NY Giants Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signing

Patricia Traina@Patricia_TrainaFeatured Columnist IVMay 10, 2014

NY Giants Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signing

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 NFL draft is officially over, but the mad scramble for the undrafted free agents has officially begun.

    According to the Giantsofficial roster, they now have 84 players, including the draft picks, on their pre-training-camp roster.

    That means that they’ll have room for six undrafted free agents to fill out the 90-man roster limit, unless of course they cut any of their players who are signed to reserve/futures contracts to make room for a new name.

    Be sure to bookmark this page, as I’ll be updating all the latest on the Giants’ undrafted free-agent signings with analysis through Sunday evening.

    Please note that in most cases, the players have simply agreed to terms and that official signings won't be annoucned by the Giants until later in the week after the players physically sign their contracts. 

Inside Linebacker Dan Fox, Notre Dame

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    Former Notre Dame inside linebacker Dan Fox (6’3”, 233 pounds) tweeted the news that he is heading to the Giants to compete for a roster spot.

    Want to thank everyone for the support. My next step in my career will be with the New York Giants!

    — Dan Fox (@DPFoxy) May 10, 2014

    When Fox arrives at the Giants, he should have plenty of motivation besides not being drafted to make some noise at the NFL level.

    In addition to not being invited to the NFL combine, the Associated Press (h/t Fox News) reported Fox lost his starting job last season, to Jarrett Grace in the fourth game of the Irish’s season.

    “He was livid," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told the Associated Press.

    "And then he handled it like a captain, senior, leader—although he doesn't have a 'C'' on his shirt, he handled it the way that I would expect somebody of his character to handle it. He just went to work and worked on getting better."

    Somehow, I can’t help but think that head coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants, who have placed a heavy emphasis on acquiring team leaders in this year’s rookie class, are pleased. 

    Fox, who did battle through a knee injury last year, did get his starting job back after Grace suffered a season-ending broken leg.

    In addition to trying to impress on special teams, Fox’s primary competition for a spot on the Giants roster as backup to starting middle linebacker Jon Beason will include incumbents Mark Herzlich and Allen Bradford.

    Grade: C

Defensive Tackle Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

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    South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (6’4”, 297 pounds) was originally projected by NFL Draft Scout to go in the late third/early fourth round. Instead, his stock tumbled and now he Tweets that he's heading to the Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Looks like I'm going to the giants

    — kelcy quarles (@KelcyQuarles) May 10, 2014

    If we’re looking strictly at his on-field performance, a likely reason behind his stock falling could be a result of teams having questions as to whether Quarles, who lined up on the same line as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, made enough plays on his own.

    Regardless, there’s plenty to like abut Quarles. Per NFL Draft Scout, he was a regular visitor in the opponent’s backfield, though he didn’t get his hands on enough passes to knock them down. 

    He also hustles after the ball carrier and won’t hesitate to throw his body around to make plays.

    Off the field, Quarles found himself drawing some unwanted publicity last month. Per a report by Jeremy Turnage of WIS News 10, Quarles and teammate Victor Hampton were alleged to have been involved in a New York City nightclub altercation on April 11.

    However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Quarles was cleared of any wrongdoing.

    Grade: B+

Safety C.J. Barnett, Ohio State

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    The agent for Ohio State safety C.J. Barnett (6’1”, 204 pounds) made the happy announcement concerning where his client hopes to launch his NFL career.

    Congrats to #TeamIFA's @see_4our on signing with the New York Giants! pic.twitter.com/0b02yvkk67

    — The IFA (@TeamIFA) May 11, 2014

    Barnett, who can play both free and strong safety, is a physical player who’s not afraid to hit. Possessing good size, he’s able to match up well against most tight ends and running backs, showing the ability to change direction and keep up with them at the second level.

    Per NFL Draft Scout, Barnett is an aggressive student of the game who has a natural feel for the position as well as the instincts to play it successfully.

    If Barnett has any flaws, it’s that he’s stiff in man-to-man coverage; however, he has the drive to push himself to overcome his flaws and turn them into strengths.

    With the Giants potentially needing as many as two safeties for this year (one of whom will almost certainly be carried on the practice squad), Barnett, who also excels on special teams, has a good chance of being one of the young players the coaches decide to keep if he continues to push himself toward greatness.

    Grade: A-

Safety Thomas Gordon, Michigan

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Joshua Henschke, who covers Michigan State for SB Nation’s MaizenBrew.com, reports that 5’10”, 213-pound strong safety Thomas Gordon is heading to the Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Per Henschke, Gordon, who announced his signing with the Giants via his Facebook page, impressed scouts during his pro day performance in which he ran a 4.49 in the 40 and recorded a 40.5-inch vertical jump.

    Gordon finished his collegiate career with 228 total tackles, three sacks and six interceptions. He was suspended for the season opener last year, according to ESPN’s Chantel Jennings, for an unspecified violation of team rules.  

    If Gordon can earn a spot on the Giants' practice squad this year, he should be able to get a chance to compete for a spot on the 2015 53-man roster when there should be more openings. 

