UDFA signings: Get to know your Giants undrafted free agents

With rookie mini-camp this weekend, the New York Giants have finally made official their undrafted free agent signings. Let’s get to know each of the players the Giants signed following the 2022 NFL Draft.

These are actually unofficial until the Giants issue an announcement, which should happen before they take the field for Friday’s first rookie mini-camp workout.

Austin Allen, TE, Nebraska

Allen set Nebraska record in 2021 for receptions in a season (38), yards receiving (602), single-game receiving yards (143 vs. Wisconsin) and 100-yard receiving games by a tight end (2).

Dane Brugler had a Round 6-7 grade on Allen in his 2022 NFL Draft Guide. He wrote:

With his height, catch radius and strong hands, Allen was a consistent chain-mover on tape and his athletic profile suggests upside as a route-runner. He uses sound angles to get into position as a blocker, although his taller stature and narrow base hinder his sustain and finish skills. Overall, Allen doesn’t have dynamic route skills to easily uncover, but he is a contested catch monster with the traits that suggest there is more meat on that bone. He has intriguing development potential.

Allen is a 6-foot-7⅝, 253-pound player with plus measurables and athleticism for the tight end position. Strength might be a downfall as he did only 8 bench press reps

In the Football Gameplan Draft Guide, emory Hunt writes:

Strengths:
– Massive target in the passing game that plays a big man’s game at all levels of the field. Gives the QB a wide catch radius, both over the middle of the field and inside the red zone.
– Very comfortable in catching the ball away from his body, shows good athleticism in that regard.
– Has some flexibility within his game, able to play all 3 TE spots if need be.

Areas of Improvement:
– Will need to bring his hands with him consistently. He’ll make great initial contact, but without good hand usage, defenders can slip his blocks.
– Needs to play as big in the run game as he does in passing game.

Where he could fit

As we know, the Giants are re-making their tight end position. They drafted San Diego State’s Daniel Bellinger in Round 4, and signed Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins as free agents. Chris Myarick is the other tight end on the roster with NFL game experience.

Allen is one of two UDFA tight ends added to the 90-man roster by the Giants, with Oklahoma’s Jeremiah Hall being the other. The most likely outcome for Allen would seem to be a practice squad berth, with an outside chance of making the 53-man roster.

In an appearance on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast, Hunt couldn’t contain his enthusiasm about the Giants’ addition of Corbin.

“When I saw they were able to grab my No. 1 running back Jashaun Corbin I was like, ‘ho, man this is gonna be huge,’ because he is going to be perfect as a complement to Saquon Barkley.”

Yes, the undrafted Corbin is Hunt’s No. 1 ranked running back. In his draft guide, Hunt summarized Corbin like this:

Strengths:
– Excellent combination of balance, footwork and vision. Corbin anticipates well and has the athletic ability to ‘get there’.
– Very elusive both in confined spaces and out in the open. He combines his elusiveness with tremendous burst as well.
– Has a good feel for the run game; rarely do you see him take losses. He’s a compactly built runner that has very good long speed as well.
– Underrated ability as a downfield receiving threat.

Areas of Improvement:
– There are times where he’ll beat his blockers to the POA; adding just a tad bit more patience would be helpful.
– Pass pro is overall solid, but he could be a little bit more assertive in attacking his responsibility in blitz pickup.

Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio is not as high on Corbin as Hunt is. In his draft guide, Waldman wrote:

The Elevator Pitch for Corbin: Corbin sees the field well enough to be productive, but he must mature with his decisionmaking. Otherwise, he lacks the top-end acceleration and speed to run his way out of dilemmas he creates when he forsakes viable lanes between the tackles while looking for that elusive big-play crease that never arrives.

As shown by his RAS score, Corbin’s measurables for the position are only average.

Where he could fit

There was an expectation leading up to the draft that the Giants might use one of their picks on a potential backup for Barkley. They did not. They have Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, Antonio Williams and Sandro Platzgummer as potential backups.

Corbin could compete for a spot as the team’s No. 3 running, or perhaps land on the practice squad.

Yusuf Corker, S, Kentucky

Interestingly, Brugler had Corker ranked one spot ahead of Iowa’s Dane Belton, chosen by the Giants in Round 4, in his pre-draft safety rankings. Brugler wrote:

A three-year starter at Kentucky, Corker lined up at free safety in defensive coordinator Brad White’s scheme. He broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore and posted consistent production, finishing top two on the team in tackles each season and top three on the team in passes defended. Corker is highly instinctive and competitive vs. both the pass and the run, firing downhill as a tackler or tracking the eyes of the quarterback to throws. However, he needs to tighten up his pursuit angles and be more a finisher because he doesn’t have the redirect twitch to easily recover. Overall, Corker has some straight-line tendencies and needs to cut down on the missed tackles, but he plays fast, tough and confident and is ready for NFL life. His special teams ability should keep him alive on an NFL roster while he competes for defensive snaps.

