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    "December 26, 2009.

    That's the last time Marvin Austin was on the field for a meaningful football
    game. It was the final game of his junior season at North Carolina, a 19-17 loss
    in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Pittsburgh.

    That turned out to be the defensive tackle's final game as a Tar Heel after
    he was suspended for his senior season before it even started. The Giants still took him in the second round
    in last year's draft. Then he tore his pectoral muscle in the Giants' second
    preseason game and was placed on the injured reserve list before his rookie
    season even started.

    And just like that, another year without meaningful football.

    "[It's] extremely tough," he said. "Just being out of football for two years
    is tough in itself and I just look at it as I got a great opportunity here. I
    just got to capitalize on the opportunity I have and try my best to do great

    Austin says he is 100 percent healthy and eager to get on the field for a
    game that matters. Barring another setback, that won't happen until Sept. 5
    against the Cowboys – nearly three years after his final game at North Carolina
    -- so for now, he's satisfied with just being around his teammates and being
    part of a team.

    "It's like a kid in the candy shop," Austin said last week during voluntary
    workouts. "It's time to go out there and just to be back on the field, be back
    in the weight room doing what I love is exciting."

    Austin said he has a "pretty good" understanding of the defense, but admitted
    not being on the field has somewhat hindered his education.

    "I wouldn't say it's hard to full understand it, but when you're not playing,
    it's different," he said. "It's harder to learn when you're not out there
    actually going through the motions and getting the calls and getting a feel and
    having the chemistry with the guys is definitely a lot harder."

    like Prince Amukamara
    , the Giants' first-round pick last year, Austin will
    have to prove his worth despite the setbacks.

    Last month, general manager Jerry
    Reese voiced some uncertainty about Austin
    in an interview with Sirius XM

    “We’re worried about him a little bit,” Reese admitted. “He hasn’t played in
    such a long time now. He tore his pec. He’s been out for such a long time."

    Austin thinks the pressure would've been on him no matter what.

    "Playing football you should always feel like you have something to prove so
    I'm pretty sure every guy on the team, not just our draft class, has something
    to prove," he said. "It's not a collective thing where we sat down and said,
    'Our draft class, we need to do better.' It's just all of us need to step up."


    "In his four seasons in Dallas, Martellus Bennett never hated the Giants. Or so he says.

    To him, hate is a strong word. Sure, it was thrown around by players on each
    side of the rivalry while he was in a Cowboys uniform – at
    least one of his new teammates is guilty
    – but the animosity never reached
    that level for the Giants' new tight end.

    "I wouldn't say that I hated them," Bennett said last week. "To me it's just
    playing against another team so it was easy for me to come over here and join
    another organization and become part of this family.

    "Some people say hate, some people do. It is what it is. It's a part of the
    rivalry. When we play against the Cowboys I'll go just as hard as I did when I
    played against the Giants. It's the same thing for me."

    In his brief time around the Giants since he
    agreed to a one-year deal with the club
    , Bennett said he's seen similarities
    between his former and new teams.

    "I think they're both first-class organizations. I think the Cowboys did
    things top-of-the-line, everything they did and I think it's the same thing
    here. It's easy to come in and join the same type of family so I don't think
    there's a major difference.

    "The only difference is they had a Super Bowl and we didn't."

    The Cowboys fell victim to the Giants to end the regular season with the
    division crown on the line and watched as their NFC East rivals made an
    improbable run to the Super Bowl. The teams will meet again at MetLife Stadium
    to begin the 2012 regular season, an encounter Bennett admitted to looking
    forward to.

    "Yeah, it is pretty fun," he said. "I look forward to playing against the
    guys. A lot of my friends are on that team. I think it'll be a great game."

    As of now, Bennett is in line to be the Giants' starting tight end for that
    matchup with Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard each coming off torn ACLs suffered
    in Super Bowl XLVI. Beckum
    may be ready for opening night, but Ballard may not see the field in 2012
    The Giants also have Bear Pascoe and Christian Hopkins on the roster, and could
    also conceivably add a tight end in this weekend's draft.

    Either way, Bennett hopes to take advantage of every opportunity for an
    offense that has not relied on the tight end as much as other teams across the
    league increasingly have. Instead, the Giants have traditionally preferred
    block-first tight ends, with the occasional outlier such as Jeremy Shockey, who
    is the last Giants tight end to catch at least 70 balls when he caught 74 during
    his rookie season in 2002.

    Bennett is known as a good blocker, but he also falls under the
    basketball-player-turned-tight-end trend seen with Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates
    and others. Bennett played basketball for two seasons at Texas A&M before
    focusing on football and his 6-foot-6, 275-pound frame combined with his
    athleticism make him a potentially dangerous target for Eli Manning.

    In Dallas his playing time was limited behind perennial Pro Bowler Jason
    Witten and now he envisions a chance to breakout.

    "I think it's an opportunity for me to come in and earn every catch that I
    get," he said. "I feel like if I come in and show them what I can do and gain
    Eli's trust and maybe I can catch more balls.

    "I think the opportunity's there, I just got to seize the moment. Carpe


    "Last week, we
    gave you a list of players
    who had visited the Giants. I've since gathered a few more
    names, one of which caught my eye as an interesting one: Clemson tight end
    Dwayne Allen.

