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    "Hakeem Nicks thinks the Giants can replace Mario Manningham from
    Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks said he'll
    leave the drafting to general manager Jerry Reese, but when it comes to looking
    for a replacement for departed wideout Mario Manningham, Nicks thinks the option
    is on the current roster. Though, Nicks did say that if Reese wanted to draft a
    wideout, he wouldn't protest.

    "I feel like we got some guys that are ready to step up to the
    challenge," Nicks said at the NFL Pop Up store on 41st street today. "But when
    it comes to drafting; that's Jerry Reese and our organization and they obviously
    do a good job with that."

    Nicks mentioned Jerrel Jernigan, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden as possible
    replacements he had high hopes for.

    "I know Hixon has a chip on his shoulder and he's ready to show what he can
    do," he said.

    He and the Giants wideouts have been working with quarterback Eli Manning
    "ever since we got back," including today.

    A lot of the work, he said, focused on combination routes between he and
    Victor Cruz in order to make sure there is no layoff from this past season.

    As far as advice for the Giants future first-round pick, Nicks -- a former
    29th overall pick -- had this:

    "Come in be prepared it's a business take it seriously and at the same time
    come ready to work because it's a hard working organization."


    "Eli Manning doesn't pay attention to any media coverage nor does he care
    what's being said about him.

    Well, that's the sell job, anyway. It's just that nobody should be buying

    Not after a playful comment made during
    an appearance at the University of Mississippi
    in which the former Rebels
    quarterback referenced the hoopla surrounding the Jets' Mark Sanchez and Tim
    Tebow recently.

    “New York Giants just won a championship," Manning deadpanned to Fox News'
    Sheppard Smith, a fellow Ole Miss alum who emceed the event, "yet I’m still the
    third most talked about quarterback in my own city.”

    The crowd laughed, and the comment seemed to be made in jest by Manning, who
    is a budding comedian these days. He'll host SNL on May 5 and was
    apparently shooting a
    recent DirecTV commercial with Deion Sanders
    , who plays a fairy in the dish
    company's spots.

    Yes, Manning seems to be getting plenty of attention lately. And the cameras
    will be on him when he and his teammates pick up their Super Bowl rings at
    Tiffany & Co. next month and again when they visit the White House.

    In short, surely Sanchez would gladly trade all of the pub he's gotten over
    the past three months for the press Manning has gotten.

    * * * *

    As you can see in the video linked above, the university changed the speed
    limit from 18 mph (in honor of Archie Manning) to 10 mph (to honor Eli). Isn't
    it usually the older generation telling people to slow down?

    * * * *

    Smith asked Manning about retirement. Why? I don't know. Something about
    moving back to Mississippi when he's done or something...

    “I feel I am entering the best part of my career," Manning said. "I said it
    last year before the season,
    I said these next seven years are going to be my best football years
    and I’m
    going to focus on that and when it’s time to retire we’ll figure out what that
    next stage is going to be.”

    * * * *

    Weird little tidbit dropped in that vid by David Diehl and Hakeem Nicks on an
    apparent mix-up by Nicks. Diehl said a timeout had to be called in the Super
    Bowl because Nicks ran to the wrong sideline.

    I didn't remember hearing that at any point, so I went back to the broadcast
    to see what I could find. Gotta tell you, I have no idea what they're talking

    The Giants took two timeouts in that game and on both of them there was no
    evident confusion - at least based on what NBC showed. Nicks was on the field
    for the plays before and after both timeouts, plus he was lined up and awaiting
    the snap when the timeouts were called. At no point did he seem to be running to
    either sideline.

    One thing I did notice, however, was Nicks shaking his arm at the end of the
    play before the timeout (a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw). It looked like Nicks
    might've tweaked the shoulder injury that was bothering him all postseason.

    But Nicks went right to the huddle after that play, so that can't be what
    Diehl and Nicks were referencing. If I find out, I'll let you folks know. Or if
    you have any idea on what they're talking about, please let me know."



    "You can never have enough … cover guys?

    For an organization that places a premium on pass rushers, the truth is
    cornerbacks are just as valuable to the Giants – especially after they watched
    five key ones go down to season-ending injuries in 2011 (Terrell Thomas, Bruce
    Johnson, Justin Tryon, Brian Witherspoon and Michael Coe).

    So despite welcoming back all five of those players and hoping for a step
    forward from last year’s first-round pick Prince Amukamara, it wouldn’t be out
    of the question for the Giants to select a corner with their first-round pick at
    No. 32.

