Three Giants writers debate the most athletic player to play for Big Blue in recent years:
Some of the best athletes in the world are football players. That will be on full display this week at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where the top college prospects will compete in drills like the 40-yard dash in front of scouts, general managers, and coaches.
With that in mind, we asked our Giants.com staffers in this week's "Cover 3" to name the most athletic player they've seen in their time with the team. Here is what they had to say:
OBJ ALL DAY
By John Schmeelk
I have to go with the obvious: Odell Beckham Jr. He ran a 4.43 in the 40 at the combine and a sub-4.4 at his Pro Day. At the combine he had one of the best times in the shot and long shuttle drills, displaying his quickness. But the numbers don't do him justice. Watching him in person can sometimes be awe-inspiring.
The bounce and ability to change direction even during the practice is unlike any other Giants player I have ever seen. I believe Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie would beat him in a sprint, but no one can change direction like Beckham can without losing any speed. Did you see him when he had a chance to return punts last year? Electric. I don't need to tell fans about his hand-eye coordination given the amazing catches he makes in practices and in games. A lot of people don't equate that with athleticism, but it certainly applies in every sport.
Finally, what vaults Beckham to the top of the list for me is the stuff he can do that has nothing to do with playing wide receiver. I'm convinced that if the Giants had an injury to their kicker and needed an emergency replacement to kick a long field goal Beckham would be the guy. He routinely kicks 40-yard field goals in practice. He probably does it more than Brad Wing does. He also has a canon for an arm. He can fire the ball in tight spiral 50-60 yards through the air. He likes showing off his arm too. There is no more exciting but also well-rounded athlete that I have ever seen around the New York Giants than Odell Beckham Jr and I dare anyone to disagree with me. That's right, I'm looking at you Lance Medow.
HEY MR. WILSON
By Dan Salomone
Since I started with the team in 2010, David Wilson tops them all. And that's saying something with the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Odell Beckham Jr.
At the combine in 2012, he led all running backs in the vertical jump (41 inches) and broad jump (11 feet) while finishing in the top in both the 20-yard shuttle (4.12 seconds) and 60-yard shuttle (11.59). But those are just numbers. In person, he caused your jaw to drop. In training camp I remember thinking this was the most athletic guy I've ever seen, and I can't say that has changed. His acceleration and lateral movement were world class.
At Virginia Tech, Wilson became somewhat of a legend for his feats of athleticism. He once did 13 backflips in a row with no hands and 21 with hands. He dunked a football over the goal post backward from a standing start. But the best story of them all was Wilson chasing down a rabbit on campus and catching it with his bare hands.
YOU DOWN WITH JPP?
By Lance Medow
Let's go back to the 2010 International Bowl in Toronto, Ontario. As South Florida was preparing to take on Northern Illinois, to lighten the mood, the Bulls decided to hold a backflip contest featuring linebacker Kion Wilson and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who would be selected by the Giants, a few months later, with the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Thanks to that contest, JPP became a YouTube sensation and it was the first glimpse of his athleticism on a national scale. Despite starting at South Florida for just one season, many NFL scouts were impressed with the combination of his speed and power off the edge and that clearly translated to the pros.
For a 6-5, 270-pound player to be able to control his body to that extent, it's no surprise he caught the attention of the Giants but it wasn't just one clip while messing around with teammates that proved his versatility. Pierre-Paul also helped his own cause by running a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Not too shabby for someone his size. Many great athletes have put on a Giants uniform in recent history but the combination of JPP's size, speed, length and power is what separates him from the rest. In his first three seasons with the team, Pierre-Paul played in all 48 games, recorded 27.5 sacks, forced five fumbles, returned an interception for a touchdown and even blocked a field goal. That says it all.