With all the harsh criticism I have been given Jerry Reese; especially in this year’s draft, it would only be fitting to be fair and acknowledge him on a positive note. Before I address the recent signings of undrafted prospects by Reese and the Giants; I would like to state that I thought Reese did a great job during the free agent phrase and the personal he brought in for the Giants. With that being said; Reese seems to do a better job in importing free agents than selecting the draft. The recent group of signees is proof of this and here’s is a brief breakdown of each player:
Kelcy Quarles, (6-3/ 297) South Carolina: Quarles is a junior with only 2+ years as a starter at South Carolina. , Playing alongside of Jadeveon Clowney, Quarles plays hard and has an endless motor. Quarles lacks the ideal size of a DT, but has one quality that GM Jerry Reese seems to always admire and that is long arms to go along with power and quickness.
DT Eathyn Manumaleuna, (6’2/ 305): Manumaleuna was a 4 year starter at BYU and played as a NT (4-3 scheme) and DE (3-4 scheme). Another undersized DT, but Manumaleuna is very strong, quick and extremely athletic. Manumaleuna plays with an endless motor and he more efficient as a run stopper than a pass rusher.
Kerry Wynn, (6’5/270) Richmond: Wynn has good size, strength and ability as a DE. Wynn had respectable numbers at Richmond (145 tackles/22.5 tackles for losses and 12.5 sacks). Like any undrafted free agent, Wynn will really need to impress early and often to make an impression and more importantly, make the team.
S Thomas Gordon, (5-11/ 210): Although considered undersized, Thomas is well built and is a very good athlete. Solid against the run who likes to initiate contact and tackles well. In 38 games at Michigan, Thomas produced 220 tackles (128 solo) 3 sack and, 3 INT
S C.J. Barnett, (6'0/204) Ohio State: Barnett has good instinct and plays aggressively against the run and pass. Coach Urban Meyer has said that Barnett is like having an extra coach on the field and has a high football IQ. Meyers also stated that Barnett never accepts being average and strives to be better every time he steps on the field.
LB Justin Anderson, (6’2/235) Louisiana-Lafayette: Anderson has good athletic ability and is very instinctive at the LB position. Led his team in 2013 in tackles with 131 and was named 1st team All-Sun Belt. Anderson will battle hard for a roster spot as a special team’s player.
DE Emmanuel Dieke, (6’7/261): Dieke has a huge frame that can easily handle another 20 pounds to it. Dieke plays with a lot of effort and quickness as he has the ability to change direction well for his size. Dieke is more of a run stopper at this point, rather than a pass rushing threat.
LB Dan Fox, (6’3/233) Notre Dame: Fox is a blue collar football player and will not dazzle you with impact plays. Highly intelligent player who lacks the athleticism needed at the NFL level. Reminds me a great deal of Chase Blackburn, an overachiever who could defy the odds and make an NFL roster.
TE Xavier Grimble, (6’4/257) USC: Grimble is a very intriguing player as he has good size and an upside to his game. Grimble is not a menacing blocker, however; according to many reports I have read, has the ability to be a better blocker at the NFL level. As a receiver, Grimble has deceptive speed with good hands and has done well with yards after the catch.
DE Jordan Stanton (6’4/262) James Madison: Stanton had a solid year in 2013 with 56 tackles (11.5 for loss) and 8 sacks, which earned him All-Colonial Athletic Association nomination. Stanton is a long shot of making the final roster, but stranger things have happened.
The 2014 draft was arguably the deepest draft in many years, as many of these players showcase above would have most likely been drafted if the draft was average. Although the odds are against them, it is quite possible that Jerry Reese has found a diamond in the rough with one of his selections. My overall assessment of these signings is very positive and only time will tell just how successful the Giants will be because of it. It wouldn’t surprise if four out of the eight either make the final roster and/or be put on the practice squad.