    And while this might be a bit of wishful thinking on their part, the team
    recently brought in Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick for a pre-draft visit, according
    to someone informed of the second-team All-American’s meeting with the Giants.
    The person requested anonymity because the Giants request all visits remain

    It’s unclear when Kirkpatrick stopped by East Rutherford, though
    he did tweet on April 11, "Just made
    it to NYC want to see the city lights."

    Kirkpatrick has everything
    one could ask from a cornerback – size (6-1½, 186 pounds), speed (timed in the
    4.4s at his pro day after a rough overall showing at the Scouting Combine),
    physicality, good ball skills and a confident attitude – which means he might
    get nowhere near the Giants’ pick. Nearly every mock draft has him going in the
    late teens to early 20s, which means the Giants will have to move up if they
    want to land Kirkpatrick.

    That would seem to run counter to Jerry
    Reese’s saying there’s equal talent in the back half of the first round
    . But
    then again, this is draft week, in which I believe no one, so maybe that’s a
    smoke screen.

    Again, we’ll find out because rumor has it the NFL Draft is actually going to
    happen this week. I’ll believe it when I see it."



    "Osi Umenyiora thinks
    there's a "chance" he could finally be an ex-Giant sometime in the next few

    With absolutely no movement or significant talks on his long-desired contract
    extension, the oft-unhappy defensive end is bracing for at least the possibility
    that he'll be traded sometime in the next few days. There was even a report that
    the Giants, who once wanted a first-round draft pick in return for Umenyiora,
    now are willing to accept only a third-round pick.

    Two NFL sources disputed that report, and indicated there's no reason to
    believe a trade is "imminent." Umenyiora seemed to agree, but in one of several
    radio interviews he did on Wednesday, he said "You really never know what's
    going to happen here in the next couple of days."

    "There's a chance (of a trade)," Umenyiora said on SiriusXM NFL Radio's The
    Opening Drive. "I would've liked to start and finish my career with the same
    team, but it's a business. The Giants have to do what's best for them and
    obviously I have to do what's best for myself at this point.

    "I feel like whatever happens over this weekend happens."

    The only reason a trade is even possible is that Umenyiora is entering the
    final year of his contract and he made it clear he's still looking for a very
    lucrative, long-term extension. In fact, during an interview on WFAN he
    seemingly set the bar at four years and $40 million or so.

    Umenyiora pointedly mentioned two recent contracts for defensive ends: The
    four-year, $36 million contract signed by 31-year-old Colts defensive end Robert
    ("who I feel like I'm just as good as," Umenyiora said) and the
    four-year, $48 million extension signed by the Eagles' Trent Cole.

    Umenyiora had 12-1/2 sacks in 13 games for the Giants last season, including
    the playoffs. Cole had 11 sacks in 14 games. Mathis had 9-1/2 sacks in 16

    Asked by Craig Carton on WFAN's
    Boomer & Carton show if he'd be willing to sign a short-term extension with
    the Giants — the example he gave was two years, $8 million — Umenyiora pointed
    to what Cole and Mathis got and said "I don't know how I'm supposed to. I don't
    know how I can."

    The most likely resolution to the ongoing Umenyiora saga is that he'll end up
    playing out the final year of the seven-year, $41 million contract extension he
    signed in 2005 (though on WFAN, Umenyiora disputed that number as
    "over-inflated"). He is scheduled to make $3.975 million in salary in 2012 and
    will be a free agent next March."

    Umenyiora tried to force the Giants' hand last summer when he threw a fit and
    staged a one-day holdout, followed by a few days in which he refused to
    practice. He did get the Giants agree to let his agent, Tony Agnone, shop for a
    trade and, according to one source there was at least one team willing to part
    with a second-round pick. But Giants GM Jerry Reese refused
    to part with Umenyiora for anything less than a first-rounder so no deal was

    Umenyiora, unwilling to be hit with the maximum $30,000 per day he could be
    fined for holding out while under contract, reported back to work though he soon
    opted to have knee surgery that delayed the start of his year.

    It all worked out in the end, of course, and Umenyiora had a monster season.
    He also feels like he still has a few more good years like that left in his tank
    — maybe a few that are even better.

