Director of College Scouting Marc Ross
Q: Surprised today with Marvin Austin being available to you?
A: I'm surprised again. I thought at the top of the second somebody would go after him, but not totally surprised or concerned. Obviously, the well documented issues. If you didn't do you homework on him, you could easily dismiss him. I thought somebody would take a chance, but definitely not a surprise.
Re: checking out a prospect's character
A: Our scouts, that's why they go out there, away from their families for. I get out on the road. Those guys dig deep. They have contacts at all of the schools. Coaches, trainers, strength coaches, equipment people, that's what they dig all year long, during the fall, pro days. We meet with these kids at the combine, bring them in. We do a thorough job. The scouts, they do all of that. Obviously, I'm a part of that as well, but we get all of that information.
Q: Players with character issues, why are certain ones okay?
A: Certain people, you take a chance on if they aren't habitual problems. For instance, we took a chance on Mario (Manningham). We thought his were isolated incidents where he made bad mistakes. We thought he was a good kid. We did a lot of work on him. He loved football and he was a good kid who made bad decisions. Whereas other people, you don't look at it the same way. With Marvin, we think this kid loves football. He loves to compete. He's genuinely remorseful about what happened. I think he wants to prove to everybody – himself, his teammates, his new team – that he learned from that and that he's going to go on from there.
Q: From football point of view?
A: The first couple tackles taken were Dareus and Fairley. Talent wise, he's right up in the mix. If he was clean, he would have been a top 15 pick – I believe.
Q: What did you like about Jerrel?
A: His versatility. He's a little guy, but he's extremely fast. He's versatile. He's a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver, returns punts, returns kicks. I think the conference's all-time, all-purpose leader. High school quarterback. You love those types of guys. A great feel for the game. We had him in here. We did him at the combine. A great personality. A nice kid who's going to add some speed to our team on offense and special teams.
Q: On special teams, will he contribute on returns only?
A: No, he's tough enough to do the gunner stuff. They didn't have him do it there. You watch them play, he's on the field all the time – offense, wildcat, like I said. He's got the speed and toughness to run down as a gunner. He's going to have to earn it and he knows that. He has that mindset to do it.
Q: How much speed have you added to the team?
A: You always look to get bigger and faster. We didn't consciously say we have to get faster. We just happened to get two really fast guys – really, really fast guys. It's going to help us tremendously.
Q: Offensive linemen – weren't that high on the board?
A: As we always say, we value, we put the value, we do the work, we put the grades on the guys. If they fall at the right time in the right spot, we'll take them. We're not going to force the issue. We had the guys we took, these three guys as sitting out there like guys we had to take. We considered other positions, we consider all positions. When we're about to pick, we have a group of guys and we felt we took the best players, who had the most value at the time.
Q: Surprised about Jernigan?
A: We got him right where we thought he would go, in this range.
Q: Do you think you helped the team today?
A: Of course we think we did a good job. I think we helped our team in a lot of different ways. We got three completely different players, versatile players, competitive players. I think we got better.
Q: Usually you have free agency before the draft, but that flip flopped. Are you thinking, if we don't draft a certain guy we can always pick someone up in free agency?
A: I don't think like that. Jerry, Coach they might go over those scenarios. For us, we're focused on the best guys we can get over this weekend. We're not up there saying, let's not take him because we're going to sign such and such. We're just going, taking the best guys.
Q: Did you evaluate Marvin Austin last year?
A: This year, you had to go back to his tape to watch it. So, yes. We went back and looked at it after this year, but when he was a junior, no.
Q: Regarding Manningham and Bradshaw – the fact that you all have done a good job with them, does that give you confidence when you evaluate other college players that they will be okay?
A: Yeah, because I think we have the foundation in place with this organization – the coaching staff. You have to know your coaches, you have to know the support system you have. And I think we have a strong foundation with dealing with that. But again, we don't want to go too far off and just bring in this guy we have just seen who is a bad, bad person. So we will never do that. The guys that we have taken, we don't think they are bad people.
RE: College defensive lineman missing a whole year.
