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New York Giants Will Also Work Out Former Rutgers Linebacker Jamal Merrell

June 11th, 2014 at 11:00 AM
By Dan Benton

The New York Giants met with free agent tight end Tom Crabtree on Tuesday and had multiple visits slated for Wednesday, including former Central Connecticut State wide receiver Denzell Jones and former South Carolina defensive back Victor Hampton. And although Hampton chose, instead, to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals, it has not slowed the Giants down one bit.

In addition to Jones, the team has also added former Rutgers linebacker Jamal Merrell to their Wednesday docket, reports The Star-Ledger.

The 6'5'', 230 lbs. Merrell went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, but was quickly scooped up by the Tennessee Titans before once again finding himself on the free agent market. He was initially graded out to be a seventh-round pick or a priority free agent, but has been unable to catch on anywhere thus far.

An NFL scouting report offered the following insight:

An athletic, long-armed run-around 'backer who was slowed by a kidney injury as a senior, Merrill possesses desirable length and athletic ability to factor readily on special teams and develop into a contributor with continued physical development and strength.

Perhaps more than a linebacker, Merrell was a Special Teams standout at Rutgers and ended his college career with seven blocked kicks. He was also named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, Phil Steele Preseason Second Team All-American Athletic Conference linebacker and Preseason All-Conference Third Team by Athlon in 2013.


Tags: Denzell Jones, Football, Jamal Merrell, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rutgers, Tennessee, Tennessee Titans, Tom Crabtree, Victor Hampton

9 Responses to “New York Giants Will Also Work Out Former Rutgers Linebacker Jamal Merrell”

  1.  BigBlueGiant says:


    fanfor55years says:
    June 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Because I wrote it late last night I’m just going to repeat: Despite what many expert observers are insisting, I believe we will be MORE than okay on the defensive line because Tuck looks better retrospectively than he did when he was actually here the past few years (and, again, his sack numbers last year are a complete illusion), and while Joseph was good I absolutely believe that Hankins will be better.

    No one seems to recognize that while Hankins had limited snaps last season he was equally strong against the run. And most are ignoring the fact that Joseph almost never got to the quarterback and Hankins, because of his quickness that is far superior to Joseph’s, will. I think we have a perennial Pro Bowler in Hankins and it seems he’s flying WAY below the radar. And I still think everyone is underestimating Patterson. Before his health problems this guy was a top-of-the-heap defensive tackle. He looked good last season, and as long as his load is kept reasonable he’s a blue-chipper.

    Ayers should be close to equal to Tuck against the run, and while he may not get more than 4-5 sacks, that’s really about all that Tuck did if you subtract his inflated totals against the Skins and their non-existent offensive line. And in Tuck’s absence Kiwi (another under-appreciated player) and Moore will get more playing time, and both are better rushing the quarterback than was Tuck in his last few years. I’m not knocking our erstwhile captain. I love Tuck. But his best days were far behind him by 2012 and he had three pretty pedestrian seasons from 2011-2013 with the only throwback period being, thankfully, in the 2011 playoffs.

    Summing it up, I think our defensive front (and I am counting the addition of McClain who should be terrific against the run) should be at least as good, and probably better, than what we had last year, and a LOT better than most pundits are assuming. And I think both Hankins and Moore will emerge as stars in this league and, along with a revitalized JPP, a savvy Beason, and a very strong defensive backfield, make our defense a source of strength again.

    Stronger defense? Tough runners? Using the whole field in the passing game instead of “bombs away or run up the gut” all too often? Sounds like Giants’ football to me.

    BigBlueGiant says:
    June 11, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    i can’t agree with any of this. I’m sorry.

    Hankins while he MIGHT prove to be better than Joseph is in his 2nd year and unproven.

    Tuck > Ayers. Anyway you look at it. I could care less if Tucks stats were inflated bc of ONE game. He still made those plays, and they counted. Ayers will be Ok in replacing him, but i’m not expecting much production out of him.

    As much as I like Kiwi, he’s an average NFL DE at his best.

