Coughlin told his troops that last year 56 undrafted free agents – including three Giants – made NFL rosters. That said, he warned his rookies that it wasn't going to be easy.
"It is difficult," Coughlin said. "Hopefully it is very, very competitive. Anytime it is that way, of course it is difficult. But it happens every year. If you look down through the ranks, you are going to see an awful lot of good football teams that have gotten any number of one, two, three college free agents that make the team."
Coughlin said it was obvious to the players what needed to be done.
"I don't have to explain the economics of it," he continued. "There are opportunities and the way the people make teams, naturally, is to be an outstanding something. Maybe a great special teams performer, a guy who will run and hit, a run and hit guy, or a return man, or something very special about that."
All the prospective Giants needed to hear was that three defensive players turned the trick for Big Blue last season.
"We are excited about those three kids we had last year on the defensive side of the ball that have done a real good job in the offseason program," Coughlin said. "They are bigger and stronger. Perhaps those guys will continue to make an impact on our team. I'm talking about (safety Curtis) Deloatch, (linebacker Jim) Maxwell, (linebacker T.J.) Hollowell."
Eye openers: The four practices open to the media consisted mostly of individual drills. However, at the end of each session, the offense ran plays against the defense. Here's what stood out to TGI during rookie minicamp:
Cornerback Corey Webster can jump through the roof. He showed on several occasions during drills that his leaping ability is not an issue…
Defensive end Justin Tuck looked plenty quick off the ball in one-on-one drills…
Running back Brandon Jacobs looks faster than his 267-pound weight would indicate. He got through holes early and often and ran downfield pretty swiftly…
Running back Ryan Grant showed some shiftiness and ability, catching the ball as well. While the drills were non-contact, Grant did spin off some would-be tacklers…
Quarterback Jared Lorenzen was hot-and-cold, following a beautiful deep crossing strike with a toss near the ankles of a running back nearby. However, it's easy to see why the Giants are in love with his arm strength…
Receiver Charles Frederick, while hardly a speedster, showed great moves eluding would-be tacklers in return drills…
Center Andy Tidwell-Neal didn't exactly shine, as he was involved in multiple center/quarterback fumbled exchanges. He also jumped offsides more than once. His short legs forced the signal-callers to get lower than usual to take the snap…
Offensive tackle Kyle Wallace injured himself during the first day of practice with an apparent hamstring ailment and was forced to watch the remainder of the drills…
By the numbers: Here are the jersey numbers taken by some of the key new Giants:
12 – Jared Lorenzen
23- Corey Webster
27 – Brandon Jacobs
37 – James Butler
43 – Diamond Ferri
47 – Ryan Grant
91 – Justin Tuck
93 – Eric Moore
The Butler might do it: There's no doubt Georgia Tech safety James Butler is the odds-on favorite to be one of the lucky undrafted free agents to land a roster spot.
According to GM Ernie Accorsi, Butler was in the discussion when the Giants picked Eric Moore in the sixth round. Butler was one of the first players the club jumped on once the draft concluded.
The soft-spoken Butler obviously has something to prove.
"I was surprised I didn't get drafted," he said. "But I got over it. This is the best opportunity for me to be the player I can be and make the team."
He knows he's going to have to stand out to stick.
"I have to go out there every day or I'll be on the next plane out," he said.
Not taken for Granted: Ryan Grant, who grew up a Giants fan in Ramsey, NJ, is looking to fulfill his dream and make his favorite club.
"You pick and choose and I found my best fit," he said. "What they're trying to do offensively. Roster-wise. I feel I can help out on special teams."
"He appears to be a real smart kid and he jumped in there at a couple of different spots and he is anxious," Coughlin said. "Those are all good things and the fact that it is local for him, of course, makes it all that more important to him."
Grant, who remains very close friends with former and current teammate Justin Tuck, knows the spotlight will be on him to see how he handles himself in certain situations.
"If you're a competitor you want the eyes on you," he said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can to earn a spot on this team."
Accorsi liked what he saw from Grant at Notre Dame.
"I liked Ryan Grant," Accorsi said. "He just didn't get a chance to play much. They were playing a younger back. He's a local kid that could turn out to be a find for us."
