Here are a few of the stories floating around the Inter-Google about our New York Giants today following the conclusion of rookie mini-camp.
- Mike Garafolo has a really nice piece in which he speaks with rookie wide receiver Ramses Barden and his dad, Al. I don't know how good of a player Barden will be, but the story leaves the impression that he is a very impressive young man. Here is part of it.
There's a lot about Ramses Barden that requires a leap of faith: A third-round draft pick from a Division 1-AA/FCS college program trying to make it in the NFL, a leader at a position that doesn't produce many, and a well-behaved wide receiver who doesn't have a blemish on his academic, personal or legal record.
At 6-6, 229 pounds, Barden has the size of Plaxico Burress, but not the extra baggage.
"You never worried where Ramses was the night before a game," said Rich Ellerson, Barden's coach at Cal Poly. "And when my phone rang in the middle of the night, I knew it wasn't going to be him on the other end."
A two-time unanimous All-America selection who is one of only three players in Division 1-AA/FCS history to catch more than 50 career touchdowns, Barden will have to make plenty of adjustments to the NFL level, such as learning to beat press coverage against bigger, more physical cornerbacks than he faced in college.
Off the field, however, he already looks and acts like a veteran.
Minutes after he was drafted last month, Barden was asked on a conference call with reporters about his solid performance against Wisconsin and whether it gave him confidence about playing against top competition. Instead of boasting and declaring himself NFL-ready, Barden talked about the value of the challenge for the entire Cal Poly team and about how it was just another opportunity to play the game he loved.
On Friday, the first day of the Giants' rookie camp, Barden was asked about Burress -- everything from whether he's watched him play to if he asked for his jersey number -- and he replied, "no comment," with a smile or laugh each time, though he admitted he wanted the No. 11 he wore in college that will forever belong to Phil Simms in Giants blue.
"My pressure is to work hard on the practice field, in meeting rooms and watching film. The rest will take care of itself," said Barden, who impressed at rookie camp before leaving practice yesterday with a minor hamstring injury. "I'm here for a job and that's to be the best player I can be."
I happen to know that MG put a great deal of time into researching this piece. Take the time to read the rest of it. It's worth the effort.
- ESPN's Matt Mosley has a pair of nice feature stories coming out of mini-camp. One is about running back Andre Brown, the Giants' fourth-round pick. The other one is a Q&A with veteran wide receiver Domenik Hixon. Here's a snippet of the Hixon interview.
Hixon: I wouldn't say pressure. I was kind of hard on myself with some things. That's a tough learning curve. You could definitely say that the level of expectation changed. But I just kept trying to get better.
Beast: I'm sure you heard all the rumors about you guys trading for veteran receivers such as Braylon Edwards and Anquan Boldin. How much attention did you pay to that, and does it give you some confidence that the team didn't feel compelled to bring in a veteran?
Hixon: I stay out of all that, but my friends and family do a pretty good job of informing me what's going on. When I started hearing my name come up in stories about a trade to the Browns, everyone from back home started calling. It's not like I was a big Browns fan or anything, but they all thought it would be cool for me to come home. As for me feeling better about my status on the team, I never allow myself to get comfortable. That's the best way for me to operate.