New York Giants Undrafted Free Agents: Highlights, Scouting Reports and Analysis
The 2012 NFL draft is in the books, but that does not mean all the festivities are over.
The period to sign undrafted free agents is in full swing and the New York Giants are a team that loves to find value in those post-draft pick-ups.
The Giants had 10 spots to fill following the completion of the draft and did so rather quickly. With those 10 players added to the 90-man roster, here’s a look at scouting reports, video highlights and analysis for each of Big Blue’s additions.
Janzen Jackson, FS, McNeese State
The New York Giants landed one of the top undrafted free agents when they came to an agreement with McNeese State safety Janzen Jackson.
He started immediately after joining McNeese State and showed undeniable talent, according to CBS Sports’ Rob Rang.
"Jackson's talent is undeniable. While built more like a cornerback than a safety, he has the vision, range, hitting ability and ball skills teams want at free safety in today's pass-heavy NFL."
Unfortunately, Jackson’s detrimental red flags were enough of a hindrance to cause him to go undrafted and could continue to keep him off an NFL roster if he cannot straighten up.
Aside from that, there are few knocks on his game that cannot be easily fixed with some help from the Giants' coaches.
"Possesses a slim build more conducive to cornerback than safety... A bit high cut... Physicality he shows as a hitter will wear on his own body too, especially considering his slight stature for the position... Lowers his shoulder for the big hit rather than wrapping up securely."
Jackson has the ability to be a special player in the NFL. As National Football Post’s Wes Bunting notes, he can run, cover and hit like the best in the league. Sadly, he is his own worst enemy and has already constructed a difficult path for him to be successful at the pro level.
The Giants will give him a chance and there are few teams I would trust more to help turn him into a star.
Ultimately, it all rests on his shoulders.
Matt Broha, DE, Louisiana Tech
A four-year starter at Louisiana Tech, defensive end Matt Broha was a highly productive pass-rusher with the versatility to play any position for the New York Giants .
Broha was an impressive player during his collegiate career, despite an average skill set, tallying 10 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss this past season. He is an underrated pass-rusher due in part to playing against weaker competition in the Western Athletic Conference.
"Displays solid first-step quickness, slices through double team blocks and consistently makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. Possesses good movement skills, can bend off the edge and shows the ability to pursue the action. Plays with good lean, works his hands throughout the action and goes hard until the whistle blows. Easily makes plays outside the box and shows skill when dropped off the line of scrimmage."
They continue with his weaknesses:
"Shows just average playing speed and a minimal closing burst. Struggles handling blocks and easily controlled by opponents."
Broha is not spectacular at any one thing, but he has found a way to be productive in spite.
He could find a place as a reserve along the defensive front and, due to attention being given to players like Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, could be able to be a helpful defender in pass-rusher situations.
His best-case scenario this season, however, is likely as a member of the practice squad team with an opportunity to earn his spot on the roster.
Damian Davis, WR, Mary Hardin-Baylor
Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Damian Davis is certainly one of the Giants’ lesser-known pickups. Playing at the D-III level after his dismissal from the Oklahoma State program in 2009, Davis will have his work cut out for him to prepare for football at the pro level.
Davis was a rising contributor for the Oklahoma State offense before his dismissal for an unspecified violation of team rules after averaging 21.8 yards on 19 receptions during his sophomore season.
Davis boasts a tall, but slim frame at 6’5”, 190 pounds. At the time of his dismissal, Davis proved to be an adept blocker, while placing second in receptions behind former first-round pick Dez Bryant.
For Mary Hardin-Baylor, Davis starred on the football and basketball teams. He led the team in receiving this season with 61 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns.
He clearly has the talent, but the sample size for which to project him at the NFL level is small.
He performed well during his two years at Oklahoma State, which is a promising sign, but it’s a wonder what issues he may be bringing with him after his dismissal landed him in D-III at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Davis has good size—though he could use some mass—and should definitely get a chance to earn a roster spot in camp with the possibility of being a contributor on special teams from day one.
David Douglas, WR, Arizona
The New York Giants kept a bit of their focus on adding some of the top remaining wide receivers. Arizona’s David Douglas was overshadowed for much of his collegiate career by Juron Criner, but boasts impressive numbers of his own.
Douglas' pro day garnered him some attention of his own after running in the 4.40-4.46 range while displaying sharp routes and soft hands.