Diamond in the rough: One of the most intriguing undrafted free agents in camp is former Syracuse standout Diamond Ferri, who looked pretty versatile during camp.
Ferri is the only player in Big East history to win both offensive and defensive player of the week honors for his play in the Orange's 43-17 upset over Boston College last December.
At 5-10, 220, Ferri is short for a safety, probably the main reason he wasn't drafted. He was a highly recruited running back coming out of high school, but because of a crowded Syracuse depth chart at RB, he ended up in the defensive backfield.
However, he was pressed into action due to injuries on the offensive side of the ball in the last regular season game of his career. He rushed 28 times for 141 yards and two TDs, returned an interception 44 yards for another score, posted six tackles and returned two punts.
Special teams will be a key to Ferri's success. He excelled as a return man, returning 24 kickoffs for 653 yards.
"I just want to make the team on special teams eventually," he said. "If someone goes down, I'll be available when I know the play. That's when you get your chance. I'm not a guy that's going to say I'm going to take this guy's position."
Despite Ferri's preference for the offensive side of the ball, according to Coughlin, there will be no carries for Ferri in the near future.
"We are going to look at him on defense and special teams right now," New York's coach said.
"I have to keep busting my butt and showing them I can play football," said Ferri, who posted 99 tackles last year.
Big-time second chance: The recent addition of former Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck did nothing to help the cause of Jared Lorenzen. However, after what he's already been through, you couldn't fault Lorenzen for just being happy he's back practicing with New York.
By now everyone knows the story – Lorenzen left Giants camp last season to take care of what he considered a serious family issue. However it turned out to basically be a false alarm.
"Everything I had to take care of I took care of," he said. "It wasn't a big deal. I thought it was going to be this huge ordeal and it turned out to be nothing and I had messed up an opportunity."
But he was fortunate, unlike so many others in this very competitive field, to get another chance.
While he was away from the game his father read him the riot act.
"My Dad sat me down and told me he didn't agree with what I was doing," Lorenzen said. "I told my Dad he was crazy…I didn't realize till I started watching NFL games how much I missed it."
During the time off, Lorenzen "played a lot of Dad" with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and broadcast a couple of high school games. Of course that was no substitute for the real thing.
Before Lorenzen's agent could even contact the Giants asking for a second chance for his client, Coughlin called Lorenzen.
He jumped at the opportunity and was welcomed back to the organization with open arms.
"Tiki (Barber) walked right up, patted me on the back and said ‘it's nice to see you again,' " Lorenzen said with a smile.
Lorenzen's main challenge – his weight – is still an issue, but he and Coughlin, who both decline to discuss his actual weight figures, say he's headed in the right direction.
"He is working hard at it and he has made real good progress," Coughlin said. "He is taking the responsibility for that himself. I think he is showing pretty good ability to head in the right direction."
As for Lorenzen, despite having three solid QBs ahead of him on the depth chart, he's just glad to be a Giant again.
"Thank God coach Coughlin called and set everything up," he said. "Thank God they gave me another chance."
Tryout victor: The Giants signed defensive tackle Jonas Seawright, who was one of 12 rookie free agents to receive a tryout at the team's rookie mini-camp.
Seawright, a 6-6, 312-pounder, was a captain on the University of North Carolina football team in 2004, when he started every game and finished with 29 tackles (13 solo). He also knocked down two passes and blocked a 22-yard field goal against Boston College in the Continental Tire Bowl.
In 2003, Seawright played in 12 games with six starts. He had 10 tackles and blocked three kicks – extra points against Florida State and Arizona State and a field goal attempt versus Wake Forest.
The other players that attended the camp on a tryout basis were Indiana (and North Jersey product) QB Matt Lovecchio, McNeese State WR Andy Bertrand, Southern Mississippi WR Marvin Young, Louisiana-Lafayette CB Antwain Spann, North Carolina TE Jocques Dumas, Alcorn State LB Dwan Wilson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff S Zachary Barnett, Hobart G Alex Bell, Minnesota G Brandon Harston, Morgan State DT Aaris Johnson and Vanderbilt G Brian Kovolisky.
A look inside rookie minicamp
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