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New York Giants center Weston Richburg (70) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement)
New York Giants center Weston Richburg (70) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. (Kim Klement)

In a roundtable interview on Wednesday, Giants C Weston Richburg suggested that his teammates on the offensive line were relaxing right now instead of focusing on improving for this upcoming season.

"The percentage of guys who are just OK to be there (in the league) is pretty high," said Richburg. "This is pretty rare. The majority of my offensive line is not doing anything right now."

While it's difficult to fault a player for taking some time off, the third-year center hinted that players should still be training during the offseason. 

"I know a lot of guys are just happy to be there," he said. "That's the difference between them and the guys who are here."

Richburg has spent his offseason in Arizona, training at the O-Line Performance Center. 

 

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

I'm not quite sure if Richburg is sideswiping his teammates or all offensive linemen who don't attend these camps such as the one LeCharles Bentley is running. I know Pugh goes through rigorous offseason training, and at one time was working out with Jay Glazer at his MMA camp. So, he must be taking shots at the rest of the line - John Jerry, Marshall Newhouse and Ereck Flowers. I have not heard of any of those three attending any offseason training programs.

Tags: Weston Richburg

 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

The Giants have waived TE Jerome Cunningham and S G.J. Kinne, the team announced.

Cunningham, 24, had eight receptions for 59 yards in nine games (three starts) for the Giants last season.

Kinne, 27, spent last season on the Giants' practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract on Jan. 6.

Tags: Jerome Cunningham

 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Giants will open their facility Thursday for their rookie minicamp to take a first look at their recent draft class and undrafted free agent signees. Scores of others will also be on hand on a tryout basis.

The 2016 draft class contains Ohio State CB Eli Apple, Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard, Boise State DB Darian Thompson, Clemson LB B.J. Goodson, UCLA RB Paul Perkins and South Carolina TE Jerell Adams.

"The rookie minicamp is more of an orientation," head coach Ben McAdoo told NJ.com. "We want to bring them in, introduce them to the first install with normal down and distance install, teach them how we're going to practice, let them know where the restrooms are, and just get their feet wet a little bit."

"We're not going to be out there for three hours practicing, we're just going to introduce them to things. It's more of an orientation than anything...to see the building for the first time so when they get a chance to come in here with the vets and mix it up with the older guys, there's not much young bull going on and they at least know where they're going."

Many of the UDFA signings have yet to be confirmed, but the following players are expected to be in attendance for the minicamp:

Bowling Green WR Roger Lewis, Minnesota WR K.J. Maye, Virginia Tech TE Ryan Malleck, UConn safety Andrew Adams, Boise State DB Donte Deayton, Notre Dame DE Romeo Okwara, Campbell DL Greg Milhouse, NC State DE Mike Rose, Liberty QB Josh Woodrum, Illinois State RB Marshaun Coprich, East Carolina TE Bryce Williams, UTEP TE Cedric Lang, California WR Darius Powe, Kentucky DT Melvin Lewis, Lakeland College WR Mykel Esiobu and Oklahoma State DB Michael Hunter.

If you check the list, you'll see there are no offensive linemen in the group. Not sure what the Giants are thinking here, but there are rumblings they may pursue a trade for OT Anthony Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. Davis, who went to Rutgers, retired from football last year and has indicated he will return this season. He also has stated he no longer wants to play for the 49ers.

Tags: John Fennelly

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Andrew Weber)
New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Andrew Weber)

Justin Tuck will sign a one-day contract and officially retire as a New York Giant on Friday, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.

Tuck was drafted by the Giants 74th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. The defensive captain spent nine seasons with New York, racking up 60.5 sacks, placing him sixth on the team's all-time sack list. Tuck is also third in Giants history with 18 forced fumbles.

Tuck was a part of the Super Bowl XLII and XLVI championship teams, becoming the only player in NFL history to have multiple sacks in multiple Super Bowls. The defensive end made two Pro Bowl appearances (2008, 2010), and was First-team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-team All-Pro in 2010. 

Tuck spent his final two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, where he had just six sacks in 20 games between the two seasons. 

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

I don't really hold these one-day contract deals very highly, but this one is outside the norm. Tuck will always be a Giant in everyone's eyes and will go up on the team's Ring of Honor one day soon. He was one of the classiest and amiable players I have ever been around and also one of the best Giants' defensive linemen in their history. The fans have always held him in high regard and, although he finished his career in Oakland, his heart was still with the Giants.


New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) talks with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)
New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) talks with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The Giants did not select a defensive lineman in last week's NFL Draft, a unit that many felt they would continue to target at any and all costs. Following the Ernie Accorsi axiom that you "cannot have enough pass rushers", critics still believe the Giants are one pass rusher short of having a dominant front.

The return of a healthier, and hopefully more effective, DE Jason Pierre-Paul paired with the addition of DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison via free agency, give the Giants three top-level players in their front four.

Throw in DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Owa Odighizuwa, both who had their seasons shortened by injuries last year, and the Giants have the makings of a solid, if not a formidable defensive line.

Also returning are DE Kerry Wynn and DT Jay Bromley. Others held over from last season include DTs Montori Hughes and Louis Nix III and DEs Brad Bars and Stansly Maponga.

UDFAs getting a shot this summer on the defensive line are DE Mike Rose of NC State, Greg Milhouse of Campbell and Notre Dame DE Romeo Okwara.

Analysis: With Patrick Graham coming over from New England as the new line coach, the approach will naturally be to stop the run and get after the quarterback, but to also dominate the way the team did in its Super Bowl years.

A DE rotation will be difficult to implement as Vernon and JPP are warriors who rarely come off the field. Vernon played 81% of the Dolphins' defensive snaps last season while JPP, in his eight games, played nearly 92% of the snaps.

They won't be asked to play that many snaps this season so they will be fresher in the fourth quarter. The Giants will rely on Wynn and Owa to take a good 30 or more percent of the snaps in 2015 and hope they calculated correctly this offseason that this group will be good enough to make a significant difference.

That wil be made easier by the massive defensive tackles they have on their roster. The Giants are hopeful that the starting combination of Harrison and Hankins will be dominant in stuffing the run and getting pressure up the middle.

Graham will likely use a rotation of players at the DT position. Most teams do, and it makes sense as the players are bigger and carry more weight on their bones. Jay Bromley must show improvement if he wants to continue to see increased snaps. Hughes and Nix were in-season adds last year and now must make the team coming out of camp.

The Giants would like to avoid using Nikita Whitlock in the rotation, but he's shown that he is a gamer and may be hard to cut. He does not have the size but he does have the skill.

Will we see the return of NASCAR? I'm betting yes. The Giants want to get speed on the field and into the pass rush. It is possible they line up four DEs at times with JPP, Vernon, Owa and Wynn. Not quite the group they had a few years back, but not bad, either.

Bllitzing is also an option. They have several DBs now that can come off the edge and more flexibility at linebacker this season.

The bottom line is if the Giants can stay healthy along the defensive front, the rest will take care of itself. Staying healthy, however, has been a major challenge for this team the past several seaon


Left tackle Ereck Flowers protects Eli Manning in the pocket (William Hauser)
Left tackle Ereck Flowers protects Eli Manning in the pocket (William Hauser)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

For the first time in their history, the Giants came away from the NFL Draft table without an offensive or defensive lineman. For a team whose goal was to get bigger and tougher in the trenches this season, they sure didn't show it in the draft.

They got beaten to the punch on Michigan State OT Jack Conklin, believed to be atop their board in last weekend's draft, and then passed on Laremy Tunsil, who was in free fall after several issues came to light to damage his stock.

But the Giants never looked back after that. The Giants had several attractive lineman options to choose from as the draft went on, but when their turn arrived in each round, they selected to go in a different direction with players at different positions ranked higher on their board. You have to commend them for sticking to their board, but what is the plan now to revamp the offensive line?

What we know...Ereck Flowers is the left tackle, Weston Richburg is the center, and Justin Pugh will be at right guard. The suddenly productive and durable John Jerry appears to have solidified his spot at left guard. Like it or not, that's four of your top five right there.

Right tackle, currently occupied by Marshall Newhouse, was the position they were trying to upgrade. They didn't, but GM Jerry Reese is standing by his decision to bypass the offensive line in the draft.

"We have a couple of veterans out there on the right side that people don't give enough credit, and they get bashed and blamed on a lot of things on the right side,'' Reese told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday. "They're solid pros.''

"We'll continue to monitor the waiver wire and look for help with respect to the offensive line,'' Reese added. "It's not like we can't get out there and play at a high level with the players we have on our offensive line.''

The Giants are developing several players on their roster with the hopes of becoming starters at some point down the line. Bobby Hart, a seventh-round pick out of Florida State in last year's draft, will not turn 22 until August. He has shown marked improvement, and the club has been lining him up at right tackle with the second unit this spring.

The Giants are bringing back four lineman that were with the team last season, and that they want to give a full training camp to: Canadian import Brett Jones, Emmett Cleary, Jake Rodgers and Adam Gettis. They also signed free agents Dillon Farrell, Ryan Seymour, Shane McDermott and Byron Stingily.

McDermott and Farrell will vie for the backup center job. Jones, Gettis and Seymour will get looks on the interior, and Cleary, Stingily and Rodgers will be tried as tackles.

Scouring through the UDFA signings, the Giants have not added an offensive lineman there, either. It is still early. It is very possible the Giants find a veteran tackle after the June 1 cut date, which usually yields a slew of overpaid veterans that could not be released by teams earlier in the year due to salary cap ramifications. There is currently no list of those players, but the rumors will start to escalate soon.

Tags: Ereck Flowers

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall warms up before the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. (Mark Zerof/USA Today Sports Images)
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall warms up before the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. (Mark Zerof/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Giants will visit with free-agent cornerback Leon Hall on Tuesday, Mike Garafolo reports.

