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With the ninth pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select offensive tackle Ereck Flowers from the University of Miami.
SCOUTING REPORT: A junior entry, Flowers is very young and just turned 21 in April. At 6’6”, 329 pounds, Flowers is a massive player with outstanding strength. Flowers played both left and right tackle at Miami and the Giants feel he has the athleticism to play either tackle spot at the pro level. Flowers is a very powerful, physical, violent run blocker who plays with a mean, nasty streak. He can muscle and maul defenders and is able to effectively engage defenders at the second level. Flowers has the feet, agility, and overall athleticism to become a very good pass protector, but he needs technique work in that area. He also needs to do a better job of recognizing blitzes and stunts.
Opening Statement: Ereck Flowers – Offensive Tackle, University of Miami. Highest guy on the board. A lot of things to like about him. Obviously he’s a gigantic human being. Really long arms. He was the strongest guy at the combine. Arms … I think his arms were 34 ½ inches. He can play left or right tackle. That’s up to Coach Coughlin where he plays, but we think he can be a long time tackle for the New York Giants. Any questions about him?
Q: What about him as opposed to some of the other offensive linemen?
A: There were some good offensive linemen up there, but he was the highest guy on our board where we picked him. We think it’s all upside with him. A couple of days ago, I think he just turned 21. So those are things that we like. He’s young, powerful, big, tough, he’s got a nasty streak. All of those things we like about him.
Q: Is he polished enough to step in?
A: All college players have to learn the speed of the game when they get up here and play against these defensive linemen and these defensive schemes in this league, but obviously he’ll have to catch up to the speed of the National Football League. But he’s played at a high level of competition and we think he’ll catch up pretty quickly.
Q: Can you see him playing guard or do you see him strictly playing tackle?
A: I think he can play anywhere. I think he can play guard. I think he’s naturally a tackle, but I think he can play guard.
Q: How would you rate his run blocking versus pass protection?
A: If I had to rate one versus the other, I think he’s good at both. I think if I had to grade one over the other, I think he’s probably a better pass blocker. He’s very productive as a pass blocker, but I think he’s a very good run blocker as well.
Q: Was he your guy all along or when Washington took (Brandon) Scherff, did that change any plans?
A: We liked both of those guys. I can tell you that. We liked both of them and we thought they would both be terrific players.
Q: Do you project him as a possible left tackle?
A: Yeah, you would think so. You would think he can play left tackle. He could play right tackle. We project him as a really good football player, first, and where he ends up, that’s up to our coaches.
Q: Was this a pretty good marriage in terms of the needs of the team?
A: We always talk about we’re going to take the best player, but we’re always cognizant of what our need is as well and we think this is a good need and a value pick for us. We think this can help solidify the offensive line, so hopefully this will settle the offensive line down and we don’t have to keep talking about the offensive line as much.
Q: Did you go check him out personally at his pro day? What did you see when you were down there?
A: I did go to the pro day and I saw a big guy. There were 32 teams there and probably 10-12 offensive line coaches, and they put him through a lot of drills. It was hot down there and he stayed out there and he went through every drill and never complained a bit. He did an outstanding job down there.
Q: When did you first get wind of him?
A: Our scouts. Our scouts do the work. They liked him and obviously Mark Ross liked him. Our coaches did work. Pat Flaherty was down there at the pro day. We liked him at the combine and we interviewed him at the combine. We brought him in here for one of our visits, so we’ve done a lot of work on him and we’re really happy to have a player of his caliber.
Q: Has it been a little frustrating for some draft picks to not have panned out?
A: You’re always trying to fix some problems you have on your team, and offensive line has been an issue for a couple of years and we’re trying to finally solidify the offensive line, and I feel like we’ve got some strong caliber players in the offensive line and we just need them to stay healthy and gel together and play well.
Q: How does his nasty streak manifest itself?
A: He’s just a big, tough guy. That’s one of the things when you talk to the coaches down there, it’s like this guy doesn’t take any crap from anybody. We like that and you can see that in his play. He likes to finish guys off and that kind of fits the offensive profile that we like. We like some big, tough guys with a little bit of a nasty streak.
Q: Did you ever consider trading up or down at any point?
A: I won’t talk about that.
Q: Was there any feeling to move up when Leonard Williams was dropping?
A: I won’t talk about that.
Q: What do you think about Ereck Flowers?
A: Ereck is, as you have probably heard, a physical, nasty, tough football player and you just don’t see that too often anymore in college football. He is a man-child physically. He is gigantic. He has long arms. He just turned 21 on Saturday. Super productive against the highest level of competition there, the Florida States and the Nebraskas. He is a good player who is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.
Q: Where do you see him position-wise?
A: Tackle, for sure. He can play [either side]. He has done that. He played right tackle as a freshman. He played left tackle the last two years, so wherever the coaches want to play him and feel most comfortable right now, but I feel he can do either tackle spot.
