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News » Giants' good hands people Rookie wide receivers have firm grip on role

Giants' good hands people Rookie wide receivers have firm grip on role

Giants' good hands people Rookie wide receivers     have firm grip on role
EAST RUTHERFORD ? Tom Coughlin was asked what specifically impressed him about his two drafted wide receivers, Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, after Friday morning's first Giants rookie minicamp practice.

"They caught the ball, they caught the ball well," he replied.

"That's kind of my job description," said Nicks, the No. 1 draft pick out of North Carolina. "Wide receivers are supposed to catch the ball."

"I want to do everything right, and catching the ball certainly is part of the equation," said Barden, a third-round pick from Cal Poly.

The two young wide receivers are important additions since the Giants have lost both starting wideouts from last year, Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. The rookies cannot make up for the lost experience, but might make it easier for the Giants to obtain some experience from another NFL team.

Remember, just a year ago Jeremy Shockey was the Giants' starting tight end. General manager Jerry Reese made reference to that several times. But by the time training camp started, Shockey was in New Orleans, having complained his way out of the Meadowlands.

Right now, Braylon Edwards is the Browns' starting wide receiver. But he still has time to talk his way out of Cleveland, perhaps to the Giants . And Reese would feel a lot more comfortable including one of his current young wideouts such as Mario Manningham or Domenik Hixon in a deal to secure Edwards if he is certain Nicks and Barden are legitimate NFL prospects.

"They are both big, strong receivers," Coughlin said of the rookies. "I think they will both be able to go inside. I know they both will be ? studying them as hard as we did ? good in the [red] zone as well."

Neither Nicks nor Barden dropped a ball in the morning workout, and each caught a deep ball, Nicks from Andre Woodson, Barden from Rhett Bomar. While that doesn't qualify either for Canton, it's a lot better than had they come in dropping every other pass.

"Nothing is guaranteed me," said the 6-foot, 212-pound Nicks, who wears No. 18 since punter Jeff Feagles has reclaimed the No. 17 jersey he gave up for Burress. "I just have to be myself and find my role, whatever that might be."

Nicks played all three receiver spots for the Tar Heels and often got the other receivers in their right spots before the snap. "You have to know what everybody's doing on the field," he said. "That's just the game of Football. Me being a leader on and off the field, on the field especially, I wanted to make sure everybody's doing what they are supposed to be doing."

Barden, at 6 feet 6 and 227 pounds, has taken No. 13 because the No. 11 he requested is retired for Phil Simms. "A lot of guys work hard to get this far, and then they don't get any further," he said. "I want to show I'm capable of being a player on this level."

And he wanted to show that from his first practice as a rookie.

"You only get one opportunity to make a first impression," he said, "so I made it a point to pay attention, do whatever I was told to do and be where I was supposed to be."

BRIEFS: Former St. Joseph linebacker Andy Romans is among the 33 players getting tryouts during the two-day camp. The 5-11, 215-pound Romans played collegiately at Lafayette? Former Jacksonville tight end George Wrighster, former Green Bay wide receiver Shaun Bodiford and former Dallas punter Sam Paulescu are veterans getting a look-see.

E-mail ditrani@northjersey.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 11, 2009

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