Hall, 31, recorded two interceptions and 55 combined tackles in 14 games with the Cincinnati Bengals last season. Hall has spent his entire nine-year career with Cincinnati, playing 161 games and totaling 26 interceptions and three touchdowns.

The Giants, who drafted cornerback Eli Apple in the first round on Thursday, are still looking for depth in their secondary, according to Garafolo. New York lost cornerback Prince Amukamara to Jacksonville earlier in the offseason, but signed Janoris Jenkins when free agency began.


New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)
New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)

Jerry Reese insists that his war room was not caught off-guard last Thursday when the Titans and Bears traded up in front of the Giants to select OT Jack Conklin and LB Leonard Floyd, the general manager told Mike Francesa on WFAN Monday.

"When somebody don't know what they're talking about, it's easy to depict it that way," Reese said about critics suggesting the Giants were unprepared and, as a result, ended up reaching for Eli Apple. " … We had our board stacked. We had went through this scenario many times, and we thought that was one of the possibilities that could happen, and our mind was clearly made up that we would be happy with Eli Apple as our pick as No. 10."

Reese says the Ohio State cornerback was the top player on the Giants draft board at the time of the pick.

"He was an easy pick, and it was a value pick, No. 1, because he's the highest player on our board and was a need pick because we have two corners, and like I said during the draft, if you only have two corners, you're one corner short in this league," Reese said to Francesa.

 

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

Reese had to know that Tennessee wanted Conklin and Chicago wanted Floyd. He said the price to trade up was not "too high" and there was no acceptable deal on the table to trade back. So, with nowhere to turn, the Giants took Apple at No. 10. They wanted him and they got him. There were other players they could have taken there, such as Hargreaves, but the Giants liked Apple better. They wanted to get more physical and Apple fits that need better than Hargreaves.


New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26) after the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. The New York Giants won the game 15-7. (John Geliebter)
New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26) after the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. The New York Giants won the game 15-7. (John Geliebter)

Antrel Rolle, the durable, vocal Pro Bowl safety who played for the Giants for five seasons from 2010-2014 and was an integral piece of the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI-winning defense, is a free agent again after being released by the Chicago Bears over the weekend.

Rolle played all 16 games in each of the five seasons he was here in New York and had only missed one game the previous four seasons in Arizona. The Giants signed Rolle to a five-year, $37 million deal in 2010, which at the time, made him one of the highest-paid defensive backs in NFL history. He collected every penny.

Last March, the Giants chose to let Rolle walk via free agency, a move which turned out to bite them in the backside. He ended up signing a three-year deal with the Bears.

From ESPN.com:

Rolle, 33, played in just seven games last season because of ankle and knee injuries. Chicago placed him on injured reserve in December, after the safety suffered a serious knee injury on the practice field.

Rolle, who lasted only one season in Chicago, signed a three-year contract last offseason, but he collected all the guaranteed money ($4.9 million) in the first year of the deal. The Bears clear $2,718,750 worth of salary-cap space with the move.

Rolle is now seeking a new home and the first doorbell he hopes to ring is 1925 Giants Drive in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

"You know my first choice would be home, man,'' Rolle told The Post on Monday morning. "And what I mean by home, that's New York.' "That's a franchise that I love. There's a difference in playing for a franchise because that's where your contract is, that's where you're supposed to play. It's just where I want to bring my assets, where I want to help the franchise, the city, the players. It's family for me. That's where I would want to reside and just go out there and play ball.''

The Giants are likely to send Rolle away with a "thanks but no thanks", but keep him in the back of their minds until their current plan at safety is settled. He believes he can still help his former team.

"Do I believe I can come in and start? There's no freaking doubt about it,'' Rolle said via The Post. "I know what I did playing with an ankle sprain in Chicago, the talent is still there. The Giants have added some phenomenal talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It's only gonna be that much better, it's only gonna be that much sweeter, to be honest with you.''

The Giants are moving on, however. They have Landon Collins, Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson, Mykkele Thompson and the recently drafted Darian Thompson. It's doubtful the Giants will look to bring back Rolle, but with their injury history, everything is in play.


Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Eli Apple runs the 40-yard dash during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports Images)
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Eli Apple runs the 40-yard dash during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports Images)

It's rare that the New York Giants are commended on their draft class so soon after the draft. Forget the fact that they did not select any offensive or defensive lineman with any of their six selections.

They clearly were in the market for an offensive tackle and and a pass rusher, but showed discipline in staying in their lane and selecting players they knew could help them at other positions. Keep in mind, their roster was so depressed, they could only get better in this draft.

ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., although he only gave the Giants a 'B', gushed over some of the selection GM Jerry Reese and his crew made over the weekend.

There will be some growing pains as [Eli Apple] adjusts to new coaching and different techniques, but that could also bring out the best in him. Sterling Shepard is a great get for any team, and Eli Manning is going to love him. Take that guy anywhere and I'll like the pick. Darian Thompson is one of the great ball hawks in college football and could emerge as a starter at safety, and B.J. Goodson is a thumper they need at linebacker. Paul Perkins is a really good back at a good value point, and Jerell Adams is a steal that late. Even with the one reach, this is a fantastic draft.

The one reach Kiper is referring to is Apple, an Ohio State cornerback the Giants selected with the 10th overall pick. He wasn't rated by anyone as a potential top-10 selection, but after the Giants lost out on Michigan State OT Jack Conklin and OLB Leonard Floyd of Georgia and then couldn't trade out, Apple was the highest-rated player on their board.

Shepard is being considered one of the big steals of the draft, not only because many felt he was the best route-runner and competitor at wide receiver, but because of where he landed. The Giants were looking for a dynamic receiver to team with Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz, and Shepard, who has been compared to Cruz, gives the Giants an almost uncoverable receiving corps.

The rest of the picks are all players with upside and will upgrade the roster. Even though the Giants went out and signed some linebackers, Goodson could compete for a starting role day one at camp. Thompson could do the same.

Perkins has all-around skills and his ability will force the Giants to re-think their running back rotation. His arrival sure spells the end for one or two backs from last season.

Adams could be the player the Giants have been looking for at tight end. He has the desired size and speed to become that seam-breaker that could be the final piece in Ben McAdoo's offense.

If Kiper is satisfied, then everyone should be. He is usually critical of teams that don't fill their most pressing needs and pass up higher-rated players in favor of others. The Giants did all of that, but the players they selected were ones that slipped through the cracks and also made sense for them.

Tags: Eli Manning , Odell Beckham Jr. , Victor Cruz

Connecticut Huskies safety Andrew Adams works out prior to the game at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
Connecticut Huskies safety Andrew Adams works out prior to the game at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

The Giants made a number of deals with undrafted players after the NFL Draft on Saturday. New York signed several players to contracts and will bring in others for tryouts. Via the New York Daily News and NJ.com:

Quarterback: Josh Woodrum (Liberty)

Running backs: Marshaun Coprich (Illinois State); For tryouts: Mercer Timmis (University of Calgary), Terry Williams (Kutztown), Donald Russell (Georgia State/German League)

Wide receivers: Roger Lewis (Bowling Green), Mykel Esiobu (Lakeland College), KJ Maye (Minnesota), Darius Powe (California); For tryouts: Doug Corby (Queens University), Miles Shuler (Northwestern), Quintavius Burdette (Ole Miss)

Tight ends: Ryan Malleck (Virginia Tech), Cedric Lang (UTEP), Bryce Williams (East Carolina)

Offensive linemen: Mykhael Quave (Louisiana-Lafayette); For tryouts: Brandon Revenberg (Grand Valley State), Charles Vaillancourt (Laval University), Angelo Mangiro (Penn State)

Defensive linemen: Melvin Lewis (Kentucky), Greg Milhouse (Campbell), Romeo Okwara (Notre Dame), Mike Rose (N.C. State); For tryouts: Ishaq Williams (Notre Dame), Nick Woodman (Utica College)

Cornerbacks: Donte Deayon (Boise State), Michael Hunter (Oklahoma State)

Safety: Andrew Adams (UConn)

Defensive back for tryoutTaylor Loffler

Linebacker/Tight end for tryoutKassan Messiah


South Carolina's Jerrell Adams, left, should give the Giants depth at tight end. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
South Carolina's Jerrell Adams, left, should give the Giants depth at tight end. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants had three picks on Saturday, the final day of the 2016 NFL Draft, one each of the fourth, fifth and sixth round. They chose useful players who all could end up being valuable contributors.

They filled many needs in this draft, but for the first time in in their history, did not draft any linemen, offensive of defensive, positions in which many draft experts identified as pressing needs.

"We drafted the best players available for us," GM Jerry Reese said after the draft. "We have some offensive linemen and we have some defensive linemen. We'll continue to try to improve everywhere on the roster, including the offensive and defensive line."

Day Three finally saw the Giants draft a linebacker, B.J. Goodson of Clemson along with RB Paul Perkins of UCLA and South Carolina TE Jerell Adams.

"He can actually play all three positions," Reese said of Goodson. "The thing we like about him is that he's a football player. He's a tackling machine, lots of tackles. I think he had 5 1/2 sacks and a couple of interceptions. He was a really productive player. I think he'll create some competition in the linebacker level."

Chances are he will. Goodson led Clemson in tackles last year and is a better player than scouts had originally thought. He's a physical run stopper who can also rush the quarterback and cover in the passing game. He is being considered one of the draft's biggest sleepers and steals.

The Giants seemed stocked at running back going into the draft but when Perkins was staring at them in the fifth round, Reese could not pass him up.

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

Critics give the Giants kudos for this pick as well. Perkins has been compared to the Falcons' Devonta Freeman and had been called "Tiki Barber Light". He will likely replace Orleans Darkwa initially, but his presence has to put both Darkwa and Andre Williams on alert and eventually will replace Rashad Jennings and/or Shane Vereen. This is a solid, heady pick by the Giants as they seek to get faster and more versatile on offense.

