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Giants Now (2/20): Get to know draft prospects off the field

FEB-20

Back 2 Campus: Get to know the 2020 prospects off the field

The 40-yard dash steals the show every year at the Scouting Combine, but you need more than 4-6 seconds to get to know prospects. In that spirit, NFL.com launched the 2020 edition of Back 2 Campus, a series of long-form features on the best prospects who have even better stories to tell.

Here are a few excerpts:

"Five years ago, Prince Tega Wanogho came to the U.S. with hoop dreams, but now football -- a sport he knew nothing about while growing up in Nigeria -- has turned into his golden ticket."

"Far from the homeless streets of his youth, Javon Kinlaw hasn't forgotten where he came from, thanks to the kindness and patience of those he met on his path to stardom."

"Before his suicide in 2013, Orbin Love had a clear vision for his son's future. Seven years later, on the verge of becoming a high draft pick in the NFL, Jordan Love is fulfilling it."

For more on the prospects, click here.

PFF: LB David Mayo most improved Giant of 2019

No team is the same season to season in the NFL, and the same can be said for individual players. As Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus wrote, "Poor starts to a young player's career or a cold stretches from an otherwise reliable veteran don't necessarily signal the beginning of the end."

Linsey went on to single out 32 players – one from each team – who improved the most from 2018 to 2019. For the Giants, he chose linebacker David Mayo, who made more starts (13) and recorded more tackles (82) in his first season with the Giants than he did in his first four years with the Panthers – combined.

"Mayo earned the first extended starting role of his career in 2019 with the Giants after several ineffective seasons as a reserve for the Panthers," Linsey wrote. "It was a tale of two phases of the game — run defense and coverage. Mayo was outstanding as a run defender, earning a run-defense grade of 90.1 that ranked second among all linebackers. In coverage, though, he was among the worst at the position, as his 48.8 coverage grade during the 2019 season ranked 70th among 89 qualifying linebackers. Obviously, you would rather have your linebackers excelling in the more valuable facet of the game (coverage), but the fact that Mayo was able to give elite play in run support in a starting role was a solid improvement."

Just prior to their 2019 cutdown day, the Giants signed Mayo and waived fellow linebacker B.J. Goodson. Mayo had spent the previous four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He was waived by the San Francisco 49ers, who had signed him as a free agent last March.

Mayo was drafted by Carolina in the fifth round in 2015 (from Texas State) by Giants general manager Dave Gettleman when he held the same position with the Panthers. He played in 59 games with four starts and was credited with 34 tackles (23 solo) and two passes defensed, as well as 32 special teams tackles. Mayo has also played in four postseason games, including Super Bowl 50.

Mayo is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins March 18.

View the players set to become free agents when the new league year begins March 18.

Around the NFC East: Witten wants to play in '20 but understands he "may have to go somewhere else"

No player has caught more passes against the Giants than Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who recently said he wants to keep playing in 2020 – even if it means a departure from Dallas. Witten, who spent the 2018 season in the TV booth, returned to the field last season and recorded 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns.

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