    There's been much talk about the Giants' potentially drafting Stanford's Coby
    Fleener with their first-round pick (No. 32 overall), but Fleener isn't a great
    blocker and we know how important that is to Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope,
    who attended
    Fleener's workout at Stanford's pro day

    This isn't to say Pope doesn't think he could be a good blocker;
    there are times when Pope sees ability that has yet to be unearthed and he's
    darn good at tapping into said talent. But one scout recently told the Milwaukee
    Journal Sentinel Fleener
    "might be the most overrated player in the draft"
    and is an "awful

    Contrast that description with what's often said about Allen, beginning with
    the paragraph in the Journal-Sentinel right below the evaluation of Fleener. The
    paper quotes a scout saying Allen is "more old-school" and a "full-time tight
    end." Now that sounds like a Giants tight end to me.

    According to scouting reports, Allen doesn't have elite speed but he can move
    pretty well, is a good route runner, has good hands, is a hard worker and is a
    good in-line blocker. Working with Pope could only help in all regards.

    The 6-4, 255-pound Allen had modest numbers in his first two seasons with the
    Tigers (43 receptions for 481 yards and four touchdowns combined). Last season,
    he caught 50 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns, all of which are new
    school records for a tight end. Allen decided to forgo his senior season and
    enter the Draft.

    Allen's name was on a list of a few more players who visited the Giants that
    I received over the weekend. But no need to source it because his high school
    coach spilled
    the beans on the visit to his hometown paper
    , the Fayetteville (N.C.)

    "He would love to go to New York," said the coach, Wayne Inman. "He would fit
    in great with their offense.''

    Inman is pumping up his guy, so when he says Allen probably won't be a
    available when the Giants pick at No. 63, we can't take that as gospel. But if
    you take a spin around some mock drafts, you'll see many have Allen off the
    board at that point. In fact, ESPN's Mel Kiper went from giving
    Allen to the Giants
    back in February to moving him up to
    the Eagles at No. 51
    earlier this month. Our lads at Ourlads (crickets) have Allen going to the
    Giants at No. 63

    Again, we've discussed the possibility of the Giants moving back into the
    second round, so perhaps he could be an option if they do fall back. Or maybe he
    does make it to them at the back end of the second round. We'll see."




    "To hear Nick Saban tell it, Dont’a Hightower can do just about everything but
    tape ankles.

    The Giants have that chore covered, but they have a glaring vacancy at middle
    linebacker that scouts say the Alabama prospect would fill quite nicely if
    Hightower is still available with the 32nd pick in Thursday’s first round of the
    NFL Draft.

    Not only would the defending Super Bowl champions be addressing their hole in
    the middle with Hightower, but Saban said Big Blue would be helping themselves
    in numerous other areas, too.

    “Inside linebacker, nickel backer, defensive end and odd rusher,” Saban said
    of Hightower at Alabama’s recent pro day. “He does all those things very well,
    he is very smart and he has leadership qualities.”

    Middle linebackers who struggle in coverage have seen their roles diminish in
    the NFL lately with the boom in the passing game, a shift that has lessened the
    need for big-bodied run stuffers at that position who usually have to come off
    the field on third down.

    Hightower certainly qualifies as a big body, standing 6-foot-2 and 265
    pounds, and the 4.68-second 40-yard dash the early draft entry ran at the
    combine wasn’t exactly a mark in his favor.

    Scouts also are concerned about any lingering effects from a devastating knee
    injury Hightower suffered as a freshman in 2009. He had reconstructive surgery
    after suffering the dreaded trifecta of a torn ACL, torn MCL and torn

    But Hightower appears to play faster than his numbers, holds his own in
    coverage and made Saban an early believer by showing he could also play outside
    or put a hand on the ground at defensive end and be effective at all of those

    “I’m a versatile athlete,” Hightower said at the combine. “I can play both
    inside and outside and the defensive end in the 4-3, so it ultimately comes down
    to which teams need what. I feel like I have just as much ability as anyone in
    the draft at either position.”

    Hightower also brings maturity beyond his 22 years and strong leadership
    skills, so much so that Saban named him captain, as a sophomore, no less, of a
    defense stocked with NFL draft prospects.

    Hightower, who moved to middle linebacker after Rolando McClain departed for
    the NFL after the 2009 season, didn’t post big individual numbers at Alabama.
    His best year personally was last season, when he had 11 tackles for lost
    yardage and four sacks.

    But with Hightower fortifying the middle, the Crimson Tide had one of the
    most suffocating defenses in the country the past two seasons and capped that
    run with a shutout of equally loaded archrival LSU this year in the BCS title

    According to Hightower, some of the best competition he had in college — not
    to mention some of the best preparation for the draft — came in practice. That’s
    hardly surprising, considering how much Saban’s Crimson Tide have been an NFL
    talent pipeline.

    “We all competed, and that’s another reason why we came to Alabama and the
    SEC, to compete against some of the best athletes in the country,” Hightower
    said. “It definitely wasn’t a problem for us getting ready for the draft after
    what we faced on our own practice field.”




