The chain of power in East Rutherford is a bit weathered at the moment, as the Giants are operating without a general manager and a head coach. Still, business must go on — and go on it has.
On January 19, the team hosted four players for workouts, including defensive end Jonathan Woodard. A former seventh-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2016, Woodard has also spent time in Atlanta (2017), Miami (2017-2019) and Buffalo (2019-20) over his professional career. His NFL resume is limited in the production department, as he’s collected just 10 tackles and one sack in six career regular-season games. However, his output in the Canadian Football League this past year is far more worth writing home about.
In 14 games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Woodard ranked second in the CFL with 10 sacks. He also chipped in with 22 total tackles and two forced fumbles.
“He has a hard-hat mentality and he comes to work with his lunchpail,” Roughriders defensive co-ordinator Jason Shivers said of Woodard back in August via Regina Leader-Post. “You don’t have to say too many words and he understands during meetings the point of reference of what we want to attack. He’s back there taking it all in and writing his notes. I just love it when a player is like that.”
Aside from Leonard Williams, no Giants defensive lineman eclipsed 4.0 sacks for the second consecutive season in 2021.
Woodard wasn’t the only CFL player in the building on Wednesday. Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ tight end/fullback Nikola Kalinic was also hosted for a workout. Originally a second-round pick of the Tiger-Cats in the 2019 CFL draft, the 25-year-old has amassed 192 yards receiving and two touchdowns over his 30-game career in the CFL.
Nolan Cooney and defensive back J.J. Nunes were the other two players to be given a look at workouts. Cooney spent this past training camp with the Saints but failed to make New Orleans’ final roster cuts. He’s yet to appear in an NFL game. It’s worth noting that Cooney boasts some position flexibility, spending time as both a punter and a placekicker during his collegiate days at Syracuse. The Giants haven’t had that type of versatility in the kicking game since they traded Ryan Santoso to the Carolina Panthers back in August.
Speaking of versatility, Nunes played seven positions in his career at FCS program Valparaiso University, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. The 5-foot-10-inch, 195-pound defender has spent the past three seasons in the Spring League.
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GM Hire Nearing?
Certainly sounds like it. In fact, Newsday’s Tom Rock believes the team could announce a hire as early as Friday, January 21.
After more than a week of interviews — nine done virtually, three in person — co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch along with Chris Mara, the team’s senior vice president of player personnel, went into tight deliberations. Upon their conclusion, ownership is expected to take a step back and allow their hire to move forward with his blueprint, ceding powers to the new general manager that traditionally had been held only at the very top of the organization.
Giants ownership completed their second interview with 49ers assistant general manager, Adam Peters, on Thursday. In return, the team has finalized all three of their in-person interviews for the vacancy. The other two finalists are Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen and Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles.