The New York Giants have signed two players they invited to their rookie mini camp that started last week.
Micah Johnson from Kentucky is a middle linebacker with great size and instincts, but played the 2009 season with an MCL injury, and aggravated it in his bowl game. It seems like he should have been drafted, but teams stayed away from him due to the injury concerns.
He is 6'1, 262 pounds, instantly making him one of the most physical presences on the team in terms of linebackers. Size doesn't necessarily translate into success in the NFL, he'll need to be smart, instinctive, and have the speed to make plays in the passing game.
He was invited to the camp on a tryout basis, so he obviously impressed the coaches to some extent.
The thing that excites me the most when examining his stats, is that he showed up in the biggest games for KU. Against Louisville, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgia, and Tennessee, which were without question the six biggest games on the schedule, Johnson had double digits in tackles.
Realistically, he will have to show the team he can be a special teams contributer before he will get a shot at the middle linebacker position, but I look forward to following his progress.
I love defensive players from the SEC.
The other player the Giants signed was Riley Skinner, QB out of Wake Forest.
This was an interesting signing considering the Giants signed Jim Sorgi in the offseason, and still have Rhett Bomar from last year's draft. There doesn't seem to be a spot for Skinner at the moment, so he will have to be better than Bomar to avoid the practice squad.
Skinner had a solid career at Wake and was basically a four year starter. He was named ACC rookie of the year in 2006 when the quarterback in front of him went down with an injury, and led the team to the ACC title and a birth in the Orange Bowl.
Wake Forest gradually got worse and worse, however, Skinner's individual play got better. In his Senior season, he had 3,160 yards, 25 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, 146.99 QB rating, and 66 percent completions, but the team went 5-7 in his only losing season.
The defense can take most of the blame for that, and Skinner has a chance to develop into a solid QB, but at the moment I have to believe he is just there for competition's sake, and if he shows any improvement then maybe he will have a spot on the team.
Another issue from camp I wanted to address is the overreaction people in the media had when Jason Pierre-Paul was bending over all the time during his first day at camp, which led people to believe he was out of shape.
The guy had a back injury, and having had one before I know the way to make it feel better is by bending over and taking the stress off of your lower back.
None of these guys are out of shape, and JPP actually went the entire camp with this injury and did not miss any practice due to it, so to question whether or not he is in shape is foolish.
Especially when you take into account the Giants know what their doing in the early rounds of the draft, and have not missed on a player under Jerry Reese in the first round, so if they had any questions about him they would not have taken him.
So don't overreact and worry about JPP, he'll be ready for training camp just like everybody else.
Will the season just hurry up and get here already?!