New York Giants rookie cornerback Charles James has heard it all. He was too small, too slow and had no chance at making it in the NFL. The college walk-on didn't receive an NFL Combine invite and ultimately went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. But he kept battling, eventually landing himself on the Giants' practice squad, and that was all he needed — just a chance.
James would continue to scratch and claw his way through practices, returning punts, playing Special Teams and essentially anything the Giants asked of him. So as injuries continued to ravage their defensive backfield, James' hard work finally paid off. He was signed to the Giants' 53-man roster in early October and would never look back.
Although only limited, the undrafted rookie free agent who was told he'd never make it would go on to play in 12 games in 2013, recording four tackles and even returning a punt. And as insignificant as that may appear on the surface, it proved without a shadow of a doubt that hard work does, in fact, pay off.
Drawing from his experiences and the opportunities he's now carved out for himself, James took a moment on Monday evening to send a message to all 2014 NFL Draft hopefuls — those who are both certain to be drafted and those who will need to take the same path he did.
"Advice to all upcoming NFL Draft prospects: don't let those rankings be your downfall; they mean nothing because neither Todd McShay or Mel Kiper are gonna draft you. Put your head down and grind and stay prayed up in the process because it will be a long one," James tweeted. "If you think you're all that and don't put in work, there will be one of my Undrafted buddies there to take your spot come camp time. If you do put in the work and stay humble throughout the grind you will be rewarded — the cream always rises to the top."
It's a very veteran outlook from a player who just finished his rookie season, but nothing that should come as any surprise to those who follow the Giants closely. James is about as hard a worker as you'll currently find on the team, and that work ethic has earned the respect of all his teammates — rookie and veterans alike.
If for no other reason than that, the 2014 Draft Class should heed his advice.
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