Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, Rod Smith, Priest Holmes, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Willie Parker, Mike Vanderjagt, Wes Welker, Adewale Ogunleye, NY Giant great Emlen Tunnel.
What do these eleven players all have in common?
None were chosen in the NFL draft, but have had great careers.
Most general managers often say how the few hours after the draft are just as important as the draft itself, because it is a time to build depth that can create championships. Every team scrambles to sign players right after "Mr. Irrelevant" is announced, to try to gain an advantage.
The Giants signed seven draft-eligible players. Jerry Reese and the rest of the Giants staff is regarded around the league as one of the best at evaluating talent. Here is an inside look at each player and his chances to make the roster:
Maurice Evans: Defensive End, Penn State
Evans was a standout player during his sophomore season at Happy Valley, racking up 12.5 sacks. Draft hype quickly surrounded him. In his junior season though, Evans got into legal trouble and made it to Joe Paterno's doghouse, and he was never able to get out.
The man who replaced Evans, Aaron Maybin, was drafted 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills. Some feel that could have been Evans—if he had stayed out of trouble. After his disappointing junior season, he declared himself for the NFL draft, but went undrafted.
Checking in at 6'1'' and 274 pounds, Evans is a bit undersized, but has the speed off the edge the Giants crave. After a very impressive minicamp, expect Evans to challenge Dave Tollefson for a roster spot.
Evans chose to sign with the New York over Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Buffalo. I believe that shows a lot in his character because it demonstrates he is not not afraid to back down from any competition. The Giants have great depth in the defensive line, and if Evans makes the 53-man roster, he backs Jerry Reese's statement that you can never have enough pass rushers.
Vince Anderson: Defensive Back, Webber International
Anderson is the first player ever from Webber International to sign with an NFL team, and hopes to stay in the league.
Anderson has great size for a player in the secondary, standing at 6'2" and weighing 205 pounds. One of the reasons the Giants like him so much is because he can play both corner back and safety. With the backup safety spot in question, look for Anderson to get a long look there, as he only has to compete with Steve Cargile and fellow undrafted free agent rookie, Sha'reef Rashad.
Sha'reef Rashad: Safety, Central Florida
I believe Rashad has the best chance to make the roster, due to the lack of depth at the safety position.
The Giants thought about taking Rashad at the end of the draft, but opted for Stoney Woodson and DeAndre Wright. Rashad has the flexibility the Giants love, able to play both strong and free safety at 6'0" and 198 pounds.
Rashad also has a good head on his shoulders, being a two-time Conference USA All-Academic Team selection. Right before the draft, he was named to the 2009 class of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame's Hampshire Honor Society. The Giants crave intelligent football players with a high "football IQ." Travonti Johnson, a former teammate of Rashad at UCF, and a practice squad player for the Giants, told secondary coach Dave Merritt that Rashad is extremely bright.
Bruce Johnson: Cornerback, Miami
The University of Miami has a reputation for producing standout performers on the gridiron. Bruce Johnson hopes to continue this legacy.
Johnson has great speed, but the one big knock on him is his lack of size, only being 5'11'' and 182 pounds. Johnson hopes to challenge Wright and Woodson for a spot in the secondary. The Giants are set with their first four corners—Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Kevin Dockery. If Johnson wants to make the team, he should try and shine in the special teams area.
Alex Field: Defensive Tackle, Virginia
A behemoth of a man, Field is 6'7'' and 270 pounds. With a player of that stature, it will be difficult for coaches to overlook him. The Giants have a lot of depth at defensive tackle, but if Field is able to make an impact on the defensive line or the field goal block unit, expect him to make the team.
Field could be a force blocking field goals, because kickers often struggle to get it over the taller lineman (Julius Peppers).
Dwayne Hendricks: Defensive Tackle, Miami
Hendricks, just like fellow Hurricane teammate Bruce Johnson, signed with the Giants after not being drafted. Hendricks was highly regarded out of high school as the third-rated player in the state of New Jersey, and the 19th-overall-rated tackle.
With a rare blend of size and speed, Hendricks is a very athletic defensive tackle. He is a run-stuffing tackle, at 6'4'' and weighs in at 300 pounds. Hendricks is a long shot to make the team, but if he plays well in training camp, he could find a spot on the practice squad.
Kenny Ingram: Linebacker, Florida State
Ingram is a very interesting prospect to watch, as he continues to make the switch from safety to linebacker. Ingram was too big to play in the secondary, at 6'5'' and 239. He lacks the speed of an NFL safety, but packs a serious punch to his hits. It will be tough for Ingram to make the roster due to the depth the Giants have at the linebacker position.
Emmit Thomas, a hall of fame corner back for the Kansas City Chiefs, was never drafted. John Randle, the great defensive tackle, played for the Minnesota Vikings, making the Pro Bowl seven times, and holds the record for the most sacks by a defensive tackle in the history of the NFL. As you can tell, the list of great NFL players not drafted goes on and on. If these players want to make the roster, and eventually make a name for themselves in the league, they have to remember that hard work will pay off, and they too can be great.
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