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New York Giants’ Devon Kennard Learning from Veterans; Seeing Practice Snaps at SAM

May 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 PM
By Dan Benton

Linebacker Devon Kennard may be the last remaining rookie without a contract, but the New York Giants' fifth-round pick still found himself in East Rutherford this week working out with his fellow teammates in preparation for the 2014 season. However, unlike many of Big Blue's newest talent crop, finding a fit for Kennard has been a bit of a challenge.

During his days at USC, Kennard bounced around quite a bit — something that may have ultimately hurt his draft stock. He saw time at every linebacker position and even some snaps defensive end, giving him a lot of experience in each area, but very little solidarity. With the Giants, they'll look to combat that trend and, thus far, have had Kennard focusing on the SAM position, as well as a little work in the middle.

"They want me to learn the middle linebacker spot and the SAM spot, so I’m kind of doing some dual learning and making sure I know both," Kennard said. "I definitely think SAM linebacker is the position that I feel most comfortable with. That’s what I did last year. But that’s because I did it last year, I feel like I can come on the inside as well. I definitely have a passion for rushing the passer, passing situations and things like that but I can also cover and do things like that."

That's not to say defensive coordinator Perry Fewell won't eventually look to utilize some of Kennard's versatility, but for a rookie coming into the NFL, it's all about taking baby steps and finding a comfort zone — there's little value in overwhelming him to such significant degree.

Luckily for Kennard, he has some savvy veterans to lean on in an effort to shorten that learning curve.

"You’ve got some veterans in the locker room who really know what they’re doing in Jon Beason and Spencer Paysinger and guys like that," Kennard said. "I’ve been clinging to those guys early on and learning from them and watching them, seeing how they do things. It’s just the little parts of the game that give them the edge. I’m trying to pick up on those things. I think it benefits me a lot."

With no rookie mini-camp this year, it truly will be trial by fire for this youngster in particular.

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Tags: Devon Kennard, Football, Jon Beason, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell, Spencer Paysinger

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5 Responses to “New York Giants’ Devon Kennard Learning from Veterans; Seeing Practice Snaps at SAM”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    Notice he didn’t say Williams. That kid appears to be long on talent, short on smarts. He still gets lost on the field sometimes, even after three years of experience.

    Beason and Paysinger are solid. McClain should be too. I assume he will eventually be part of Dennard’s education society but it may be that first McClain wants to nail down the job as SAM before he starts helping a rookie take his place on the roster (and the food from his table).

    And Herzlich MUST know that Dennard’s presence is a direct threat to him. He has been terrific on special teams but he needs to step up his game in camp or could wind up on the outside looking in if he’s not careful. He’s lucky they don’t have more LBers coming to camp.

    •  stuh says:

      from the last thread well said about the Vets.
      As for the running backs Wilson is still an unknown because his injury was serious. The Rookie was really good in college. The other guy was a 3rd stringer on a bad team.

      •  Begiant says:

        Well Jwill is strictly a Will, and Dennard is a SAM/MLB. He probably just named the starters at each position.

        •  fanfor55years says:

          Paysinger’s a WILL also, and he made specific mention of him. I have high hopes for JWill, but I suspect he’s not someone you’d want as a tutor. I think in he and Robinson the Giants went for raw talent and may not have got things right in regard to ability to learn and absorb schemes and will to get continuously better. Sometimes you cannot know that until a kid is on your team. But that assumption tempers my expectations for both of those players.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Thanks. I think it’s an important holiday.

        As for the backs, Jennings may not have been the primary back but he played very well, and he may actually be more appropriate as a carry-the-load back than McFadden, who was “the guy” in Oakland. I expect him to be pretty good. I expect Andre Williams to be VERY good. And I’m hoping McAdoo’s offense will make proper use of Wilson, who I still think has never been given a real chance to succeed using his true talents.

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