1. Devon Kennard: This past May brought the Giants a nice haul of college players, including Kennard as a fifth round pick. Formerly a linebacker at the University of Southern California, Kennard was a versatile athlete that was used in a variety of ways. Initially, coming to USC afforded him the chance to hone his skills as a defensive end, but Kennard saw frequent snaps at middle and strongside linebacker. He showed off his exceptional physical traits — speed, agility and instincts — which placed him in good position to perform. Not to mention, he is a legacy, as his father played in the NFL before him, winning a ring with Dallas.
Kennard has seen plenty of snaps in the middle with the first team at OTA’s, and such a learning experience can continue with first team reps through training camp and the preseason. The rookie’s intelligence has caught the eye of coach Coughlin:
“He’s picked things up very well. He’s very smart, very good on the board. He’s done a nice job on the field, a good job on special teams. We’re excited about him. A nice big kid, strong kid.”
The catch with Kennard is his experience. As a rookie, coaches are not EXACTLY sure as to what they’re getting in the young defender, so it’s a bit of a gamble. However, if he shows great promise and displays it during the preseason, fans should not be discouraged if he is named the starter.