Adams could also help make the offense more dynamic. He ran a 4.64-second 40 yard dash at the combine, the fastest of any tight end this year.

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

The Giants have been looking for a seam-splitting TE. Larry Donnell has the size, but his uneven route-running skills and suspect hands (along with injuries) have stunted his career growth. Will Tye was nice surprise last season, but he lacks the ideal size and length for the position. Adams may finally be the answer for them at tight end.


South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Jerell Adams (89) runs for yards after the catch chased by Citadel Bulldogs linebacker Dondray Copeland (22) during first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Jim Dedmon)
South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Jerell Adams (89) runs for yards after the catch chased by Citadel Bulldogs linebacker Dondray Copeland (22) during first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Jim Dedmon)

The Giants selected South Carolina tight end Jerell Adams with the No. 184 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

The 6-foot-6 Adams recorded 28 catches for 421 yards during his senior season. Considered a pass-catching tight end, Adam made 66 catches for 977 yards during his four-year career at South Carolina. He also caught seven touchdowns, three of which came in his last year. 

According to NFL.com's draft profile, Adams has the chance to do well in all facets of the tight end position. 

"The former star high school basketball player has the physical skills to excel as a receiver and blocker in the NFL," the profile said. 

Head coach Ben McAdoo said Adams can do a lot to help the Giants in the passing game. 

"Jerell Adams has good speed down the middle of the field and is a big target," McAdoo said. 

Unless the Giants trade back into the draft, this will become the first time in the team's history that the Giants did not select an offensive or defensive lineman, according to Newsday's Tom Rock. 


UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) scores on a touchdown run against the Southern California Trojans during an NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)
UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) scores on a touchdown run against the Southern California Trojans during an NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)

The Giants selected UCLA running back Paul Perkins with the No. 149 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Perkins, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound back, rushed for 1,343 yards (fourth in the Pac-12) and 14 touchdowns to cap off his third season at UCLA. He was named a Second Team All-Pac-12 member for his 2015 campaign. 

During three seasons at UCLA, Perkins accumulated 3,491 rushing yards, which is fourth on the school's all-time rushing list. He is also fifth on the all-purpose yards list with 4,236 combined yards. 


Clemson Tigers linebacker B.J. Goodson (44) sacks South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Lorenzo Nunez (19) in the first half of the game at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Jeff Blake)
Clemson Tigers linebacker B.J. Goodson (44) sacks South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Lorenzo Nunez (19) in the first half of the game at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Jeff Blake)

The Giants selected Clemson linebacker B.J. Goodson with the No. 109 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Goodson, the Giants' fourth pick of the draft, recorded 108 total tackles, 14 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks during his senior season at Clemson. 

The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Goodson has largely played as an inside linebacker. He finished he college career with 138 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. 


New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)
New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The third day of the NFL Draft separates the men from the boys and this year will be no different. The New York Giants have only three picks on Saturday and hope they can continue to find players that can help them solidify their roster.

The draft begins at 12 p.m. ET with Rounds 4-7. Teams will be allotted five minutes per selection in Rounds 4-6 and then only four minutes in Round 7. All compensatory selections are also four minutes.

The Giants only have three selections on Saturday, one in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. They do not have a seventh-round selection, having traded it to Pittsburgh last summer in exchange for punter Brad Wing.

Saturday Selections

  • Round Four: Pick 11 (109 overall)
  • Round Five: Pick 10 (149 overall)
  • Round Six: Pick 9 (184 overall)

Selections Made

  • Round One: Pick 10: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
  • Round Two: Pick 9 (40 overall): WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
  • Round Three, Pick 8 (71 overall): S Darian Thompson, Boise State

What to watch for... The Giants would like to add an offensive lineman, a running back and a pass rusher with these picks, but there aren't many acceptable candidates remaining on the board.

At OT, Willie Beavers of Western Michigan and LSU's Jerald Hawkins are still on the board. RBs remaining include Devontae Booker of Utah, Indiana's Jordan Howard and Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech.

Pass rushers are going to be hard to find on Saturday. The Giants have a better shot at grabbing some interior line help. Baylor's Andrew Billings and Hassan Ridgeway of Texas have value at this level as does Notre Dame's Sheldon Day and Willie Henry of Michigan.

The Giants actually filled two big needs in Apple and Shepard, so they're not likely going to draft another WR, but another corner is not out of the question. I don't see them taking another safety, as they have a glut of unproven players already that they haven't sifted through as of yet. 

Tags: John Fennelly

 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The 2016 NFL Draft has been an exciting one for fans and pundits, but teams had to be alert and ready for anything. The Giants were one of the teams that were caught flat-footed. And even though, they've selected some quality young men the first three rounds, don't let them fool you. This draft has not gone the way they had expected.

The first round was a fiasco, with two of the top-rated players blowing themselves up and out of the top ten. Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil was the top-ranked offensive lineman in the draft. He should have gone no later than fifth. A video of him suddenly surfaced on draft day that basicallly sent teams running. He ended up being taken by Miami at 13.

UCLA LB Myles Jack was atop just about every team's board until he told reporters that his surgically-repaired knee may need microfracture surgery at some point. That news sent him tumbling to the second round.

The Giants, at No. 10, became the victim of circumstance. With those two players out of the mix, there would be two less players for the Giants to choose from. They got jumped, twice, and lost two players that were believed to be high on their board.

Tennessee traded back into the first round to grab Michigan State OT Jack Conklin at No. 8 and then Chicago leapfrogged them to take Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd at No. 9. I wasn't a big fan of Floyd, but Conklin could have really gone a long way to complete the OL rebuild.

The Giants ended up taking Ohio State CB Eli Apple at No. 10. He is a legit first-rounder, but they could have traded back and still gotten him. Apple will provide depth at corner, which was one of their goals coming into this draft.

GM Jerry Reese came to life in Round Two, selecting WR Sterling Shepard, who, ironically compares to their own Victor Cruz. Shepard is a playmaker that would enhance any NFL team's receiving corps. But he's especially valuable because the Giants already have Cruz and Odell Beckham, Jr. He will make them even more dynamic.

In Round Three, the Giants did not like what they saw at the positions they needed to backfill the most - OT and edge rusher - so they decided to select playmaking safety Darien Thompson of Boise State. Thompson has good size and ball skills but is undisciplined. He gives up too many big plays for the turnovers he creates. The Giants are going to have to rein him in if he is to be what they envision.

So far, the Giants get a B from me.

The three players they selected add athleticism and playmaking ability to the roster. The litmus test is always "are you better now than you were when the draft started?" The answer is yes.

Tags: John Fennelly

 (AP)
(AP)

The New York Giants are heading into the final day of the NFL draft with a lot of needs and no guarantees they are going to find players to plug the holes.

The biggest needs seem to be on the offensive and defensive lines.

The offensive line needs another tackle, particularly one who can play the right side and challenge veteran Marshall Newhouse.

While the defensive line added Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison in free agency, it needs another pass rusher, particularly with Jason Pierre-Paul on a one-year contract.

Other needs include a linebacker and possibly a tight end.

The Giants drafted cornerback Eli Apple in the first round on Thursday, and took receiver Sterling Shepard and safety Darian Thompson in the second and third rounds, respectively, on Friday.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press


Boise State Broncos safety Darian Thompson (4) against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)
Boise State Broncos safety Darian Thompson (4) against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)

The Giants selected Boise State safety Darian Thompson with the No. 71 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

The 6-foot-2 Thompson had five interceptions and 65 total tackles in his final college season, which was second on the team. 

In four seasons at Boise State, Thompson collected 209 tackles and 17 interceptions.

"Darian Thompson is a good, smart player from a great program," said Ben McAdoo following the selection. "Darian can tackle in the open field and can play in a variety of different looks." 

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

Thompson is a bit of a surprise pick here in the third round. The Giants must know that he is a gambler and goes for the football rather than the man, which has led to some big plays both ways. He has good speed and athleticism but is not exceptional in coverage. I have to wonder why they think he's better or equal to the young group they have on their roster right now. This is a pick I will question as they have plenty of defensive backs that can play near the line of scrimmage and have one of the league's top up and coming box safeties in Landon Collins.

Apparently Jerry Reese believes Thompson is a free safety who "checks all the boxes" and can create turnovers. The intel I got was just the opposite. He's terrible in space and gambles way too often, getting burned in big spots. 


Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) runs after making a catch against the Baylor Bears during the first half at McLane Stadium. (Joe Camporeale)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) runs after making a catch against the Baylor Bears during the first half at McLane Stadium. (Joe Camporeale)

The Giants selected Oklahoma wide reciever Sterling Shepard with the No. 40 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

At 5-foot-10, 194 pounds, Shepard finished off his senior season at Oklahoma as a USA Today Second Team All-American, making 86 catches for 1,288 yards. That followed his junior year in which he had 51 catches for 970 yards. 

In four years at Oklahoma, Shepard recorded 26 touchdowns and 3,482 receiving yards. 

While he has largely been seen as a slot receiver, Shepard said that he believes he can do more than that.

"Honestly, I play so big, I don't limit myself to just the inside," Shepard said after the selection. "A lot of people think that that's all I can do is play inside just because of my size, but I think guys like Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Victor [Cruz] have proven that that's not the case. I'm definitely one of those guys that can be bounced around and move all around."

Head coach Ben McAdoo said Shepard can play bigger than his size might indicate. 

"He has a bigger catch radius than someone who is 5-foot-10," McAdoo said. "He has big hands, so he is not afraid to reach out and pluck it away from his body and he is very confident after the catch.

General manager Jerry Reese added that Shepard is "NFL ready" and "everything you want in a slot wide receiver." 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport had praise for the Giants' newest pick. 

