Notebook: 2011 class ready to play more

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
4:38
PM ET
The Giants are hoping several members of their 2011 draft class are ready to step up into some bigger roles this season.

Wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan is in the mix to compete for the vacant third receiver spot. Running back Da’Rel Scott has a shot at the backup spot behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Tackle James Brewer is considered a candidate to compete for the right tackle position.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara and defensive tackle Marvin Austin will see more playing time this season. Safety Tyler Sash could be the third safety this year and linebackers Greg Jones and Mark Herzlich, an undrafted rookie from last season, hope to compete for more playing time as well.

Each of last year’s rookies feel they will be better off this season with the advantage of going through an entire offseason of training with the team and exposure to the coaching staff and playbook after being unable to do just that last year due to the lockout.

“For me, it set me back a lot I think coming in and learning the playbook and being thrown in there,” Jernigan said. “This year, I am looking forward to learning more of the playbook and keep progressing.”

Scott says he is ready for a bigger role this season and ready to earn the trust of the coaching staff.

“One-hundred percent,” Scott answered when asked if he can shoulder a bigger load. “Just having that rookie year under my belt and these offseason workouts, I feel like I can prepare as much as I can for this upcoming season. I have all the access right now so I can’t make any excuses. I want to make sure I can take the load if they call my number.”

SNAPPY MOVE: The Giants continue to solidify their special teams. They signed long snapper Zak DeOssie to a three-year contract extension, a move first pointed out by BigBlueInteractive.com. According to the NFL Players Association records, DeOssie will earn a base salary of $700,000 this season.

ACL BROTHERS: Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard are both trying to make it back from torn ACL injuries suffered in the Super Bowl.

“We’re ACL buddies,” Beckum said. “But we got a ring out of it. A torn ACL and a ring, you couldn’t ask for more from the aspect of the ring.”

Beckum, though, is ahead of Ballard in his recovery and is hopeful of a possible return for the season opener.

“My knee feels great, have minimum swelling,” said Beckum, who has barely a hint of a scar on his right knee from the surgery. “You got to try to think positively about the situation. Obviously I would love to be back by the first game. If I am not, PUP, I don’t necessarily look at it as a bad thing. It is more time to make sure my knee is 100 percent.”

“To hear the fact that you can possibly be back by Week one when everybody is doubting you is very crucial.”

Ballard underwent microfracture surgery and repaired his torn ACL in February and he may not return until the middle of the season or later.

“My best chance would be midseason, if at all,” Ballard said. “A lot of people have ACL’s and miss a year. I’m trying to get better. I’m still a young player. Have the [microfracture] surgery to help build some of that cartilage back and make my knee more solid than it would have been without it.”
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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