Corker has only average size and athleticism for the safety position.

Where he could fit?

Even after drafting Belton, the Giants have only three safeties — Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Belton — on their roster. Jarren Williams is a candidate to convert from cornerback. Still, that means there could be room on the roster for another safety.

The Giants could look at add veteran depth at the position before the season. Right now, though, Corker and fellow UDFA safety Trenton Thompson of San Diego State, could be competiting for one spot either on the 53-man roster or practice squad.

Jabari Ellis, DT, South Carolina

Ellis was Brugler’s 58th-ranked defensive tackle in the 2022 draft class, and did not get a profile. He wasn’t profiled with the NFL.com draft prospects, or even in Hunt’s massive draft guide.

Still, the Giants had to like something about him. He is a 6-foot-1¾, 278-pound tackle with decent athletic testing numbers. Ellis started 22 games for South Carolina the past two seasons with 68 tackles (8 for loss) and 2.0 sacks.

Where he could fit

Ellis appears to be a run-stopping 3-4 defensive end. An excellent outcome for him would likely be earning a practice squad spot.

Darren Evans, CB, LSU

Evans was Brugler’s 59th-ranked cornerback and did not receive a profile in Brugler’s draft guide. Evans played in 11 games for LSU in 2021, starting five, with 27 tackles (20 solo), 4 passes defensed and no interceptions. He played at Nicholls State before transferring to LSU.

Evans is a 6-foot-2¼, 179-pound cornerback with moderate athletic testing numbers.

In his draft guide, Hunt said:

Strengths:
– Long and ‘in the way’, as I like to say. He is able to cover so much ground with his length and you can see how it frustrates WRs. At Nicholls, he was the FCS version of Sauce Gardner. Strong in run support.
– Shows good patience to accurately play the ball once it comes his way, and will wait to the last possible moment to stick that arm out to knock it down.
– Has the ability to match up vs bigger WRs, and has done so in that regard rather well.

Areas of Improvement:
– Will need to continue to work on his body frame and strength.
– Lateral agility may be a bit of a question mark; he’s a bit long-legged, so his COD skills may be a bit compromised.

Where he could fit

The Giants likely took a liking to Evans while watching his more accomplished teammates Derek Stingley Jr. and CorDale Flott, a player they selected 81st overall. While the Giants are likely still looking for cornerback depth, a practice squad berth would appear to be the best outcome for Evans in 2022.

Tomon Fox, Edge, North Carolina

Fox was the 67th-ranked edge defender in the 2022 draft class, per Brugler. No profile was offered in Brugler’s draft guide.

Fox is a 6-foot-2¾, 253-pound linebacker who is already 24 years old and played in parts of six different seasons for the Tar Heels. He ended up with 30.5 career sacks in 66 games, third all-time in program history.

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– Heavy hands that help him set the edge, as well as condense down gaps in the run game. He has a really powerful strike and plays his assignments rather well.
– Has some pass rushing chops, showing good, quick activity with those same heavy hands in an attempt to keep his body free, or move an OL’s hands out of the way. Is a good thumper as well.
– Very strong run defender; able to shock, disengage and make the tackle.

Areas of Improvement:
– Footwork has to be much better. See can be clunky at times, getting knocked off balance. Has to play under much better control. Working to improve footwork and agility will help him out in the long run.

Joe Schoen watched North Carolina play in person twice, drafting offensive linemen Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan.

Where he could fit

NFL teams will take pass-rushing prowess anywhere they can find it. The numbers seem stacked against Fox making the 53-man roster. Perhaps, though, he can show enough upside to garner a spot on the practice squad.

Zyon Gilbert, CB, Florida Atlantic

Gilbert joins Darren Evans as one of two undrafted free agent cornerbacks on the Giants’ 90-man roster.

Brugler had Gilbert rated as a priority free agent. He said:

Gilbert is a tall, slender athlete with light feet to quickly change directions and accelerate to top speed. He got away with it in college thanks to his athleticism, but he plays too much on his heels and can be late to anticipate route breaks, especially in bail coverage. He isn’t shy getting physical vs. the run, although he needs to be more subtle with his aggressiveness to avoid flags. Overall, Gilbert isn’t a technically refined player, but he mirrors well from his pedal and has the vertical speed to compete for corner snaps on the perimeter.