Wes Bunting breaks down his weaknesses:
"Seems to waste some initial movement off the line, dropping his pad level and bending at the knees before releasing into his route. Doesn't have a great first step, isn't someone who can eat up the cushion quickly and threaten defenders down the field. Isn't real shifty off the line either, tends to really round off his release and tries to run away/around press coverage when he sees a defender in his grill."
While those are legitimate concerns which knocked him out of the draft, he does boast some positives:
"Is at his best vs. a free release, deciphering the defense and working his way open. Finds soft spots in the defense, settles down well and can pluck the football off his frame. Routinely seems to be working himself open, is fearless when asked to extend his arms and make a play in traffic. Exhibits good hand/eye coordination and concentration near the sideline, keeping his feet in bounds and securing the football. Will get after it in the run game, isn't overly physical, but works hard, sticks to blocks and his effort consistently shows on the outside."
Douglas has some positive skills that could potentially make him a serviceable possession receiver but, as Bunting notes, lacks the athletic ability to compete at the NFL level.
The likeliness of him seeing the field for the Giants is slim.
Fortunately, he has the work ethic to improve his game.
Adewale Ojomo, DE, Miami
The New York Giants added another pass-rusher in Miami defensive end Adewale Ojomo.
At 6’3” and 260 pounds, Ojomo is a bit undersized and doesn't have the athleticism to compensate for it. However, he has shown flashes of potential throughout his collegiate career.
Ojomo missed the 2009 season after suffering a broken jaw from a walk-on teammate who sucker punched him in a preseason locker room brawl. He came back in 2010 to 7.5 sacks, but saw his numbers dip dramatically in 2011 and his opportunities diminished as a result.
Ojomo has some talent, as SI.com explains:
"Undersized college defensive end who flashed skill on the field. Breaks down well, bends his knees and plays with good leverage. Works his hands throughout the action, quickly changes direction and immediately gets back to balance off the initial block. Stays with the action and wraps up when tackling. Displays suddenness in his game and flashes on the scene. Slides down the line of scrimmage to make plays laterally. Capable of penetrating into the backfield and can be a disruptive force."
But the negatives hamper his game and could make things difficult for him at the pro level:
"Possesses more of a short-area burst of speed that he cannot sustain. Easily turned from the action or blocked by a single opponent. Minimally productive as a senior."
Ojomo has talent, but it is unpredictable from week-to-week. His lack of athleticism hurt him in college and will only continue to harm him as he tries to cut it in the NFL.
He is still very raw, having seen inconsistent playing time at Miami. Ojomo will require a lot of grooming time and faces an uphill battle to make a roster littered with talented defensive lineman.
At best, SI.com sees him as a one-gap pass-rusher on third-and-long situations.
Julian Talley, WR, UMass
Let the Victor Cruz comparisons begin.
For newly-signed Julian Talley, they have surely already begun, but right now all he seeks to do is secure his spot on the New York Giants' roster.
Talley has good size at 6’1”, 185 pounds, but—despite the likely comparisons to former Minuteman Cruz—does not possess the blitzing speed his salsa-dancing predecessor boasts.
Despite this, Pro Football Weekly does note some positives of Talley’s game:
He has the ability to carve out a pro career of his own. Has an athletic build, shows smooth movement skills and is quick in and out breaks. While his production was hindered by poor quarterback play, Talley has worked outside and inside and has punt- and kickoff-return experience, and comes from a I-AA program that recently has produced several NFL products.
Wes Bunting, meanwhile, points out that Talley needs to work on his hands, while also improving on plucking the football out of the air and making the catch.
Talley could use some polish to his game, as Bunting notes, but he certainly could have a place on the Giants roster, or simply in the NFL. He is a versatile receiver, willing to play special teams and contribute in any way he must.
It is unlikely he'll be even half the star Victor Cruz has become, but he certainly should not be written off.
Talley has talent and will get his opportunity to play.
Joe Martinek, RB, Rutgers
The New York Giants took a shot on the local boy, signing diminutive Rutgers fullback Joe Martinek.
At 5’11”, 221 pounds, Martinek is vastly undersized to be an NFL fullback. Unfortunately, he also lacks the athleticism and rushing ability to be a halfback.
However, the former Scarlet Knight was a productive player during his collegiate career and in a variety of ways—whether by ground, air or in pass protection.
