"We didn't really need a safety but we had a real high grade on him," GM Ernie Accorsi said. New York continued to add depth in its secondary as the seventh round began. The Giants, with the 240th overall selection, picked up Drake. He's a former running back who made the move to strong safety as a sophomore. Drake, 6-1, 205, recorded 174 tackles, six sacks and an interception during his Wolverine career.
Drake was expecting to be picked as early as the Draft's first day, but said he isn't fazed at all by his drop in status. He posted an impressive 21 bench press reps and also clocked as low as 4.38 before the Draft.
"The projections had me going as high as the second round," he said. "I'm going to show them they got a real steal."
"I thought he'd go a little higher," Giants DBs Coach DeWayne Walker said. "I had him rated in the fifth or sixth round. When he was there in the seventh he was the best safety available.
"He can cover; he gives you some versatility. He's a banger; he's a guy that can come up and hit."
The reality check comes when viewing New York's depth chart. In a secondary loaded with talent, Big Blue already boasts four solid safeties. "He's a seventh-round guy," Walker added. "We have four safeties that I think are really good. To keep five safeties, I don't know if that's going to happen. I think he's good enough to challenge, but I think it's going to be tough for him. With Omar [Stoutmire], Shaun [Williams], Clarence LeBlanc and Johnnie Harris. That's a pretty veteran group so I think it's going to be tough for him, but I do like him and the things that I've seen so far."
Drake grew up in Los Angeles watching Williams play at UCLA. Now he's trying to make the same NFL roster. To do so, he knows he must keep the faith.
"My mom told me before I came out here to have faith," he said.
He honored his mom by having her name ‘Elizabeth' tattooed on his left arm, accompanied by The Lord's Prayer. "That was the first prayer she taught me," he explained. On his right arm, the name of his father, ‘Charles', is also permanently displayed.
Drake confidently stated the three goals he's bringing with him to the Big Apple.
"First I want to make the team, then contribute, then crack the starting lineup," he said. "Just put me in the game and I'll make something happen."
Where he fits in
As DBs Coach Walker said, it's going to be an uphill battle for Drake. But he can catch some eyes by dominating on special teams and showing superb hitting skills during the preseason. That way if any of the top four get banged up, he could notch himself a roster spot. Or at least force the Giants to keep him on the practice squad.
"Drake is a safety prospect from Michigan. He has size and speed. He's more of a strong safety type. He's not a guy you want to play deep centerfield or deep hash. He's more of an in-the-box strong safety. He's a physical, tough guy. He has speed to play on special teams." – Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese