NFL Draft: Defensive prospects run deep

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

In polling the experts and fans who follow the New York Football Giants, there is a plethora of opinions on how they should spend the No. 9 overall pick this April 30. Some say address the offensive line, others call for a defender who can rush the passer. Then, there are others who would like to see the Giants add more firepower to their offense.

USATSI_8332441_110579513_lowresMy take is there are few offensive lineman in this draft that warrant the ninth overall selection. If the Giants are to take an OL this high in this draft, he better be able to come right in and start from Day One. There are several inside lineman who can do that, but very few tackles. Most of them come with too much risk.

Our friend John Norris over at Rotoworld.com likes the combination of speed and quickness that Oregon’s Jake Fisher possesses. Fisher scored a 4.33 in a 20-yard short shuffle, and as a former tight end, has the feet and dexterity to go with his exceptional size (6’6″, 306).

“I am very confident in Fisher’s ability if he stays healthy, on either the left or right side,” said Norris.

The talent in this draft resides on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants need a stud or two on the defense. New DC Steve Spagnuolo will require better players if he is to resuscitate this sagging Giant defense.

I’m guessing the Giants will take the best available player in the first round. Who that is, no one knows. But they will not be afraid to spend it on a player at a position of non-need. But after that, they will focus on filling out their roster with players that they feel can help them out of their recent funk.

To read more of this story, click here

Giants should revisit signing Jacoby Jones

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Several notable NFL stars were unceremoniously released by their teams in the annual pre-free agency purge of overpriced veterans.

The Lions’ Reggie Bush, Green Bay’s AJ Hawk and WR/KR Jacoby Jones of the Ravens are now all free agents who are free to sign with any team. So… are the Giants interested?

I say yes to Jones, maybe to Bush and no to Hawk. All three players are either over 30 or will be by the time the season starts. The Giants are focused on bringing in younger players with more upside going forward. But… To read more of this story, click here

Combine standout Ali Marpet wants to play for Giants

Ali Marpet made an impression during the NFL Scouting Combine with the fastest 40 time among the offensive linemen, and if that could earn him his pick of teams, he’d choose the New York Giants (NFL.com, Feb. 25).

“I’d probably choose the New York Giants,” Marpet said when asked during NFL Network’s “NFL AM” who he’d most like to play for.

Marpet, the former Hobart tackle, has been a Giants fan all of his life, growing up in a suburb north of New York City. Hobart is a Division III school, and there have been just ten Division III players drafted in this century, and none since 2012 – but Marpet’s combine performance has strengthened his chances in the draft.

NFL pre-draft important dates

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The combine is over and now we prepare for the off-field portion of the NFL’s pre-draft season next week. The Giants  have already stated they intend to use the franchise tag on DE Jason Pierre-Paul if they cannot get his signature on a contract by 4 p.m. next Monday.

Other free agents the Giants are expected to attempt to re-sign are S Antrel Rolle, CB Walter Thurmond, FB Henry Hynoski, LB Jacquian Williams and S Stevie Brown.

Some other housekeeping items on the to-do list are tendering TE Larry Donnell and CB Chandler Fenner, who are both exclusive rights free agents this spring.

Here is a list of important dates leading up to the draft on April 30:  To read more of this story, click here

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Giants release Peyton Hillis

The Giants have released RB Peyton Hillis, the team announced.

In 2014, Hillis played in the season’s first nine games. He left the game on Nov. 9 in Seattle with a concussion and was placed on injured reserve six days later. Hillis finished third on the team with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries. He also caught 10 passes for another 87 yards.

Hillis played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City before joining the Giants.

His career totals include 696 rushing attempts for 2,832 yards and 23 touchdowns and 134 receptions for 1,050 yards and three scores.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

A bit of a surprise but when you read the post from Rotoworld, you kind of have to agree with the move:

Each of his past two seasons have been ended by concussions, and it’s unclear if Hillis wants to continue his playing career. His release saves the Giants $945,000 against the cap. Andre Williams is locked in as the Giants’ “big back” and early-down bruiser.