    "His secrets remain hidden, tucked away in a series of spiral-bound notebooks
    Chris Snee keeps far from prying eyes.

    Tiny writing fills both sides of each page, he says, crammed with
    observations, tendencies and tricks he's gleaned from watching hours of game
    film on other NFL guards, studying how they attack defensive linemen.

    And the time has come to start another notebook.

    Snee's film study resumed earlier this month, just eight weeks after the
    Giants' Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. The Record was invited to observe
    the right guard's private screening in the empty silence of the offensive
    linemen's room at the team's training facility.

    But you'll have to take his word for what's in his notes. No one gets to see

    "I couldn't show my secrets," said Snee, flashing a wry smile.

    There is no off-season — not in today's NFL — not even for three-time Pro
    Bowlers coming off their second Super Bowl title. Not when your body isn't as
    spry as it once was.

    So Snee, 30, intently watched the AFC Championship between the Patriots and
    the Ravens, studying how New England guards Brian Waters and Logan Mankins — two
    of the NFL's best — blocked Baltimore's ferocious front seven.

    He will fill four notebooks this year — one this spring, one in training camp
    and two during the season — just as he has in each of his eight NFL campaigns.
    Just as he has since his then-Boston College line coach, Dave Magazu (now with
    the Broncos) assigned film "homework" and suggested he keep track of it in a

    "I am a football nerd; I love the game," said Snee, who has six red
    pencil-eraser-size scars circling his right elbow, reminders of last month's
    arthroscopic surgery.

    "You have to love it to put your body through it."

    A photo of late owner Wellington Mara hangs on the wall behind him, looking
    down as if he were the patron saint of blockers.

    "Mr. Mara is always there behind us," he said. "He was a big O-line guy."

    Snee's eyes, meanwhile, saw everything in the first of his weekly sessions
    this spring, lasting about an hour.

    He watched Waters fake Haloti Ngata by flashing his hands as if he were going
    to block him, then take out the tackle's legs a few plays after he whiffed on a
    cut block. He saw Mankins line up in a three-point stance on a pass play to keep
    the defense guessing.

    And he marveled at Waters' "hook technique," as the veteran wrapped his left
    arm around Ngata on an outside run and slid him out of the play, letting go
    before he was flagged for holding.

    Snee admitted stealing that move. He also has learned other tricks, such as
    alternating his stances.

    "And I'll make comments at the line," he said, referring to dummy calls to
    throw off a defense, before stopping himself. "I don't want to give away all my

    But Snee doesn't need tricks, Magazu said.

    "When I go looking at guys, we want smart, physical, tough football players,"
    the Broncos line coach said. "Well, that's Chris Snee."

    Snee's study habits began in tiny Montrose, Pa., where he would borrow the
    only copy of game film from his high school coach.

    "As a small town kid, you kind of feel as if you're constantly against all
    odds," Snee said. "You're just trying to make a name for yourself and get where
    you want to be."

    Snee uses his old notebooks for reference, still possessing the spirals from
    his rookie year.

    Those notes take on a superstitious routine during the season. He will write
    the same number of pages on each team, no matter the opponent.

    "I'm kind of a head case," Snee said.

    He dedicates the first page of each week to the three or four pass rushers he
    will battle one-on-one.

    He'll list their strengths, favorite moves, things that have worked against
    him in the past and his game plan to stop them.

    Snee also records daily corrections from practice.

    They remind him how to avoid the mistakes that haunt him years later, such as
    the sack he yielded in the 2008 season-opening victory over the Redskins.

    They brought in fresh-legged Chris Wilson for his first play when Snee had
    played about 65. He fell for a spin move, allowing Wilson's only sack of the

    "It still chaps me," Snee said. "Things like that you'll always



    "With Jake Ballard likely to miss most of, if not all of the 2012 season
    following microfracture and ACL surgery, and Travis Beckum also recovering from
    a torn ACL, the New York
    are certainly in the market for a tight end. Accordingly, a name
    commonly associated with them and a potential target in the upcoming NFL Draft is
    Stanford tight end Coby

    Fleener has been a common pick for Big Blue in many expert and amateur mock
    drafts in recent weeks, and seems to be the favorite target of many Giants fans.
    However, despite his high stock, there's at least one NFL scout who isn't buying into all the hype.

    "He wasn't even the best tight end on their team," one scout said. "No. 11
    [sophomore Levine Toilolo], that's the real deal. He might be the most overrated
    guy in the draft. He's awful as a blocker. Despite his workout numbers he's
    really not a quick-twitch, dynamic-moving guy. He's a straight-line, build-up
    player. All these reports about him being an athlete and this and that, they're
    assuming that because he ran fast. He's really just a red-zone, jump-ball

    As damning as this analysis sounds, it should probably be taken with a grain
    of salt. As this scout remained anonymous, there's no telling what team he
    represents and what their interest in Fleener might be. He could merely be
    attempting to drive down Fleener's stock so that his team stands a better chance
    at drafting the tight end. Then again, he could legitimately be calling it like
    he sees it.

    In the Giants 101 positional breakdown of tight ends, Fleener was ranked #1, but
    failed to make the "elite" category.