SI.com touches on his strengths:
"Productive college ball-carrier who offers a variety of skills. Runs low to the ground, displays the ability to get through the cutback lanes and makes defenders miss in a small area. Displays good vision, catches the ball well out of the backfield and easily adjusts to grab the errant pass from the air. Shows terrific skills as a pass catcher. Picks up stunts or blitzes thrown by the defense, squares into opponents and is a solid position blocker."
They break down his weaknesses here:
"Not a strong ball-carrier or bruising lead blocker. Marginal playing speed."
Martinek compares well with former Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard for his ability in all facets of the game. It its unlikely he will contribute as a fullback with the Giants, but could be an interesting target out of the backfield on passing downs.
With so many backs on the roster, it will be a fight to earn a roster spot, but the Giants love versatility and Martinek is the epitome of a versatile back in the NFL.
Jojo Nicolas, S, Miami
It's no secret The New York Giants enjoy their Miami Hurricanes, which makes safety prospect Jojo Nicolas another addition to the Super Bowl champions’ reputation as the University of Miami’s northeastern "satellite campus".
Nicolas is a three-year starter for the Canes and had an impressive senior season, tallying 66 tackles and two interceptions.
Despite his experience, SI.com notes that Nicolas is talented safety that still needs a lot of progression to make at the next level.
"Developing safety with a complete game. Effectively reads or diagnoses the action, takes good angles to the play and is efficient. Remains disciplined with assignments, works well with teammates and consistently plays heads-up football. Displays a burst of speed getting outside the flanks, solid range in center field and next-level ball skills in coverage. Effective defending the run and wraps up when tackling."
There is a lot of work to do to develop Nicolas into a serviceable NFL safety, as Wes Bunting points out:
Doesn't breakdown real well into contact and keep his base under him. Gets too upright, struggles with leverage, and routinely wraps and falls backward. Is an average open field tackler, takes solid angles, but will struggle to get into contact because he does lack a real explosive element to his game. Struggles to sink his hips and really explode when trying to change direction and doesn't routinely have the burst to initially make plays on the football.
Nicolas showed some improvement during his senior season—a positive sign for his development at the next level.
At just 6’0” and 200 pounds, he is fairly undersized, but displays good instincts on the field and is effective in all facets of his games, according to SI.com.
Nicolas was useful for the Hurricanes on special teams and could earn his place as a member of the Giants’ unit as well.
D'Angelo McCray, OG, Memphis
The New York Giants added some potential depth to their roster with the pick-up of mammoth, 6’6” D’Angelo McCray out of Memphis.
McCray has the ability to be a serviceable backup in the NFL, but his inability to stay at one school throughout his collegiate career is concerning. McCray also changed positions during his collegiate career—shifting from defensive tackle to offensive guard in 2011 for the Wildcats and is still very raw at the position.
In spite of his flaws, his size and athleticism gives promise that he could develop into a functioning backup over time. He is a big, strong guard who excels as a run blocker, according to Big Blue Interactive.
McCray has the physical tools to be a contributor in the NFL. Despite bouncing around in college, he is clearly committed to being a successful football player and is willing to do so at all costs. With experience on the defensive line, the Giants may test McCray at both spots to see what they have.
If McCray can prove he is worth it, some valuable time to develop would greatly benefit his progression at the pro level.
Stephen Goodin, OG, Nebraska-Kearney
As the final member of the New York Giants’ class of undrafted free agents, Nebraska-Kearney’s Stephen Goodin has his work cut out for him as he seeks to make the roster. The 6’6”, 310-pound guard acknowledged this in the Hastings Tribune—his hometown newspaper—but the athletic offensive lineman believes he can do it.
According to Big Blue Interactive, Goodin boasts a nice combination of size, strength and athleticism—having played tight end in high school. He is a hard worker and will be driven to earn his place on the Giants roster.
Goodin is a good, young talent that would love to work his way onto the Giants roster. He has great NFL size, but will face a steep step up in competition at the pro level.
It appears offensive line coach Pat Flaherty likes the stout lineman from Hastings, so Goodin should receive phenomenal coaching to help him develop into a serviceable backup.
The likelihood of him ever being a starter is slim, but with hard work, determination and quality coaching there is no reason to believe Goodin cannot add some much-needed depth to the Giants offensive line.