Cofield looks to get a nose up

Barry Cofield is a lucky man, and he's not too proud to admit it. Not everyone gets to walk right into a potential starting role on a playoff-caliber club, let alone a fourth-round pick.

"It's real exciting," the 6-3, 303-pound Cofield said. "Coming to a team that won the division and went to the playoffs last year, I couldn't ask for more. To have a chance to contribute to a team that's already a division champion is a very unique situation.

"I came from a program (Northwestern) where if we were over .500 it was an accomplishment. Now I'm here, where if we don't win the Super Bowl it's considered a failure."

And the Giants were as thrilled to land Cofield as he was to be united with Big Blue.

"Cofield is a defensive tackle, a run stopper," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "There were a couple of them there, but this is the one that we thought could play the nose the best. He is big. Obviously that was a need position for us."

Accorsi warned not to overlook Cofield just because he'll be in his first season.

"He is going to be a rookie, but he is good enough to step in, absolutely," he said. "He is big run-stopper. That is what he is. On that defensive line, he took the brunt of the double teams and kind of had to get rid of all of the flak for other people. So he is smart. We just needed the big inside guy who is a nose tackle."

The versatility of Cofield, "who played all over the line at Northwestern," also impresses the Giants.

"Cofield has played that position for three years as a defensive tackle and he plays all over the place," director of player personnel Jerry Reese said. "He plays a ‘one' technique over the nose. He played a ‘three' technique outside of the guard. He plays outside on the end in the three-man front, like a 3-4 end.

Cofield posted 197 career tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Wildcats. But all the Giants care about is how he can help take up space, occupy blockers and make life easier for the rest of the defenders.

"The production is not there because he does the hard work inside," Reese said.

However, Cofield said he wouldn't be content just eating up space.

"I don't want to be a nose that just takes up blocks," he said. "I want to try to make as many plays as possible."

With Kendrick Clancy having fled to Arizona and only two second-year rookie free agents (Damane Duckett and Jonas Seawright) to beat out for the starting spot, no time's better than the present for Cofield to start making an impact at nose tackle.

"I feel like I have as good a chance as anybody," he said.

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