Thursday, April 26, 2012
Cruz still wants slot even if Giants draft WR
By Ohm Youngmisuk
It’ll be a long and intriguing wait for the Giants before they finally pick at 32 barring a trade.
So much can happen before they pick and so many people can go off their board. The Giants are interested in Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower. If all of those players are gone by 32, indications are the Giants will go wide receiver and they like Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill and LSU receiver Rueben Randle. One other name possibly to consider is Virginia Tech running back David Wilson.
Hill said the Giants recently contacted him for his phone number, presumably for draft day.
“It would be great playing with other wide receivers and taking pressure off them with double coverage,” Hill said of potentially joining Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. “I am a team player so any time I can contribute to the team that is a big thing.”
Hill might not be there at 32 when the Giants pick but Randle could be available. He said he talked with the Giants during the beginning of the scouting process.
“I’ve talked to the Giants and they got some information on me,” Randle said on Wednesday at a NFL Play 60 event in the city. “They were one of the first teams that contacted me.”
“It would be a great situation for me,” he added of the Giants.
Drafting a receiver like Randle would help the Giants try to replace Mario Manningham and the void at third receiver.
Cruz and Ramses Barden believe the Giants already have enough at receiver. But if the Giants do draft another wideout, Cruz doesn’t expect it to change his role much and his time spent in the slot.
“I have gotten comfortable with it throughout the year and that is my position,” Cruz said on Wednesday night at the ESPN Magazine pre-draft party. “So I think whenever we go third down and three-receiver sets, I will be in that slot position for sure.”
This season is Barden’s best opportunity to show the Giants what he can do with more playing time. The 2009 third-round pick has terrific size and good hands but hasn’t received much of an opportunity either due to the depth chart or injuries.
He is expected to compete for the third receiver spot with Jerrel Jernigan and Domenik Hixon. This could be Barden’s last chance to show what he’s got.
“Maybe, probably, I don’t know,” Barden said when asked if the clock is ticking on him. “It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. The only thing that matters is what I do come game time. Whether there is pressure or there is not, I am beyond that right now. It is time for the next step. I can’t get to the season fast enough.”