Hillis’ release leaves the Giants with only four RBs under contract: Williams, Rahsad Jennings, Michael Cox and Orleans Darkwa. I’m going to guess they’ll be adding two or three more before camp begins.

Giants offseason transactions: Preparing for free agency

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Catching you up on the Giants’ offseason moves thus far:

  • February 11 – Waived RB David Wilson, who missed the entire 2014 NFL season with a neck injury. The club will reportedly save $1.3 million in cap space by waiving their former first round pick.
  • February 11 – Signed OL Brett Jones, a free agent from the Canadian Football League to a three-year contract (2015: $435,000 2016: $525,000 2017: $615,000). No portion of Jones’ contract is guaranteed.
  • February 17 – Re-signed WR Kevin Ogletree to a one-year, $825K contract. Ogletree, 28, caught five passes in seven games after being signed by the Giants last October.
  • February 19 – Re-signed OL Dallas Reynolds to a one-year, $700K contract. Reynolds was a restricted free agent this offseason.
  • Feburary 24 – Waived DE Mathias Kiwanuka, a nine-year veteran with the team. The move frees up $4.825 million in cap space for the Giants.

Sometimes it’s the little moves that add up to a championship formula. The release of Wilson was simply a formality. Wilson essentially retired from football after doctors advised him to never strap on the pads again last spring. To read more of this story, click here

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Giants

Kiwanuka released by Giants

Update, 6:28 p.m.: The Giants listed “failed physical” as the reason for releasing Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka had knee surgery last year (Kaplan, Feb. 24).


The Giants have released Mathias Kiwanuka, the team announced.

New York drafted Kiwanuka with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft. Over nine seasons with the Giants, Kiwanuka had 384 tackles, 36.5 sacks and three interceptions.

“Mathias has a warrior mentality,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “He has been the ultimate team player for this franchise, and was a true pro from day one.”

He won two Super Bowls with the Giants.

Kiwanuka was set to make $4.8 million this season, which the Giants will save (Raanan, Feb. 24). The team has roughly $25 million in cap space heading into 2015 (Vacchiano, Feb. 24).

“The thing that has always impressed me about Kiwi is how serious he is about the game,” head coach Tom Coughlin said. “He was always prepared and always in outstanding condition and played very hard. And he had some nasty in him. I always felt like you could count on certain things from him: eight-nine sacks, harass the quarterback, and you could move him around, inside, outside. He is dependable, reliable and there is no question about his professionalism.

“I would have to back him off in practice and remind him that we’re not hitting the quarterback. He would always agree and then I’d have to remind him again the next play. His character and professionalism and serious approach to the game will be missed.”


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 Jonas Schwartz, SNY:

Kiwanuka’s release shows how the Giants are forced to move on from their recent championship past. What’s truly interesting about this is while they are moving on from their recent glory on the player side, they continue to cling to it on the coaching side with Tom Coughlin staying despite the declining results of the last few years. Also, keep in mind how when it comes to the staff, they once again embraced the good times of yesteryear by going back to the Steve Spaganuolo, the defensive coordinator Kiwanuka won the first Super Bowl with.

When you look at how time has marched on you see how much more challenging a circumstance this will be for Spags. When he first arrived in New York he walked into a situation with premiere pass rushers in Strahan, Tuck, Umenyiora — and yes, Kiwanuka. Now all he is likely left with is Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s never been the same since his big breakout performance a few years ago. Spaganuolo’s great schemes were no doubt aided by the incredible talent he had on the roster. As Kiwanuka’s release shows us that talent is fleeting. So, now the question will be whether Spags schemes can return this Giants franchise to the Canyon of Heroes… even though none of the players he did it with (Kiwanuka included) will be riding shotgun with him.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

An expected move. Kiwi’s game has been declining for the past few seasons now and the Giants are moving on with JPP, Robert Ayers, Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn and Devon Kennard.

They could also pick up another defensive lineman and/or pass rusher with the ninth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Walter Football.com, in their latest mock, have the Giants selecting Nebraska OLB/DE Randy Gregory: To read more of this story, click here