The Giants will hold their rookie mini camp next weekend, giving us out first glimpse of the 2015 draft class. The names of the players invited to attend have not been officially released by the team, but they are slowly leaking out and are being cobbled together by various media outlets covering the Giants, including Giants360 – more on that in a bit. Earlier this year, the Giants made a big splash when they signed the top offensive lineman from the Canadian Football League (CFL), Brent Jones, to a free agent contract. Yesterday, Giants360 learned that eight additional top Canadian rookie prospects have been invited to attend the rookie mini camp and impress the Giants coaching staff to earn one of the Giants 90 off season roster spots.
The Giants Canadian connection is Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams, a native of Toronto, Ontario, who did his undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario. Abrams has been with the Giants since 1999, when he joined the team as a contract negotiator and salary cap analyst and has steadily risen through the ranks to his current position as Jerry Reese’s top lieutenant. According to Giants360’s source, Abrams is the reason the Giants are turning over every rock north of the border to find the best talent Canada has to offer in order to bolster the Giants roster.
University of Montreal linebacker Byron Archambault, a native of Montreal, Quebec, is the most impressive of the seven prospects scheduled to attend next weekend’s mini camp. At the CFL’s National Scouting Combine, Canada’s equivalent of the National Football League’s Scouting Combine, Archambault set a 2015 combine best 41 bench press repetitions. He was six short of the all time Canadian record, and ten below the NFL’s record of 51, set by Eastern Kentucky defensive tackle Justin Earnst in 1999. Earnst went undrafted and did not translate his combine record into a NFL career.
Archambault wasn’t done setting CFL combine bests on the weight bench, as he ran the best shuttle run, a test of explosiveness, with a time of 4.18 seconds. The NFL record is 3.81 seconds by Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen, who played for three different NFL teams from 2006 to 2013. Archambault is 5’11”, 243 pounds, and ran the 40 yard dash in 4.83 second. Archambault drew interest from American colleges following high school, but a snafu with his eligibility files, some with a hyphenated name, Byron Perez-Archambault, and others as Byron Archambault, prevented him from coming south for college. Arkansas was among the universities interested in him. Keep and eye out for the name Byron Archambault next weekend.
Defensive back Tevaughn Campbell turned heads when he set a CFL electronically timed 40 yard dash record with a time of 4.355 seconds. The former University of Regina player, 5’10” and 186 pounds, was second in both the broad jump (10 feet, 9 3/4 inches) and the Vertical Jump (38.5 inches). From Toronto, Ontario, Campbell has the good fortune to having an impressive set of skills at a position of need for the Giants, and will showcase his wares for Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo next weekend.
Two Calgary Dinos’ offensive linemen will join be attending. Sean McEwen is considered the 6th ranked prospect at the CFL combine, and recorded the fifth best bench press performance with 27 repetitions. At 6’2″, and 303 pounds, McEwen, from Calgary, Alberta, bring impressive size and strength in his quest to join the growing ranks of Giants offensive linemen. McEwen ran the 40 yard dash in 5.01 seconds. Dinos’ line mate Sukh Chungh will fit in well with the keyboard twisting names that Giants have added to the rosters of late. From Port Coquitlam British Columbia, he stands 6’4″, and weighs 300 pounds. Chungh ran the 40 yard dash in 5.27 seconds. Both will face the same challenge as Jones, adjusting to the different blocking angles in the American game, but as we learned in 2013, a team can never have enough quality offensive linemen.
Jacob Ruby hails from London Ontario, but played his collegiate ball at the University of Richmond. He is a mammoth offensive tackle, standing 6’6″ and weighing 312 pounds. Ruby runs the 40 yard dash in 5.26 seconds and started 47 games during his collegiate career.
Having caught passes from Colin Kaepernick at the University of Nevada, wide receiver Lemar Durant subsequently transferred to Canadian Simon Fraser University. In 25 games at Simon Fraser, he caught 175 passes, for 2,392 yards, and 28 touchdowns. Standing 6’2″ tall and weighing 233 pounds, Durant is a big target with decent speed, running the 40 yard dash in 4.55 seconds. The Colquitlam, British Columbia native is a dual Canadian/United States citizen.
Defensive lineman Daryl Waud attended Abrams alma mater, the University of Western Ontario, and is the third ranked prospect by the CFL Scouting Bureau. He was invited to play in the East-West Shrine game, and turned a few heads with the plays he made in the game. At 6’4″, 282 pounds, Waud runs the 40 yard dash in 5.12 seconds, giving him the size and speed needed to make an impact in the NFL. At the CFL Combine, Waud was disappointed by his performance, as he was largely shut down – by fellow Giants mini camp attendees McEwen and Chungh.
Add wide receiver Addison Richards to the fray, at 6’5″, 205 pounds, Richards is a red zone target in the making. Running the 40 yards dash at a respectable, but mid range4.63 seconds, Richards will not stretch the field like current Giants phenomenon, Odell Beckham, jr., but he will cross into the vacated slots in the defense left when Beckham whizzes by. Richards played in the East-West Shrine game, and showed that he was able to hold his own with the top American prospects in the game. He needs to improve his route running and skills at releasing off the line of scrimmage.
Some players on the Giants roster will be among the players attending the rookie mini camp, with the names being released later in the week. If Brent Jones is among them it will bring the total Canadian attendance to a total of eight players. Giants fans may find themselves saying, “Nice play, eh?” at Metlife Stadium in the fall.
It’s important to keep in mind that the undrafted free agent (UDFA) signing winds change as frequently as the tides in the days that follow the NFL draft. The Giants currently have 5 roster spots available for UDFA’s, and can always create more by waiving players. The following six have been rumored to have signed contracts to join the team, but can’t be confirmed without a statement from the team or seeing their name added to the official roster: Illinois tight end Matt LaCosse, Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand, Western Michigan free safety Justin Currie, Purdue running back Akeem Hunt, Cincinnati defensive end Brad Harrah and Tulane offensive tackle Sean Donnelly. Some new additions from Ralph Vacchiano’s The Blue Screen are wide receiver Taylor Belstering from Huntington College in Alabama, cornerback Qua Cox, who attended Jackson State and Colts camp last summer, and defensive tackle Donte Rumph, Kentucky, who was in Falcons camp last summer, and was interviewed by your author and Preston Bailey when he we both were guests on Bailey’s excellent Smash Mouth Sports program.
Other players reported to have accepted invitations to attend the Giants rookie mini camp are: Cincinnati defensive end Brad Harrah, Penn State defensive end Brad Bars, Tulane tight end Mat Marsifi, Southern Connecticut defensive end Carlif Taylor, and Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. Check back here frequently as Giants360 will update this list throughout the week as more information becomes available and we confirm the reports we’ve seen about the camp attendees.