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New York Giants Schedule Visits with Mike Pouncey and Justin Houston

March 17th, 2011 at 8:23 AM
By Kyle Langan

While John Mara has been doing damage control with regards to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, Jerry Reese and the New York Giants front office has begun their search for the teams first overall pick. 

University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) celebrates with linemen Mike Pouncey (55) and Maurkice Pouncey (56) after throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the University of Cincinnati during the NCAA Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans, Louisiana January 1, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Over the course of the past two days, the New York Giants have scheduled a number of pre-draft visits including Mike Pouncey, an offensive guard out of the University of Florida, and Justin Houston, a linebacker from the University of Georgia

Mike Pouncey is the brother of the Maukrice Pouncey, the starting center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both players were excellent leaders for Florida's national championship team in 2008. Though Pouncey was a guard in college, many project him as having the versatility to become a center at the NFL level. With major injuries being suffered bya number of interior linemen in 2010, it should come as a surprise to few that the Giants have worked out Pouncey.

Houston is a guy whom I have not heard connected to the Giants very much by any major analysts (similarly to Jason Pierre- Paul). Linebacker is among the toughest positions to scout from college to the NFL level. Regardless of whether a player played in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme in college, his assignments change as to whether he has to set the edge, shoot gaps, rush the passer, or even guard against cutback runs. 

Two players who turned out to be perfect fits in their scheme that come to mind immediately are Clay Matthews and Lawrence Timmons. Matthews was not an overly- productive player while at USC, but his athletic prowess intrigued Dom Capers and Ted Thompson, and Matthews plays all over the field and must be accounted for on every play. 

Timmons is a perfect fit at the middle linebacker position for a team in Pittsburgh who has two stud edge rushers. Timmons is the wild card in the defense whose athleticism is as under-rated as anyone's in the NFL. He can cover, blitz, and play the run.

At Georgia, Justin Houston recorded 33.5 tackles for a loss and 17.5 sacks over the course of the last 2 seasons. He has proven athletic skills, but the question is where would he fit into the Giants defensive scheme?

At this point, any extra athletes at the second level of the defense would be welcomed additions, as it has proven to be a glaring weakness over the last two seasons. 

Also of note, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was in attendance at the Illinois pro day, presumably to take a look at defensive tackle Corey Liuget and linebacker Martez Wilson. Liuget has been connected to the Giants in a number of mock drafts, and I had the Giants selecting a defensive tackle in my first mock draft, as I believe it is a sleeper need for the team.

Martez Wilson had a huge showing at the combine, and while not many have linked him to The Giants, I believe his combination of speed and instincts would be a perfect fit at the second level of the Giants defense. He might just be the best fit scheme wise for the Giants of any linebacker in the draft.

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Tags: Florida, Football, Georgia, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerry Reese, John Mara, Justin Houston, Mike Pouncey, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell

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11 Responses to “New York Giants Schedule Visits with Mike Pouncey and Justin Houston”

  1. Robert Hodgesrlhjr says:

    IMHO Houston is:

    1. Could be another Harrison (Pittsburg) type linebacker.
    He may be a better fit is a 34 than a 43. But the kid makes tackles in space, and is one nasty customer.

    2. Could be the perfect replacement for Kiwi. As many of us seem to feel Kiwi can (and has) play SAM. I would submit that Houston could be a more complete DE/LB that Kiwi. There is no questioning Houstons ability to rush the passer. And with his size (268 lbs) and straight line speed (4.6 40 yrd dash) He looks like a versital value pick. He can potencially fill two needs. He would also be a special teams ace with his speed and attitude.

    IMHO Pouncey is:

    1. I can help but think he might be the guy. The Giants almost never select who we think they will. Or what we observe as team or position weakness. Reese mostly comes from out of nowhere with his selections. Center is a need. And with all of the current starters, and subs coming off of surgery, Pouncey, (if the staff feels he’ll work hard enough to learn the center position) would be hard to pass up. The kicker is, he has All Pro Guard up-side.
    So again, you are getting value at two positions with one powerful atheltic package.

    I have a number of guys that would make a difference in Giant blue.
    But I just dont think they will make it to pick 19.
    I hope I’m wrong.

  2. I think if we draft Pouncey its def to be a center. I think the LG of the future is Petrus

  3. Matthew Kiernankujo says:

    I have said repeatedly that there is immense value in Pouncey because, as rlhjr alluded to, you’re drafting a guy who should be able to develop into an above average center, at worst. And if that fails, then your consolation prize is a guy who is probably an All-Pro guard. It’s similar to the cost-benefit analysis I did last year with Weatherspoon, whom I viewed as an ideal candidate to helm the middle in Perry Fewell’s scheme. Again, if that transition failed, he would be able to shift to the WILL spot and be an above average guy over there.

    Reese clearly puts a high premium on value in his draft. And Pouncey would be just that. There will be others like him, and there are probably better center prospects out there. But his clear ability to take control of any of the interior spots should increase his attractability.