Q: Do you see that his weakness is with his techniques?
A: You read that stuff. The guy is 20. They all have technique flaws. Nobody is ready-made to play in the NFL. Even fourth- or fifth-year seniors. They all can improve. He is just learning to play, but even with technique flaws, the guy was a productive and dominant player at times.
Q: Do you have the belief that this pick could quiet the concern about the offensive line, as Jerry Reese expressed?
A: I feel strongly that we drafted a really good football player. Whether it is solving the problems or doing any of that, I don’t know. We were just super excited to get a really good football player.
Q: Is he the type of guy that is a good pass-blocker, as well as a run-blocker?
A: He has done that [at Miami]. He played left tackle. He’s nasty in the run game, but his length and his feet as a pass protector – he did that well, as well. He did both really well. We expect him to be a complete tackle who will excel as a punishing run-blocker and a nifty pass-blocker.
Q: Did you see that [Brandon Scherff] may be more polished, but [Flowers] has a higher ceiling?
A: Again, Scherff was a fifth-year senior. This guy is a 20-year-old, third-year junior. Scherff was a 22 or 23-year old fifth-year senior, so of course he has been around. He has played more and been around it more. He was slightly better with technique and playing, but there wasn’t that much of a major difference.
Q: How does he balance being quiet but having a nasty streak?
A: When we went down to Miami and talked to all the coaches and stuff and when we had him in here for a visit – we went down there and had dinner with him and spent some time with him. He is quiet. He is very quiet, but he is a smart quiet. He is all about football. He is a gym rat. They tell you at [Miami] that he just hangs around the facility. He works out all the time. He is real tight with his dad and they work out together. He will come back to the facility and work out some more. He doesn’t go out and hang out. He doesn’t party. You would think down in Miami and South Beach that he would be out, but he is one of the exceptions down there. He doesn’t go out. He just wants to play football. He doesn’t want to talk about it, he just wants to be about the action, as Marshawn Lynch said.
Q: Do you see him as a guy who could give Will Beatty a run for his money also?
A: We’ll see. A franchise left tackle is a rare commodity. There are not many of those guys around the league and we think this guy has the ability, the upside, the potential, the toughness, the smarts and the competitiveness to be a franchise left tackle for us.
Q: When you showed up at the office tonight did you have offensive lineman as your top priority?
A: We stack our players on the board and this guy was the best guy that we had up there. This was a really good year for offensive linemen. Of course, we discussed it and talk about it in our meetings. He was the highest guy on our board, so we took him.
Q: Was he the highest guy on the board at his position?
A: At the time we picked him, he was the highest guy up on our board.
Q: Did this first round pick play out as expected for you?
A: We thought there was a chance [Scherff] would go before us, maybe a pick or two, but not where he went. We felt really strongly going into it that he would go ahead of us. Just because he had a lot of momentum building up to this day. We go through a lot of scenarios before the draft and we talk about every possible scenario. Things that are just ridiculous that we talk about. What if [Marcus] Mariota, [Amari] Cooper and [Jameis] Winston are all there when we are picking? What do we do then? We talk about everything. We are not ever surprised. The draft is always something – a curveball gets thrown in there, but we always talk about every scenario possible, so we are not surprised when we are up on the clock.
Q: Did you see this as the most likely scenario the way it played out?
A: Pretty much. We felt good about this one.
Q: Is the expectation for [Flowers] to come in and hit the ground running?
A: Yes, sure, because of the intangibles. Last year we weren’t specifically looking for captains. Those guys just happened to be captains, but we were looking for clean football players. This guy is a clean player. He fits the mold of that crew last year because they say he is the hardest working guy on the team. They say he is a gym rat. They say he is the nastiest guy and you don’t want to mess with him because he is all about football and his love for the game. He is going to will himself to get on the field right way.
Opening Statement: We are excited about Ereck Flowers. We had Jerry Reese, Pat Flaherty and Marc Ross – all of those gentlemen were at [Flowers’] workout in Miami. The kid is an outstanding athlete. He is very young, as you know. He is a battleship, an aircraft carrier or however you want to describe him at six-foot-six, 329 [pounds]. Strongest guy in the draft. Outstanding feet. [He] just turned 21 a couple of days ago here in mid- to late-April. Those things, together with the desire to improve both our offensive and our defensive lines, to be honest with you, we think we have made a good start here. You sit there and people start coming off the board and then the guy in front of you is a very prolonged amount of time and you are wondering if in fact…we had heard St. Louis would like an offensive lineman as well. Were they coming above? That was a factor, obviously. We are very excited about this young man and looking forward getting him in here and getting to work.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to him?
A: I did.
Q: How did that conversation go?
