Overlooked Players Hope to Find Their Places

Minicamp at this time of year features a lot of stories regarding hopeful players. Aside from the top draft picks, there are undrafted free agents and later-round picks hoping to get noticed.

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is one. A seventh-round pick, Bradshaw totaled 2,987 yards in three seasons at Marshall and totaled 36 touchdowns. He also returns punts and kickoffs. Last season, he rushed for 1,523 yards and 21 scores.

So. Aside from being 5-9, 198, why was he drafted so late? Chalk it up to off-field issues. His career was supposed to start at Virginia (Tiki Barber's school), but his scholarship was revoked after he was arrested for underage alcohol possession and resisting arrest. Then, at Marshall in Jan. 2006, he was arrested for stealing another student's PlayStation 2.

"He is going to be on a short leash," general manager Jerry Reese said after the draft. "We are not going to have guys come in here and disrupt things. All of the background stuff we did on him, we think he is a good kid. He needs a little bit of structure. But he was worth taking a shot on."

Noting that Bradshaw "flashed" at the team's recent rookie camp, coach Tom Coughlin said, "Bradshaw was a value pick, even though it was late in the draft. You study his background, then study it again, then talk to people and ask the right questions. And ultimately you have to make a call, which is what we did. We decided that we would go with him and take a look."

Said Bradshaw, "Everybody looks at me as whatever, but I plan on coming in here and making a name for myself, and helping the Giants out as much as I can. All the character issues, that's put behind me now, and I plan on making that a motivator for me."

--In San Diego, linebacker Brandon Siler wants to show teams they made a mistake for having him last until the seventh round. Siler entered the draft with a year of eligibility remaining after being a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award that honors the country's best defensive player.

His coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, counseled him to stay in school another year.

Said Siler, "I was a tad bit embarrassed because of the decision I made for a little while, but it was a decision I made and I'm going to stand behind that decision.

"If I would've (gone) next year, there's no promises that the same thing wouldn't have happened. I did everything that I had to do, and things still didn't work out for me."

--Meanwhile, in Buffalo, general manager Marv Levy experienced deja vu when the team selected Oklahoma defensive C.J. Ah You in the seventh round. Levy coached Junior Ah You, C.J.'s uncle, in the Canadian Football League.

Said Levy, "He was probably the greatest defensive end in the history of the CFL, the Canadian version of Bruce Smith. At the combine, C.J. came up to me and said, 'You coached my uncle.' I hope he has those genes."


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