A: Yeah, you can only speculate. He did play in the East West All-Star Game. He did go to the Combine. He did have a pro day. And if you didn't know anything about him, he would check out just like anybody else who had played a whole year. He looked good at each stage of it. He was one of the most impressive guys at the Combine. The guy ran a 4.89, 309 pounds, benched 38. At his pro day he and Quinn were working out together, tons of d-line coaches, people there. He is moving around, you wouldn't know the difference. So postseason, everything looked the same. Now, of course he didn't have a senior year tape, you have to go back and watch that. But we have seen a lot of things to think that this guy is going to get back in shape.
Q: He was benched for two games in 2008. What did you find out about that?
A: Yeah, we ended up figuring in all of that. We have great area scouts, we find out all of that information. Things that happened, we felt comfortable that it wasn't going to be a problem.
Q: The defense got a lot better.
A: Definitely; definitely. When you can add a quality corner and a disruptive defensive tackle, I think Perry (Fewell) is happy right now.
Q: Did you have some offensive coaches knocking on your door?
* *A: It is an open door policy, they just walk right in. They don't have to knock.
Q: How fast are they compared to what you have now?
A: They are fast. Who is the fastest? They have to get here and play on the field – see who plays fastest on the field. I can say their times – just check their Combine times compared to guys we have had. But field speed and time speed are totally different. We hope these guys will play as fast as we have seen them play and ……..
Q: After the seven rounds, are you allowed to call undrafted free agents?
A: As of right now, I think we can't do it. Just like the weather – see if it changes. Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Hopefully they tell us we can do it, but as of right now we can't. We really hope we can do it.
Q: Do you feel you have gotten two good top picks in the last two days?
* *A: Yes, we really do. We had those two guys very high up on your board and we are happy we got them. But, yeah, we think we did.
GM Jerry Reese
Marvin Austin didn't play this past season. We did a lot of work on him. He was very highly rated on our board. The value was tremendous at that point. Again, we did a lot of homework on him. We couldn't pass him up.
Q: What kind of work do you do on someone who didn't play last season?
A: All you can do is look at his season before. He played in the all-star game; really into individual stuff. He was dominant in those drills. You see that he hadn't played all year long because I think he fatigued a little bit in the game because he wasn't in football shape. It is hard to get into football shape if you are not playing football. But you go back and look at his tape as a junior and you see a really good football player. Again, we had him very highly rated. This guy is going to be a tremendous player for us.
Q: Were there any other issues with him – was the agent stuff the only problem?A: No other problems. That is it; no other problems.
Q: Did you speak with Hakeem Nicks when you were evaluating him?
A: We get our evaluation. We take players' evaluations of each other – that is a little bit dangerous for us. But we did talk to Hakeem a little bit. We always try to talk to players from the same school to just get their opinion on players. We always try to do that. But that could be dangerous in itself.
Q: It is crowded on the defensive line – do you anticipate it thinning out?
A: You never know. You just have to get as many good football players as you can, because injuries can happen. So good players – we try to get as many good football players as we can. And this guy is a very good football player. No knock on Linval Joseph – we think he is going to be a tremendous player.
Q: What was your impression of him when you sat down with him?
A: I think he was very remorseful. I think he was disappointed that he didn't get to play. He really wanted to play. He made a bad decision. He really wanted to play. We were disappointed that he let his teammates down and his school down, that he wasn't there to help them play and win more games. So we sat down with him and we interviewed him; we talked with him. The coaches talked with him. This guy is going to come in here with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove. I hope he will take it out on the opponent. But obviously, when he gets here we will keep a close eye on him like some other players we have had in the past.
Q: What did you see specifically see from the game tape of his junior year?A: He is explosive; he is an explosive three-technique, a gap charger. This guy can get off the ball with tremendous speed. He has got a nasty motor – mean demeanor about him. He is going to bring that nasty attitude. Somebody described him as Keith Hamilton – not the body type but that nasty deamenor that Keith Hamilton used to play with when we had him here. So I like to have some big nasty guys in your front. I kind of like that.
Q: He hasn't played this year and with the lockout now, will he need time to be ready to go?A: All of the players will need some time. The lockout – it is what it is. I really don't have a lot of comments about that but when it is time to play football I think he will be ready to go. He is definitely healthy. He didn't get hurt. He didn't have any injuries at all. He has gotten healthy and ready to go. We expect him to be up and running full go.
Q: Not playing might be an advantage – he should be fresh.
A: That is just what I am saying. He should definitely be fresh because he didn't play. But he did lose a year of playing. So that is a negative. It kind of balances itself out. He should be fresh and healthy, but he lost a year of playing.
