C.J. Conrad

East Notes: Zeke, Giants, McCoy

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott managed to escape a suspension for a potentially troublesome incident in May, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that if Elliott should even come close to violating the league’s personal conduct policy again, the punishment will be severe. Commissioner Roger Goodell gave everyone in the league office this week off, so Florio believes the only reason for Goodell to summon Elliott to league headquarters on Tuesday was to sufficiently scare him into staying on the straight and narrow. Goodell has been less harsh with players who run afoul of league policies in recent history, but if Elliott should put another toe out of line in the future, the commissioner will likely hand out a lengthy ban, and his decision to not suspend Elliott this time will help to justify such a measure.

Now for more the league’s east divisions:

  • There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
  • In a separate 2019 positional preview piece, Schwartz examines the Giants‘ tight end group, which is headed by Evan Engram. Engram had a disappointing start to 2018, his second professional season, but when Odell Beckham missed the final four games of the season, Engram excelled and finished with some positive momentum. Now that OBJ is in Cleveland, New York will need Engram to show more of the same in a crucial year for his development. The club’s second TE, Rhett Ellison, is a favorite of HC Pat Shurmur, while returnee Scott Simonson will have to hold off C.J. Conrad — a UDFA who impressed this spring — and former Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, another UDFA who is trying to make the club as a TE/gadget player.
  • Vic Carucci of BNBlitz.com says it’s possible that Bills GM Brandon Beane and LeSean McCoy have adamantly pushed the notion that McCoy will be the team’s starter in 2019 in order to generate some trade interest. After all, the club does have a large stable of RBs, and McCoy, a 2020 free agent, appears to be nearing the end of his career. But Carucci says he has heard nothing to indicate that Buffalo is seeking to trade McCoy.
  • In the same piece, Carucci says he believes Levi Wallace will start for the Bills at cornerback opposite TreDavious White.
  • In case you missed it, we heard this morning that Cowboys edge rusher Randy Gregory will be applying for reinstatement shortly.
  • Also from this morning: the Giants may deploy safety Jabrill Peppers as their primary punt returner.

Giants Sign 13 UDFAs

The Giants announced that they have signed the following undrafted free agents in advance of tomorrow’s rookie minicamp:

Cue the quarterback controversy, as Dungey could be coming for Daniel Jones‘ job. Well, probably not, but Dungey was in high demand after the draft was over, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. Dungey had offers from about five clubs, but a telephone call between the former Orange signal-caller and New York head coach Pat Shurmur helped seal the deal. Dungey could theoretically stick as the third QB if Big Blue goes in that direction, and his athleticism will certainly help his case for a roster spot, as he could contribute on special teams and/or as a gadget player. Dungey passed for 9,340 yards with 58 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his four seasons at Syracuse, but he also rushed for 1,993 yards and 35 touchdowns.

The Giants addressed their flagging pass rush to some degree in the draft by selecting Old Dominion defensive end Oshane Ximines in the third round, and they may have uncovered a gem in Harvey, a converted running back. Harvey had 14.5 sacks last year and was named the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year.

As evidenced by the large amount of guaranteed money they’re giving him, the Giants think highly of Tauaefa, a tackling machine who is capable of making plays behind the line of scrimmage and who posted over 100 tackles in two of his three collegiate seasons. And after adding three DBs in the draft, Big Blue added three more via UDFA signings, further underscoring its commitment to improving its defensive backfield.