Devon Kennard was a fifth-round pick in 2014, which means an NFL career was by no means a guarantee.
Well, Kennard, 24, has developed into quite a player for the Giants. He has 32 tackles and an interception in five games this year, this after totaling 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a rookie.
“I was fortunate,” the linebacker said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I knew I was a player who could play, and I just wanted to come in and try to earn my teammates’ and my coaches’ respect as soon as I came into the league with he way that I played the game. The Giants gave me a great opportunity, and I just have been trying to take it and run with it and get better and better every week.”
The Giants started the year 0-2 but have since won four of five and are atop the NFC East. They lost 27-7 to Philadelphia on Monday Night Football on Oct. 19, but responded with a 27-20 win over the Cowboys just six days later.
“I think it comes down to our resiliency,” Kennard said. “We have a resilient group of guys. We knew we needed to bounce back from that loss, and that loss couldn’t define us. We did just that. We didn’t play our best game against Philly, and we rallied the troops, had a good week of practice and came out and beat Dallas. That was a big one for us. We felt like we made too many mistakes the first time around and let them come back and win the game. We didn’t want that to happen this time around.”
New York plays three of its next four on the road, starting with a game against New Orleans (3-4) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Saints have won three of four.
“This is huge opportunity to us,” Kennard said. “New Orleans is (playing well and) getting things right. We need to continue to do the same thing. It’s going to be a great challenge for us against them. Drew Brees is clicking really well, so we got our hands full, but we’re excited for the opportunity. This is a big game for us.”
In other news, the Giants have reportedly reached a deal with Jason Pierre-Paul, who hopes to return to action sometime between Weeks 10 and 12. The Giants’ defense is only going to get better.
“As a player, all you can worry about is one week at a time,” Kennard said. “We’re playing for JPP. He’s a great player, great teammate and I can’t wait for him to get back and get healthy. But right now we have New Orleans and we’re worried about them. When he comes back, I know he’s going to be a great addition to add. His ability and what he can do on the football field will definitely help us, but for the time being, we got to go out and win games with the guys we have.”