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Spotlight on ... Under-the-radar roster moves

Al Bello

Stevie Brown couldn't cut it with the Oakland Raiders or Indianapolis Colts, who haven't exactly been NFL pillars of strength in recent years. Now, Brown just won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and he leads the league in turnovers.

Victor Cruz was an undrafted free agent who may end up being the best wide receiver in New York Giants' franchise history.

Henry Hynoski was an undrafted fullback out of Pittsburgh. Now, he might just be the premier blocking fullback in the NFL and could be headed to his first Pro Bowl.

Sean Locklear wasn't wanted by the Washington Redskins, a team with an atrocious offensive line last season. He has played well at left and right tackle for the Giants this season, even if David Diehl is now returning to the starting lineup.

Martellus Bennett spent four unproductive years in Dallas. Now, he looks like the best Giants' tight end since Jeremy Shockey.

There are examples throughtout the roster of unwanted players who have been unearthed by the Giants and have ended up contributing to a team that is perennially among the league's best.

Andre Brown, Domenik Hixon, Rocky Bernard, Chase Blackburn ... the list goes on. Rocky Bernard, Jake Ballard a season ago. Even Chris Canty was considered an under-achiever in Dallas and Cowboys' fans snickered when the Giants signed him.

The question is, how does general manager Jerry Reese keep coming up with these guys?

Are the Giants just lucky? Once in a while, maybe, but when they are proven right over and over and over with players other teams didn't want that is a whole lot more than luck.

Reese and the Giants aren't always right with their draft choices or their free-agent signings. They are, however, right a whole lot more often than many teams around the league. Which is a big part of why the Giants are perennial contenders.

The guys who work under Reese in the Giants' front office are:

Kevin Abrams, Assistant General Manager
Dave Gettleman, Senior Pro Personnel Analyst
Marc Ross, Director of College Scouting
Ken Sternfeld, Director of Pro Personnel
Matt Harriss, Director of Football Operations
Rita Giordanetti, Assistant to General Manager/Scouting

What the Giants do better than many teams is assess their needs in free agency and find players who fit those needs -- often low-cost or under-the-radar players. Never the big-ticket, splashy guys.

The Giants are also among the best in the business at identifying useful undrafted players. Almost every year there is an impact player among the UDFAs the Giants bring in.

How do the Giants do it? Fans really shouldn't care, they should just hope other teams don't figure it out.