    "I also like I still have maybe like two years left of just straight being an
    every-down defensive end before I just turn into a strictly pass rusher,"
    Umenyiora told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I want to see where I'm at if I could just
    play a full season. When I see Jared Allen doing
    whatever he does (he had 22 sacks last season, just a half-sack short of tying
    Michael Strahan's
    single-season record) and all these other guys who play the whole (season)
    putting up these numbers, I want to see what I'm able to do.

    "I want to break Strahan's record," Umenyiora added. "That's what I really
    want to do. I love Strahan, but I want to do that. I want to go for


    "Robert Griffin III knows the names of the Giants pass-rushers. He can pick
    out Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul.

    But RGIII, the Baylor QB who is like to be chosen by the Washington Redskins
    with the second overall pick in this week's NFL draft, doesn't plan to worry
    about Big Blue's vaunted pass rush.

    "You can’t compare college pass rushers to the Giants, with Tuck and
    Umenyiora and everyone else on that squad," he said. "It’s hard to say you’ve
    faced guys like that. Have I faced a guy like a Justin Tuck? Yeah, maybe I have
    at an Oklahoma or a Texas, or even at Baylor. But to have all those guys on the
    same team is what makes it truly different.

    "But it’s also different for offenses because you have offensive linemen who
    were all all-aermcaisn in college. At the end of the day it balances itself out
    and I’ll be more focused on what I have to do offensively than where those guys
    are at cuz I don’t want to get hit. You can’t play the game scared."

    It was that usual quiet confidence that Griffin showed when he appeared at a
    SUBWAY restaurant in Manhattan to be announced as the fast food chain's latest
    Famous Fan. He put bunny-ears on the custom-made food statue of himself, and
    showed off a pair of SUBWAY-themed socks.

    He also said that he wants to do more than take the Redskins back to
    respectability in 2012. A part of him hopes to make them an instant

    “There’s no shortage of talent in the NFL, any team can compete,” he said.
    “It’s all up to that team to decide what they want to do early on. Hopefully, I
    can get my teammates to believe in me to where we can not just compete, but

    “I can’t predict, but we’re definitely going to work towards that,” he added.
    “We’re not going to shy away from it. We want to win football games.”



    "Eli Manning hasn’t ventured in to get a peek at the Giants’ draft board and
    he admits he’s not intrusive when it comes to making suggestions, saying "I
    don’t get too involved with the process and giving my opinion, ‘Hey, draft this
    guy, draft that guy.’ "

    He does have opinions, though, and he shared one of them Monday night with
    The Post. Acknowledging the talent drain with the losses in free agency of Mario
    Manningham and Brandon Jacobs and the serious injuries to tight ends Jake
    Ballard and Travis Beckum, Manning is thinking offensive skill player is a smart
    way to go early and often in this week’s NFL Draft.

    "When we go into the draft, that could be an area we try to attack. Get a
    skill-position guy who can help us get carries, get catches, in some ways get
    that same production from the guys we lost last year," Manning told The Post
    prior to his appearance at the Steiner Sports roundtable discussion at the
    TimesCenter, accompanied by teammate Victor Cruz.

    One player who unquestionably fills Manning’s criteria is Stanford’s Coby
    Fleener, considered the top tight end in the draft and someone who could be
    sitting there when the Giants’ turn comes at No. 32. Manning nodded in
    agreement, as if he already knew, when he was told that Fleener has been likened
    to a taller, more athletic Dallas Clark, a player who turned into a prolific
    pass-catcher with the Colts, with help from Eli’s older brother, Peyton.

    "Any time you can get a skilled player or a talented guy who can catch and
    make plays that’s always helpful," Eli said of Fleener. "We lost two tight ends
    last year, we picked up Martellus Bennett from Dallas, a guy who’s been working
    hard, talked to him a bunch. He definitely is going to have to help us this
    year. But losing two tight ends, don’t know when they’re going to be back. We
    may need that tight end where Travis played some, can play in the slot, can move
    around and give you some different options."

    That certainly describes Fleener. Manning said he’s also heard plenty about
    Boise State running back Doug Martin. "Strong, little guy but powerful .¤.¤. I
    see that he catches the ball well," Manning said. "Good player."

    Told that Martin has been compared to the Ravens’ Ray Rice, Manning said
    "That sounds good."

    Of course, Manning always is a supporter of the Giants going in another

    "As an offensive player I’ve always learned you can never go wrong drafting
    offensive lineman," he said. "That’s how a quarterback thinks."