A: Very well, thank you. He is very excited. Did you see that picture of him slapping hands? I thought he was going to kill somebody.
Q: Is he a right tackle or a left tackle?
A: He can be either side. He [was] a left tackle last year, but he has the size and so on and so forth to play a lot of spots if you so desire. We think he is a tackle.
Q: Do you expect him to come in and compete for a starting spot?
Q: Do you view Justin Pugh as a potential person to move inside?
A: We are talking about Ereck Flowers, and I am not going to comment on that until I have the opportunity to talk to our coaches about exactly how we are going to go about starting this.
Q: Would you say he is more ahead as a run-blocker or more of a pass-blocker?
A: He is both. He is athletic. He has good feet. He is big and strong and powerful. As I said, [he was] the strongest guy at the Combine. He can do both.
Q: Was offensive line the particular focus for you?
A: Yeah, but you know how the Giants operate – the best player on the board is going to get the majority of the consideration, and that was the case right here.
Q: Did it work out well in where he fell and your board ratings?
Q: What have you seen from [Flowers] in regard to his nasty streak?
A: You see him on film. You see him at the second level trying to finish people off. Arriving in a bad humor at a pile. You see all that stuff.
Q: Do you feel like Pugh, Weston Richburg and Flowers are the nucleus of the offensive line going forward?
A: He is an addition to the players that we have here. We are excited about that. We do have some veteran players here as well. Hopefully the best will rise to the surface.
Q: What do you know about him as a person?
A: I can read and I have read page after page after page of interviews and summaries and evaluations and so on and so forth. Everything we hear – he is very, very close with his dad. His dad is with him all the time. At his workout, his dad was there. I think that is a very strong relationship and I think that points to a very solid young man. Maybe a little bit on the quiet side, but he is young. He is a guy that is always in the weight room, always hanging around, even as they practiced down there this spring, from what I understand.
Q: Do you see [Flowers] as competition for left tackle?
A: It is competition up front, period. It will be that. The better the competition, the better the results.
Q: Was this your first choice of a position in the first round?
A: That was one of, yes.
Q: Did [Brandon Scherff] going to Washington surprise you?
A: Well, there is always the chance. He [is] a very, very solid football player who is well thought of throughout the league. Ranked very highly by everyone. For him to go there is not a shock.
MEDIA Q&A WITH ERECK FLOWERS: (Giants.com Interview)
Q: How surprised were you that the Giants ended up picking you?
A: I was really surprised. I saw the phone light up and it was surreal.
Q: It seemed that the Giants did an extensive amount of research on you. You had to have known they were interested in you.
A: I took a visit. I saw the coaches and we had dinner.
Q: What did you think about that visit?
A: It was great. I got to sit down with Coach Flats (Flaherty) and the offensive line coaches. Jessie Armstead went to Miami, so there was a connection there. I think it was a pretty good vibe.
Q: Did you have any inclination that the Giants would be a landing spot?
A: I thought it could be a possibility, but in drafts you never really know. I was sitting here just waiting on the call.
Q: You’re close with your dad. What’s his first name and did he play football?
A: Everald Flowers. He played football at Washburn University. He played linebacker.
Q: Is your father serving as your agent?
A: We have a lawyer to do the contract, but he’s the one who has been representing me.
Q: A lot of the coaches have said you’re a quiet guy with a mean streak.
A: I like to really get into the game, and I really play with a lot of passion. I love the game of football.
Q: Could you give us a scouting report on what you think of yourself as a player and what you still think you might want to work on in the NFL?
A: I think I’m a player who needs to work on everything. I think I’ve got a long ways to go and I’m ready to go that way. I love everything about football, so I’m pretty happy about the confidence in myself. I’m just ready to take this next step.
Q: What do you believe you do so well that made you a high number one draft pick?
A: I think I’m a pretty good run-blocker. I think I show a good amount of athleticism. I think I’m a pretty good reach-blocker, but other than that, I think I can improve in everything, including the things that I would say I do pretty well at. I’m ready to make those improvements.
Q: Who have you styled your play on the field after?
A: My favorite player coming in was Trent Williams.
Q: You’re a pretty young guy. Do you think you can come in and play right away?
A: I do. I feel I can.
Q: What makes you think your game translates to the next level well?
A: I have a lot of confidence in myself and whatever I do or I wouldn’t be playing this sport at all or doing any of the stuff I do. It’s really just the confidence in myself and what I see in myself. I can’t really sit here and persuade you, but I’m confident in myself and what I do.
Q: Do you think of yourself as a left tackle in the NFL?
A: I see myself anywhere on the line. I’m ready to come in anywhere on the line to make a contribution. Whatever helps the team win.
Q: Have you ever played guard?
A: I’ve played it in practice. My team never really needed me to play guard. I played both tackles, so I’m ready to play wherever.