Q: Did Prince get a playbook before he left today?A: You can ask Tom that. I'm not sure if they gave him a playbook or not. I don't think you can do that with rookies – give them a playbook.
Q: What does this mean for Barry Cofield?
A: Barry is a free agent. All of that will take care of itself. So I'm not going to make any comments on Barry Cofield's future.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin
With this second pick we took a very talented defensive lineman that has had some issues – without a doubt. We did a lot of studying on this guy. There were probably seven or eight of our people at the workout at North Carolina. There were some private interviews. We had a private interview with him at the combine. I spent quite a few minutes on the phone with him prior to telling him that we would be drafting him in the second round and that there were some very, very high expectations for him if he was to come here and be a New York Giant. I think he understood that, so we will get off on the right foot. A talented football player. Certainly has an opportunity now to show the world what he can do and to, hopefully, package all of the energy and disappointment and motivation based on the fact that he did not play this past year. Hopefully he'll wrap all that up and come here and be the football player that we think he can be. Let me say this to you, his grade - strictly looking at his football ability - is very high.
Q: How much is the motivation a factor?
A: He wants the opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong. The fact that we do all kinds of tests on people and those tests were very good. A lot of people substantiated the fact that although you do have to have some borders in place, he's basically a guy that's sharp and, if focused, can be a very good football player.
Q: Consider him a risk?A: I think anybody's a risk. Until they come in and prove exactly what they can do, there's risk involved for anybody. But we're in a high-risk business.
Q: When you say borders in place, what are you talking about?A: Just so he knows exactly what our expectations are and exactly what we don't want to see occur and how strongly we would enforce.
Q: Similar to the talk Jerry Reese had with Bradshaw?A: Absolutely.
Q: Physically, how does he compare to Linval Joseph?A: He is just under 6'2", at about 309 and very quick. Comparable. I would say very comparable. His bench press now, you know what that was right? 38 reps on the bench at Indianapolis. He's strong.
Q: Jerry said he plays with a mean streak…A: We'll encourage that.
Q: After having your players here briefly today, is it disappointing that you may not get to see them for awhile now?A: I keep looking out the window at that beautiful grass and there's nobody running around on it.
Q: Were you able to give Prince Amukamara a playbook?A: We did not give him a playbook. We gave him some instructions and some technical things that we wanted, but not a book.
Q: You said yesterday that you didn't know Prince, what were your impressions today?A: I didn't say that I didn't know him very well. I knew everything that I could possibly know about him by reading about him. I had not spent any real quality time with him, but many people in our organization had. I thought he was a really wide-eyed young man who was very humble. He was extremely happy to be a New York Giant and looking forward to the great challenge. He impressed me an awful lot by the quality of the young man. I talked to him about his family. I talked to him about his own background, his high school experiences, college experience. I was very impressed.
Q: Accomplish anything with the veteran players who came in today? Or was it just social and catching up?A: Catch-ups. We hadn't seen them in quite some time and tried to spend some quality personal time with them. The only football type things discussed were the idea of what their routine was like from the standpoint of conditioning.
Q: With Austin not playing for a year, do you have to give him a longer learning curve?A: The fact that he hasn't played in a year – he did play in an all-star game. So he has played some football.
Q: What does this say about Barry Cofield coming back?A: The more, the merrier, that's the way I look at it. The more quality football players you can have, the better off you are going to be. It's a long season, as you know. It takes its toll.
Q: How long was Austin on your radar? Since he hadn't played, when did you consider him a possibility?A: We knew the whole story. Those players have been followed very closely, even though they haven't had an opportunity to play this year. But they were a talented group. All of these people are evaluated in the prior season anyway. So you had a real good feel for them and then all of a sudden the disappointment of not being able to grade them this year. But it didn't stop us from tracking them and from keeping tabs on them. You saw, they were invited to the various tryout functions, if you want to call it that, and they had their own pro days. They've been adequately and properly graded and taken into consideration with all players at their position. And that goes for all of the kids at North Carolina that didn't play.
Q: At the combine, you said center was an area of concern, yet it hasn't been addressed. Is that frustrating?A: It's the way it happens sometimes. True to form, we're not going to reach. We're not going to leave a value to go somewhere else. There's more draft to go.