2011 Senior Bowl: Mark Herzlich On Giants' Radar

The New York Giants are generally pretty stealthy when it comes to things like letting people know who they might be targeting in the draft or via free agency. So, it can't be a huge surprise that while various draft sites have been trying all week to connect the dots between players and NFL teams, nary a word has been mentioned about the Giants.

Well, SB Nation's Mocking The Draft has finally connected the Giants to at least one player at this week's Senior Bowl -- Boston College outside linebacker Mark Herzlich.

If you don't know Herzlich's story it is a compelling one. Here it is, summarized by the Boston Globe:

The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, he learned a few months after that season — after feeling sharp pain in his left leg — that he was suffering from Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

He missed the entire 2009 season, and with it an opportunity to be a top-10 pick in the draft. In the grand scheme, of course, that is minor.

Herzlich, a Pennsylvania native, attacked the disease with the ferocity he once directed at opponents, and returned to the Eagles last season. He was limited late in the season by a broken hand but is now healthy and has been training consistently. He feels he is as good as he’s ever been, if not better.

Now he just has to convince teams of that.

"I think this week I’m trying to ease their minds,’’ said Herzlich. "I’m sure coming into this game people had questions about the health and stuff. Hopefully by the end of it, they’ll realize that’s not an issue.’’

Reports throughout the week of whether or not he has been able to do that fully have been mixed. Here is one such report from ESPN:

He is a big kid with long strides and can cover a lot of ground. He shows good range. ... But it's also clear why his stock has dropped. He doesn't have the closing burst he showed prior to his battle with bone cancer, he's not getting to as many balls as he used to and a glaring issue is his stiffness in space. He really struggled to open it up in zone coverage and it wasn't just one play; he was consistently struggling. He also struggled in man coverage. ... It's impossible not to root for Herzlich with all he's been through, but you can't ignore what you're seeing. Right now, he's a Day 3 pick, but he's also played like a first-rounder in the past. It's going to be a tough decision for any team and a lot will come down to the medical reports and a team's belief whether or not he will regain that first-round form.

-- More on Herzlich later in our NFL Draft Prospect Profile series

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