    These are rarified times for Manning. Now that he is a two-time Super Bowl
    MVP, Manning has signed 20 percent more items to keep up with the demand, and
    Steiner Sports pays him 10 percent more per signature. Sales of Eli Manning
    memorabilia since the start of last season are up 100 percent, with the
    top-selling items signed footballs ($600), signed Super Bowl MVP footballs
    ($800) and 8"x10" Super Bowl photos going for $279.

    Manning said "I got word from a few buddies around the neighborhood," that
    new Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has rented an apartment in Hoboken, N.J., only
    two blocks away from the Manning residence.

    "We’ll definitely welcome him to Hoboken," Eli said, not concerned that his
    neighborhood is not big enough for the both of them.

    "It’s a big little town," Manning said, smiling."


    "There are thousands of players that dream of being a pro football player one
    day. Harrison Smith has been acting like one his last four years at Notre

    Smith is one of those players that have been treating the business of
    football like a business for most of his adult life.

    His diet would make Jenny Craig envious. His film study would impress Peyton
    Manning. His practice habits might get a nod from a coach as meticulous as the
    Patriots’ Bill Belichick, who might be interested in the 6-foot-2, 214-pound


    Therein lies a very minor downfall to the Giants’ thrilling Super Bowl
    championship win over New England: The Pats, who pick 31st, just ahead of the
    Giants, also could use a smart, sound safety.

    “The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Harrison is,
    ‘Accountable,’ ’’ Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told The Post. “He’s accountable
    to himself, first — every meeting, every formation, every call, he’s
    accountable. And that makes guys around him accountable.’’

    “Look, in the NFL, it’s about performance. You just don’t walk into a locker
    room and become a leader. That’s not his style. But Harrison is so consistent
    and so dependable, once he makes a few plays, guys will listen to him.’’

    Doesn’t that sound like music to coach Tom Coughlin’s ears?

    “I’m not a guy who tries to bark out orders and stuff like that,’’ Smith said
    at the NFL Combine. “But I’m confident in my ability to learn a playbook, to
    understand offenses, and then as a safety your job is to get the defense
    aligned. So that’s just part of the role.”

    The Giants, of course, could go several ways with the last pick in the first
    round. Boise State running back Doug Martin could be appealing and Stanford’s
    Koby Fleener could fill an immediate need.

    But the Giants, and for that matter, every team in the NFC East, have always
    been about defense first, a cold, hard truth the Eagles were reminded of last
    season. Which brings us back to Smith.

    He is not fast enough to be an every-down free safety, although he could move
    there on occasion. What he might do better than any safety in this draft is
    cover the slot receiver and tight end.

    “He reminds me a little of John Lynch in terms of his ability to be a coach
    in the defensive backfield,’’ Kelly said. “That’s a role he played for us. He’ll
    be another voice on the field.’’

    Which is exactly how Smith sees himself, even though he harbors a desire to
    hit like Steve Atwater.

    “I think I’m a versatile player,’’ Smith said. “And on top of that, I’m a guy
    who’s going to be able to get the defense lined up, recognize formations, make
    checks and just communicate the defense.”



    "After eight years in the NFL, New York
    quarterback Eli
    already has two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP's; the most
    recent coming back in February following a dramatic 21-17 victory over the New
    England Patriots. However, he feels that's just the tip of the iceberg, and
    while sitting down with Sheppard Smith of FOX News, said his best football
    has yet to come.

    "I feel I'm entering the best part of my career," Manning said. "I said it
    last year before the season; I said 'these next seven year are going to be my
    best football
    years.' I'm going to focus on that."

    Manning, who will host Saturday Night Live on May 5th, also took some time to
    joke about the New York
    Jets and their quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

    "New York
    just won a championship and yet I'm still the third most talked about
    quarterback in my own city," Manning said.

    To watch the interview in its entirety, head over to the FOX
    News website
    . It includes an interesting, and previously unknown, tidbit
    about why the Giants called a questionable timeout in Super Bowl XLVI."


    "New York
    Giants General Manager Jerry Reese did not mince words when he described this
    year's draft class. He stated that there were between 15 and 20 first-round
    prospects, but that after that there was a significant drop off in talent. And
    while the Giants select 32nd overall, but that doesn't mean they won't grab one
    of the aforementioned 15 to 20 players.

