TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsFootballGiants

NFL playoffs feature a number of former Giants players

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Rams scores the

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Rams scores the game-winning touchdown against the Ravens during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 2 in Baltimore. Credit: Getty Images/Patrick Smith

No one can say the Giants have not made the playoffs.

Well, they certainly didn’t while representing the Giants. But the postseason is sprinkled with plenty of players who once played for Big Blue and, for one reason or another, landed elsewhere. Prosperously in terms of on-field success, it turns out.

Of the 14 teams still playing, 10 have at least one former Giant on their roster. There isn’t a wild-card game that will be played this weekend without an ex-Giant somewhere on the field.

They won’t all be impact players. The Cowboys have four former Giants — safety Darian Thompson, cornerback C.J. Goodwin, running back Corey Clement and backup quarterback Cooper Rush — and probably are not relying on any of them for significant contributions in their game against the 49ers.

But for every one of those peripheral players, sideline huggers or even practice squad hopefuls who could be called up at some point in the playoffs, there are very recognizable names who are starters and in some cases stars for postseason contenders.

In fact, there are five former first-round picks by the Giants on teams playing this weekend: Odell Beckham Jr. with the Rams, Jason Pierre-Paul with the Bucs, Eli Apple with the Bengals, Justin Pugh with the Cardinals and DeAndre Baker with Kansas City.

Other draft picks of the Giants who have found themselves in the postseason include Bobby Hart and Davis Webb with the Bills, Jonathan Hankins with the Raiders, B.J. Hill with the Bengals, Andrew Adams with the Bucs and Devon Kennard with the Cardinals.

The Rams have two cornerbacks who started their careers with the Giants as undrafted players: Dont’e Deayon and Grant Haley. They were teammates in the Giants’ secondary with Janoris Jenkins, now a starting cornerback for the Titans, and Apple, now with the Bengals.

Every team that isn’t in the playoffs probably can find a few of its former players who are. There is so much turnover in the NFL that it’s hard to avoid that. What makes perusing the postseason rosters for former Giants so tantalizing is the number of players who could have been very helpful to them this season.

There are three backup quarterbacks — Webb, Rush and the Cardinals’ Colt McCoy — who certainly would have been better options for the Giants down the stretch than the ones they tried to get by with in Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm. Their pass rush certainly would have been bolstered by Pierre-Paul and Markus Golden, now with Arizona.

There was a time not long ago when the biggest mistakes made by the Giants’ front office came from keeping players around too long. There was too much loyalty, it seemed, and people were paid for past accomplishments rather than what they could contribute going forward.

Now, perhaps because of an overplayed course correction, the opposite seems to be the case. The Giants can be rightfully accused of giving up on talented players too quickly.

Don’t think so? Just watch the playoffs. The chances are pretty good that at least one player with a Giants background will be winning a ring while his former team again watches from home.

Remember the Titans. The Giants continued their first round of interviews for general manager on Friday, meeting virtually with Ryan Cowden and Monti Ossenfort, both members of the Titans’ front office. Cowder is Tennessee’s vice president of player personnel and Ossenfort is the director of player personnel.

The first round of interviews will continue on Saturday with Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz and is expected to conclude on Monday with two members of the 49ers’ front office: assistant general manager Adam Peters and director of player personnel Ran Carthon.

Assuming the Giants like any of them enough for second interviews – and indications are they already do – those would take place in person later next week, with a final decision perhaps coming by the weekend.

New York Sports