"I had more OCs praise him, unsolicited, as a future pro than any other player," Rapoport said on Twitter. 

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

This is a direct response the possibility of Victor Cruz not being able to line up in the slot this year. Shepard has been compared to Seattle's Tyler Lockett. That's a good thing, folks.

Only 5-foot-10, 194 pounds he is a tough competitor with excellent hands and is a very difficult receiver to cover - very versatile. The Giants will be looking for him to return punts. I love this pick as defenses are not going to be able to cover him and Odell Beckham Jr. at the same time. Nice work by Reese and Co.


 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The 2016 NFL Draft will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday and will consist of Rounds Two and Three. The Giants will select ninth in Round Two and eighth in Round Three. Those are the 40th and 71st overall selections.

Each team will be allotted seven minutes to make their selections in Round Two and five minutes in Round Three. Teams with compensatory picks at the end of the third round will be allotted four minutes.

Round Two has a slightly different top of the order than Round One: Browns, Titans, Cowboys, Chargers, Ravens, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bucs, Giants.

Round Three looks more like the original order: Titans, Browns, Chargers, Cowboys, 49ers, Jaguars, Ravens, Giants.

Special guests will be making the picks for their former teams in Rounds Two and Three. 32 former players from the NFL Legends Community, one representing each team, will be featured in Round Two.

Announcing the Giants' second round pick will be RB Rodney Hampton, who was their first round pick out of Georgia in 1990. Taken 24th overall, Hampton played eight seasons for the Giants, was named to the Pro Bowl twice and rushed for over 1,000 yards five times. His 6,987 yards are the second-most in Giants history behind Tiki Barber's 10,449 and his 51 total TDs rank eighth on the Giants' all-time list.

Round Three Draft announcements will feature winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Representing the Giants will be former punter Steve Weatherford, who was nominated for the award back in 2014.

Tags: John Fennelly

New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese looks to put together a successful NFL Draft on Day's 2 and 3. (Trevor Ruszkowski)
New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese looks to put together a successful NFL Draft on Day's 2 and 3. (Trevor Ruszkowski)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive

The 2016 NFL Draft resumes with the second and third rounds on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., and the New York Giants plan on coming away with several more useful building blocks for their evolving roster.

The Giants will select ninth in the second round (No. 40), and eighth in the third round (No. 71).

After underwhelming their fans and pundits by selecting Ohio State CB Eli Apple with the tenth overall pick in the first round on Thursday night, the Giants intend to show how smart they are on Day 2 by taking advantage of some juicy leftovers.

Who could be the top targets for the Giants on Friday night?

The defense could still use some more playmakers. Apple will help the secondary, but the Giants are still in the market for a pass rusher and defensive front help. Myles Jack is still available, but if the Giants truly took him off their board, then he's not a possibility.

Remaining on the board for the taking at the moment are three Alabama studs: DLs A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, and ILB Reggie Ragland. Ole Miss DT Chris Jones and Florida's Jonathan Bullard are available as well. Clemson DE Kevin Dodd is still there as are Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence, Boise State's Kamalei Correa and Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah.

It's unlikely they'll go corner again, but they could look at a safety in Round 3. Clemson's T.J. Green, Miles Killebrew of Southern Utah and Ohio State's Vonn Bell are three candidates.

On the offensive line, there are several players that could come in and challenge for jobs right away. Kansas State's Cody Whitehair, Notre Dame's Nick Martin and OT Jason Spriggs of Indiana. Texas Tech's Le'Raven Clark and Auburn's Shon Coleman are huge tackles that could be gobbled up quickly on Friday.

Hunter Henry of Arkansas, the top TE in the draft, is still on the board. Many thought a team or two might try to trade up on Thursday to get him. That could still happen tonight. Will the Giants' take him if he's there? Henry has been compared to Jason Witten in his style.

Would the Giants consider taking a RB after getting shut out by the Cowboys for the services of Ezekiel Elliott? Maybe. Alabama's Derrick Henry is an Eddie George-type who could be a nice pickup for the offense. He'd have to be their second-round pick, however.

By taking Apple and not trading back, they missed out on the draft's four best WR's in Laquon Treadwell, Baylor's Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson of TCU and Notre Dame's Will Fuller. There are still some options for them on Friday.

Pitt's Tyler Boyd, Oklahoma's Sterling Sheppard and Braxton Miller of Ohio State are three names they could be interested in. Rutgers' Leonte Carroo is also on the board, too.

There is still plenty of talent out there for the Giants to select wisely from and make this draft a success.

Tags: John Fennelly

The Giants surprised some with their selection of CB Eli Apple at No. 10.  (Kamil Krzaczynski)
The Giants surprised some with their selection of CB Eli Apple at No. 10. (Kamil Krzaczynski)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

With their top draft targets all gone or tarnished, Giants' GM Jerry Reese decided to play it safe with the No. 10 pick in the first round of Thursday's night's NFL Draft. He stayed put and took a player the team felt could help them, both immediately and in the future.

Eli Apple, a 20 year-old cornerback from powerhouse Ohio State was as safe a selection as Reese could find at No. 10, although many felt he could have traded back and still and still landed Apple. He said the price of trading up was "too high."

As for trading back, Reese said, "We got a call, we didn't like it, and we stayed where we were."

So, at No. 10 with all of their top targets either gone or tarnished, the Giants settled on Apple, a player with a ton of upside at a position of need. Many fans called Reese out on social media for his "cowardice," and for trying to preserve his job with a "safe" pick.

Apple, like most of us, was not expecting to be selected so early in the night. He thought he was being pranked when he received the call from "the dude from the Giants."

"When I saw them calling me and it was a New Jersey number, it looked kind of familiar," Apple said on a conference with reporters Thursday night. "I didn't know if I had to pick it up. I was like, "Oh my goodness, this is probably one my friends trying to prank call me." My mom was like, "Yeah, don't pick it up." My coach was like, "What you mean? Pick it up." So I pick it up and it was one of the Giants coaches and I was very happy."

The "dude" on the other end of the phone was Giants' head coach Ben McAdoo, who is excited to add another quality defender to his revamped defense.

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

Apple admitted that he had very little contact with the Giants during the period leading up to the draft.

"Not really, honestly," he said when asked if he thought the Giants drafting him was a possibility. "They talked to me one time at the combine, but that was about it. It's kind of crazy to see myself on the screen (at) like number 10 and all that stuff, but I'm excited."

He is already getting used to the idea of wearing blue. Apple grew up in Voorhees in South Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. He did not have a preference for any NFL team growing up but admitted his father was an Eagles fan.

The selection of Apple seemed to be an easy one for the Giants, who were beaten to the punch on players such as Leonard Floyd, Jack Conklin, DeForest Buckner and Ronnie Stanley, and were scared away from taking Myles Jack or Laremy Tunsil.

"We don't worry about what other people do or think or plan," said Giants VP of Player Evaluation. "We do our plan. We do our work. We've got great scouts. The coaches are heavily involved. We do a lot of planning. We're comfortable with how we do it and it's what we thought would happen."

Ross said Apple was the highest cornerback on the Giants' draft board and with just two established CBs (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins) on the roster, Apple seemed a great fit for the Giants' rebuilt defense.

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

There is another residual benefit from drafting Apple - his name. Ross said he had the perfect name for "New York and here."

Tags: John Fennelly

CB Eli Apple highlights 00:01:03
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of the season from Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.

The Giants selected cornerback Eli Apple out of Ohio State with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

"Eli Apple is a big-time player from a big-time program with tremendous upside," Giants GM Jerry Reese said.

Apple, from Vorhees, New Jersey, played two season for the Buckeyes, tallying 56 total tackles.

He had four total interceptions, 17 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble over two years (28 games).

Reese was ready for the questions why the team didn't go for higher-rated players such as cornerback Vernon Hargreaves -- who went 11th to the Bucs -- or offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, who was the focus of a social media firestorm Thursday.

"(Apple) was the highest-rated player on the board without any issues," Reese said, who declined comment on the video that purportedly showed Tunsil smoking marijuana from a bong that appeared on his Twitter account just minutes before the draft started.

"Hargreaves is a great player. We thought Eli was a better player. It was absolutely a need pick. Look out there at our corner depth, and you can see that."

New coach Ben McAdoo echoed Reese.

"I think you trust your board, and we got exactly what we wanted, where we wanted," he said.

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The Giants landed a safe first round pick in Apple. Perhaps he was taken a bit too early here, but he's exactly what they needed. They get a 6'1", 200 pound corner that can cover and fight receivers for the football. He can also play the slot and could be used in centerfield in packages. Played at the highest level in college and is ready to run right out on an NFL field.

The Giants had other players rated higher for certain, but with Jack Conklin, Leonard Floyd and Ronnie Stanley gone and question marks on Laremy Tunsil and Myles Jack, they grabbed the best available player who also fills a need.


Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) walks off the field during the 1st half of a game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Waldo Stadium. (Mike Carter)
Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) walks off the field during the 1st half of a game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Waldo Stadium. (Mike Carter)

The New York Giants will "for sure" draft the best offensive tackle on the board with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, according to Gary Myers of the Daily News. Myers adds that the Giants prefer a tackle over linebacker Leonard Floyd, another prospect that many believe the Giants will select

With Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss and Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame likely to be gone by the time the Giants are on the clock, it looks as if Jack Conklin of Michigan State would be the best offensive lineman available.

If New York does go with Conklin, it will be the second straight year the Giants select an offensive tackle in the first round and the third in the last four years (Ereck Flowers in 2015 and Justin Pugh in 2013). Pugh has since been moved to guard, while Flowers started on the left side in 2015. 

