2012 Rookie Recap: OL Matt McCants

Posted Mar 6, 2013's Michael Eisen takes a look back at the team's 2012 Rookie Class

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Last April, the Giants drafted seven players who joined the organization with various degrees of confidence, excitement, nervousness, anxiety and readiness to contribute. In their inaugural season in 2012, each confronted the challenges faced by all rookies, including learning to be a professional, memorizing the playbook, integrating themselves into a veteran team that had won the Super Bowl the previous season, finding a place to live and, perhaps most challenging to young player joining the Giants from another part of the country, getting accustomed to driving in New Jersey.

The seven players had widely divergent degrees of success. Some played in every game. Others didn’t step on the field all season.

The Giants’ 2012 draft class is a tight-knit group that spends time together and supports each other. Near the end of the season, we gave each of them an opportunity to talk about their first NFL season.

Matt McCants
Sixth Round, 201st Overall Selection

McCants struggled in the preseason and was waived on Aug. 31. He was signed to the practice squad, waived and re-signed on Sept. 17 and has been on the squad since then.

“When I first got here, coach Flats told the whole offensive line group as rookies we have no idea what to expect,” McCants said. “Don’t even think you have any idea and I really didn’t. But this year I’ve learned what it takes to be an offensive lineman in the NFL.

“I have learned a tremendous amount of football. Coming from a small program, I didn’t have a lot of experience as far as being in a big program, being in a big setting. The NFL is the biggest stage, so this year I’ve taken the time to learn how to be a pro, especially from the older guys in the offensive line room. That’s been very beneficial for me.

Like so many young players before him, McCants has learned you can’t be too sensitive in the offensive line meeting room.

“Being on such a big stage like the NFL and playing for the New York Giants perfection is demanded,” he said. “You can have 67 good snaps as being an offensive lineman, but all it takes is one and everybody hates you. So you really have to have thick skin.”

McCants has played every position but center in practice.

“Coach Flats has made it known that being an offensive lineman means you have to be very versatile,” McCants said. “If you look at our group with David Diehl and Kevin Boothe and all of those guys, they can play any position on the offensive line. So being able to learn guard and tackle has really helped me out a lot.”

Reese and the organization hope Mosley and McCants can develop into reliable NFL players.

“They’re both developmental kids and they’ll have the offseason program and hopefully they can give us some depth,” Reese said. “Who knows? Maybe one of them will be a starter at some point.”

McCants, like Mosley, is a laid-back Alabaman who has had to get used to metropolitan area driving.

“If you don’t attack it, you’re going to be waiting forever,” he said. “So I just have to be more of an attacker. When I was home during the bye week I went to get breakfast and there was no one out. I said, ‘I’m not used to this.’ The craziest thing is when you’re at the stoplight and it’s red, around here as soon as it’s green people are going. In Alabama I was behind a car and the light turned green and I pressed on the gas and I’m thinking he’s going to. I almost ran into the back of him. It’s like a three-second pause and then they go. So that’s the biggest difference. In Alabama, they’re not in a hurry like up here.”

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