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Players on our Radar

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Players on our Radar

Post  Pizan on Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:27 pm

Players who may be on the Giants' draft radar

BY Ralph Vacchiano

A wise, old, former NFL general manager once said to me that his general philosophy in dealing with other people in the NFL was “I don’t believe a word that anyone tells me.”

Then he added, “And I really don’t believe anything they tell me when it comes to the draft.”

That’s so true, because the only thing absolutely certain this time of year is that everybody is lying about something. Teams routinely talk to players, attend Pro Days or set up private visits and workouts as smokescreens. Some teams – like, occasionally, the Giants – make a habit of not bringing players in for visits if they really want to draft them.

Teams lie to other teams, to scouts and definitely to the press. In fact I’ve heard more than one story of a reporter being lied to in the hopes that the lie would make it into the reporters’ mock draft, just so his local team would read the lie and believe it. If that sounds a little ridiculous and convoluted … well, welcome to the NFL draft, where teams absolutely, positively, don’t want anyone to know what they’re thinking.

I mention this because the Giants are in the process of bringing in players for pre-draft visits. They are allowed, in the weeks before the draft, to bring in up to 30 players for a visit and a physical. They’re also allowed to bring in an unlimited number of “local” players – players who grew up or played college football in the team’s somewhat undefined “metropolitan area” – for a visit, physical and a workout. Teams are also allowed to travel to an unlimited amount of schools to hold private workouts of their own, separate from a school’s Pro Day.

I don’t have all the names yet, for a variety of reasons. One is that I’ve been a little busy covering this NFL labor mess (and if you haven’t done so already, you should check out our new NFL Insider blog). Another is that the Giants, while other teams announce their visits publicly, still take the Draconian tact of actually threatening agents that they’ll cancel a players’ visit if they read about it in the press (this according to several agents who have clients believed to be visiting the Giants this month, though none of them would actually confirm that).

Regardless, there are leaks and reports and in the world of Twitter and online diaries, sometimes even actual confirmation. So here is a very, very incomplete and not completely confirmed list of players the Giants have either worked out, visited, or paid particular attention to in the last month or so. I’ve provided links where I have them. This list does not include players the Giants simply interviewed at the combine, where they have the opportunity to talk to a ton of players throughout the week.

This list also doesn’t necessarily mean anything, other than that the Giants are paying some level of attention to these players. If nothing else, they are names to watch throughout the NFL Draft, April 28-30:

DL Kaleb Anderson, Colorado School of Mines -- The Giants were one of only four teams at his Pro Day

T Anthony Castonzo, Boston College – Both Tom Coughlin and OL coach Pat Flaherty attended his Pro Day.

LB Akeem Dent, Georgia -- Has a private workout scheduled with the Giants.

OL Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock -- Had a private workout with the Giants

LB Doug Hogue, Syracuse -- Has a visit scheduled with the Giants.

LB Justin Houston, Georgia – Has a private workout scheduled with the Giants, according to a league source.

OL Ben Ijalana, Villanova – The Giants sent a small army to his Pro Day, including OL coach Pat Flaherty and scouting director Marc Ross..

S Tommy Irvin, Wofford -- Had a private workout with the Giants.

S Jaiquawn Jarrett, Temple – He is visiting the Giants today, according to a league source.

QB Greg McElroy, Alabama -- The Giants attended his Pro Day and he’s scheduled to have a private workout with the team (One report said the workout will take place today).

WR Denarius Moore, Tennessee -- Had a visit scheduled with the Giants.

DT Ollie Ogbu, Penn State – Has a private workout scheduled with the Giants.

G/C Mike Pouncey, Florida – Both OL coach Pat Flaherty and Tom Coughlin were at his Pro Day. Pouncey, in an interview with me on Sirius NFL Radio, said he’s had “a lot” of contact with the Giants, including a private workout after his Pro Day and a long interview before. He also listed the Giants on his Twitter account as one of six teams that he’s had the most contact with so far.

G Will Rackley, Lehigh -- Had a private workout with the Giants

DL Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines -- The Giants were one of only four teams at his Pro Day

T Tyron Smith, USC – The Giants are said to be very high on him, which I’ve also heard is true. The Dallas Cowboys are another team that seem to be all over him.

DL Blaine Sumner, Colorado School of Mines -- The Giants were one of only four teams at his Pro Day.

LB Sidney Tarver, Tennessee State -- The Giants were among the teams at his Pro Day

DL Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple – He is visiting the Giants today, according to a league source.

CB Prathon Wilkerson, Albany State -- Giants were one of three teams at his Pro Day.

WR Darnell Williams, Long Island -- Has a visit scheduled with the Giants (It's believed to be tomorrow).
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Re: Players on our Radar

Post  Pizan on Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:29 pm

Florida defensive back Will Hill attending Giants' local prospect day

By Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

There's often a lot of confusion circulated when it comes to which players teams are bringing in for pre-draft visits. The reason is teams are allowed to bring in as many players who attended local colleges or grew up in the area for workouts but are limited to 30 non-local visits, so local players are sometimes portrayed as being high on a team's draft board when they're actually not.

But in some cases, players who come in on free visits are on a team's radar. And indications are Florida defensive back Will Hill has the Giants intrigued.

Hill, a West Orange native, is one of a bunch of prospects who are either natives of the metropolitan area or attended schools in and around Jersey that are at the Giants' facility right now. They're there for a pre-draft workout so the Giants can get another look (or a first look) at these players.

Hill's stock has slipped because of character concerns and a performance at his pro day that was considered so-so at best. In fact, the Sporting News called it an "up-and-down day," as he ran 40-yard dashes in 4.66 and 4.72 seconds while somehow looking both "stiff" and "explosive" at the same time. Go figure. Indications are Hill was prepared to do the full gamut of drills for the Giants' workout today.

The team has also taken plenty of measures to look into the personal side of things on Hill, who has raised red flags because of a suspension at Florida and a, um, lively Twitter account he and his agent claim was hacked.

* * * *

Other players in attendance today:

--Syracuse LB Doug Hogue, whom many believe will go late in the draft.

--Temple S Jaiquawn Jarrett, another late-round pick.

--Cincinnati WR Vidal Hazelton, a projected late-round pick/undrafted free agent, tweeted he's at the Giants' "amazing" facility.

-- Notre Dame wide receiver Duval Kamara, a Hoboken native, according to his agent, Brian Kaufman.

--Virginia LB Darnell Carter also tweeted his presence.

--Yale DE/LB Tom McCarthy, who impressed at his pro day with a 4.72-second 40 and a 35-inch vert.

--Indiana (Pa.) DE/LB Mike Gee, who had a decent showing in the Texas vs. the Nation game.

--Most, if not all, of the Rutgers prospects, including C Howard Barbieri and S Joe Lefeged.

--Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson, a potential first-round pick, had his own visit the other day.

But again, just because these players are there doesn't mean the Giants are hot for them. Stay tuned.
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Re: Players on our Radar

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:33 pm

Thanks for posting.
It will certainly give me some new names to take a look at.
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