    "Fleener has impressive acceleration for a player his size and while he isn't
    a huge threat to hurt NFL defenses over the top and down the sideline, Fleener
    is deceptive and capable of making big plays down the seam if defenses don't
    respect his speed," Hazem Kiswani wrote.

    Once upon a time, Mark Bavaro was looked at as a prospect tight end who had
    uncertain blocking capabilities. Some scouts felt he could be as terrible as he
    could be great, and that he was considered a high risk pick. And while Fleener
    is unlikely to be the next Bavaro, it just goes to show you that these things
    can go either way."


    "In 2003, the front office of the New York Football Giants deemed it time for change. Head Coach Jim
    was fired and now Coach Tom
    was brought on board. Looking back, Tom
    foreshadowed what he would help this Giants team become.

    “What we must be all about right now, immediately, is the restoration of
    pride: self-pride, team pride, the restoration of our professionalism and the
    dignity of which we conduct our business. We must restore our belief in the
    process by which we will win. We must replace despair with hope and return the
    energy and passion to New York
    Coughlin said at the time.

    Coughlin did his best to achieve this. However, something more was necessary
    to further attain that Giants Pride. The catalyst that was needed for him to
    attain his dream: Jerry

    Then General Manager Ernie
    (1998-2006) had served the Giants very well and set the entire
    rebuilding model in motion with his aggressive acquisition of Eli
    in April of 2004. Accorsi’s passion for football as
    well as his sincere, strong appreciation for the history of the game added to
    the Giants’ storied franchise. He learned well in his four years under GM George
    Young, but brought his own personality and newness to the general manager game –
    much like what Jerry
    would do from 2007 until present day.

    Once Jerry
    was added to the decision-making staff alongside of 16th Head Coach
    Coughlin, the two realized their sights were mirror-images in that Reese, too,
    vowed to bring the Giants back to glory…and the Super Bowl. There was that and
    the fact that he also had faith in the then third-year quarterback.

    “…Look at the quarterbacks that are playing now in the playoffs, are those
    guys that much better? I don’t think so. He’s our franchise and I hope he’ll be
    here for a long time," Reese said of Eli

    These two pieces work well together and have the Giants tradition and heart
    in theirs. Tom and Jerry have restored Giants Pride and brought two Lombardi
    Trophies back home in the process. Goals attained.

    Change can be in total wipeout “do over” form -like wrecking ball- or can
    come in such a way that it’s done with purpose, each step being thought out
    before being acted upon. The New York
    have recently done things for the long haul: changing and letting go
    of that which they cannot control, like unreachable contracts and serious
    injuries. There is always a plan, though – a Giants plan that more times than
    less will come from within. That continuity is what has Big Blue lined up as a
    legit competitor for years to come."



    Excerpt: "Good morning fellow Giants fans. We are just three days away from the start
    of the NFL draft, something that is always an exciting time if you follow
    football in either the college or pro variety--it's the one event where the two
    sort of collide, meaning you have a lot of Mel Kiper, Jr. talking NFL (has that
    guy's hair changed in 20 years?). Anyway, let's see what bits of Giants related
    news are floating around the Internet this morning....."



    "In the third round of my Giants mock draft, I have the Giants selecting a
    tight end.

    Why Tight End?
    The Giants tight end picture, as
    it stands now, is a concern. They have Jake Ballard and
    Travis Beckum on the shelf due to torn ACLs suffered in the
    Super Bowl, and both are almost certain to begin the 2012 season on PUP. Of the
    two, Ballard appears to be more in danger of missing the entire season given the
    news that in addition to the surgery to repair his torn ACL, he also underwent
    micro-fracture surgery.

    So that leaves the Giants with Bear Pascoe, Martellus Bennett,
    Christian Hopkins,
    and Larry Donnell. Bennett, number
    89 in your game day program, was signed to a one-year “prove it” deal after
    posting a rather bland showing in Dallas, where though to be fair, he was
    playing behind Pro Bowler Jason Witten.

    Bennett has the potential to blossom into something special for the Giants if
    given the opportunity to get more snaps. However, the giants will need to plan
    depth wise to make sure that if Bennett doesn’t work out and if Ballard and
    Beckum don’t make it back this year, they have enough depth. (Beckum, by the
    way, will be an unrestricted free agent after this season while Ballard was only
    signed to a one-year deal as well.)

    Pascoe will be on the team as the swing man at tight end and fullback, though
    I think given the current situation at tight end, he’s going to be left at this
    position while the giants maybe look to add another fullback as a backup for
    Henry Hynoski, at least through camp. Regardless, I think
    moving forward Pascoe won’t be seeing many snaps at the fullback position.

    They also have a prospect by the name of Larry Donnell who
    they signed to a reserve/future contract.

    When all is said and done, the tight end position is in a state of flux with
    no one signed for the long-term and a lot of potential change looming in the
    horizon. So given how the position has enjoyed a rebirth of sorts thanks to the
    Patriots and the Saints, we fully expect the Giants to look heavily into getting
    their tight end of the future on the second day of the draft.