    Moore should get more snaps, and hopefully become the guy we all think he could be. But it’s still a mystery on how good he CAN be.

    And as for JPP, well, Contract year, says he’s “healthy”, so now’s the time to show and prove. But I still think we are all a bit uncertain of what to get out of him. We all WANT him to have a 16+ sack year etc, but I think he’ll have a decent year, nothing outstanding.

    I just don’t see it being a strong suit of ours. and believe it or not, this is the first time in a VERY long time that I could honestly say our Linebackers are better than our D-line.
    GOAT56 says:
    June 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    I’m not worry about Tuck’s loss because I agree Ayers can pretty much replace what we got most of the time from him. And Ayers is also similarly effective as a nickel pass rushing DT.

    With Hankins my concern is not his ability but how many snaps, games and consistent his play can be. If he’s able to translate what he did last year to 40-50 snaps per game and play every week he will effectively replace Joseph. I think he can do do but I just question if he will especially since stamita was an issue coming out of school.

    I’m not as high on Patterson as you but I agree if Patterson’s load is kept reasonable he will be fine. That’s why I think Hankins needs to emerge as the starter because I think a starters role is too much for Patterson at this point of his career.

    I like the upside of our front 7 and DL but I think our 3 guys 23 or younger and our 3 guys 30 and older cause some concern. I like our LBs more than I have in a while. I think with Beason, McClain and Paysinger we know we are going to get professional LB play on early downs. Beason in coverage and Williams/paysinger/taylor next to him in nickel is not as certain. I don’t see Beason leaving the field with the money we paid him on passing downs but I do wonder if Paysinger and Williams or taylor is not a better fit on 3rd downs.

  2.  BigBlueGiant says:

    I’d like the optimistic views around here about this team, but i like be honest with my evaluation of the state of the team.

    I think we SHOULD be improved from last season, but i do feel we will go through growing pains, and take our share of lumps early on in the season.

    AS the season progresses we’ll get better. But I don’t see a playoff team this year. I just don’t. I see a team that will be competitive for the most part, but the learning curves and new additions will hold us back from getting to the playoffs.

    i’m thinking 7-9 or 8-8.

    We are a year or two away from being a VERY good football team.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I agree with you thought but I just don’t see a team in the division better than us. I’m not a believer in Philly. Usually something new in the NFL Wildcat, Cam, RG3, etc. gets figured out in year 2. I don’t think the offense would have been as successful even with Djax. Without Djax their WRs are just average without him. You can play man on those WRs and focus on stopping McCoy now. Foles has to show me he can adjust to being scouted heavily as well. And the Philly defense is average at best to me. I just don’t see why we shouldn’t have the expectation we can win this division.

      •  BigBlueGiant says:

        I’m not saying Philly are going to be world beaters, but i think underestimating them is wrong.

        Riley Copper and Maclin can still ball and ball well. Maclin. Also, i they have Jordan Matthews who has been getting RAVE reviews by the beat writers down in Philly and are actually saying they won’t miss Djax one bit. Throw in two TE’s in Brent Celek and Tyler Eifert, and this philly offense won’t skip a beat without Djax.

        Right now, I would say that the ONLY reason i would put Philly ahead of us, is because they have a year already under Chip kelly’s offense.

        but what do I know? A new offense worked for them last year, so a new offense might prove to work in our advantage.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          I just don’t see it. Cooper has been around he’s a nice complimentary part but now he’s their 1B WR and I don’t see the same production. McClain I never though was that good any way. Those two pose no fear going one on one with DRC and Prince. Their TEs are good players but nothing crazy. And Mathews who I do like like is still a rookie who doesn’t scare me against thurman.

          I think you’re criminally underrating the fear factor of Djax. He makes you have to keep a safety over the top and not in the box against McCoy. These WRs don’t have any scare factor in them so Foles will be throwing into much tighter windows and won’t have as good of a running game.