Tags: Ereck Flowers , Justin Pugh

 (Dale Zanine)
(Dale Zanine)

The wait is finally over. Tonight is the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. We'll finally learn who the Giants and 30 other teams choose as their top picks. No more speculation and, thank the heavens, no more mock drafts.

First Pick: 8:00 p.m. ET

Site: Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University, Chicago

TV: NFLN, ESPN

Rounds: One. Selections 1-31 will be drawn. New England Patriots had 29th pick forfeited. Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday. The Draft concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Allotted Selection Time Limit for Round One: 10 minutes

Top Ten Selection Board:

  1. Los Angeles Rams
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. San Diego Chargers
  4. Dallas Cowboys
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars
  6. Baltimore Ravens
  7. San Francisco 49ers
  8. Cleveland Browns
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  10. New York Giants

What to watch for.....The first two selections will be QBs Jared Goff of Cal and Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. San Diego has the third pick and will wait until the final seconds to hand in the card in hopes of a trade, which is not likely to happen.

There is very little chance Dallas, Jacksonville, Baltimore or San Francisco trade their picks. The 49ers may choose a QB, who would likely be Memphis' Paxton Lynch, upsetting the draft order.

Cleveland is said to be open for business, but, again, will probably stay put and take the best player available. Tampa Bay is rumored to be leaning towards Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves or Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley. A pass-rusher is also in play.

Giants GM Jerry Reese has not ruled out making a trade -- up or down -- this season. Many do not see that happening.

That being said, let's set the odds on who the Giants will take at No. 10:

It has been reported that the Giants have taken UCLA LB Myles Jack off their first round draft board due to the conflicting reports on his knee.

Short odds: Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd, Michigan State OT Jack Conklin

Medium Odds: Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves, Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley, Oregon DT DeForest Buckner

Long Odds: Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey, Ohio State DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil

Long Shots: Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell, Clemson DE Shaq Lawson, Alabama DL A'Shawn Robinson, Louisville DL Sheldon Rankins, Notre Dame WR Will Fuller

Tags: John Fennelly

 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Last year at this time, the Giants were gearing up for the 2015 NFL Draft, hoping to build on the strong drafts of the previous two seasons. They had the ninth overall selection and spent it on massive offensive tackle Ereck Flowers of Miami.

Flowers was intended to be the Giants' right tackle as a rookie last season but an injury to Will Beatty forced the team to move him to the left side, where he struggled. That's the bad news. The good news is that Flowers already has a year under his belt and just turned 22 years old this week. It's all upside from here.

The 2015 draft class is one the Giants will be relying on for years to come. They swapped picks with Tennessee to snare Alabama S Landon Collins at the top of the second round. Collins ended up starting every game as a rookie and his performance, although uneven, is being touted as admirable if nothing else.

Collins played both free and strong safety in 2015, which wasn't fair for the 33rd overall pick. Injuries stripped the Giants' secondary bare last year and Collins, a box safety by definition, was left holding the bag. He figures to fare better this season.

"Oh man, so much more comfortable," Collins responded when asked how he felt going into his second season. "Having the same defensive scheme and just little simple changes, but definitely more comfortable just knowing what I am going into and knowing the same defense and same calls that I have and knowing the route concepts and picking up on the guys I played with it, is very, very comfortable for myself."

The Giants' third round selection was DE Owa Odighizuwa of UCLA, a physical specimen who was deemed NFL-ready. He may have been, but an early foot injury and a stint on the short term IR list with a hamstring injury ruined his rookie season. He plans to be the Giants' third DE behind Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon.

"That's an everyday thing for me," Owa said on Wednesday. "I believe strongly in my abilities. I'm very, very confident. That's something I've got to do every day, no matter who is in the room. They drafted me with a third-round pick and they believe in my abilities. It's up to me to perfect that craft every day and that is my goal. My goal is to show everybody that I am that third man that they're looking for in the pass rush rotation and that's going to be my mentality every single day. It's an opportunity. That's how I look at it."

There is a clamoring for the Giants to bolster their DE rotation and pass rush. A healthy Owa might be part of the solutions. In fact, you can depend on that being so. The rest of the Giants' 2015 draft class is coming into camp with high expectations. The club has already showed us they are serious about expanding all of their roles this summer.

They selected Texas DB Mykkele Thompson in Round Five. He blew out his Achilles in the preseason last year and never got a chance to compete for a job. This summer, Thompson will vie for a safety spot, but will likely be used as a slot corner or nickel at first.

Round Six yielded the 6'2", 220 pound WR Geremy Davis out of UConn. He is being given the opportunity this spring to fill the void left by the departure of Rueben Randle, who signed with the Eagles in free agency. So far, he looks a little green but the Giants are hopeful.

OL Bobby Hart of Florida State was the club's seventh-round selection. He is said to have improved markedly over the past year and is working with the second team o-line at RT. He will challenge veteran RT Marshall Newhouse in camp.

So, with all the proposed filling of "needs" this spring, the Giants actually filled most of them last season. They are comfortable with giving these young players a shot at jobs this year and there may be no need to draft over at many of those positions.

Tags: Ereck Flowers , Landon Collins , Owa Odighizuwa , John Fennelly

New York Giants strong safety Nat Berhe during warmups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Metlife Stadium. (NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
New York Giants strong safety Nat Berhe during warmups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Metlife Stadium. (NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Nat Berhe didn't play in a game in his second season with the New York Giants and learned a lot about life in the NFL.

It can be taken away very quickly.

The safety missed all of last season with a calf injury that turned out to be a little more than a pulled muscle. He developed a blood clot in the leg and had to have it removed.

After an offseason of rehabilitation, Berhe was listed as "full go" when the Giants opened a three-day voluntary minicamp under new coach Ben McAdoo.

"I have had a year off and it was probably one of the longest years of my life," Berhe said Wednesday after the second day of workouts.

Berhe is not only back, he is returning with the same opportunity as a year ago when the Giants came into the spring with a starting job open at safety.

Actually both safety jobs were open last season with Antrel Rolle signing with the Bears and the team electing not to re-sign Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps.

The Giants drafted Landon Collins in the second round last season and signed veteran Brandon Meriweather to handle the other job.

Meriweather was not re-signed, and Behre will compete with Cooper Taylor, Mykkele Thompson and Bennett Jackson for the other starting spot.

A fifth-round draft pick who played in all 16 games as a rookie, Berhe said he isn't looking simply to make the roster.

"I don't put any limitations on myself - never have, never will," he said. "I am who I am, I am a football player and I play the game like it is everything to me and I play to win." >> Read more

Tags: Bennett Jackson , Brandon Meriweather , Cooper Taylor , Mykkele Thompson , Nat Berhe

 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Giants QB Eli Manning is entering his 13th season with the Giants, and has rarely been involved in the club's draft process. This year will be no different.

"Tomorrow night? I don't know," Eli said when asked if he will watch the NFL Draft. "I haven't thought about it that much. I'll definitely keep up with who is being drafted.

"I don't know if I'll sit down and watch the whole thing," he continued, "but I'll definitely keep up with who the Giants draft and go from there. I'm not going to spend the whole weekend and every day watching every single pick. It's a lot easier just to go about your business and then catch up every few hours and see how it's all shaping out."

It's not that he doesn't care, he just lets everyone alone to do their job so that he can do his. He could use a No. 2 wide receiver, but it would be out of character for him to make a suggestion on who he feels they should draft. After all, the Giants' collective goal is all about helping Eli, and he has full confidence in them.

"The scouts and management have been working at this a long time," he said. "They'll figure it out and draft the best guys."

Manning has been focused on his training regimen, one which has been keeping him in shape and ready the past three offseasons. He was asked if he did some more work on his arm strength this winter.

"I did some work with the same guy," he said. "I just continued to do what I was doing last year, a continuation of that, and I think I have a good program, a good system to do during the offseason and what I do before practices and after practices. I think I have a good routine and I'm just sticking with it."

The Giants are going through a new training and conditioning program this season under first year head coach Ben McAdoo, who is stressing fundamentals.

"From an offensive standpoint, we have a lot of guys who have been in the system, going into the third year, so there is a comfort level," Eli said.

"But you have a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterbacks coach, a new offensive line coach. There are some different things going on and different terminologies, so there is an adjustment. There is a learning curve that we're all getting on the same page with how we're seeing things and how we're calling things, so that's what we're working out. I thought we had good energy. There's going to be new drills. There's going to be a new type of schedule with what's going on with the new coach. We're learning and adjusting."

The defense will likely take more time to develop with as many as seven new starters expected to be in the lineup come opening day.

Tags: Eli Manning , John Fennelly

RB Ezekiel Elliott highlights 00:01:10
SNY.tv looks at the best plays of the season from Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The NFL mock drafts are getting more and more out of control. There is a lot of misinformation floating around and many pundits and reporters are taking the bait.

The Giants, at No. 10, will take the best available player on their board. They do not rate players by rounds on their board, but rather in rows based on overall talent. The first row may only consist of five or six players. The second row may have 40 players, and so on.

LB Myles Jack was expected to potentially be there at No. 10, but the Giants have removed him from their draft board due to concerns over his knee, reports Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.

We know for certain the Giants are not looking for a QB, and that is a good thing because the top two picks will be QBs Jared Goff of Cal and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz.

Three other players that won't fall to the Giants are: Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil, Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey and DE Joey Bosa of Ohio State.

That leaves just about everyone else. Any one can be taken by any team at any time. Here's how I rank them:

  1. DeForest Buckner, DE Oregon
  2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB Ohio State
  3. Ronnie Stanley, OT Notre Dame
  4. Vernon Hargreaves, CB Florida
  5. Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB Georgia
  6. Reggie Ragland, ILB Alabama
  7. Jack Conklin, OT Michigan State

The Giants would love to have any one of these players, and they are likely to land one of them. Who would I like to see them pick?