    Reese has stated a number of times that he likes to take "the best player
    available" and even went as far as to say that he drafts "as if he has no

    While I am not sure Reese is being totally honest there, the general concept
    still applies. Picking dead last in the first round does not give a team much of
    a choice: go with the best player. Based on a number of factors including
    projected availability, here is whom I think Reese may be targeting in the first
    round come Thursday.

    1. Whitney
    , DE, Illinois

    Mercilus is a vastly under-rated player in this year's draft. So often
    players with "potential" rocket up draft boards and the hype around them grows.
    Despite bursting onto the scene in 2011, Mercilus seems to be flying pretty well
    under the radar to this point. His consistent ability to show up in games week
    in and week out really separated his 2011 season from a lot of other prospects.
    He only had two games where he did not record a sack and he truly turned the
    corner as a prospect.

    Reese and the Giants scouting department don't need four years of consistent
    tape to grade players highly. If they believe the talent is there and that their
    coaches can work with it, they select a guy.

    Perhaps a pass-rusher starved team like Kansas City or Jacksonville
    unexpectedly swoops in early and grabs him but if he slips I believe he could be
    New York's
    top target.

    2. Luke
    , Linebacker, Boston College

    The NFL invited Luke
    to the Draft this year, but he declined.. I happen to think that he
    will slip on draft day. I have seen him mocked to Seattle and Philadelphia but
    no not believe either will pick him. Seattle has cut their payroll at linebacker
    by 90% since Pete Carroll arrived and just resigned two of their linebackers.
    Philadelphia filled a need with DemecoRyansand will likely be looking
    elsewhere on draft day itself.

    Yes, it would be out of the ordinary for the Giants to go linebacker this
    early, but selecting a player who has flexibility in a 4-3 scheme who could pair
    with Keith Rivers and Michael Boleywould give the team its best linebacking
    corps in arguably a decade while also letting Mathias
    work on the defensive line.

    Jacquian Williams has a bright future but even with one full season under his
    belt is still more raw than Keuchly is. Williams will certainly compete for a
    starting role in 2012, but right now he thrives in nickel packages.

    3. Kendall
    , WR, Baylor

    It is hard to understand why as the draft inches closer there is less talk
    about this guy. He was productive all four years at Baylor and displayed almost
    every key attribute needed to be a successful wide receiver at the next level
    during his time at Baylor. He has strong hands, works the vertical routes
    exceptionally well, and comes in and out of his breaks fast.

    Not quite as explosive speed wise as the man many have compared him to as a
    pro, Carolina's Steve Smith, but he does have the football savvy to make up for it.

    4. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

    Talent, talent, talent. That's the buzz word when it comes to Hill. He comes
    from a program that runs the triple option, so passing games are hampered quite
    a bit. Still though, talented receivers love Georgia Tech because the
    opportunities that they do get yield them big yardage. Most notably Calvin
    and more recently Demaryius Thomas have both come out of GT and seen
    great success in the NFL.

    That will cause one to look back and put the tape of Georgia Tech receivers
    on again.

    I think Hill fits what the Giants want in their flankers and could very
    easily help out in that department which would help keep Victor Cruz where he
    thrives: in the slot."



    "There are only two days remaining until the 2012 NFL Draft gets
    underway at Radio City Music Hall, and with such a large spectacle on the
    fringe, the league is currently experiencing a relative calm before the storm.
    There have been no major signings, no major trades and no major news (outside of
    more New Orleans Saints controversy). Still, a few tidbits have leaked out here
    and, of course, New York Giants fans need to be informed. If they're not,
    they turn into angry, ravenous creatures who begin to bicker and fight.

    After Two Years, Marvin Austin Healthy and Eager to Return

    "[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 today."

    Former Giant Brandon Jacobs was Part of "Death Race 2012"

    Jacobs’ agent, Justin Schulman, confirmed that B-Jac, who had signed with the
    San Francisco 49ers
    two days prior, was a member of the caravan.

    Jacobs is a known member of the Driving Force Club, an elite New York City-based car club that
    consists of only top of the line luxury vehicles modified for max

    Chris Cnee Studies Film Year Round

    His secrets remain hidden, tucked away in a series of spiral-bound notebooks
    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.

    Martellus Bennett Plans to Seize the Moment

    "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 diem."

    Training Camp Rosters Expanded from 80 to 90 Players

    "NFL roster limit
    has been increased from 80 to 90 players, effective 4 pm ET [Tuesday]," NFL Spokesman
    Greg Aiello tweeted.

