Sometimes when a player reaches the professional level they have to make adjustments and possibly play a new position. Adrian Tracy has certainly seen his share of that.
The New York Giants selected Tracy in the sixth round of the 2009 draft as a defensive end, but moved him to outside linebacker. After spending his rookie season injured and 2011 on the practice squad the Giants have moved him to defensive end again. As difficult as the transitions were, Tracy looks at it as a learning experience that has only made him stronger.
"For the first time, at this highest level, it was pretty hard for me to adjust," said Tracy. "I wouldn't take anything that happened to me, these first two years, as anything bad. It was all necessary for me to build and mature and grow and hopefully I'll use that as a stepping stone, this year, to be a part of this team and be a stable on the defense."
After spending the last two years at linebacker Tracy admits that being back at defensive end this season gives him a better feeling of control on the field.
"It felt good," said Tracy. "I knew my assignment. I knew my alignment in what I was supposed to do and what was required of me. Sometimes it may not have happened as I had hoped or the coaches had hoped, but I think that's the biggest thing; was knowing what you're doing and getting in line and just going to play ball."
According to ESPN New York, Osi Umenyiora has dubbed Tracy as a "Young Os" because he sees a lot of himself in Tracy. "He's doing a phenomenal job," said Umenyiora. "I love the way he plays and prepares. He's always learning to learn, he's always with me training afterwards, working on different things. You hear him asking questions and he's willing to get better. It's very good to see a young guy like that performing the way he's performing."
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka has also had talks with Tracy as he also sees the potential in his play. "He's a mentally tough individual and he's a hell of a player, so I don't have any concern about whether or not he'll adjust to it," said Kiwanuka.
Tracy has been taking the advice of the veterans like Umenyiora and Justin Tuck and looks to transition that to his play. "It helps a lot," said Tracy. "and I think the biggest thing is that they have the experience and they've been to the top of the mountain. I'm always in Osi's and Tuck's ear asking them questions about run and pass plays and see what I can do better in both of those areas."
When asked about comparisons between him and Umenyiora, Tracy said that they have similar height and build, but won't admit who's faster. "I plead the fifth," said Tracy. "If he wants to race, we can race."
Tracy has a good opportunity to make the 53-man roster as a reserve defensive end. When training camp began, he appeared to be competing with Justin Trattou for the spot left when Dave Tollefson signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent. Trattou has been sidelined most of camp by foot and ankle injuries, nearly guaranteeing Tracy a spot on the roster.
"You can see the power. You can see the things that he can do well," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "I look forward to him gaining a little more sophistication and knowledge about what we need for him to do and his recognition and reaction from what the offense is trying to do to him. It’s encouraging."