I don't believe the reports on Jack's knee. If he's there, they have to take him. That goes for Buckner as well. If both of these players are available at No. 10, some GM should lose his job.

For the Giants to take Elliott, as I have written, they would need to take Ben McAdoo's playbook and rip it up. There's no sense in drafting Elliott if you're not going ot give him 25 touches per game. He's a three-down back that does it all. I don't see him getting past Cleveland at 8. He's an instant baby-sitter of the football that a new offense like Hue Jackson's can rely on.

Stanley also could be gone. Some teams have him rated higher than Tunsil. Hargreaves would be a nice pick, but he's probably rated on the same row as Floyd and Conklin. I don't see the Giants selecting Ragland. Sorry, folks.

The rumors that the Giants are high on Floyd are gaining steam. He is tall and thin and does not play with his hand in the dirt. He can rush the passer, however, and that cannot be bypassed. He won't be bull-rushing any NFL OTs but he can breeze past them from an upright stance. Not the worst pick, but not at the expense of passing up a more talented, game-ready player.

My pick: DeForest Buckner

Tags: John Fennelly

 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is preparing for his first NFL Draft as the club's head coach. He plans on putting his team through one more practice on Thursday morning to close out the voluntary minicamp before getting ready for the draft, in which the Giants own the 10th overall selection.

"That is a good question," McAdoo said on Wednesday when asked who the Giants will be selcting with that 10th pick. "That is a great question. It depends on whose mock draft you are looking at."

The Giants are in the process of running a voluntary minicamp with a load of new players while gearing up for the draft at the same time. McAdoo, who GM Jerry Reese said would have input on personnel, is taking care of his responsibilities, which is running the franchise's on-the-field product.

"I think it is important that you have to be where your feet are, so you have to give attention to what room you are in and what you are doing at the time and go from there," he said when asked about being in the war room for th efirst time. "We will get there when we get there. I am not spending a bunch of time on that right now. We have a lot of work to do today, think about it a little bit tonight and then put it to bed tonight when I lay my head on the pillow and get ready for tomorrow when tomorrow comes."

Even though the Giants are getting a good look at all the new faces in this and their needs are becoming more evident, McAdoo expects the Giants to what they always do at the draft table, take the best available player. He was asked if he was better informed now that he is the head coach.

"No, I try to separate what you see off the field and the medical and all those types of things and just evaluate what I see on tape," McAdoo said. "That is what we as coaches do best, and you trust the scouts; they have been working their tail off. You trust the scouts and they give you the background information; you trust the medical, they work their tail off, too. They go down to Indianapolis, they do it a couple of times and they do the recheck, so you let them do their job. You trust everyone in the process and you go from there."

McAdoo is probably favoring some players over others, but wouldn't, or couldn't, let on if he was on board with the Giants' preferences.

"No," he said. "Again, you go through the process and there are a bunch of scenarios and you take who is the highest on the board. You go from there." After all, the "best player available" strategy is always the best and no one particular person can be singled out for being overzealous or rolling the dice if the wrong choice is made.


New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa (26) in a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Andrew Weber)
New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa (26) in a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Andrew Weber)

Running back Orleans Darkwa has a small fracture in his leg, which is preventing him from participating in mini-camp, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.

Darkwa is expected to miss a month.

The Giants have RBs Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen on the roster from last season. They also signed Bobby Rainey.

Tags: Orleans Darkwa

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (Jim O'Connor/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (Jim O'Connor/USA Today Sports Images)

Victor Cruz high-stepped with the rest of his teammates Tuesday during warmups for Giants coach Ben McAdoo's inaugural three-day, voluntary minicamp at the Giants' field house.

When the calisthenics session ended, the veteran wide receiver left the light drills to others. He had his own work to do outside.

While the offense executed pass routes and the defense went through fumble drills that will become a daily part of practices under the new head coach, Cruz continued his rehabilitation from last year's calf surgery. Coupled with the reconstruction of his patellar tendon in 2014, Cruz has been out of action the past 18 months.

His goal, and the Giants' desire, is that he not only return this year as a second receiving option to the explosive Odell Beckham, Jr., but that Cruz comes back as the same game-breaking pass catcher who accounted for 23 receiving touchdowns between 2011 and 2013.

Tuesday marked another small step in that process.

"Just the fact that I was out there, just being in those stretch lines after a long, lost year, it felt good just to be out there," Cruz said. "And then, just doing a pretty good workout on the treadmill behind them felt good." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr. , Victor Cruz

 (Tim Heitman)
(Tim Heitman)

The Giants have picked up the fifth-year option on OL Justin Pugh, the team announced.

Pugh, 25, started all 14 games he played for the Giants last season after starting 30 games combined between 2013 and 2014.

He was selected by the Giants out of Syracuse with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Tags: Justin Pugh

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul has gone through a lot the past nine months. He has gone from one of the most feared player in the NFL to surviving a career-threatening injury to back to being a player with upside again.

He stood confidently in front of the Giants' media pool and told reporters his career is back to being ascending.

"I think I'm in the best shape ever," said JPP. "I lost a couple of pounds. I'm lean and getting off the ball. I'm running and lifting weights, so I feel I'm in the best shape ever. I had eight games last year and I'm shooting for 16 this year."

Last year was a scary one for the former All-Pro. He almost lost his right hand in a fireworks mishap and along with it, his football career. He somehow managed to make it back to the Giants and held his own on the field. Sans the complete use of the right hand, he looked very much like the old JPP. It was sheer will and heart that brought him back. It was a miracle, really.

This season, JPP's hand has healed and he has undergone a procedure to make the hand, which is missing the index finger, the top of the middle finger and had thumb damage, more flexible and useful.

JPP had to wear a protective club and glove on the hand in order to play. It hindered him as he wasn't able to complete some tackles and wrap up ball carriers.

"My hand is okay," said JPP. "I knew I was going to need surgery after the season, that's the reason why I played with the club. But now I'm past that. I'm looking forward now. I'm hitting bags normally and grabbing normally. I'm not even limited. It's a straight shot for me."

He was asked if he can get back to being the player he used to be.

"I am the player I used to be. There are just a couple of injuries here and there, but I'm okay. I want to be better than the player I was."

That might be difficult as Pierre-Paul was one of the game's best at his position. A game-changer, so to speak. He has lost weight in an effort to keep that famous first-step as quick as possible.

"I normally come in at 280, 285lbs," he stated. "I'm not telling you where I am right now. I dropped weight and I feel good. I got older. Older, but young at the same time."

The Giants are pleased with everything they've seen from JPP. He is still working with the old glove, but a new glove is "on the way" and should help him get closer to his goal.

He won't be alone on the line this season. With the new aquisitions (DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison), JPP should be able to take advantage of the single-coverage he will likely receive. He spoke about the current state of the line and how the team was acclimating.

"There are new faces, but everyone is getting to know each other and getting to know each other's names," he said. "But at the end of it, we're all football players. We all know what's at stake and what we need to accomplish."

Earlier this month, Pierre-Paul released a video recounting the fireworks incident and pictures of his mangled hand. He said he did it to get the unabashed story out there.

"Everyone kept asking me questions about it. It's out there now and it is what it is. I'm past it and looking ahead to my future."

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) is defended by Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) is defended by Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

The Giants' Pro Bowl receiver met with the media on the first day of the team's voluntary minicamp Tuesday, and dodged the question everyone wanted answered: What is his reaction to his archenemy, CB John Norman, signing with the Washington Redskins?

"I play for the Giants," said Odell Beckham Jr.. "I'm looking forward to this year and everything we have ahead of us."

Ahead of him are two meetings against Norman, who OBJ battled physically and mentally last December when Norman was with the Carolina Panthers. Both players put on a violent, disgraceful display of unsportsmanlike conduct which led to fines for Norman and a suspension for Beckham.

Beckham was asked if he had the two Washington games (Sept. 24 and Jan. 1) circled on his calendar.

"September 11th is our first game against the Cowboys," a seemingly more mature and composed Beckham said.

As good as Beckham has been in his first two seasons, the Giants want to see more from him. They need him to keep his head level and not let opponents rattle him.

"I'm ready. I have goals in mind," said Beckham when asked for his reaction to Eli Manning saying he needs to raise his game. "There are a lot of banners that aren't here that need to be in here. That's something that I look at every day. There's nothing that crosses my mind more than putting a fifth banner here, saying '2016 Super Bowl Champions'. Your name will be here forever and it's something you can take with you for a lifetime. There's nothing more that's on my mind than winning a Super Bowl."

The Giants are looking to draft a receiver this weekend, but Beckham chose to make note of the fact that WR Victor Cruz (knee) is close to coming back to team with him in the WR ranks.

"I think we benefit each other. Put us on the same side," Beckham said of Cruz' return. "Get three over two. Two people have to take one person and one person will be one-on-one and vice versa. So you pick your matchups. Talk about a lethal threat. He's a guy I watched coming out. Many things I've done have been taken from his film. You'll have to ask him how he feels, but from what I've seen, he looks good."

Beckham and Cruz played just parts of two games with one another before Cruz tore his patellar tendon against the Eagles back in October of 2014.

"I have full faith in him," Beckham said of Cruz. "I've seen him from the little bits that we've worked out. Just his mindset, he seems like he's in a good place and comfortable with himself. You'd have to ask him, but I'm looking forward to seeing him out there."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr. , Victor Cruz

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski)

Glad you could all make it today. It's good to get back out here on the field. Third week of the offseason program, so we really just got out here and knocked the rust off a little bit, getting the guys orientated to the way we're going to go about the business and we'll build on it each day. We'll do a little bit more tomorrow, a little bit more on Thursday and off we go. With that, we'll open up to questions.

Q: What are the keys to going about your business?

A: We want to train the way we play and that's key. We're going to start each day working on fundamentals, whether it's taking care of the Duke… We'll have a period of blocking and tackling every day and we'll have a period of taking care of the football.

