Giants Add Joseph to DT Depth

With everyone thinking the Giants were going to draft a linebacker with their second-round pick, they instead continued to bolster their defensive line. With the 46th overall selection, New York tabbed East Carolina's massive Linval Joseph. The 6-4, 315-pound DT was not much of a pass rusher in college, but he should be able to be a disruptive force in the interior of the opposing offensive line.

"He does have the ability to walk offensive guards back," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's big, strong. I think he has outstanding quickness. He's a penetrator."

"This guy's a big anchor," GM Jerry Reese added. "He's a big man. He's a powerful point-of-attack player. He's a load inside. He'll give those linebackers a chance to run to the ball."

In 41 contests at ECU, Joseph started 27 games and registered 143 tackles (57 solo) with 6.5 sacks and 29.5 stops for losses.

"I like to stop the run," Joseph said. "I like to hit the running back. I don't know why, I just like to hit a running back. So I like to play inside; I feel comfortable inside. On third down, I like to get outside and try to hit the quarterback."

Joseph has many attributes, but one in particular stood out to the Giants.

"Gigantic man, that's where I can start with him," said Reese, who added that Joseph can play nose tackle or the three-technique defensive tackle. "He's a big human being. He's powerful inside and a run stuffer. Push the pocket back toward the quarterback. Strong kid with a lot of upside.

"His strength is that he is a big man. He is a powerful force on a pass play. He doesn't get pushed back an awful lot from the line of scrimmage and he holds his ground. He cleans up the lanes for the linebackers. I wouldn't call him a pass rusher but he is disruptive. He can push the pocket and push the offensive linemen back in the quarterback's lap."

Coughlin was similarly impressed with Joseph.

"He is an athletic young player, very strong – 39 reps on the bench (press of 225 pounds)," Coughlin said. "Stays down, very quick, you see a lot of athleticism and quickness in his play. You see more in terms of the tackles and the assists. He does have the ability to walk the offensive guard back. He doesn't have a lot of production in the sack game. He does have thrown for losses, tackles for loss, pressures on the quarterback. A big, strong defensive tackle that can play on the center or as a three-technique, and a young guy, again, that we can work with."

Joseph really started impressing during the pre-draft period. He was able to put up 39 reps on the bench press and lost some weight during that time.

"He had a very good workout," Coughlin said.

Now he'll join a very crowded defensive line that includes fellow DTs such as Barry Cofield, Chris Canty, Jay Alford and Rocky Bernard.

"There should be some good competition on our defensive line," Reese said. The defensive line, of course, is one of the main reasons the Giants were able to shock the world and win the Super Bowl three seasons back.

Joseph remembers Super Bowl XLII quite well. He repeated Michael Strahan's words during his sideline rant in the final minutes. "One more series. One more drive. We get the ball back and win this game."

And he swore, Linval Joseph did, that he was rooting for Big Blue on that glorious evening in Glendale, Ariz.

Somebody in the press room asked Joseph if he had followed the Giants down the stretch last season. "No, not really," he said. "I was pretty busy."

They only gave up 85 points in the last two games, a reporter reminded Joseph. "Oh man," he said. "Hopefully I can help with that."

Hopefully he can. But Joseph had already become a media favorite, coming clean on his battle with weight, which had ballooned to 370 pounds his freshman year. He got what he called tunnel vision while in the hospital because of back surgery. Joseph realized he had to change his body, which meant he had to change his life.

"It just got to a point where I was like, ‘This is disgusting,' " Joseph said. "It (was) hard for me to breathe, and it (was) hard for me to tie my shoe. It was just too much."

Joseph was listed on his draft bio as weighing 328 pounds. But he's down to 315, dropping another dozen pounds or so between the combine and his Pro Day workout weeks later.

"At 315, I'm perfect,'' Joseph said.

There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to drafting football players. But after getting a chance to speak with and then see Linval Joseph in action, it's getting harder and harder to believe that he's not going to be an impact-maker in this league.

Staff columnist Kevin Gleason contributed to this report.

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