Players chosen in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft are considered to be the ‘best of the best’ in their draft class. However, sometimes a few gems slip. These gems include Robert Mathis (138th pick), Terrell Davis (196th pick), and Tom Brady (199th pick). Will a star player fall to the Giants 167th pick on Saturday?
One player who has the potential to be available for the Giants and has star quality is James Conner of Pittsburgh.
The 6’1”, 230 pound running back has been in the spotlight not only for his performance on the field, but for his adversities off the field.
In the first game of the 2015 season, Conner injured his MCL. Through treatment of the MCL injury, doctors discovered that Conner had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His football grind didn’t stop though, as videos of Conner participating in football practices wearing a surgical mask went viral. In May of 2016, Conner was in remission.
Less than six months after completing chemotherapy, Conner stepped back onto Heinz Field for his final season of college ball and scored two touchdowns in Pitt’s home opener. Conner finished the season with 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In one of the biggest games of the 2016 season, Pitt faced ACC rival Clemson. In a game that was supposed to be a blow out, Conner stepped up and totaled 189 yards and two touchdowns to help his team pull an upset over the Tigers, 43-42.
Prior to his cancer diagnosis, Conner rushed for 1,765 yards and scored 26 touchdowns earning him ACC Player of the Year during the 2014 season.
Conner has a big built, making him a strong runner and hard to bring down. However, he lacks speed and flexibility. At the combine, Conner ran a slow 4.65 second, 40-yard dash.
Ben McAdoo’s offense consists of a strong rushing attack, and Conner fits perfectly, especially in short yard situations. If Conner is still available, the Giants should steal him before he becomes one of the late-round gems for another team.