Q: How important is it at this point to establish a level of accountability among your players?

A: Accountability is something that obviously starts with me and ends with me, but it's something that we want to build throughout the locker room as well. We want to have guys hold each other accountable for their actions. It's good to have a solid locker room there and we think we're off to a good start.

Q: What's the progress report on Victor Cruz?

A: He looks good. He's moving around. He's doing a lot of things. He's certainly ready to go if we needed him to go today, but he's going to go when we deem him ready to go.

Q: How would you classify his progress?

A: Victor has come a long way and we're going to take small steps with him. It's the third week of the offseason program. We don't want to rush into anything there. We want to take our time and when he's ready to go, we'll put him back out there when we deem him ready to go.

Q: How much can you talk about the progress of Jason Pierre-Paul's hand?

A: Today was just a jog-through. It's good to have him here in the offseason program. That's a great start. Being the third week into it, we'll have to see. We'll have to get out there and we'll have to do some offense vs. defense where he has a chance to work and do those types of things, but he's already ahead of the game compared to last year.

Q: It looked like he was wearing a different type of glove. Is that something new?

A: That's something you'd have to talk with him about.

Q: How do you approach these mini-camps?

A: 2005 and 2006, I was a part of one, but the rules have changed a little bit since then. Being the third week of the offseason program, the beginning of the third week, we want to be smart. We haven't had a chance to be out here working with them on the field, so we want to take small steps and build a good foundation. We knocked the rust off today and will do a little bit more as we go.

Q: Did you see the energy and enthusiasm you were expecting from the team today?

A: The building has been buzzing here for a few weeks, and the guys are excited to get back and get going. I think you felt that out here a little bit today. It was a good first day. We didn't do much out here other than train the fundamentals. We didn't do any offense or any defense, but the guys were into it. It's the first day. We have to keep it up.

Q: Have Mykkele Thompson and Nat Berhe been cleared to participating normally?

A: They go as we go.

Q: How much have you had to change going from offensive coordinator to head coaching?

A: I haven't changed at all. I'm going to be myself. I'm comfortable in my own skin and that's how I approach it.

Q: Did you find yourself at times on the field recognizing that you're the head coach of the New York Giants?

A: When practice started, I was looking for something to do. But I think that's pretty natural in the grand scheme of things. I have a chance to get around the defense a little bit more and really the positions other than the quarterback a little bit more than I have in the past two years. That's exciting for me.

Q: So you found something to do?

A: I did. I found something to do and I'll find plenty more.

Q: What have these past few weeks getting ready for the draft been like for you?

A: It's been a little bit different. My involvement in the draft is complete. Now it's offense, defense and special teams. Responsibility is there. It's something that I'm enjoying the process and I have an opportunity to give some input. That's exciting. But my main job and my main role is to coach the team, and that's what I'll do, first and foremost.

Q: Who picks the soundtrack for practice?

A: That's Ed Triggs. He does a great job dialing up some great music for us and making sure we keep it at the right rating, which is a challenge sometimes. He does a great job of mixing it in. We like to have a little something for everybody out here.

Q: Is Victor Cruz ready?

A: Victor is out here. He's running routes. He's working hard. He feels he's 100 percent, but we're going to take it slow and we're going to take small steps with him. When we deem him ready, we'll put him on the field.

Q: Has your relationship with Eli changed?

A: No. 


LB Myles Jack highlights 00:00:31
SNY.tv provides the best plays of the season from UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

UCLA LB Myles Jack, whose draft status took a hit when several NFL teams downgraded him due to some negative reports on his knee, could still be in many teams' plans come Thursday night.

The Giants could be one of them. In fact, veteran NFL reporter Peter King believes the Giants are among teams at the top of the draft that are not buying into the story that Jack's knee (torn lateral meniscus) will not hold up over the long haul and may be a candidate for micro-fracture surgery.

"Let the debate begin over Jack's health. Or continue," King wrote in his MMQB column on Monday. "Some NFL teams think Jack eventually will need microfracture surgery on the wounded knee that was surgically repaired last fall. Microfracture surgery is risky, and not every player responds the same to it. But I hear the Giants think Jack's knee is OK. If it is, New York has the best sideline-to-sideline linebacker in the draft, and that's been a huge position of need on the Giants defense."

The thinking is, a team drafting outside of the top-10 is leaking negative reports about Jack in hopes the teams ahead of them will think twice about drafting him. It happens a lot in this league, but most clubs rely on their own intel, such as the Giants.

Jack passed his medical re-check last week and has not failed any team's physical thus far. Several team executives have actually been impressed by his workouts, although he has yet to run a 40-yard dash.

Jacksonville Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell, who holds the No. 5 overall selection on Thursday night, worked Jack out on April 16th and was satisfied that Jack's knee was fine.

"He looked good," Caldwell said during a pre-draft news conference last Friday. "We put him through linebacker drills, change of direction, drops, bag drills."

The Giants are being extra cautious these days when it comes to evaluating the health of players. They likely still have Jack high on their radar. Other teams probably do, too.

The only question remaining is how far Jack will fall, if he does at all. He is likely to make it down to at least No. 5, where Jacksonville may pull the trigger. If he makes it past them, which it sounds as if he may not, he could go to any of the teams between 6-9 - Baltimore, San Francisco, Cleveland or Tampa Bay.

So, the negative review, run out of Philadelphia, doesn't appear to have worked. The only longshot now is if he falls to the Giants at No. 10.


New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is defended by Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is defended by Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

New Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said he is looking forward to matching up against New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. twice per season.

"It's gonna be fun. He's a competitor," Norman said at his introductory press conference on Monday, according to ProFootballTalk's Josh Alper. "I'm gonna play. I'm gonna give everything I got just as well as he is. … Whatever happens that day, it will happen. I don't hold the future."

Norman signed a five-year, $75 million deal with Washington after the Carolina Panthers rescinded his franchise tag last week. Afterward, Beckham reacted by tweeting Kanye West lyrics:

Though they were not initially scheduled to face each other this season (the Giants and Panthers won't meet unless it's in the playoffs), Beckham and Norman will face each other twice. They will meet in Week 3 (Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. ET) at MetLife Stadium, and Week 17 at FedEx Field (Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET).

When the Giants and Panthers met last season, Beckham and Norman combined for five personal foul penalties. Beckham, who recorded six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the game, received a one-game suspension for his actions, which included launching himself head-first toward Norman. Norman was fined $26,044.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning told Newsday's Tom Rock that Beckham's emotions will be kept in check when they meet again.

"It's not going to be a battle between Odell and Josh," Manning said. "We're not going to make that a point. It's about winning the football game, doing our job and doing it well. We'll game-plan for him just like all the other corners, but we have to be sure not to make it a bigger deal so it doesn't escalate into something that's not about football."

Tags: Eli Manning , Odell Beckham Jr. , Washington Redskins

 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

With the 2016 NFL Draft just three days away, the New York Giants are sizing up possible candidates who could fall to them at Pick No. 10 in the first round. The first two picks, held by the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, will be quarterbacks. That much we know.

At the moment, the Rams are reportedly favoring Cal's Jared Goff over Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. The Eagles will gladly take Wentz at No. 2 and move on. Goff will be a good pro and has less downside. That being said, Wentz has more upside, according to many scouts.

The next seven picks before the Giants select are all still in question. The San Diego Chargers hold the third selection and should take Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil, widely considered the best overall player in the draft. QB Philip Rivers, who was hit 107 times (sixth highest in the league) in 2015, is probably hoping the Chargers go for Tunsil. The reports are that the Chargers will take the full amount of time allotted in hopes of making a deal with a team looking to trade up. They have not had many offers thus far.

The Dallas Cowboys can, and probably will, shake up the order with the fourth pick. If San Diego selects Tunsil, Dallas will be looking at the draft's biggest defensive playmaker in Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. But things aren't that simple with the Cowboys, as we all know. They may look at a pass-rusher instead with Greg Hardy gone and Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence facing suspensions. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa would make sense, as would DeForest Buckner of Oregon. Owner Jerry Jones is said to be leaning towardOhio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, so the Cowboys' war room will be an interensting place once again on Thursday night.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will select Tunsil or Ramsey should they fall to them. They would like to take UCLA LB Myles Jack. That is, if they are one of the teams willing to slough off the diverse reports on his knee. If the reports scared them off, they'll go for a pass rusher: Bosa or Buckner, whoever falls.

With the sixth pick, the Baltimore Ravens will take advantage of the mistakes the teams in front of them make. They could end up with Tunsil or Bosa, who entered the draft season as the best defensive and offensive linemen in the country.

At seven, the San Francisco 49ers, a team that needs a lot of help, will take the best available player. Buckner, Jack or Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley should be there for them and they can't afford to reach here.

The Cleveland Browns are at No. 8 as a result of their trade down with Philadelphia. They are reportedly open for business and willing to move out at the right price. If they can't, expect them to play it safe by selecting an OT such as Stanley or Michigan State's Jack Conklin. There's also a good possibility they could take Elliott here.

Tampa Bay is looking for defense. They'll take a pass-rusher or Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves here. Georgia OLB/DE Leonard Floyd could also be the pick. He is the draft's biggest enigma and could be either the biggest steal or biggest bust.

The Giants, at No. 10, will be looking at a world of possibilities. So will a slew of other teams, which is why a trade is not out of the question. The Giants may swap first rounders and get another pick or two in the process. If not, they will pick from a group of players that slipped: Hargreaves, Floyd, Stanley, Jack, Conklin and Buckner. All of these players can help the Giants.

Hargreaves is great competitor and would give the Giants a third top CB along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins. Buckner and Floyd can both make the Giants' pass rush more formidable. Jack is a wild card with a nose for the football. If healthy, he can be a game changer. Stanley and Conklin are both ready to start on Day One.

