just happy to see my name and do the best work I can for the Giants.

Q: What do you think you can bring to this team?

A: From a receiving standpoint, I am a big, physical guy. I am not afraid to open up big blocks for running backs and other receivers. I am not afraid to go across the middle. I have great hands. From a special teams standpoint, I can use my physicality on the front line for kickoff returns or blocking for the punt, running down on the kickoff and making a tackle. I am just going to give my all.

Q: You went from over 1,000 yards [receiving] as a junior to 700 yards this past year… What was the reason for that?

A: I missed two games with a high ankle sprain [on my left leg]. Then when I hurt my ankle, it was in the beginning of the ECU game so I pretty much missed three games. Prior to that, I was on pace for another year like I had, but unfortunately I had the injuries. I came back strong at the pro day, Combine and all-star games. I am happy that the Giants realized it.

Q: Can you make a catch like the one Odell Beckham Jr. made?

A: I always practice those muscle memory catches on the JUGS machine. [Beckham Jr.] is a great talent and I am happy to be working with him and a lot of the other guys like Victor Cruz and [Rueben] Randle. I just hope I can get under those guys’ wings and contribute on special teams and eventually at the wide receiver position.

Q: What do you think you can do on special teams?

A: I am a pretty big guy. Six-two, 215 [pounds]. I am a physical receiver. I am going to run down there and make tackles. I can be an in man on punt protecting for the punt. Front line on kickoff return. I am going to use all those traits that I have as a receiver on special teams.


Q: The Giants project you playing guard at this level. When was the last time you played the position?

A: I played guard my sophomore year and then in practice a little bit this year. Guard is fine with me. Whatever they need me to play, that’s what I’m willing to play.

Q: What are the differences you find between the two positions? Was it an easy transition when you moved from tackle to guard?

A: Pretty easy. With any new position there are new challenges, but I’m up for all of the challenges ahead.

Q: How much did you talk to the Giants prior to the draft? Did you have any idea you would land with the Giants?

A: I had no idea I’d be landing here. I talked to them in Indianapolis briefly. It was definitely a shock, but I’m definitely happy to be here.

Q: What about all the big games you’ve played in at Florida State helps prepare you for the NFL?

A: It definitely has helped. We’re definitely battle-tested there. We’ve been through a lot. Just keeping my composure in those games we had.

Q: What are your thoughts on Jameis Winston?

A: Jameis is a great guy. I’m pretty sure he’d be successful wherever he went just by the time he puts into the game and his passion for it. Wherever he went, whether it was first or wherever, I know he’ll be successful.

Q: Do you know Ereck Flowers?

A: Not personally. Just playing against him and talking to him after the game. Nothing personal.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

A: A very smart player. Tough player. Just a player that’s going to get the job done.