The Giants certainly took a lot of “projection” draft picks last week. Jason Pierre-Paul played only one year of major college football, Linval Joseph came out early, Chad Jones has never had a full offseason of training for football, and Mitch Petrus has only been an offensive lineman for two seasons.
But the guy who is the real project is Adrian Tracy. He’s a defensive end from William & Mary, which in itself would be mean a big leap from I-AA to the NFL. But on top of the dramatic change in talent, he will now be a linebacker for the Giants. Basically he’s learning a new position on the pro level.
“I’m not going to lie, today was a pretty intense day,” he said after his first workout with the team. “You play at the next level and things are extremely fast on top of learning a new position. But I’m definitely excited to be here and to be doing so.”
Tracy last played linebacker with any regularity as a freshman in high school. When his season and career ended at William & Mary he started training for the NFL and in speaking with scouts and other league personnel it became clear that his future was not as a 6-2, 248-pound defensive end.
“They were saying that they see me as a linebacker in a 3-4, sometimes in a 4-3 like here,” Tracy said. “I started to work on those things because I primarily had my hand in the dirt at William & Mary. Getting that little heads up definitely helped me out a little bit as far as doing some movement things, getting my hips a little bit looser, and reading coverages and seeing different things.”
He said he has not studied tapes of any particular players.
“I was just trying to get a feel of the basics before I tried to emulate certain players,” he said. “It’s definitely different than having your hand in the dirt. You have different keys, you have to cover different individuals, tight ends, running backs. It was more of me getting a feel for the position itself.”
The biggest adjustment – other than remembering not to get into a three-point stance, which Tracy said he’s accomplishing – is pass coverage. William & Mary did some zone blitzing which required the defensive ends to drop back once in a while. But as a strongside linebacker, he’ll have to do that a lot more. And in a different context.
“That was to the boundaries so we were helped by the sideline as well as the other players flanking us,” Tracy said. “Here it’s not that at all. It’s definitely a different transition.”
But one he and the Giants feel he can make.
PHOTOS: Giants rookie minicamp