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Report: Giants TE Rhett Ellison considering retirementby Chris Pflum on February 27, 2020 at 11:16 pm
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports The Giants might not have to cut Ellison Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post is reporting that New York Giants tight end Rhett Ellison could be mulling retirement. Ellison had his season ended in week 10 when he was sidelined with a concussion and he finished the season in the concussion protocol. Ellison is due to be paid $7.18 million in 2020 and it has been expected that the Giants would be releasing Ellison this off-season to free up money against the salary cap. Whether the Giants release Ellison or he retires it would free up roughly $5 million in cap space, with 2.18 remaining in dead money. The Giants still have to make up their minds as to whether or not they will pick up Evan Engram’s fifth year option, while Kaden Smith and Garrett Dickerson are the Giants’ depth at the position. It is possible that if Ellison decides to play another year, he and the Giants could agree on a pay cut. In that case he could play for the $2.18 million he will be getting paid regardless of what happens next year. We will keep an eye on the situation as brain injuries are scary and players are increasingly paying attention to them and how they might impact their future health. Ellison’s decision could also impact the Giants’ plans in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.
Linebacker? Don’t tell Isaiah Simmons he’s a linebackerby Ed Valentine on February 27, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Isaiah Simmons | Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports Traditionalists might pigeon-hole him that way, but Simmons just says he plays “defense” If the New York Giants were to select Isaiah Simmons of Clemson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft he would be considered as the only first-round linebacker the Giants had selected in the draft since taking Carl Banks waaaay back in 1984. Just don’t tell the 6-foot-3 5/8, 238-pound Simmons he is a linebacker. His Combine sweatshirt has an “LB” on it signifying that he is grouped with the linebackers. He will do on-field Combine drills with the linebackers. Ask him what position he plays, though, and he has a one-word answer: “Defense.” Which is actually the perfect description for a player who says he played as many as five defensive positions during games while at Clemson. “I think it’s really beneficial for me,” Simmons told assembled media on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I know years ago it wasn’t good to be a position-less guy. But now it’s become a benefit for me just because of all the versatility I’ll be able to do, play linebacker, play safety, whatever it is, I feel like it just helps me out.” Isaiah Simmons talking about playing for Brent Venables and being "positionless." pic.twitter.com/TQLb2ZbYPV— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 27, 2020 Asked for an NFL comparison to his game Simmons, in fact, did not name a linebacker. “The first name that comes to mind would be Tyrann Mathieu because he bounces around, he can play anywhere in the back seven,” Simmons said. With new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham the Giants are expected to play a hybrid defense that places a high value on positional versatility. Perhaps more than any player in the 2020 draft class, Simmons embodies that type of player. “I think I can play in any scheme just because of my versatility, I can fit in anywhere. Depending on what position they need me at, I feel I can play it,” Simmons said. Simmons gave lots of credit to Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables for challenging him to learn all of the back seven defensive positions, and for using him accordingly. He was asked how he should be used in the NFL, and if NFL defensive coordinators were creative enough to maximize his talents. “I would do everything I did in college. Just kind of like a Swiss Army knife, move me around because then I’m able to show what I can really do,” Simmons said. “I wouldn’t say I’m really tied down to one position. Coach Venables really used me in a really special way that most people aren’t able to be used.” The Giants, of course, let go of linebacker Alec Ogletree and edge defender Kareem Martin this week. They need playmakers at every level of their defense. Simmons believes the NFL needs “positionless” defensive players and that his skillset is “absolutely” the right one for the modern game. “If you know who George Kittle and Travis Kelce are, then that explains it all. Stopping tight ends and linebackers playing man on running backs is … like the game’s no longer a 250-pound linebacker,” Simmons said. “It’s more guys that are able to run side to side and are able to cover. It’s just a necessity now with the tight ends and running backs.” Asked if there were any NFL players he modeled his game after, Simmons mentioned a trio of vastly different players. “Personally I model my game after a couple people,” he said. “If I have to go look at film of somebody to get something it would be Von Miller just for pass rush, Jalen Ramsey for man techniques and Tyrann Mathieu just because he plays around everywhere as well. I take bits and pieces from all of them and kind of throw them into my game.” Could the Giants throw Simmons and his varied skillset into their 2020 defense?