    But What About?
    The Giants have a promising
    prospect (in their eyes, at least) in Hopkins, who was with them last summer and
    who was on the practice squad this year. Hopkins will certainly be one of the
    players I’ll be reporting on once the spring practices start. In the meantime, I
    went back at last year’s Inside
    Football preseason issues
    to see what we wrote about Hopkins to get an idea
    of where he was in his development then so I have a starting point of reference,
    which while not much, was as follows:

    “Though he battled his way through significant
    snaps, Hopkins was bullied a bit too much for our liking. He has fine size, but
    he needs to become more of a physical presence if he’s going to challenge for a
    roster spot.”
    (Preseason game #1) … “Given some late game snaps,
    Hopkins was physical at the point of attack. Overall, he blocked well against
    the Bears’ fellow third-teamers.” (Preseason game #2)

    That General Manager Jerry Reese praised him unprompted this
    past February offers a sign that Hopkins did indeed develop during the regular
    season last year, though many questions will be answered once he plays more
    against live competition.

    Projected Pick: Ladarius Green, 6-6, 237 lbs.,

    Green is probably not big enough to be
    in-line blocking tight end, but what he does potentially offer is excellent
    height and athleticism that can stretch the field as well as make him a nice
    target in the red zone. I think Green in this round offers good value and
    addresses a need should either Beckum and/or Ballard hit a snag in their
    respective rehab. with the league starting to favor big, athletic tight ends
    that can become weapons in their passing game, I think a player such as Green
    would be a good fit and good value if he’s there in the bottom of the third


    "In the fourth round of my Giants mock draft (the first of two picks), I have
    the Giants selecting a running back.

    Why Running Back?
    Despite that many offenses
    have gravitated more to the passing game, teams that run a balanced attack are
    generally going to be successful on a consistent basis, as the Giants proved
    toward the end of last season.

    In fact, in eight of their 2011 wins (including post season), the Giants put
    together a balanced offense attack in which the scale wasn’t tipped in favor of
    either the run or the pass. To have that balance, a team needs quality, durable
    running backs.

    The Giants said good-bye to Brandon Jacobs after failing to
    agree with him on a restructured contract. Jacobs has since signed a one-year
    deal with the 49ers that is reportedly for about the same amount as what the
    Giants reportedly offered him.

    The Giants are said to be intrigued by last year’s seventh round pick
    Da’Rel Scott
    ; however, Scott had some ball security issues. Also key
    for Scott will be his ability to recognize and pick up the blitz. Because he
    didn’t have an off-season last year and had to learn things on the fly due to
    the lockout, I’ve given him and his fellow rookies from last year a pass
    because that off-season time is vital to everyone, but some positions more than
    others. This year, however, there will be no free passes.

    There are a couple of other things to note about the running back position.
    First, Bradshaw underwent an injection at the end of February (reportedly a
    Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy injection) to help hasten the healing of the
    cracked bone in his foot. He’s not going to take part in the spring drills as
    he’s said he wants to be ready for the start of training camp, but still, his
    durability history is a concern.

    Since becoming a starter, Bradshaw has had annual foot problems in which he
    starts out the season strong and then once he suffers a cracked bone, his
    production tends to slow down to where it’s noticeable. While there’s little
    question that he’s a complete back, his durability is a major concern and is a
    large reason why I think the Giants might look to address running back higher in
    this draft than they have in the past.

    I also need to mention DJ Ware. As noted in this article, Ware
    enjoyed his finest production as a pro in limited snaps last year. In fact, he
    was so inspired by his progress, that he told me that he went right back to work
    a mere two weeks after the Super Bowl, his eye firmly on the prize of becoming
    the Giants’ second running back.

    Ware’s biggest stumbling block has always been consistency. If he can show
    that he’s reliable on every carry moving forward, then perhaps he has a chance
    to win the position.

    Even if he does, it should be noted that he’s in the last year of his
    contract. If the Giants draft a running back, as I think they will, I’m not
    certain if Ware is in the team’s long-term plans.

    What About?
    André Brown was originally a
    Giants fourth-round draft pick in 2009, but an Achilles injury in that summer’s
    training camp de-railed his rookie season. He was then let go after his rookie
    year, and had stints with Denver and Washington before finally making his way
    back to the Giants last summer.

    Despite his journeyman status, Brown, to my eyes, looked just as quick as I
    can recall. With that said, when a guy bounces around as much as Brown has done
    in his short career, that’s a concern. In addition, a concern is his upcoming
    four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league policy on substance
    abuse. A month is a long time to have to be away from the classroom and the
    field for a young player, and it remains to be seen just how well Brown will do
    with it if he is on the Giants’ roster.

    Projected Pick: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
    who’s been projected to go anywhere between the third and fourth round, is an
    intriguing prospect. He has only two years of college experience, but they were
    productive as he broke Marshall Faulk’s freshman record for most rushing yards
    in a season (1,532) before closing out his collegiate campaign with 1,711
    rushing yards and the new WAC single-season record (he also had six 100-plus
    yard performances in his last season.)

    At 5-9, 200 lbs., Hillman doesn’t have ideal bulk, but he has shown patience
    in letting his blocks develop . His speed is decent, though one of his biggest
    issues appears to be ball security. He’s far from being a finished NFL product,
    but he appears to have excellent vision and acceleration, traits that you want
    to see in a running back."










