As the first week of free agency winds down, Giants fans can already see the theme to this year’s team-building efforts: No big-name splashes.
The Giants are filling the holes with high-quality, talented, gritty, young football players that can play in multiple defensive and offensive schemes.
With nearly every signing, you can see the Giants staff’s stamp of familiarity with each player.
Whether it’s James Bradberry (CB)—drafted by Dave Gettleman when he was with the Panthers in 2016; Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell—both linebackers that played for Patrick Graham when he was the Packers LB Coach in 2018; Cam Fleming (OT)—played for Jason Garrett and Mark Columbo at Dallas; or Nate Ebner (S) who was a key special teams player under Joe Judge for the Patriots.
We’ve already recapped the first two days of Giants’ free agency.
Let’s pick up where we left off.
Cody Core // WR
Cody was with the Giants last season, playing in all 16 games and logging eight (8) tackles on special teams.
He played some WR, particularly early in the season. He has some size at 6’3”, which makes him one of the taller Giants WR. But again, he’s a baller that excels on special teams.
Nate Ebner // S
Nate played for Joe Judge for the last eight (8) seasons on the Patriots’ special teams. In 2016, he had his best season with 19 tackles in the regular season and 7 more stops in the postseason. He seems to be exclusively special teams. Oh, and he comes to the Giants with three Super Bowl rings. Ebner has an interesting pre-football history. He was a walk-on to the Ohio State football team in 2009.
But, prior to that, Nate was on the USA National Rugby Team and selected as the MVP of the Rugby World Cup in 2008.
In 2016, while with the Patriots, Nate was selected to the US Olympic Rugby Team. He is the only NFL player to participate in the Olympics and wins a Super Bowl in the same year. This is a bigger addition than just a quality player. Ebner knows Joe Judge and is here to not only excel on special teams but to bring the worker mentality Joe is looking for in this team in 2020.
Cam Fleming // OT
Cam played the last two seasons under Jason Garrett and Mark Columbo with the Cowboys. Prior to that, he was drafted in 2014 and played four seasons with the Patriots. Of note, the starting OTs in Super Bowl LII for the Patriots were Cam Fleming on the right and Nate Solder on the left. He’s more than just a backup lineman. Cam could be a starter at either tackle position. By the way, here’s another player from Stanford joining the Giants. He’s 27 years old, 6’6” and weighs in at about 320 lbs.
In the look at the film, Cam’s got a good base and can help pass protection. He’s also got a little “nasty” in him, doesn’t take plays off and finishes blocks.
Colt McCoy // QB
The Giants signed another QB named Daniel this week. Daniel “Colt” McCoy was signed to compete with Alex Tanney for the backup QB position to Daniel Jones (although everyone has a “clean slate” going into 2020).
While there appears to be no direct relationship to the Giants coaching staff, there is plenty of familiarity with McCoy. Colt spent the last six seasons with the Redskins. He was drafted by the Browns in 2010, has 27 starts overall in his career. This will be Colt’s 11th NFL season.
When he’s stepped into games, he’s not afraid to sling the football. While Tanney has the experience with the Giants and one year working with Daniel Jones in the QB room, McCoy has much more gameday experience. With everyone getting to know a new offense this year, and Jason Garrett as a former QB himself, this can be a fun QB dynamic in 2020. Colt has the distinction of being the oldest FA signed so far this offseason. He’ll be 34 at the start of the season.
Craig Fitzgerald // Strength & Performance
This isn’t a free agent player signing. This is not a Safety/Punter. But, we cannot go without mentioning that the Giants added Fitzgerald to the staff as Director of Strength and Performance. After doing some research on him, this could be a critical addition to the staff. Fitzgerald has over 20 years of experience leading in college and NFL strength and conditioning programs.
From 2014-2016, Craig oversaw strength and conditioning for the Houston Texans. Two of those years, the Texans won the AFC South division. This past year, he was instrumental in a big turnaround of the University of Tennessee football program’s performance. Alabama’s Nick Saban tried to hire Fitzgerald this winter. There may be a loose Penn State/Bill O’Brienconnection with the Giants staff that helped this along. Joe Judge and Bill O’Brien were on the Patriots staff prior to O’Brien going to Penn State. Fitzgerald was with O’Brien on the Penn State staff and followed O’Brien to the Texans.
Maybe it was Saban; maybe it was O’Brien. But, he ended up on the Giants radar. His wife, Mary, is from New York. Any way you look at it, Craig Fitzgerald has been a key to several successful strength programs.
The theme of this season’s roster build is pretty clear. Hard-working, smart, quality players that can play in whatever scheme will be used in that week’s game plan.
As the Giants maneuver remaining Cap space, there may be additional revamping of contracts and other adds of new players. And…Markus Golden, the Giants sack leader from 2019, is still out there…just sayin’.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Social distancing. Flatten the Curve.
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