Linebackers? We’re talking too, and about linebackers? Yes, we areby Ed Valentine on February 27, 2020 at 6:27 pm
Zack Baun | Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons not the only edge or LB options for Giants Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young told a media horde at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday that “I definitely think I’m the best player in the draft.” Well, most draft analysts have already told us that, so it certainly wasn’t breaking news that Young feels that way. Still when it comes to Young and the New York Giants, who have the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, that potential marriage is pretty much just a pipe dream. Isaiah Simmons of Clemson is a much-talked about possibility for the Giants at No. 4, and we will have a complete look at him a bit later today. So, let’s spend some time focused on some of the other EDGE/linebacker prospects who could end up interesting the Giants. Here is a little bit from such players I had the opportunity to speak with on Thursday morning. K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU Chaisson, 6-3, 254 pounds, is a linebacker who probably isn’t in the conversation in the top 10, and probably will be long gone by the time the Giants pick at 36. Should GM Dave Gettleman engineer a move back or a deal that lands the Giants with a second first-round pick, perhaps his is a name to know. The young man certainly believes in his ability. “There’s nothing to hide from. Anything that you want to ask is on the tape. I just feel like everything that you want to know is on there. I’m not going to try to persuade you to think anything different. Honestly, there’s many areas that I can get better in, I’m not going to ever say that I’m the best at something right now ... The tape will tell you everything you need to know.” Want to know what K'Lavon Chaisson can do as a player? He says "watch the tape" and you'll know. Says everything he has done so far is based on raw talent, and he's excited about getting NFL coaching. pic.twitter.com/WjjqSIRGyF— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 27, 2020 Zack Baun, Wisconsin In multi-round mock drafts where Simmons is not selected at No. 4 for the Giants, Baun is quite often the second-round pick. Landing with the Giants would reunite him with linebacker Ryan Connelly, a fifth-round pick last season. “Yeah, that would be awesome. Shoutout to Ryan for just getting engaged,” Baun said. “But anytime I get to link with a former teammate, a former Badger, would be a true honor for me and I think it would really give me a step up because there’s a true brotherhood and mentorship at Wisconsin that are unlike any other places. So to reunite with them would be great.” The 6-foot-2 3/8, 238-pound Baun said he has spoken “several times” with the Giants during the draft process. Baun worked mostly as an EDGE player at Wisconsin, but spent time at the Senior Bowl showing NFL teams he can be an off-the-ball linebacker as well, a chess piece that can be used in more than one way. “Yeah, I think that’s a part of my game that teams are really impressed with my ability to be so versatile and kind of do a lot of different things very well. With that being said, I played off the ball at the Senior Bowl and got to showcase my ability to do that. I feel completely comfortable and just willing to do whatever it takes,” Baun said. “One of the teams identified me as like ‘the toy’ – a can do it all linebacker, give me the opportunity to rush the edge, play off the ball, drop into coverage, use all my skillsets to the fullest.” Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun on potentially reuniting with former Wisconsin teammate Ryan Connelly with the Giants. pic.twitter.com/OMUxHSA6Uf— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 27, 2020 Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State If Gross-Matos lasts until the Giants selection at No. 36, the talented Nittany Lions edge rusher could reunite with Giants defensive line coach Sean Spencer, who earned the moniker “Coach Chaos” while at Penn State. “The man (Spencer) has been instrumental in my life,” Gross-Matos said. “I consider him to be part of my family. I have so much love for Coach Spencer and I thank him for my three years at Penn State. “I wouldn’t mind playing for him again (with the Giants).” Oh, and about that Coach Chaos stuff. “It’s exactly what it sounds like. The dude is everywhere. He just brings the intensity and he’s a great motivator. He motivates guys, you want to give your all, you want to do your best for that guy. “He’s someone who really brings the best out of people.” Gross-Matos has been through a considerable amount of tragedy in his life. He said it makes him appreciate his opportunity. “Life’s not guaranteed,” Gross-Matos said. “You’ve got to take the most out of every moment, be positive with everything that comes.” What makes him an attractive player to NFL teams? “I think athletically, I’m different from most defensive ends here,” Gross-Matos said. “I think it’s my speed and my strength combination. And just using my God-given length. Things like that. I’m someone who can go inside, outside, I feel like I could do whatever teams ask me to do. I’ll be effective, too.” A.J. Epenesa, Iowa The biggest questions about Epenesa, ranked No. 18 on The Draft Network’s Big Board, seem to be athleticism and whether or not he is versatile enough to be used in multiple ways. Epenesa is looking forward to Saturday’s on-field drills “I think there’s some things out there trying to say that I might be slow or not explosive and I just want to show that I’m not slow and not not explosive, I guess,” Epenesa said. “I want to show people while maybe they have doubts about me, I want to prove people who doubt me wrong. I want to run fast, jump high, and show what I can do.” AJ Epenesa on what he hopes to prove during Combine testing. pic.twitter.com/twZ28mEK9T— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 27, 2020 Jabari Zuniga, Florida Zuniga, 6-3 3/8, 264 pounds, is coming off a disappointing senior season in which he played in only five games and had just three sacks. He missed eight games with a high ankle sprain. “I have a lot to prove,” Zuniga said. “It’s (the draft process) been extremely important, rehabbing my ankle, getting my body right, a lot of my small injuries right. “I’m just trying to show that I’m a very explosive player and a very strong player, somebody who is going to get after it.” Zuniga is also trying to show versatility to teams like the Giants who might be looking for mid- to late-round EDGE help. “I feel like I’m very physical. I’m very versatile. I can play the 3-technique in the passing game situations, I can play the traditional end in 5-technique or 9-technique spot and I can play outside linebacker as well. After an injury-plagued season Jabari Zuniga is trying to show NFL teams he's worth taking a chance on. pic.twitter.com/BebJlwSuPR— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 27, 2020