    Eli Manning Says Best Football Years are Ahead of Him

    "These next seven years are going to be my best football
    years," Manning said."


    "With the 2012 NFL Draft only a
    few days away, teams are actively working night and day, creating their draft
    strategies. The Giants will pick first at the very end of the first round, and
    that announcement will be made by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. The
    Giants second round draft will be picked by former Giants legend, defensive end,

    Strahan was the Giants second round pick in 1993 and went on to be one of the
    best defensive ends in the history of the NFL, most well known for his single-season sack record of
    22.5 in 2001. He ended his career with 429 tackles and 141.5 sacks, following
    the Giants Super Bowl 42 win against the New England Patriots. His sack against
    Tom Brady in the Super Bowl was one of the most iconic images from the
    sensational game.

    Strahan was also the leader of the Giants team for many years toward the
    latter half of his career. He was responsible for bringing in the "Stomp them
    out" mantra that Big Blue adopted in their 2007 playoff and Super Bowl run.
    Since his retirement, the Giants have not had a leader of the same level of

    Tune in to the NFL Draft on
    Friday to see Strahan announce their second round pick, and be sure to
    stay-tuned to Giants 101 for your Giants draft coverage."



    "With the 2012 NFL Draft approaching fast here is a quick look at the five
    best New York Giants
    draft selection of the Jerry Reese era as general manager.

    1. Jason
    -- Yep, I wanted Reese to draft Derrick
    of Tennessee. Most of the folks around Big Blue View let out a
    collective groan when JR drafted JPP, thinking he had lost his mind by drafting
    a guy who looked like a great gymnast with no idea how to play football. Well,
    we know how smart Reese looks and how stupid those of us who did not like the
    pick look. He is only an All Pro and the Giants' best defensive player. Who
    knows how high the ceiling is for Pierre-Paul if he can avoid catastrophic

    2. Hakeem
    -- Too heavy. Too slow. Darrius
    is faster. Kenny Britt is
    better. Yep, heard all of that. Of course, it all turned out to be nonsense.
    Reese wanted Nicks. He got Nicks. He's been right about Nicks. The guy is a

    3. Ahmad
    -- We know how good, and how tough, the guy is. And the Giants
    drafted him in the seventh round in 2007, the 250th player taken. Bradshaw may
    be Reese's best hidden gem, unless you want to count the Giants' good luck in
    finding Victor Cruz. I
    can't, because even Reese admitted the Giants only invited him to camp because
    we was a local free agent.

    4. Steve Smith -- The guy was tremendous as a possession receiver
    before wrecking his knee, and foolishly wrecking his career by bolting for the
    . The all-time single-season reception leader for the franchise, and
    Reese got him in the second round in 2007, 51st overall.

    5. Mario
    -- In 2008 Manningham was considered a first-round talent
    with a questionable attitude. Reese gambled on the talent in the third round,
    95th overall, and that helped the Giants win the 2012 Super Bowl. It also gets
    Manningham on the list.

    So, who would you add or subtract from the list?"



    "A few interesting
    tweets today from ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr
    . I know some of you would
    rather not read Kiper's name, but his input is interesting. So, here is some of
    what he tweeted today that might interest New York Giants

    -- Lot of similarities between former TB Bucs star Derrick
    (6-0¼ - 228, 4.59) & Nebraska LB Lavonte David (6-0½ - 233 ,

    -- Lot of similarities between Todd Heap (6-5 -
    252 - 4.59) and Stanford TE Coby Fleener (6-6 - 247 - 4.49).

    -- I count 24 sure fire 1st rounders & as many as 17 players who have
    at least a chance of hearing their name called on round one.

    Kiper also recently held a conference call with reporters.

    Here is Kiper on Zach Brown, the North Carolina outside linebacker.

    "I think he's a 4-3 guy, but I've never seen him as an attacker off the edge.
    He's got speed. There's no question about it. He didn't test out quite as well
    athletically as I thought at the combine, not super instinctive. He was more
    productive this year than he had been. He got his weight up, he's at 243 now. I
    just don't think he's ever defined exactly what he's going to be at the pro
    level. Very difficult evaluation."

    On Doug Martin, the Boise State running back.