  4. Jason Lynjay from the g101 says:

    I have been away for awhile been in school overseas so havent had time to read comments or comment alot over the season anyway, heres my idea for the offseason (disclaimer im not sure if it will all work under salary cap situation but here goes) first order of business is to resign Smith, Bradshaw Boss and Coefield. I would also go all out to sign TE Zach Miller and then sign 2 of the following players: Paul Posluszny (BUF) Stephen Tulloch (TEN) James Anderson (CAR) David Harris (NYJ). I would rather get Paul and James of the four players named. The next step then would be to draft Castanzo in round one best safety in round two and best interior OL player available. Again i havent looked into the financial situation of the giants so i dont know how much money they have to spend but these are the moves i would make to get the Gmen back on top!

    • Matthew Kiernankujo says:

      Jay, my man, most of the FAs you mentioned have either been franchised or tendered. And while the new CBA might change that, it’s not likely. We’ll retain Smith and Boss, but I tend to think that Big Baby Barry has seen his last days as a NY Giant.

      I can get behind drafting Costanzo in the 1st, but we need to be open to using that pick for almost anything at this point.

  5. Matthew Kiernankujo says:

    TheNewNFLDraft.com has us going:

    1. Pouncey (C/G)
    2. Bruce Carter (LB)
    3. Raheem Moore (FS)
    4. Phil Taylor (NT)

  6.  Samardzija says:

    Wouldnt hate Pouncey. Would def hat Houston. I think the Giants want to bring in Houston to see how he moves in space. Looke completely lost at the combine, but the kid is a specimen so with the right coaching it might improve, however I doubt it. Much better fit in a 3-4

  7.  Samardzija says:

    SI.com’s Tony Pauline reports that “a number of teams” have removed Colorado CB Jimmy Smith from their draft boards.
    These teams were “so turned off by his character” in Combine interviews that they won’t draft Smith if even he falls to the late rounds. How many teams have taken this approach is unclear, but as a top-15 talent it’s still possible Smith could be drafted on day one or two. In addition to past failed drug tests and arrests, clubs are concerned with Smith’s truthfulness and failure to take “direct responsibility” for his alleged transgressions.

    I think we can def crtoss of Jimmy Smith from our list of prospects. Pencil him in to the Bengals in the early 2nd..

  8. Robert Hodgesrlhjr says:

    Those Bengals have such a nose for “Character” players. And Jimmy Smith has much more serious issues than did Ahamad Bradshaw, that Reese took a chance on in the “7th” round. I like the kids (DB’s) from Miami much better anyway.

    DeMarcus VanDyke (who’s last name the site will censor) run’s “routine” 4.2 second 40′s. VanDyke however, must learn to cover. But no one can teach, a DB to run a 4.2 fourty. You can however teach him to cover and catch up speed will not be an issue.

    His his teammate, Brandon Harris is skilled, but “ONLY” runs 4.43 40′s.
    Harris (IMHO) is good enough for the Giants. But maybe not at 19, where guys with more first year impact may still be on the board.

    Jimmy Smith is the prototypical Giant cornner. 6′ 2″ and about 215.
    Although he is (reportedly) faster than any DB on the roster. His height could restrict him from getting in the hip pocket of small darting WR’s.

    Sam;

    I hope Houston can adjust. And I do agree he’s a fit in a 34. But so too was Sintim. And you have to think Reese and the coach staff were aware of that.

    Do you think they are aware that Houston is a “manimal” and (no matter the combine display) has actually played and excelled at playing linebacker?
    He’s made tackles in space in the SEC. Not the ACC in which Sintim resided.
    Houston has performed against decidely better competition on a regular baisis.
    And he performed very well.

    What the Giants seem to be “lost” about is taking Sintim and utilizing his obivious pass rushing skills and using them on third down, and other blitz situations.

    This to me is paticularly infuriating about the Giants. They refuse to apply “out of the box” thinking when it comes to utilizing players best attributes and/or strengths. Conversly, “Man ****” Ryan will get every ounce of talent out of his defensive crew. And no, I am not trying to start a Jets love fest. I’m simply stating fact. Sintim is a prime example, and JPP is another.

    These are guys who can be used in muliple roles, based on down and distance, or to introduce the element of suprize. And I thought being resourseful was part and parcel of doing all you can to win. But not our Giants.

    The one guy who had that gift (SPAGS) is gone, and (IMHO) it’s not by incident that the defense has not had the same shock and awe value since.

    To be fair, Strayhan, the old “crafty” veteran DB’s and Mitchell being gone has not helped the situation. But least I start the we love Spags train again. I have to state that I digress. We have to work with what we have.

    I’ll just say that a bit of imagination would go a long way. And that applies to the offensive side of the ball too.

    Also, I think a tackle prospect may fall to round two. I would love Sherrod and would not be un-happy if they picked him with 19. He too is a man beast.
    And is perhaps close to Castonzo in pass blocking ability. He will just plain beat-up most defensive ends attempting to get by him at his current stage of development. Conversely, Castonzo would simply “dance” them around the QB.

    Take your choice, “hammer” or “velvet hammer”.

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