New York Giants prospects Avery Moss and Khalid Abdullah will turn heads during training camp and the preseason that will follow.
With the 2017 NFL Draft in the books, in-depth coverage has been provided on top prospects and high-round picks. The New York Giants used a draft pick and took a flyer on a talented pass rusher in Avery Moss and signed a talented undrafted free agent running back in Khalid Abdullah.
Lets’ take a look at these two prospects and evaluate how they could make a surprise impact on the 2017 Giants.
Moss is a fifth-round selection out of Youngstown State University. Disciplinary actions led to Moss leaving Nebraska and transferring to Youngstown to play for former coach Bo Pelini.
Moss quickly became an impact player who displayed all the traits of the elite pass-rushing skill that had him getting noticed early in Nebraska.
The strength of Moss’ game is that he’s slippery enough to pull himself through blocks and is stout against the run, especially while chasing plays down from the backside.
With a lack of stability at defensive end behind Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, Moss can bring his run-stopping prowess early in his career as a rotational player. Over time, he could learn from sack artists like Vernon and Pierre-Paul.
If that transpires, the Giants rotation could be reminiscent of the 2007 Giants’ endless barrage of pocket-collapsing monsters.
With training camp now about a month away, Moss can show he’s worthy of game snaps and may bypass Kerry Wynn and Devin Taylor with a strong camp and preseason.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants signed undrafted free agent running back Khalid Abdullah out of James Madison after a strong performance during a rookie tryout.
These two prospects, Abdullah and Moss, are linked together. The two players squared off in the FCS 2017 National Championship Game. In the game, both players displayed all the characteristics that were alluring to the Giants.
Abdullah’s Dukes prevailed as winners after he put forth a strong two touchdown and 101-yard rushing performance on 26 carries. Abdullah has a low center of gravity and good burst with the vision to find small holes.
Though smaller (5’9″, 211 pounds), Abdullah consistently runs through tackles and effortlessly side steps would be tacklers. Now this is to be taken with a grain of salt.
The competition he will face at the NFL level will take some adjusting to, of course, but Abdullah is an easy player to root for. With a similar demeanor to fellow Giant and UDFA Travis Rudolph, wide receiver out of Florida State.
Using an exercise ball as a target spot, Abdullah’s mother, Qadirah Abdullah, told her son to stand on the other side of the living room and run as fast a he could. She instructed him to lead with his shoulder and tackle her.
This is the way the game was simplified, for at the time, Abdullah had little experience with the game or its many rules. Each night the game rules were read by his mother to him in place of bed time stories.
Abdullah took to the game quickly when entering high school, but by the time his senior season arrived, he was still flying under the radar as many of his teammates were signing scholarships with larger colleges.
James Madison took a chance on Abdullah and offered a full scholarship for him to be a Duke. Abdullah called his mother and told her since “They are willing to take a chance on me, I’ll give them a chance.”
The rest was history.
While at James Madison, Abdullah became an All-American and shattered school records. Yet, once again, his senior season saw him being overlooked. Not a whole lot of interest was generated entering the NFL Draft.
The All-American back went undrafted, but signed in a great situation with the New York Giants.
While incumbent Paul Perkins was named the early starter for the 2017 season, the back up roles are far from determined. Most would lean towards veteran Shane Vereen to take the majority of secondary snaps.
However, Abdullah is built from a similar mold, just not with the same straight line speed as Vereen.
Abdullah could carve out a serious role to snaps early in camp. If he shows the same determination and relentless he showed in college, he will make it very difficult for the Giants not to find him a spot on the 53-man roster.
Theses two players both have very interesting stories and both will have adjustments to make to the game speed and overall competition. The opportunity to wow New York Giants fans and coaches in the coming weeks will be a storyline to watch.