    "So I think when you look at Doug Martin trying to find a team in the late
    first, I found one: The New York Giants, okay, at 32. If they didn't take him,
    then you've got Tampa Bay at 36. They certainly could very easily. You've got
    San Diego at 49. You have Denver at 57. So there's some teams there that could
    take a running back. But that's why you have that difference of maybe 15, 20
    spots in between where he could go and where he may go. It's just because he's a
    running back, and historically we've seen that all over the place, great running
    backs and good running backs drop a lot further down the draft board than they
    should. I don't think he'll drop past the early- to mid-second."

    On Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams.

    "Hard call on Mike Adams. Mike Adams is a guy with enormous athletic ability
    and talent. He looks like a top 10 pick, top 15 pick. You look at him when he
    played and the inconsistencies at left tackle. He's got to get stronger, as
    well. I think you look at Mike Adams as a guy that, hey, somebody could roll the
    dice in the late first round or he could fall into the second very easily. He's
    one of those guys, he's got kind of that boom or bust tag because he's over
    6'7?, 325 pounds, but he's got to get stronger. He's got to get more of an
    attitude to move people off that line and be more aggressive as a run blocker
    and be more consistent in pass protection. You can't have lapses of
    concentration in the NFL because the quarterback is the key."



    "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."










    "During an interview with NBC Sports Talk, Dallas Cowboys
    linebacker DeMarcus Ware was asked what the Cowboys need to do in order to win a
    Super Bowl. I want to caution all Cowboys fans that you may not like what he
    had to say.

    “I really don’t like to talk about the Giants, but their team camaraderie,
    where they had the adversity right at the beginning, and then all of a sudden,
    it really kicked in,” Ware said. “The last maybe eight games, the blood sweat
    and tears really kicked in, the guys started feeling it and they had that
    swagger about themselves.”

    Ware believes that in the end it has to do with the players and not the

    “It’s not on the coaches at all, it’s all about the players,” Ware said.
    “It’s just being there for the man beside you.”


    "Jerry Reese and the New York
    are used to waiting in the first round of the NFL Draft.

    It's the price of success, and the Giants and their general manager are
    willing to deal with it, especially with two Super Bowl titles in hand over the
    past five seasons.

    The only difference this time might be when the Giants make their pick. The
    draft doesn't kick off until 8 p.m. on Thursday, so the Giants might have to
    wait until the wee hours to make the 32nd and final choice of the opening

    But it'll be worth sticking around for. After all, the champions have obvious
    needs at receiver, tight end and running back.

    Whether they address those needs, of course, is uncertain. Reese, after all,
    believes in taking talent, regardless of position.

    "You just wait and see if somebody is going to fall to you or if there is
    somebody you may be able to move up for, that you're in love with," Reese said.
    "It's always a good problem to have when you're picking 32."

    The last time the Giants were at the bottom of the first-round pile, they
    cleaned up. They grabbed safety Kenny Phillips with the 31st pick
    overall in 2008, after New England forfeited its first-round choice because of
    "Spygate." And then, New York added cornerback Terrell Thomas in the second round,
    and receiver and recent Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham as well as linebackers
    Bryan Kehl and Jonathan Goff the
    next two rounds.

    Not bad.

    "We never try to reach in the draft," Reese said. "We're conscious of what we
    think our needs are, but we try to pick the best player in the draft. We do try
    to fill holes in free agency when we get an opportunity to do that, but we never
    say let's get a certain position in the draft.

    "We just try to pick the best player."

    The Giants have had a fair amount of success in the draft despite having only
    one Top 5 pick in the last eight years.

    That was 2004, when then-general manager Ernie Accorsi engineered the
    draft-day trade in which New York acquired the rights to eventual two-time Super
    Bowl MVP Eli Manning from San Diego
    for Philip Rivers and, among other things, the Giants' first-round draft pick
    the following season.

    Since 2006, the Giants have not had a first-round draft pick higher than No.
    15. That was defensive end Jason
    in 2010, and he earned All Pro and Pro Bowl honor
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    Thanks RF !
    " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2012 - 11:06 A.M.

      I always find it funny that when draft experts mention running backs being too small at 5'9" and 200lbs. they forget guys like Barry Sanders , Walter Payton and Emitt Smith.

      I find RGIII's and other draftees' comments funny. I know they are trying to be positive and they are excited but I think they get ahead of themselves. He talks about what he is going to do for the team and what his plans are, but of course his hopes will probably be dashed by Snyder, Big Shannahan and Lil' Shannahan. I just hope his "cardiovascular endurance" is up to par...or else he may end up like Haynesworth.


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2012 - 11:06 A.M.

        [quote user="G-Men Surg."]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