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How Did Cap Capi Land On Giants’ Practice Squad

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Linebacker had dominant preseason for Arizona Cardinals

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals
Cap Capi
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wherever he goes, Nordly “Cap” Capi seems to end up as a fan favorite. That happened with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. It happened again this preseason with the Arizona Cardinals, despite Capi playing extraordinarily well.

Seth Cox of SB Nation’s Cardinals web site, Revenge of the Birds, had great things to say about Capi:

Cap Capi seems to be an odd fit in New York, not sure where they are lining him up.

However, what you know you'll get from Capi is 100 percent on every play, maybe to a fault.

Cardinals fans came to adore Capi this preseaon, see a lot of Markus Golden in his game, a relentless, hard working, non-stop motor. It made him seem like a lock for the roster in 2017, as he was the best pass rushing linebacker on the team in the preseason.

Maybe there is something we don't know: freelanced too much? Locker room issues? Didn't practice the same way he played?

All I know is that if/when he gets a chance, Giants fans will love watching him play.

Golden, for those who don’t know, is an outside linebacker was Arizona’s second-round pick in 2015. He had 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. If Capi was that good he wouldn’t be on the Giants’ practice squad, but it is still an interesting comparison.

It’s hard to blame ROTB’s COX for gushing about Capi. Remember when I said he played extaordinarily well for Arizona in the preseason?

From Pro Football Focus, here is just how well:

Key Stat: Played 199 snaps, 20 more than any other edge rusher in the preseason.

Another of the preseason MVPs, it’s difficult to envisage what more Cap Capi could have done in preseason to earn a roster spot with the Cardinals. His overall PFF grade of 84.8 was fourth among all edge-rushers and he played 20 more snaps than any other player at that position, generating two sacks, five hits, 11 hurries and 10 defensive stops over his 199 snaps. Capi had pressure in all five of his preseason games.

Capi also did this in the Hall of Fame Game:

That’s impressive, even though that is not Tyron Smith at left tackle.

Yet Capi, a a 6-foot-3, 249-pound undrafted free agent from Akron, did not make the Arizona roster. He went unclaimed on waivers. The Cardinals apparently didn’t even offer him a spot on their practice squad. The Giants will be his fifth NFL organization in three years, with the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons being the others. The Giants will be his fourth practice squad in two seasons.

What gives? Why hasn’t a guy showing this kind of production been able to find a spot on a roster yet? Maybe he is still at least somewhat paying the price for getting booted off the Colorado State football team when a fight led to a drug probe that implicated him.

Maybe he is a ‘tweener, too small to be a defensive end but not really equipped to handle all of the duties of a 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL.

Whatever the reasons, the Giants saw enough that Capi will be the only player starting the season on their 10-man practice squad who was not with them for at least part of the preseason.

Cox wondered how Capi would fit with the Giants, who play a base 4-3 rather than the 3-4 favored in Arizona. During the preseason, though, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo showed some 3-4 looks. He also showed a look with a fifth defensive lineman on the field, using Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss and others as stand-up pass rushers. Sometimes Spags would bring pressure, other times a zone blitz was used with one of the five linemen dropping out.

Perhaps the Giants see Capi as a player who might be able to fill that role. Either way, it’s an intriguing move by the Giants.