    "Since George Young took over as general manager of the New York Giants in 1979,
    the franchise has enjoyed enormous success. Young was succeeded by Ernie
    Accorsi, who was succeeded by Jerry Reese. All three men have made some stellar
    personnel moves over the years. And believe it or not, two of the top draft
    picks in franchise history (according to this list, at least) actually came
    before 1979.

    There were some close calls that didn’t make the cut. You
    be the judge:

    1. LB LAWRENCE TAYLOR, 1981, Round 1
    (2nd overall)

    Getting LT with the second overall pick was
    a no-brainer – the Saints were one of only two NFL teams that did not have
    Taylor ranked as the best player in the draft, and they had the top pick (and
    took RB George Rogers). But the pick didn’t come without some drama. Taylor’s
    agent was demanding big money, and some veteran Giants were threatening to
    boycott if a rookie came in and made more money than them before playing a game.
    But Young was unfazed – declaring that Taylor was a better prospect than ****
    Butkus. As usual, Young was right. Off-field issues notwithstanding, Taylor went
    on to be the greatest player in team history.

    1979, Round 1 (7th overall)

    No doubt Simms endured
    growing pains and took a while to establish himself – heck, Bill Parcells once
    picked Scott Brunner over him as the starter. But the fair-haired Simms became a
    star. More notably, he is the symbol of a franchise’s resurrection. Following
    the infamous “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” the most devastating loss in Giants
    history, the front office was blown up. Young was brought in and Simms was his
    first draft pick. The rest, as they say, is history.

    One interesting
    side note: Another smart personnel guy who really liked Simms in that draft was
    San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh. Simms, from tiny Morehead State, was not
    expected to be such a high draft pick. Walsh was targeting Simms for the third
    round. And if Simms had lasted that long, the 49ers would have taken him instead
    of the quarterback they “settled” on: Joe Montana.

    STRAHAN, 1993, Round 2 (40th overall)

    The Giants didn’t
    have a first-round pick in ’93, but they sure made up for it with this pick.
    Strahan’s small-school background (Texas Southern) is what kept him on the board
    this long. He didn’t blossom right away, but when his 15-year career was over,
    he ended up with 141.5 sacks (including an NFL-record 22.5 in 2001). Next year,
    he’ll be in Canton.

    4. LB HARRY CARSON, 1976, Round 4
    (105th overall)

    Despite the presence of Lawrence Taylor,
    former Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick called Carson the best
    linebacker he ever coached. Carson was a rock in the middle of those great
    Giants defenses, going to nine Pro Bowls in his 13 NFL seasons and eventually
    landing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    1975, Round 11, 262nd overall)
    Talk about return on
    investment. For a player drafted 262nd overall, Martin missed just
    six games in 14 seasons (all with the Giants). He set an NFL record for
    defensive linemen with six career defensive touchdowns (a mark since broken by
    Jason Taylor), and he was a team captain in Super Bowl XXI, in which he sacked
    John Elway for a safety.

    6. TE MARK BAVARO, 1985, Round 4 (100th

    Forget about the stats. Bavaro’s toughness and
    determination epitomized the two Super Bowl-winning teams he was a part of.
    Remember the catch-and-run Bavaro made in a 1986 Monday night game against San
    Francisco – when he dragged a half-dozen 49ers on his back for 20 yards? If that
    were the only play he ever made, Bavaro would have been worth that fourth-round
    draft pick.

    7. DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL, 2010, Round 1
    (15th overall)

    The ultimate example of the draft’s “best
    available athlete” philosophy. By all accounts, Pierre-Paul was a project who
    needed time to develop. By all accounts, the defensive line was a strength for
    the Giants. But Reese couldn’t pass on drafting a potential star, and it didn’t
    take long at all for Pierre-Paul to pay dividends. After just two seasons, he’s
    become a force to reckon with. Making this pick even more impressive: Some
    draftniks had the Giants taking Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, a more polished
    prospect; Morgan went to Tennessee with the very next pick, but he is nowhere
    near Pierre-Paul’s class.

    8. RB JOE MORRIS, 1982, Round 2
    (45th overall)

    After taking a running back with their
    first-round pick in ’82 – Butch Woolfolk of Michigan – it seemed odd that the
    Giants came back with another RB in the second. Good thing they did. Woolfolk
    did little in three seasons with the Giants. Morris, meanwhile, scored 21
    rushing touchdowns in 1985 and then rushed for 1,516 yards a year

    9. RB AHMAD BRADSHAW, 2007, Round 7 (250th

    When it comes to players from Marshall whose draft stock
    dropped due to off-field issues, Randy Moss has nothing on Bradshaw. At least
    Moss was still a first-round pick. Bradshaw was the 26th and final
    running back drafted in ’07. All he’s done since then is average 4.6 yards per
    carry and help the Giants win a pair of Super Bowls.

    10. RB
    DAVID MEGGETT, 1989, Round 5 (132nd overall)

    Parcells was actually pissed when Giants GM George Young picked this undersized
    (5-7) all-purpose back. But the Tuna grew to love the versatile Meggett – so
    much so that he brought him along on his next two coaching stops, New England
    and the Jets."