          I think when you’re bringing innovation like Kelly did last year the second year people catch up to you then he will readjust after this year. I think this year helps defenses more than it helps their players.

  3.  GOAT56 says:


    We have questions but teams like Philly, Dallas, Atl I think people have too high. I think again this looks to be a below average division. The offensives should be good. But the defense aren’t good besides our IMO. Philly has the best chance decent defense outside of us but Washington has mostly the same players they have had the last few years so I don’t see the improvement. Dallas’ defense looks horrible. I also think in year 2 and no Djax Philly’s offense will take a major step back and IO wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up the worse in the division. I might be in the minority but Romo and RJ3 scare me way more than Foles and without Jackson Philly doesn’t have better weapons. Washington and Dallas both have very good offensives. Washington has probably the best skill position talent in the division their concern is the OL, I think RG3 will bounce back a play a lot better than last year. Dallas doesn’t have depth in their skill positions but they have some good ones and with Philly a quality OL.

    Basically I don’t think we have to “arrive” to win the division this and once your in the playoffs anything can happen.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      i do agree with this for the most part, but that Rookie WR for Philly is the real deal and a day 1 starter for them. He’s Djax replacement and gonna be a heck of a WR.

      That said, we still see Djax twice a year when we play the Skins, and the speed they have on the outside now will be much faster than the Eagles had in previous years. Just hope DRC and Prince are ready to cover Garcon and Djax on the outside. RG3 scrambling is going to free them up as well. Also, the Skins defense was hurt last year by Orakapo’s, Carriker’s injuries. They should be on the mend defensively.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Mathews even if good is a different type of WR and doesn’t cause you to put a safety over top. Djax is the type of presence that helps the offense even when he’s not catching the ball.

        I like our CBs against washington too but those are a different level of WR IMO so it will definitely be a battle. The redskin offense to me is the most scary we face in division and maybe overall.

        Orakpo and Carriker were healthy last year, you’re thinking of the year before. Hatcher is their big addition. HE was great last year and if he can translate that same performance to the redskins their defense will be better. But at 32 and going back to the 3-4 I question if Hatcher will be as good as last year. Plus Washington loses London Fletcher. Washington is dangerous.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Big Blue, you may prove right (by the way, I think we’re a year or two away from a really good team that should be thought to be in the real mix for a ring, so we don’t disagree there), but I think you are underestimating this year’s team and overestimating our Division. That would be a natural response to the garbage and rot we’ve all seen from the Giants the past two seasons, but the past is past. This is a VERY different roster and will have a VERY different offense. I do not think one can overestimate the difference that getting away from Kevin Gilbride will make on the offense. His was old, tired, predictable and not attuned to the players who were available and what they could actually do in 2012-2013. McAdoo comes in beholden to no one and having taken a fresh look at the players as well as coming from a system that had a radically different approach to offense but was still very successful because they had a top quarterback who could run a complex offense based upon quick reads and a lot of options at the line of scrimmage, as do we.

    Where you and I clearly disagree is in regard to the defense. It played pretty well last season, especially against the run, and while the pundits insist it has been savaged by the loss of Tuck and Joseph I could not disagree more. This defense HAS to be much better this season because the back seven is much better and the front four really should be at least as good, and likely significantly better since they got next to NOTHING from JPP last season and should see a dramatic turnaround in that regard. I’m no Pollyanna, but I just don’t think it’s a good argument that this defense will be weak. They were good enough to win more games than were won last season, and it should only get better (the loss of Hill is big and the ONLY one about which I worry, but a combination of Brown and the acquisition of DRC more than offsets that, and when you add Thurmond we’re in a whole new ballpark).

    I think we’ll be very competitive and have a very good shot at winning the division. And this team should get better as time goes on and Eli gets used to manipulating a more dynamic offense. That and what I think will be special teams that should be an order of magnitude better could make them a tough out in the playoffs if they get there. There’s hope for this team. And if they fall short at least we’ll have the pleasure of seeing the first step in the “rebuild-on-the-fly”. I’m really excited about the 2014 season.

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