Giants only have Victor Cruz because he was a local UDFA

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants celebrates with his teammates after catching a two yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning #10 in the first quarter against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

There are some brutal truths in the NFL Draft process. Quite often by circumstance, good players get overlooked, go undrafted and have to prove themselves in any opportunity given.

There is no better case of that currently than New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Undrafted out of Massachusetts, Cruz played only three games of his rookie season in 2010 before missing the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.

In 2011, if not for injuries to Domenik Hixon and Mario Manningham, Cruz would have received little playing time again. But with them out, Cruz became the star of the Giants' talented receiving group. Often playing out of the slot, he finished the year with 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.

But it all almost never happened for Cruz with the Giants. At the NFL Combine on Saturday, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said the team had him rated as an undrafted free agent like everyone else.

"If he wasn’t a local free agent, we wouldn’t have brought him in," Reese said. "You get lucky in scouting sometimes."

Reese gave much of the credit to Cruz, who is from Patterson, New Jersey. But he also gave credit to Eli Manning, who Reese said makes players around him better.

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