Two for the Money

It's never a good sign when you're assigned locker number 35B. It's even worse when your first name is spelled wrong on your locker plate. Yet that didn't stop Kevin Dockery and Na'Shan Goddard from overcoming the odds and making the Giants roster.

A quick glance at the roster now shows Dockery as number 35, sans letter. Goddard, whose locker reads ‘Na'Shaw,' is still waiting for his justification.

"I couldn't say anything because I was a free agent, but now that I'm on the team I have to let them know they have to get me fixed up," he laughed.

While Goddard admitted he was "definitely surprised" to survive the final cuts, Dockery had no doubt he'd make it.

"At the end I was just waiting to see what happened," the former Mississippi State corner said. "I made it. It's a great feeling. A dream come true, beating all the odds. That makes you feel twice as good.

"I was very confident coming in. I've been a guy that's always produced but always flew under the radar because of my size (5-8). I knew if I was given the opportunity that I would make good on it."

He did, albeit without much verbal backing from the guys in charge.

"I could feel myself fitting in well, but the coaches didn't give me any feedback," he said. "I just had to stay strong myself."

And play like crazy. Slowly but surely, Dockery climbed the depth chart, surpassing not only veteran Curtis Deloatch but draft pick Gerrick McPhearson as well. Both of those corners were released to ensure Dockery's roster spot.

"I can do it all – cover, if they want me to come up and tackle, I can tackle," he said. "I can play the slot. Whatever they want."

Veteran Sam Madison has been impressed with Dockery.

"He's a small, feisty guy that came in with very good technique," said the 5-11 Madison. "He's very fast to pick things up. He's a smaller guy so he has to work extra harder. He does that. That's the thing I saw in him and that's why he's here today.

"You have to have that confidence because if you don't the taller receivers will be able to downgrade that confidence. That's the type of attitude he has."

Dockery, who posted six preseason tackles, certainly has the mentality that he belongs.

"I'm just confident," Dockery said. "I feel like I can play with the best of them. I took my opportunity when they called me up for rookie minicamp and I ran with it. Given my chance I feel I can step in and play and do a good job."

He sure did in college, where he posted 195 tackles and six interceptions for the Bulldogs. Dockery, who was courted by only the Giants after the draft, knows his size is what so limited his options.

"I think that had a lot to do with it," he said. "I was a four-year starter, all-conference, team captain. What more could I say?

"I'm a pretty good football player."

While Goddard is obviously pretty good himself, his versatility is what allowed him to stick as the Giants 10th offensive lineman.

"I play a lot of positions," the South Carolina product said. "Some guys can only play one. I can play them all, so hopefully that helped me."

Fifteen-year veteran Bob Whitfield knows a little something about sticking around.

"He's a hard worker with a lot of versatility," Whitfield said of Goddard. "He has great upside potential. He's smart and he listens. It seems like he had a good upbringing. He dresses pretty decently."

Whitfield turned serious when asked why guys like Goddard could fly under the radar as long as they do.

"There's just so much talent out there," Whitfield explained. "Guys specialize in certain positions. For a guy that plays all the positions, you can't beat that. Here's a case of a guy working hard in camp and getting the job.

"If he's prepared for all positions, it'll ensure that he'll have a job."

And then he'll be able to help out his four brothers – all of who have names that rhyme with his. Besides Na'Shan, there is Nathan, Natwann, Naronn and Navonn.

"I'm a family guy and I love my brothers," he said.

Goddard also loves being a professional football player. That's why the 6-5, 315-pounder was able to let out a huge sigh of relief once he learned the news.

"I was ecstatic," he said. "I was so happy, it probably can't even be put into words right now. I definitely surprised myself. I'm just glad that they saw something in me.

"One thing I was trying to do was stand out."

He did so by his toughness. Goddard had an ankle injury during camp about which he refused to alert the medical staff.

"I got hurt but I didn't tell anybody and I just fought through practice," he said. "It was real bad, but I knew I couldn't sit out. If you sit out, you might be gone the next day. There were times I might have cried when I got in the shower because it was hurting so bad. But I didn't miss a practice."

The Giants' gain is the loss of other NFL clubs. Green Bay, Cleveland and St. Louis also showed interest in Goddard, but he thought his best shot was with New York. Now, after five years in South Carolina (including a redshirt year) he has to get used to life in the Big City.

"I've never seen so many buildings in my life," Goddard said. "My girl came in and I took her on a sightseeing bus. She was so amazed. She thought Dayton, Ohio (Goddard's hometown) was a big city until she came here, so this was unbelievable."

Now Goddard and Dockery have to keep their not-so-unbelievable dream alive.

"This is not the time to relax," Goddard said. "This is the time to keep working hard. This is not the end. This is just the beginning."

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