Should GM Jerry Reese get bowled over by an offer to move out, he'll take it. The first round is filled with useful players, meaning they could trade out and still get one of these players.

Some names they could be interested in should they get a pick beyond 15: Clemson DE Kevin Dodd, Ohio State CB Eli Apple, and Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell.


New York Giants Senior Vice President & General Manager Jerry Reese addresses media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Jim O'Connor)
New York Giants Senior Vice President & General Manager Jerry Reese addresses media during press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Jim O'Connor)

Free agency and a couple of key re-signings seemingly moved the New York Giants a little closer to ending a four-year playoff drought.

It's a Who's Who of starters for new coach Ben McAdoo: defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebacker Keenan Robinson

The final step comes next week with the draft. New York has the 10th pick overall, and plenty of needs. The Giants could use an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, a cornerback or safety, another defensive end or linebacker with the ability to go sideline to sideline.

No matter who Jerry Reese picks, it's probably going to fill an obvious need.

Make no mistake. Reese can't afford a mistake. Four years out of the playoffs cost coach Tom Coughlin his job last season. Another failure and the general manager might be gone.

Co-owner John Mara stressed the importance of this draft when asked about it last week, noting how much money the team spent in free agency.

"I put the urgency on myself," Reese said. "I know I come to work every day and I work my behind off and that hasn't changed since Day 1. I see how hard our personnel people work. The pressure is always there. Nobody puts more pressure on me than me."

Reese has almost always taken the highest player on the Giants' board regardless of position. His picks are quick because the team reviews possible scenarios the day before the draft. >> Read more

 

Tags: Damon Harrison , Jason Pierre-Paul

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) catches a touchdown pass in front of Carolina Panthers corner back Josh Norman (24) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Giants 38-35. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) catches a touchdown pass in front of Carolina Panthers corner back Josh Norman (24) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Giants 38-35. (Brad Penner)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The New York Giants and Washington Redskins have been playing each other in some form since 1932, and many of those 168 games have been memorable ones. Get ready for some more history to be made.

This week, the Carolina Panthers surprisingly rescinded All-Pro CB Josh Norman's $13.9 million franchise tag, which allowed him to become a free agent, and as fate would have it, he signed with Washington on Friday.

That means the Norman-Odell Beckham, Jr. saga will take place front and center at least twice a year for the foreseeable future. Whether or not the two have gotten over their over-the-top-rivalry from last December is unknown.

We'll find out Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. when the Giants host the Redskins and again on New Year's Day when the Giants travel down to D.C. The second game could have postseason ramifications, and you can bet the NFL and NBC are already hoping it does so they can flex the game to primetime.

The Redsins signed Norman to a five-year, $75 million deal with $50 million of that guaranteed. Giants fans are left wondering this morning why the Giants didn't make Norman and offer. They have over $20 million in cap space and Norman would give the Giants a killer secondary.

They chose not to make Norman an offer in deference to Beckham, I assume. GM Jerry Reese, who said the other day that he wasn't surprised that Norman was on suddenly on the market saying, "we investigate everything," but how much thought he gave into pursuing Norman is unknown.

What is known is that the Panthers, whose GM Dave Gettleman worked for the Giants for several decades, was the one who decided to recind Norman's tender. For him to let a talent such as Norman go, something has to be up. Is he too big a star, a possible team chemistry wrecker? Who knows. That has never stopped the Redskins from signing a player.

The dynamic between Norman and Beckham will certainly be different going forward. No way we'll see the nonsense we saw between them last December ensue this season. But the confrontations will be competitve and heated as well as fun to watch.

The Redskins, who won the NFC East last season, will have that killer secondary now. With Norman, Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland at the corners. And with DeAngelo Hall at safety, the Skins will be hard to beat out there. 


New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese spoke with the media on Thursday regarding the upcoming NFL Draft. (Trevor Ruszkowski)
New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese spoke with the media on Thursday regarding the upcoming NFL Draft. (Trevor Ruszkowski)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

New York Giants GM Jerry Reese met with the media on Thursday, his annual pre-draft presser in which he revealed very little about the team's draft plans.

After he fended off the questions regarding the draft and the free agent haul of defensive stars, Reese spoke about two of his greatest finds since taking over as GM in 2007, DE Jason Pierre-Paul and WR Victor Cruz, who are both fighting their way back from serious, debilitating injuries.

Cruz last played in October of 2014, when he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee against the Philadelphia Eagles. He since has rehabbed that knee only to be set back by calf issues. The Giants are hopeful he can come back this summer and resemble a form of his old self.

"So far so good," Reese said when asked about Cruz' status. "He's been out there. I've been peeking out the window and watching him run outside. We had our medical meetings last night and all of our doctors are pleased with his progress so far and we're hoping that he'll be the Victor that we know."

Reese said the club plans to re-acclimate the former Pro Bowl wideout slowly at first, but expect him to contribute at a high level by training camp.

"We're going to take it easy with him and make sure that he's ramped up a little bit at a time and when training camp comes around, we're hoping that he's a full go. We're expecting him to be full go," said Reese.

The expectations are nowhere near as high as they were last year for Cruz, and Reese sounded like the team has tempered those as such.

"He hasn't played in two years," said Reese. "But he's probably more healthy now than he's probably been in the last couple of years. What we get from Victor will be a bonus and we're hoping it's a great bonus for us."

The Giants are expected to draft a WR after losing Rueben Randle in free agency and not bringing anyone else in to replace him. They are unlikely to draft one with the No. 10 pick but there are several prospects that may pique their interest in the middle rounds.

As for JPP, Reese has already put his money where his mouth is by signing the former All-Pro to a one-year "prove-it" deal last month that could be worth $10 million should all the incentives be reached. Reese is also optimistic this signing will be a bonus as well.

"Jason is a terrific football player and we're hoping that the procedure that he had on his hand after the season will continue to feel better for him and he will be able to play with that hand in the condition that it is and we expect him to do that," Reese said. "I said at the (combine) that it was kind of a miracle for me that he played last year. He'll be that much better now, we think."

The procedure Reese is referring to is the one on his right damaged hand back in February to create more flexibility. Last season, JPP was unable to complete plays and wrap up ball carriers because of the protective "club" he wore on that hand.

JPP's improvement will not preclude the Giants from selecting a pass rusher in next week's draft. The Giants' success, historically, begins with a strong pass rush and it looks like they want to get back to that strategy.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul , Victor Cruz

Damon Harrison sees potential in this Giants' defensive roster. (AP)
Damon Harrison sees potential in this Giants' defensive roster. (AP)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

A defense is measured by how strong they are in the middle. The Giants were stripped naked last year by injuries, and by season's end had perhaps the weakest defensive backbone in the league.

In their Week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants had 34 year-old Cullen Jenkins and the underachieving Jay Bromley at tackle, special teams star Jonathan Casillas at middle linebacker and free agent for a reason Brandon Meriweather at strong safety. The only player that saw playing time in that group that the Giants planned to hang onto long-term was rookie safety Landon Collins.

The Giants needed to inject talent and stability into their defense this offseason and spent over $200 million towards that end. One of the biggest pieces they added came from an unlikely source, the Jets, in the form of 6'4", 350-pound defensive tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison.

Harrison was signed to a five-year, $46.25 million deal by the Giants in March to anchor their depleted defensive line and has admitted the transition from Florham Park to East Rutherford has been relatively seamless. He was asked on Thursday what surprised him the most about the change of teams.

"That I look good in red and blue, I would have to say --- no, just how well I have gelled with the guys and you never know what to expect when going into a locker room and the guys have welcomed me with open arms and it hasn't been a problem. That was pretty surprising to me," Harrison said.

Harrison will team up with budding star Johnathan Hankins, who missed the second half of the 2015 season with a torn pectoral muscle, to hopefully give the Giants one of the league's top DT tandems.

"Pretty good man. Hankins is a cool guy," Harrison said. "We have actually hung out together a couple times off the field, which is a little different than I normally do because I am not the type of guy that outside of football I hang around too many people, but the defensive line here and a couple of the other guys in the position groups, we have hung out together a couple of times off the field, so it is building a different kind of chemistry."

Harrison was considered one of the NFL's top DTs last year, but that was in the Jets' 3-4 alignment. The Giants' basic defense is the 4-3. Harrison said the shift will be an easy one.

"It is still football at the end of the day," Harrison said of the difference. "My job in the 3-4 was to pretty much beat the guy up in front of me and it is the same thing here, just a different alignment on a consistent basis, which is about it. If people go back and look, I was actually in a shade technique, which is to the left or the right side of the guard as opposed to directly over him more so then I was in the zero so no, I think that is way overblown."

Harrison was asked if the Giants could be one of the league's best defenses after being one of the worst last season:

"I don't want to say yes and I don't want to say no just because, like you said, it is just April, but when you look around that room and see the type of guys they have in there --- the JPPs, the Oliver Vernon's, the Hankins, the Collins and DRC and [Janoris Jenkins] and everybody else they have in there --- and Kennard. We have the ingredients but we just have to put it all together and we will only be as good as we can be if we can work together."

I have to agree. The ingredients are there but the fact remains that the Giants continue to slide backward, getting buried by injuries year after year.

"I am not too familiar with the injury history in the past," Harrison said. "But I know the new strength staff that they brought in, they are putting a lot of emphasis on staying healthy and doing a lot of work without putting orthopedic stress on your body, so I think it will help in the long run. I have just told a couple of the guys who have asked to just listen to your body, know your body. If your body is telling you it is too much, it is too much. If you need to pull back, then do so."

The Giants hired Aaron Wellman as their new strength and conditioning coordinator. Wellman has some unconventional training methods that the club hopes will go a long way in preventing injuries.

Tags: Damon Harrison
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