Giants' GM Jerry Reese has been collecting cornerbacks and safeties at a noticeable rate this offseason. With all the additions and the return of the injured Terrell Thomas it would seem there would be no room for another major talent.
But the Giants, who were handed the NFL's toughest schedule this season, feel you can never have enough pass rushers and pass defenders. They have one solid starter in Corey Webster, and teamed with Thomas - who led the team in tackles in 2009 and 2010, gives the Giants a formidable duo.
Add in last year's top pick, Prince Amukamara, Michael Coe, Brian Johnson, Antwaun Molden, Justin Tryon, Brandon Bing, well you get the picture. It's crowded back there. But even the excessive numbers dis not deter Reese and his staff from adding to the group. If a player comes along that can raise the level of the group, they wouldn't think twice about taking them.
Last night, they didn't. Enter Virginia Tech's Jayron Hosley. a fast, physical, 20 year-old who fears little, plays bigger than he is (5"10, 180) and is an interception machine (he led the nation in INTs as a soph in 2010).
"He’s not a big man, but this guy has athletic arrogance. He plays like a big guy," Reese told the media last night. "His skill set, years ago, kind of reminds me of Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones – he plays kind of like that. He runs in there kind of like a little linebacker. He throws himself in there. He has outstanding cover skills. He’s productive. He’s an interceptor, he can intercept the ball, so we expect him to be in our nickel packages. And a bonus is that he’s a punt returner. He can return punts and kicks, but he’s probably a better punt returner than kick returner. He has a lot of good qualities that we like. We think if he was a couple of inches taller, he would be in the first [round] [in the conversation] with the first two guys—those two top corners."
Hosely dropped down into the third round for other reasons than just size. He struggled through his junior year with hamstring and concussion issues, and oh, yes, he failed a drug test (marijuana) at the combines last month. That did not scare away the Giants, a franchise that has weathered the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Plaxico Burress. They saw value in Hosley and snatched him up regardless.
"We’re very much aware of that and we’ve addressed that with him and we’re prepared to address that professionally as well when we do get him here," head coach Tom Coughlin said. He lives and breathes in the world. 20 year-olds smoke pot. They drink. They make mistakes. The Giants understand that. They will put him back on the right path.
Coughlin did provide much praise for Hosley, though. He has mutli-uses. Ever since Desean Jackson embarrassed the Giants in 2010, the team has been bolstering it's special teams.
"He has the potential to be a punt returner. We like him for our special teams aspect also," said Coughlin. "He’s played the gunner. He can play various kickoff coverages, etc., etc. We feel like we can accomplish a lot with this kind of an athlete. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. That was discussed. However, we do think he is a competitive, feisty guy and he’s one of those people that has not backed down from anybody."
The coach likes having competition in camp. Hosley will raise the bar for the secondary and the specials. Coughlin glowed about the cover skills of his new corner:
"This is a guy, very competitive, feisty guy with 12 career interceptions.....He’s a physical tackler. He is a competitive guy who many times is matched up on the opponent’s best receiver. Whether it’s the physical aspect of the game, the coming up in run support, the competitiveness in the press position, whether he’s playing from off and just playing the ball in the air. This guy does have outstanding hands and has been able to convert that concept into many interceptions. Quite frankly, he had nine picks in 2010 and they pretty much stayed away from him this year as he added only three..."
quotes courtesy Giants Communications Dept