    "How do you honor a former Ole Miss quarterback who went on to win two Super
    Bowls? You do it in the dorkiest way possible, apparently. Ole
    Miss has decided to pay tribute to former Rebel and current Super Bowl champion
    New York Giants QB Eli Manning by lowering the speed limit on Manning Way (named
    in honor Eli's dad, Ole Miss legend Archie Manning) from 18 MPH to 10 MPH (10 has been Eli's number
    both as a Rebel and as a Giant, 18 was Archie's number).

    One would have
    to wonder if Ole Miss could have come up with a more tactful way to honor the
    younger Manning without having to resort to a level of quirkiness that rivals
    anything college football has to offer."


    "Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants has now
    become the feature back entering the 2012 season, or so it seems... With the
    2012 NFL draft approaching, many question whether or not GM Jerry
    should or shouldn’t draft a RB early to assure protection behind
    Bradshaw. Bradshaw has missed multiple
    practices every week last season, only to suit up on game day more often than
    not. So maybe it shouldn't be seen as such a big deal that
    Bradshaw won't participate in OTAs and minicamps this summer.
    According to Bradshaw, he plans on being ready for training
    camp after receiving an injection in February to help out his chronically
    injured right foot.

    Currently, Bradshaw has not tested
    his foot in any running drills and according to sources, he will probably wait
    to do so for two or three months more, "Bradshaw told the New
    York Daily News.”I just want to rest as much as I can. By the time training camp
    comes, I want to practice every week and start the season off right.

    Giants have D.J. Ware,Da'Rel Scott and
    Andre Brown (suspended 4 games after violating the league’s
    substance abuse policy.) behind Bradshaw on the running back
    depth chart. I would expect them to address that situation during this month's

    With Brandon Jacobs now with the
    49ers, Ahmad Bradshaw hopes to get his hands
    on the football more often during the 2012 season, which is why
    Bradshaw is limiting his activity for the next few months. As
    the Giants lone experienced tailback, reports suggest that
    Bradshaw will likely sit out all offseason minicamps and
    organized team activities over the next few months in an effort to rest his
    chronically injured right foot. Bradshaw received an injection
    in the foot in February in hope that he can compete and stay healthy for a full

    In 2011, Bradshaw missed four games and
    frequently sat out practices, Bradshaw struggled to stay on the
    field last season, because of a stress fracture in his right foot, the same foot
    that he had surgery on after the 2010 season (best season with 276
    carries/1235 yards/4.5 yds per carry).
    He gutted out the 2011 season’s
    final nine games with the injury, but averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry
    for the year. After the season, Bradshaw said doctors gave him
    an option: He could either have one of the screws in his foot replaced, or he
    could receive an injection. Bradshaw chose the injection, and
    he has been impressed by the results.

    Coach Tom
    likes to deploy a two-back system, so it is vital that the
    Giants find that suitable partner for Bradshaw among the three
    RB’s mentioned above or via a trade, draft or even free agency.
    Bradshaw has been quoted to welcoming the challenge and to get
    more carries and being a bigger part of the offense. Let’s take a look at the
    cast of RB’s that will be competing:

    Da’Rel Scott:
    The Giants drafted the 5-foot-11, 211-pound Scott because they
    were intrigued by his speed and his pass-catching ability. The Maryland Terp
    star had a very unproductive rookie season as he carried the ball only 5 times
    for 16 yards with no TD’s.

    DJ Ware: The Giants signed
    the undrafted RB to a free agent contract and during his time with the Giants,
    Ware has yet to separate himself from the field. In 2011, Ware
    carried the ball for 46 times for 163 yards with no TD’s.

    : The Giants drafted Brown in the 2009 draft (4th
    round) out of North Carolina State. Thus far, Brown has been assigned mostly to
    the practice squad and has not shown much to indicate his value to the

    I don’t see the Giants making a trade for a RB and although it’s
    possible they sign one before the draft or before training camp is still
    likelihood, although I’m not conceived that will be the case as well. This only
    leaves one more scenario and that is obtaining a RB in the draft. The question
    is not will the Giants draft a RB in the 2012 draft, but when? Personally, I
    believe the Giants use an early draft pick on a running back (within the
    1st 3 rounds). In my mock draft, I have been very adamant that the
    Giants draft RB Doug Martin out of Boise State.
    Martin can do it all and has cemented himself as the
    2nd best RB in the draft behind Trent Richardson.
    Whether or not the Giants draft a RB in the 1st round, you can be
    assured that GM Reese will find a very suitable RB to
    complement Bradshaw."









    Excerpt: "Leading up to the 2012 NFL draft, PFF’s Khaled Elsayed spent three weeks sifting
    through every draft pick for every team from the 2008, 2009, and 2010 drafts. He
    assigned each pick a grade based on a handful of factors for the players
    selected (where they were drafted, their performance and contribution, injuries,

    In the process, he churned his way through nearly 700 draft picks and sorted
    them all out for you in a format that shows, at a glance, where teams hit the
    mark and where they fired wide.

    It’s been quite a journey, so here they are all in one place–in case you
    wanted another look or happened to miss a day of your assigned PFF reading:

    Finally we have come to the end of our Draft Grader series and we’ve
    literally saved the best for last. By best, of course, we mean the Super Bowl
    Champions, and that means it’s time to hold the New York Giants’ 2008, 2009 and
    2010 draft classes to account.