Gilbert looks like a size/speed developmental player.

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– Long, athletic corner that covers a lot of ground with his frame and athletic ability.
– He’s able to play press coverage and off-coverage rather well. Showing the ability to quickly find the hip of the receiver when he has to turn and run while playing off.
– Plays the ball rather well, will be in play for a lot off PBUs & INTs when the football travels in his vicinity.

Areas of Improvement:
– Gets grabby & handsy in coverage while in phase, could be an illegal contact penalty machine if it doesn’t get under control.
– Can be a bit stiff coming out of a break where he has to open his hips and close on a route.

Where he could fit

NFL teams can never have too many quality cornerbacks. It seems doubtful that Gilbert has a legitimate shot at the 53-man roster. He is likely a practice squad candidate if he shows the ability to develop into an NFL player.

Jeremiah Hall, TE, Oklahoma

As we said above in discussing Austin Allen, the Giants are re-making their tight end group. Hall is a small-ish 6-foot-1½, 239-pound tight end. Brugler had him rated as a priority free agent. He writes:

Hall is a sure-handed receiver (good luck finding drops on his film) and runs like a jackhammer with the ball in his hands. He isn’t the most instinctive blocker, but there are no doubts about his competitive toughness as a lead back and alert pass protector with his wide base and eager hands. Overall, Hall isn’t a dynamic athlete and there are only so many NFL roster spots for his skill set, but he is a sturdy blocker and dependable pass catcher with the makeup for special teams.

On his RAS card, Hall is actually listed as a fullback.

Where he could fit

The Giants do not have a fullback on their roster, and that makes Hall intriguing. He was listed as a fullback by Oklahoma during his first two seasons. The last two, he played as a tight end/H-Back. He had 13 rushing attempts to go along with 68 receptions during his time with Oklahoma.

Hall figures to be a practice squad candidate. I am curious, though, to see what he looks like as a lead blocker in the preseason.

Christopher Hinton, DT, Michigan

Brugler had a seventh-round grade on Hinton. He writes:

Although he managed only 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks in his college career. Hinton uses his length to extend, lock out and control the point of attack. However, he is heavy-legged and needs to be more forceful with his shed/toss to fire off blocks and create disruption. Overall, Hinton is stout at contact with the base strength to hold his ground, but his lack of range and explosive traits significantly limit his next level impact. He projects as an early-down NFL backup.

Hinton’s RAS card shows his athletic limitations.

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– A fire hydrant of a defensive tackle that has great initial contact power and core strength. He’s able to strike first on an offensive lineman and hold the POA consistent.
– Love how he’s able to use his hands to work off blockers. You consistently see him be able to lock out, and discard OL when he finds the ball.

Areas of Improvement:
– Lacks the quick twitch & burst that his size would lead you to believe. He tends to move more like a Nose Guard than a 3-Technique.
– While he anchors rather well, he will need to start to redirect that power in the opposite direction to get some interior penetration.

Where he could fit

Hinton profiles as a run stopping 3-4 defensive end. He will likely be in competition for a practice squad spot.

Andre Miller, TE, Maine

How far off the radar is Miller? The 6-foot-3, 224-pound tight end is not even mentioned in Brugler’s massive draft guide. Miller did not draw the attention of Matt Waldman in his Rookie Scouting Portfolio draft guide, either.

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– Physical player who displays very strong hands at the catch point. Can find wins at every level of the field because of his hands. Dominant run blocker.
– Route running is solid, especially in the short-to-intermediate level of the field. He does a really good job of snapping off his route quickly to make himself available. Doesn’t drift vs zone coverage either; will find void and settle.
– I believe he’s versatile enough to play all 4 receiver positions as a pro.

Areas of Improvement:
– Not an overly fast receiver. Doesn’t have that quick twitch suddenness, more of a build up speed type of guy.
– While he’s a solid route runner, you’d want to see more nuance within his route running. Once he develops that, I feel like he could become more of a threat deeper down the field on a consistent basis.

Miller caught 39 passes for 684 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, averaging 17.5 yards per catch. He caught 93 passes for 1,670 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career at Maine, averaging 18.0 yards per catch.

Miller tested exceptionally well in comparison to other wide receivers. Here is his RAS card:

Where he could fit

At 6-3, 224 pounds it is hard to imagine the Giants picturing Miller as a traditional tight end. Perhaps a big slot or move tight end. If he shows enough, perhaps he can stick on the practice squad as a developmental player. Seems like a real diamond in the rough.