    Grade: C-

Linebacker Justin Anderson, Louisiana

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Louisiana assistant head coach Reed Stringer was the first to announce via Twitter that linebacker Justin Anderson is heading to the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Congrats to Ragin Cajun LB Justin Anderson for getting picked up by the New York Giants!! # NFLPrepared

    — Reed Stringer (@coachstringer) May 11, 2014

    Anderson, 6’2”, 235 pounds, can play both inside and outside linebacker spots. A first-team All-Sun Belt performer, Anderson averaged more than 10 tackles per game, according to NFL Draft Scout, and had a strong showing at his pro day.

    He was also the Week 8 "Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week" after recording a career-high 16 tackles for the third time during his collegiate career.  

    An active inside presence for the Ragin Cajuns, Anderson’s best position in the pros projects to be in the middle. 

    Grade: B-

Defensive Tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna, BYU

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    BYU’s defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna stands 6’2” and weighs 305 pounds. Per his agent, David Canter, Manumaleuna will be joining the Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Congratulations to @EathynManu on agreeing to terms with the @Giants

    — David Canter (@davidcanter) May 10, 2014

    A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Manumaleuna was a day-one starter as a freshman for the Cougars.

    Following a two-year break to serve a Mormon mission, Manumaleuna completed his education and his football eligibility.

    Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2012, but rebounded from that setback by posting his best season of his collegiate career, recording 48 tackles and one sack in 2013.

    Per SB Nation’s scouting report, Manumaleuna is a tough, gritty player who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work inside. Possessing better than average strength, Manumaleuna has shown good instincts in sniffing out the screen plays.

    The biggest negative is his size, as sometimes he can be pushed around by bigger offensive linemen. Manumaleuna also doesn’t appear to be much of a pass rusher.

    At the pro level, he’s more likely to be a run-stopper, playing a role similar to that of current Giants defensive tackle Mike Patterson.

    Manumaleuna might need to add some bulk to his frame in order to better survive the melee in the middle of the trenches, but he appears to have the necessary desire to succeed in the pros.

    Grade: C+

Defensive End Emmanuel Dieke, Georgia Tech

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    Mark Lambie/Associated Press

    Emmanuel Dieke, a three-year starter for George Tech at defensive end, will join the Giants as an undrafted free agent, per his representation, 1st Class Athletes.

    Congrats to 1CA Client Emmanuel Dieke @edieke93 on agreeing to terms with the @Giants . #Giants#1stClass#NFLDraft

    — 1st Class Athletes (@1CA_Agency) May 10, 2014

    Dieke started all 13 games last season at defensive end, the first year he’s started and played in his team’s complete slate of games. He’s posted 72 tackles in 49 games, with 5.0 sacks and 63.5 tackles for a loss.

    Nicknamed “Too Tall,” according to his college bio, Dieke stands 6’6” and weighs 270 pounds. He appears to have the frame to add some additional bilk.

    Per Derrick Malone of the Clayton News Daily, Dieke, who was not invited to the NFL combine, had an impressive pro day performance, running a 4.7 in the 40 and posting a 31-inch vertical leap.

    Malone also reported that Dieke, ranked as the 49th best defensive end prospect by NFL Draft Scout, had a workout with the Giants' defensive position coaches on April 11.

    Grade: C-

Defensive End Kerry Wynn, Richmond

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger reports that Kerry Wynn of Richmond is heading to the Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Per source, Richmond DE Kerry Wynn to the #Giants.

    — Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) May 11, 2014

    Wynn, a defensive tackle who can also play defensive end, stands 6’5” and weighs 266 pounds, numbers that probably make him too light to be an NFL interior defensive lineman.

    Per his NFL draft profile, he is a strong tackler with good body length and strong hand movement. He also clocked a 1.68 in the 10-yard split, which shows that he has the speed to get after the ball-carrier.

    Wynn, who reunites with former Richmond safety Cooper Taylor on the Giants, appears to be a developmental prospect at this point.

    As previously noted, his biggest issue will probably be his lack of bulk, as he could find himself being consumed by bigger offensive lineman.

    He’ll also need to develop consistency with playing with a lower pad level in order to avoid being neutralized by his opponents.

    With a strong camp and preseason showing, there’s no reason why he can’t at least earn a spot on the practice squad.   

    Grade: C-

Tight End Xavier Grimble, Southern California

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    Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger and Jordan Raanan of NJ.com report that tight end Xavier Grimble of Southern California signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent.

    Per Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout, who interestingly compares Grimble to current Giants tight end Kellen Davis, the 6’4”, 257-pound Grimble looks the part standing still.

    Once he starts moving, the flaws in his game, such as a lumbering style that leads to little to no separation from defenders, become apparent.

    If Grimble can break free, he has a long stride and deceptive speed in the seam and has shown an ability to make tough catches.

    As a blocker, he’s more than adequate, showing an ability to wall off his man. As a receiver, he has 11 career touchdown receptions in the red zone, where he seems to be at his best, but, as Rang notes, he can be taken down a little too easily by smaller defenders.

    If new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is looking for a tight end that can be a hybrid threat, Grimble probably is not that guy, as Rang opines that Grimble is more of a traditional tight end.

    Grade: C+