Where do the UDFA Signings Fit
By Michael Stewart (@golferbad)
GM Jerry Reese signed a total of 17 UDFA immediately after the draft and the Giants are banking on finding another Victor Cruz in this group. GM Jerry Reese may not always get it right in the draft, however; he always seems to find talent during the UDFA phase. Duly noted by Chad Reuter of NFL.com who ranked the Giants at #4 this year.
I have assembled my top 5 UDFA players signed by the Giants who could make the 53 man roster and/or contribute in 2017.
- Defensive Tackle Jarron Jones (6’6/315) Notre Dame: When Jones is motivated; he is a dominant and disruptive interior defender with 35 1⁄2 inch arms and immense strength. However, Jones has a history of taking plays off. Which is why or most likely he wasn’t drafted. Giants are banking on veterans like Harrison, OV and JPP to mentor Jones. If Jones can learn from them; he might just turn out to be a diamond in the rough.
- Offensive Tackle Chad Wheeler (6’7/306) USC: Wheeler was a four-year starter at left tackle for Southern California, with quick feet and plays with a competitive edge. Wheeler has a lengthy history of injuries; which was a main reason why he wasn’t drafted. The Giants feel that Wheeler has enough upside to invest time in him and hope he develops into a solid depth OL.
- Wide Receiver Travis Rudolph (6’1/190) Florida State: Rudolph is a reliable, tough slot receiver. He finds openings in coverage and diagnoses what defenses are doing quickly. Tough, and fights for contested balls, and not afraid of contact. While not possessing any elite attributes, Rudolph has good acceleration out of cuts, and enough speed to break the occasional big play.
- Linebacker Calvin Munson (6’1/240) San Diego State: Munson very adept at stopping the run between the tackles and go after the QB on the blitzes. Another candidate for special team duties & added depth.
- Offensive Tackle Jessamen Dunker (6’4/318) Tennessee State: Dunker will more than likely transition to a guard at the Pro level. Despite his size, Dunker performed respectfully at the scouting combine with 40-yard dash (4.98). Dunker also displays quick feet; which is necessary against edge rusher. We don’t think he crack the 53-man roster, but a solid candidate for the practice squad.
Final Thoughts: The two names that really jump out for me are DT Jarron Jones and OT Chad Wheeler. Both were projected to go somewhere in the 4th /5th round respectfully and both have a high ceiling to be a contributor this year. Jones has the best shot of making the 53 man roster. He will compete with DT Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley. Neither player has solidified themselves to be a fixture.
Jones could easily leap-frog over one or possibly both of them in the depth charts if he plays to his ability. As for OT Chad Wheeler; he is definitely talented enough to make the 53 man roster and play for the Giants in 2017. Injuries has been Wheelers Achilles heel and with current OT’s Ereck Flowers, D.J Fluker, Bobby Hart as the top 3 OT’s. Wheeler and rookie Adam Bisnowaty should be able to solidify a spot on the Giants OL depth chart.