New York Giants tackle Matt McCants (71) walks off the field after minicamp Friday at the Timex Performance Center. Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Rookie offensive tackle Matt McCants had his head down and his New York Giants playbook open when I approached him in the New York Giants' locker room on Friday.
McCants, an offensive tackle from Alabama-Birmingham was drafted by the Giants in the sixth round, 201st overall. I asked him if he was feeling overwhelmed trying to assimilate everything after the first practice of rookie mini-camp.
"Overwhelmed wouldn't be the word," McCants said. "Just a sense of urgency, wanting to learn, wanting to get better."
McCants, who played left tackle at UAB is listed at 295 pounds in scouting reports from UAB, but now listed at 309 by the Giants. After Friday morning's first practice, coach Tom Coughlin said that McCants is "obviously a little bigger than we told you he was."
McCants said getting bigger and stronger has been -- and is continuing to be -- a focal point for him.
"I knew I had to get bigger and stronger," McCants said. "That was just one thing I focused on to be able to play on this level."
McCants was one of two offensive linemen drafted by the Giants. The other was Brandon Mosley, taken in the fourth round (131at overall). With Kareem McKenzie being allowed to leave as a free agent and David Diehl getting older, the Giants are obviously attempting to replenish the offensive line.
Last season the drafted tackle James Brewer in the fourth round. With Brewer, Mitch Petrus, Will Beatty and potentially Mosley and McCants there is a young nucleus of blockers who could work their way into key roles eventually. Beatty, of course, was the starting left tackle a season ago before being injured and should reclaim that job in 2012.
Again showing that sense of urgency he referred, McCants said he just wants to contribute "as soon as possible."
"My attitude is I want to play. I'll come out here and try to get better," McCants said. "The Giants drafted me, they believed in me. I'm just going ahead every day trying to get better, working toward playing in the NFL."
McCants comes with the reputation of being a versatile player who, while he played left tackle at UAB, could fit anywhere along the line. That is an assessment he hopes to prove accurate.
"I feel I can play anywhere on the offensive line. Anywhere the Giants need me to contribute I feel I can do it," McCants said. "They just told me to come in and work as hard as I can every day. That's what I'm gonna do."
McCants also has the reputation of being a better pass blocker than run blocker as he enters the NFL. He agrees.
"I feel like I'm a better pass blocker right now than I am a run blocker simply because I'm not as strong as I need to be," McCants said. "That's going to come."