For Giants wide receiver Dan DePalma, the Super Bowl still hasn’t ended.
As a practice squad player last season, the West Chester product and Verona, NJ native was asked to mimic New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker in preparation for the big game. And even though DePalma was in street clothes at Lucas Oil Stadium, he still feels as though his contribution was noticed and appreciated.
“I was getting open in practice, catching a lot of passes, doing well, really focusing on what Welker would do in a game and I think it definitely helped our defense out,” DePalma said of Welker, who did have seven catches but just 60 yards in the Super Bowl. “(Welker) didn’t make any plays one on one against Antrel (Rolle) and (Rolle) locked him down for the majority of the game.”
The stakes may have changed for many of the more-established Giants, but DePalma is still living and dying with every play.
“The jobs are very minimal and everybody’s competing at the highest level,” DePalma said.
DePalma is gunning for a roster spot on a team that has Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, second-round pick Rueben Randle, veterans Domenik Hixon, <span data-shortcode=es Barden" data-canon="Ramses Barden" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0"> and Jerrel Jernigan, as well as several players that are in his situation like Isaiah Stanback and David Douglas.
That’s why DePalma, who played cornerback as a collegiate sophomore, has offered to play defensive back.
“You know it opens up eyes to the coaches,” said DePalma, who was emboldened by the Patriots’ Julian Edelman’s success as a two-way player.
“It’s not anything out of the realm of possibilities for me. I could do it. Just teach it to me and put me out there and I’ll do it to the best of my abilities.”
DePalma hasn’t been taken up on his offer yet, although the subject has been discussed with coaches.
In the meantime, DePalma, who is coming off a minor hip surgery, has had no trouble showing his versatility on offense.
Playing in a wing-T, spread offense at West Chester, DePalma primarily lined up on the outside. However, he was rarely used as a downfield receiver, instead racking up 962 yards in 2010 on the types of routes slot receivers typically run, and that improves DePalma’s chances of getting reps in the slot with the Giants.
“My senior year they threw me around a little bit, kind of like what I’m doing now,” he said. “A lot of 1-on-1 situations, a lot like what the Giants do in the slot. It’s kind of fitting right into my wheelhouse.”
The Giants already have Cruz and Jernigan in the slot, so the 5-11 DePalma has seen time at every receiver and practically every special teams position.
DePalma knows the depth chart is stacked against him. If he’s going to make the team, he has to be more of a football player than just a wide receiver.
But considering DePalma threw a pass, rushed the ball, served as a returner and had four interceptions (including a pick six) as a collegiate player, he already has a head start in that department.
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