Mark Herzlich was once considered one of the best defensive players in college football
Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in 2009, which threatened to end his football career then and there. Herzlich was one of the best players in the country prior to this diagnosis and he miraculously worked his way back to being a productive player.
Questions surrounding his overall health likely scared all 32 NFL teams from spending a draft pick on him, as he is not quite the player he once was. Nonetheless, this true warrior shows an incredible ability to recover and a drive to succeed no matter the odds.
Herzlich was one of the most sought-after undrafted free agents in the class, and it's no surprise that he and the Giants were able to come to an agreement on a deal.
The Giants covet strong leaders at the linebacker position, and Herzlich is just that. While the disease he so valiantly fought robbed him of some athleticism and ability, there is no question that he can make up for it in heart and brains.
Big Blue has an already strong defense despite their relative thinness at the linebacker position. This no doubt figured into Herlzlich's decision to sign on with the team. He will have a real chance to make the squad, and if he does, he will be apart of one of the strongest and most feared defenses in the league.
Do you think Mark Herzlich will make an impact on the 2011 Giants defense?
This signing does raise questions about the Giants' other offseason plans. With the signing of Herzlich, will the Giants be as active in pursuing Paul Posluszny, a star middle linebacker who has made it clear that he will test free agency?
I say the Giants will still be big players in the market for Poz. The Giants have plenty of linebackers, but few are proven. Jonathan Goff and Michael Boley are adequate starters, but neither are stars.
Sixth-round draft picks Greg Jones from Michigan State and Jacquian Williams from South Florida are both intriguing prospects, but it remains to be seen what the 2011 draftees can contribute to the defense.
Herzlich won't be coming in to be a starter; rather I see him as a reserve and possible practice-squad player.
Even if he is only a practice-squad player and occasional reserve, he will be another in a long line of smart defenders that the Giants have acquired.
Mathias Kiawanuka is a fellow BC product, and along with Justin Tuck (Notre Dame), Goff (Vanderbilt) and special-teamer Zach DeOssie (Brown), the Giants boast a defense chock full of smart, talented players. The possible addition of former Penn State Nittany Lion Academic All-American Paul Posluszny would only bolster the Giants in both brains and talent.
The signing of Herlzlich is a great story and it can only make the Giants better. Even if he never sees the field on Sunday, this guy will be a force on the practice squad, and if anyone deserves an opportunity, it's Mark Herzlich.