New York Giants Have Another Crop of Promising UDFA’s
Undrafted free agents are the diamonds in the rough of NFL rosters. The New York Giants have traditionally found great value in these players. This year, Big Blue looks to find value in the players that went undrafted in April’s draft.
The New York Giants have shown a propensity for finding value in these undrafted players. From all-time great Emlen Tunnell going undrafted in 1947, to Victor Cruz bursting onto the scene in 2010 out of Massachusetts. And aa\]last season, tight end Will Tye became the starter after going undrafted out of Stony Brook University. Whatever misgivings fans may have about the actual draft process in recent years, the Giants certainly have a knack for evaluating and discerning talent from undrafted players.
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This season, a new crop of undrafted players is looking to make enough of an impression to stick around, earn a spot on the practice squad, or even a role on the active roster. The preseason is half way over, and the last two games will be paramount in conducting thorough evaluations of what players deserve to be on the team. Up until Saturday night’s game against the New York Jets, these undrafted players appear to have played well enough to warrant at least reserved optimism for their inclusion on the final roster.
Another Pass Rusher?
Romeo Okwara, who has been making plays all preseason, went undrafted out of Notre Dame and led the team with eight sacks last season. According to NorthJersey.com, Okwara has already separated himself following the loss at Buffalo. “…Okwara might have the best chance to earn a spot on the 53-man roster after final cuts on Sept. 3.” A defensive player, as opposed to say a wide receiver looking to flash on film, Okwara could illustrate his athleticism and ability on every snap. And has done, earning praise from his head coach and making the case to be the fourth defensive end on the roster.
In the midst of the Victor Cruz comeback story, an undrafted receiver has also made his impact on the playing field. Roger Lewis possesses decent size and 4.4 speed. He dominated the MAC conference during his time at Bowling Green. His last season at the school, he racked up over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is as talented and raw as they come, and the lack of interest in him during this year’s draft may stem from a rape charge while he was in high school. But he has made the most of his circumstances during the spring and summer. During OTA’s, NJ.com noted his performance on the field, and he continues to look for opportunities among an unproven wide receiving group.
Another offensive area of need, made all the more evident after the game in Buffalo, is at tight end. Matt LaCosse joined the Giants in 2015 as an undrafted player. He was cut before the season, but has once again found himself on the preseason roster. After being signed to the practice squad midway through last season, LaCosse appeared in the two final games and recorded three receptions. Along with other undrafted players Will Tye and Larry Donnell, Lacosse’s pass catching and blocking ability bode well for his chances in making the final roster. His versatility could certainly be utilized on a team that is looking to improve both its ability to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage.
Other undrafted players that could fill out the final spots on the roster or earn a spot on the Giants’ practice squad are cornerback Donte Deayon; the Boise State product has flashed during the preseason and in practices but could make use of time on the practice squad to acclimate to the physicality of the NFL.
Darius Powe, a receiver out of Cal, could also work his way onto the final roster. He is a big bodied 6’3″, and has the talent and pedigree to translate his college success to the NFL. Burying him on the depth chart may be the best situation for both him and the team.
Another player who has earned significant playing time this preseason is defensive tackle Greg Milhouse. A product out of Campbell University in North Carolina, he has shown push at the point of attack and is a “quick” 300 pounder. During the start of training camp, with Jay Bromley and Damon Harrison both sitting out, Milhouse earned first team reps and has shown he can progress into a rotational player and possibly future starter.