Brugler had the 6-foot-5⅝, 330-pounder as his 35th-ranked guard, rating him as a free agent.

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– Hare to really move off the spot because of his excellent core strength. Shows an ability to handle anything necessary at the POA & LOS.
– Strong in the downhill run game. Combo blocks really well with a forceful power step. Does a good job on base blocks, and able to kick out or turn defenders also.
– Able to anchor and withstand pressure in pass pro.

Areas of Improvement:
– Needs to be better at sustaining blocks out on the perimeter or at the 2nd level. He will quickly find the target, but the landmark is a bit off.
– Not an overly agile or sudden player. COD skills are just ‘ok’, which leads to him whiffing on some attempts in space.
– Footwork is another area of his game where he can tighten things up a bit.

Rivas played in 46 games with 23 starts, starting 21 games at left guard the last two seasons.

Where he could fit

If the Giants want mauling interior offensive linemen, Rivas is the right kind of player. I would guess he will be competing for a spot on the practice squad,

Trenton Thompson, S, San Diego State

Thompson is Brugler’s 47th-ranked safety. He was not profiled in Brugler’s draft guide.

Thompson played 51 games at San Diego State over parts of six seasons. He had 187 tackles, 124 of them solo. He intercepted four passes, three in 2021. He also had 14 passes defensed in 2021.

Thompson has below average athletic testing numbers for the safety position.

Mountain West Wire summarized Thompson’s skills this way:

Strengths

Though Thompson wasn’t a full-time starter until this past season, he had plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a rangy pass defender and a rugged run stopper over the past several years, collecting 21 pass breakups and 12 tackles for loss from 2018 to 2021. He has the instincts to diagnose plays as they develop and enough speed to get to where he needs to be in order to make a play, whether that’s snuffing out screens or providing safety help over the top.

Better yet, Thompson also contributed on special teams throughout his Aztecs career, blocking two punts and scoring off of two others over the past four seasons. If nothing else, that versatility could catch the eye of some position coaches at the next level.

Weaknesses

The downside of spending six years with the Aztecs is that Thompson now enters this draft class as one of its oldest safety prospects, meaning that teams may see limited upside for growth going forward. He also lacks the top-end speed that many of those younger prospects possess, so whatever role he eventually carves out for himself will depend on the ability to stretch his intangibles as far as they can go.

Where he could fit

The Giants’ depth chart at safety is, well, not deep. Anyone who plays the position and shows up to training camp will have a chance.

Tyrone Truesdell, DT, Florida

Truesdell is another candidate, along with veteran Justin Ellis and fifth-round pick D.J. Davidson, for the nose tackle spot.

Here is what BBV’s Chris Pflum said about the Truesdell signing:

“Truesdell is a fifth-year senior who spent the first four years of his college career at Auburn before transferring to Florida for his red-shirt senior season. He is a thick, stocky defensive tackle weighing in at 6-foot-2, 326 pounds. He has good natural leverage and a powerful lower body, which he makes good use of to clog interior rushing lanes. Truesdell fires out of his stance with good leverage and is difficult for offensive linemen to move off the ball. He didn’t play many snaps for Florida, usually coming on the field when the Gators aligned in a 3-man front.

“The Giants don’t have significant resources at the nose tackle position, and the Giants have reportedly given Truesdell $75 thousand in guaranteed money (per Dan Duggan of The Athletic). So while he might be a bit of an underdog to make the final roster, the Giants certainly seem serious about wanting him in-house.”

Hunt says:

Strengths:
– Fantastic one-gap penetrator. Can really force the QB off the spot and make the offensive lineman work extremely hard during the play.
– Very good ball get off, which helps with the generating pressure part. Will do his best to pick a side and attack it at full speed.
– Versatile enough to play the nose, but should thrive as a 1T.

Areas of Improvement:
– Feet tend to stop moving upon contact. Will need to stay consistent in keeping everything in motion every snap.
– Hand usage is a bit inconsistent. There are times where OL are able to win the hands first battle and put him at a disadvantage.

Where he could fit

Justin Ellis is a journeyman. D.J. Davidson is a Day 3 pick. If Truesdell shows in the preseason that he can clog the middle against the run, you have to believe he has a chance to make the 53-man roster.

[NOTE: In the Giants’ list of official signings that was released Friday morning, Truesdell’s name was missing. We will see if he on the roster when it comes out. Added to the list of signings is Florida defensive tackle Antonio Valentino, a 6-foot-3, 3212-pounder.]

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