Reynolds' rap

One former Tennessee Vol is looking to be the fourth-best defensive ends on his NFL team's roster. That's because the top three spots already are locked up.

Antonio Reynolds, passed over in the recent NFL Draft, signed a free-agent contract with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who have the strongest corps of defensive ends in professional football.

Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are All-Pro players. Moreover, they are backed up by four-year veteran Justin Tuck, one of the finest young pass rushers in the game.

Umenyiora, soon to begin his seventh pro season, recorded 52 tackles in 2007-08, including 13 sacks. Strahan, preparing for his 17th season, numbered 9 sacks among his 57 tackles. Tuck, ready to launch Year 5 of his pro career, registered 63 tackles and 10 sacks in a reserve role last season.

Reynolds, a 6-3, 270-pounder, started 11 games for the Vols in 2006 and all 14 in 2007. He recorded 31 tackles and 3.0 sacks as a senior last fall. He also registered a 70-yard interception return (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette), 2 pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

On a positive note, the ex-Vol's competition for the fourth spot on New York's defensive end depth chart at end is hardly imposing. The only other defensive end prospects listed on the Giants' current roster are Dave Tollefson, a second-year man who did not see action in '07, and two more rookie free agents – Wallace Gilberry (Alabama) and Robert Henderson (Southern Miss).

Another positive note: Should Reynolds make New York's roster, being stuck behind Strahan, Umenyiora and Tuck will ensure that he doesn't get thrust into action before he's had time to get acclimated.


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