Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
CORNERBACK SAM BEAL PUT HIS "LOST SEASON" TO GOOD USE BY STUDYING
By Dave Klein
the Giants drafted cornerback Sam Beal in the third round of the Supplemental
Draft last summer, he was 6-1 and 177.
The kid from Western Michigan was spoken of as an under-the-radar star, and at
least two scouts privately criticized the teams for which they work for not having
taken him earlier.
So what happened?
Did he become an instant star? Nope, in his first rookie practice he suffered
an injury to his shoulder, tried to play through it for a week and finally was
told that he needed surgery to repair the damage and that 2018 was going to be
simply a learning experience while he healed.
Well, guess what? He healed, he has put on weight (he's now 6-1 and 190, and is
being projected as a starter, probably to replace the traded Eli Apple and all
the pretenders who came along to try to fill that void.
Beal, who was born and raised in Carl Banks' hometown of Grand Rapids, has looked
good during the first few practices this summer. He has quick speed and reactions,
an instinct for the ball, hits hard and displays good "hip movement,"
which is crucial in the eyes of scouts because it allows him to follow the circuitous
routes of wide receivers without losing a step or, more critically, their man.
There are lots of cornerbacks prancing and dancing on the field at MetLife Stadium
these days (in fact, a three-day minicamp starts Tuesday) but Beal appears to
be in the front of the line as one of the two starters. Veteran Janoris Jenkins,
barring a cataclysmic injury, will almost certainly be the other starter in the
front level of the new secondary.
was asked about the shoulder, and (this is not a pun) shrugged it off casually.
"I don't think about it anymore," he said. "I can't think about
it. When I first got on the field this year, I was just thinking that I had to
compete. They [the coaches] told me I was going be with the [‘ones', the first
team] and that excited me. I was able to go out there and show them what I can
He apparently showed them
plenty, since he's still with the first unit. And all indications are that he's
going to stay there. "I just love flying around and competing with those
guys," he says. "That's what makes all this fun."
The injury and the recuperation didn't take a minute away from Beal's learning
process, and now, as he says, he feels like one of the coaches. "Learning
from the older guys and having veteran coaches to teach me all last season made
me smart, so when I got out there this time it all came together, and everything
went smoothly. Besides, I just feel good about there able to be out there."
Beal liked seeing the Giants draft so many cornerbacks in April. "We are
calling it the new NYPD," he joked. "The New York Pass Defense."
For the record, the new corners include DeAndre Baker (first round, 30th overall
pick), Julian Love (fourth round) and Corey Ballentine (sixth round), along with
a horde of free agents including Grant Haley, Antonio Hamilton, Tony Lippett,
Henre Toliver and Ronald Zamort (a teammate of Beal's at Western Michigan).
And the confidence just keeps on oozing. "I feel I'm more qualified to be
a starter now just because of all the film work I did last season," he explained.
"That helps you on a different level. You see stuff out there [on the field]
that you have already seen on film, so that kind of helps, too."
And then he added: "Being here last year without playing but watching and
studying, I think, I'm playing faster. No, I'm not worried about that first hit
(NFLPA rules prohibit contact during OTAs). I don't even think about it. The doctors
assured me everything is fine; the shoulder is in place and it's secure and the
more I do the better it's going to be."
So the kid who didn't play last season, who is still technically a rookie, has
also become a player-coach of sorts.
"I will do everything I can do to help this team," he said, and it might
be added that just being on the field, and healthy, is going to be a major help
to the secondary.
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