    Every pick gets a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that
    depends upon;

    • Where they were drafted
    • Their performance
    • Their contribution (how
    many snaps their team got out of them)
    • Other factors such as unforeseen
    injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for

    Let’s take a look at how the Giants drafted.

    +2.0: You’ve just
    found Tom Brady in the 6th round

    With Eli Manning on the roster they needn’t worry.

    +1.5: Getting much
    more than you bargained for!

    Hakeem Nicks, WR (29th overall pick in 2009): The star of
    the 2009 class, Nicks has been everything the Giants hoped he would be and more.
    Nothing underlined this like his post season play, where he was a
    difference-maker on his way to picking up a first Super Bowl ring, collecting
    445 yards and four touchdowns. Amassed a
    over three years with the club.

    Jason Pierre-Paul, DE (15th overall pick in 2010): The
    scariest thing about Pierre-Paul is he can get better by getting more
    consistent. Even with the room for improvement, he’s emerged as one of the
    league’s biggest difference makers, turning an awful lot of pressure into sacks,
    coming up with stops in the run game and even blocking a field goal when
    required. Already one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.

    +1.0: The scouts
    nailed it!

    Kenny Phillips, S (31st overall pick in 2008): With Phillips
    not playing all that much in his first two years (719 snaps combined) he kind of
    fell off the radar, not getting the kind of attention most first round picks do
    after a bad injury. It’s a shame because over the last two years Phillips has
    established himself as one of league’s most reliable safeties. His +18.9 grade over that period is a
    testament to that.

    Mario Manningham, WR (95th overall pick in 2008): Manningham
    may never have established himself as a true starter for the Giants, but he’s
    made plays. 28 forced missed tackles over 2009 and 2010 show what he is capable
    of, while his Super Bowl catch will live long in the memory of all who watched
    it. Good value in the third round.

    +0.5: Never hurts to
    find a solid contributor

    Jonathan Goff, LB (165th overall pick in 2008): What do you
    expect out of a fifth round pick? Goff hardly played his first two years, before
    earning a starting spot as a two down linebacker in 2010. Whilst something of a
    liability in coverage, Goff exceeded expectations with a +14.5 run defense grade. Injury
    cost him a starting spot and likely his Giants career but this was a productive
    fifth round pick.

    Linval Joseph, DT (46th overall pick in 2010): Struggled to
    get on the field as a rookie before being forced into the starting lineup in
    Year 2. Responded in a positive fashion, earning a +8.1 grade on 764 sophomore

    0.0: It could have been

    Terrell Thomas, CB (63rd overall pick in 2008): A talented
    cornerback, Thomas hasn’t always had the best of times in New York. His
    excellent 2009 was followed up by a pretty poor 2010 (despite the picks), whilst
    missing his entire 2011 season on injured reserve. If he can find his sophomore
    season form in 2012 this is warrants a positive.

    Andre Woodson, QB (198th overall pick in 2008): Anyone
    remember when Woodson was once viewed as a first round pick? Spent his rookie
    year bouncing on and off the practice squad before being another team decided to
    end his Giants tenure.

    Robert Henderson, DE (199th overall pick in 2008): The
    former sixth round pick was waived after spending his rookie year on injured

    William Beatty, T (60th overall pick in 2009): Looked like
    he could be a starter in 2011 before a detached retina ended his year. Outside
    of some problems with Trent Cole handled himself very well.

    Andre Brown, RB (129th overall pick in 2009): Ruptured his
    Achilles as a rookie and struggled to ever recover from it, missing his first
    two seasons with injured reserve. Subsequently waived as the Giants wondered
    what might have been.

    Chad Jones, S (76th overall pick in 2010): Still trying to
    make it onto the field after a horrific car accident he was in after being

    Mitch Petrus, G (147th overall pick in 2010): Too early to
    tell what type of player Petrus will be. In 282 snaps with the G-Men, has looked
    solid in the run blocking department but a liability on his heels. Small sample

    Adrian Tracy, LB (184th overall pick in 2010): One of those
    tweener linebacker/defensive ends the Giants do like, missed his rookie year on
    injured reserve before being cut a year later.

    -0.5: That pick was
    not put to good use

    Bryan Kehl, LB (123rd overall pick in 2008): This former
    fourth round pick only got on the field for 255 snaps while helping out on
    special team
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

    Thanks RF ! Looks like Dont'a is the flavor of the week .
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

      Thanks RF!


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

        [quote user="G-Men Surg."]Thanks RF ! Looks like Dont'a is the flavor of the week .[/quote]

        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

          [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF![/quote]

          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

            Thanks RF for making a rainy Monday better with Giants news.


            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

              [quote user="nygsb42champs"]Thanks RF for making a rainy Monday better with Giants news.[/quote]

              You are very welcome
              “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

                Thanks for the great info. I look forward to reading this everyday its posted.


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 - 10:53 A.M.

                  [quote user="midnite_nj"]Thanks for the great info. I look forward to reading this everyday its posted.

                  “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1