2020 NFL Draft prospect profile: Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSUby Chris Pflum on February 27, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports Sullivan has intriguing physical tools, but can he complete his transition to tight end at the NFL level? One of the best parts of the NFL Scouting Combine, and the NFL Draft in general, are the young men who’s hard work and dedication pay off and let them live out their dreams. Every year we hear about players who worked their way up from nothing or overcame extreme adversity to make it to the NFL. This year one of the best stories belongs to LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan who has opened up about homelessness and working to stay on “the right path”. Sullivan’s dedication to doing what is right has paid off and the NFL is paying attention. He is also an intriguing prospect for the New York Giants who could be in need of a tight end and are certainly in need of more pass catching threats. (Note: There is not as much tape on Sullivan available as I would like. I will update this report if or when more becomes available.) Prospect: Stephen Sullivan (TE, LSU)Games Watched: vs. Northwestern State (2019), vs. Oklahoma (2019)Red Flags: none Measurables Height: 6047 (6-feet, 4 7/8 inches)Weight: 248 poundsArm Length: 35 3/8 inchesWingspan: 85 inchesHand Size: 10 1/8 Stats Games Played (starts): 48 (11) Receptions: 46Yards (ypc): 712 (15.5 per catch)Touchdowns: 3 2019 Stats Games Played (starts): 14 (2)Receptions: 12 Yards (ypc): 130 (10.5 per catch)Touchdowns: 0 Quick Summary Best: Frame, body control, hands, athleticism Worst: Blocking, experienceProjection: A developmental tight end in an offense that uses tight ends in the passing game. Game Tape Full Report LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan possesses a very good blend of size and athleticism for the position. Sullivan is a former wide receiver and runs his routes like a wideout. He wastes little motion getting off of the line of scrimmage and shows good detail in his breaks. Sullivan has impressive, and deceptive, long speed for a tight end and has the ability to stretch the field vertically. Sullivan is a long tight end with very long arms and big hands, as well as impressive body control. He does a good job of adjusting to passes in the air and extending to catch the ball way from his frame. Sullivan uses his tools well to create a massive catch radius. He lines up at multiple positions in LSU’s offense, from in-line tight end to wide receiver, giving the offense the ability to create and exploit multiple match-ups with his athletic tools. Sullivan shows good competitive toughness to play through contact as a receiver and is a very willing blocker. He also shows a nasty streak in attempting to finish his blocks with the defender on the ground. Sullivan is new to the tight end position and will need development in that area at the NFL level. He isn’t yet perfectly comfortable playing out of a three-point stance, and needs work on his technique as a blocker. Sullivan is inconsistent in his hip and pad level, as well as with his hand placement. He is capable of generating movement along the line of scrimmage and sustaining blocks, but only flashes the ability. Overall Grade: 6.0D - A traits-based prospect who will need a long-term developmental plan. Has significant upside but will need an investment from the team. A Day 3 prospect. Projection Right now Stephen Sullivan is a developmental prospect as a tight end. He should be able to help a team right away as a receiving weapon thanks to his physical and athletic tools, as well as his background as a wide receiver. Sullivan has the frame and play strength to be a potential “complete” tight end at the NFL level, but will need coaching to realize that potential. He only has limited experience at the tight end position and needs coaching on the blocking portion of a tight end’s duties. If he is able to learn how to his hands and play with good pad level, he has the play strength to be a capable blocker, but he is inconsistent at best in that area now. Sullivan is comfortable lining up as a receiver and running routes from those alignments. His size, length, athleticism, and catch radius make him a mismatch against defensive backs and linebackers. A creative offensive coordinator could use Sullivan to force the defense’s hand by moving him around the offensive formation even while he is being developed as a blocking tight end.
How to watch the 2020 NFL Combine on-field workoutsby Emily Iannaconi on February 27, 2020 at 4:09 pm
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images Coverage of the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends begins Thursday The 2020 NFL Combine has been underway for a few days now at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. But the real fun begins Thursday. Hundreds of NFL hopefuls have participated in the measurements, weigh-ins, medical examinations and team interviews portion of the combine. But on Thursday, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends will be the first to take the field. The three position groups will have a chance to highlight their skills and athleticism to the crowd of scouts, coaches and general managers. Players will take part in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, broad jump and other testing in addition to position-specific workouts. Here is how to watch Thursday’s events: Channel: NFL Network and live streaming on NFL.com. ESPN will carry coverage from 7-8 p.m. ET with live streams available on WatchESPN. Time: 4 p.m. ET - 11 p.m. ET Position groups: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends Now let’s look at some of the players to watch for Thursday. The projected No. 1 pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, will not participate in Thursday’s activities. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will also be sidelined as he continues to recover from his hip injury. But the QB class will feature Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Utah State’s Jordan Love and Washington’s Jacob Eason. The wide receiver group will feature many potential first-round picks, including Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs is looking to set the record for the 40-yard dash. Right now, the record stands at 4.22 seconds. University of Washington standout John Ross set the record back in 2017, breaking the previous mark shared by running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Rondel Menendez.