GIANTS SIGN ISHAQ WILLIAMS AND MATT SMALLEY…
Though not officially announced, the New York Giants have reportedly signed defensive end/linebacker Ishaq Williams (Notre Dame) and cornerback Matt Smalley (Lafayette), two of the unsigned tryout players who participated in this week’s rookie mini-camp.
Other than a January all-star game, the 6’4”, 253-pound Williams last played football in 2013 after being implicated in an academic dishonesty scandal at Notre Dame. A good athlete, Williams played both defensive end and linebacker in college.
The 5’9”, 184-pound Smalley lacks ideal size but he has good quickness and speed. Smalley has experience returning punts and kickoffs.
NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP ENDS…
The second and last day of the New York Giants 2-day rookie mini-camp was held on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Seventy-four (74) players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance. There was no media access to the Giants on Saturday.
The news players worked with the strength and conditioning coaches on Sunday.
JUSTIN TUCK RETIRES AS A NEW YORK GIANT…
Defensive end Justin Tuck retired from the NFL on Friday as a New York Giant. The 33-year old Tuck was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Giants and played nine seasons (2005-2013) with the team. He played his final two seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2014-2015). Tuck finished unofficially in 10th place on the team’s all-time sack list with 60.5. He won two Super Bowl rings with the team during the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
The Giants prepared a video tribute for Tuck shown before his retirement press conference remarks.
Opening Statement: I think all of you guys know that I don’t like writing speeches. I’ll go from the heart on this one. First of all, thank you. I think every time something like this happens the first thing the guy says is like, ‘I’m not going to cry.’ I won’t say that. I’m not going to cry, but you make it tough. Driving here today, me and Pat Hanlon were talking about dates for about a month now. Everybody on social media kept hitting me up about what’s taking so long? Why isn’t he retiring as a Giant? It’s funny. You all use the word ‘retirement,’ but I’ve been busier now than I have been when I was playing. I’m not going to use the word ‘retirement’. I’m going to say I’m transitioning, but what a hell of a place to transition from.
In 2005 I started my journey here. I don’t see coach Merritt back there, but he can tell you the story about… There he is. He can tell you the story about the first day of minicamp. I see my rookies out there and you all are going to go through it, too. First day of minicamp and everybody is smiling and happy to be there. You’re walking around and you’re seeing the great names in the locker room with LT (Lawrence Taylor) and you look over in the corner and you’ve got Michael Strahan and here’s this pup from Kellyton, Alabama and they gave me number 91. I’m sitting at my locker and I’m pissed. Coach Merritt looks at me and he’s like, ‘Did somebody die in your family? What’s wrong with you?’ What I told him and I’ve held that chip on my shoulder since that day and I told him there were 70 something odd people drafted before me that shouldn’t have been. I believed it. Until this day, I’ve used that as a crutch. I’ve used that as a chip.
Now I’m getting ahead of myself because a lot of times when you write stuff down and you have all of these little details about what you want to say, it sounds good. But right now I’m reminiscing about all of the times here – good, bad and ugly and indifferent that made this place special. God truly blessed me. We have a saying around here in football and it’s you outkicked your coverage. For all of you that know about Kellyton, Alabama, I hold that in my heart because that’s what made me who I am. Two hundred seventy-one people in Kellyton, Alabama. There’s almost more in this auditorium right now, right? Two hundred seventy-one people and to come from there and go to a school like Notre Dame, I outkicked my coverage. From there to getting drafted by the New York Giants, I outkicked my coverage. To marry this beautiful woman you see in front of me (wife Lauran) and to have these two little bigheaded boys (Jayce and Jonah), I outkicked my coverage. And now to retire a Giant, I’ve outkicked my coverage. I couldn’t script this day any better.
It’s typical of playing football in East Rutherford. It’s raining outside, it’s cold and it’s windy. I’ve had some good days in that type of weather. Today is more about, honestly, it’s more about you guys. It’s not about Justin Tuck. I’ll tell you why. Without the Mara family, there is no Justin Tuck. Rest his soul, Wellington Mara. He laid the foundation for this organization for what you see here today. Rumor has it I had the opportunity to be his last pick. Speaking about outkicking your coverage. There’s a reason why that guy’s name is on the football. The Duke.
To get to work with the Mara family, the Tisch family, Mr. Reese. The list goes on and on – from the equipment staff to the doctors and Ronnie Barnes and his crew, (Joseph) Skiba and his crew. There’s no Justin Tuck without all of these that I’ve mentioned. The Michael Strahans, the Eli Mannings, the Osi Umenyioras, the Jason Pierre-Pauls, the Zak DeOssies, that entire O-Line from ’07, which I think is the best o-line to ever play the game, in my opinion, because I got to face them every day. Kareem McKenzie. (Chris) Snee. David (Diehl). Rich (Seubert). (Shaun) O’Hara. Everybody asks what’s the hardest O-Line that you’ve faced. The guys I had to go against in practice. Why do you think the game was so easy? Why do you think that D-Line was so good all of those years? Because we had to go against those guys? What’s the record for Eli? Eli has got about 180 something games without missing a start because he had those monsters in front of him and I had to play against them every day.
I’m thankful guys. I’m thankful my agent Doug Hendrickson going to bat for me from day one to today. Rebecca Otto, Jen (?)… I’m thankful. I can go on and on and on about how special this place has been for me. I can go on and on about what people have done for me in my life to make the man that stands before you today. In this organization, we talk a lot about football and on the field stuff, but this organization has really laid the foundation and given me a platform to do so much of the stuff that we do off of the field. The Tuck’s Rush for Literacy platform. That doesn’t get off the ground without all of the communication with the community (relations) department, Mr. Mara himself being in the forefront. Coach Coughlin, oh my goodness. What could a guy ask for better than that?
I would be remiss if I didn’t say, ‘thank you, Oakland Raiders.’ Thank you Mark Davis and that complete staff out there. But it’s good to come home. It’s tremendously good to come home. Things haven’t changed in my life to the point where you won’t see me around. They say retire, but I’m not retiring. I normally wouldn’t talk about this here, but the reason why I don’t call this a retirement… one of the reasons why I don’t call it a retirement is because I’ve decided to take my talents to a city a little south of here down 95. Yes, I’m talking about Philadelphia. If you think for a moment that I’m talking about that green team, you should be ashamed of yourself. But what I’m talking about is I just got into Wharton and I’m going to get my MBA. Without the experience I’ve had here and without the people that I got to look at every day when I was in these halls and in this locker room and these conference rooms, I don’t even have a sense of any of that stuff that I could do.
When I got drafted here all I thought about was sacking quarterbacks and being a guy that they could look at and say he did it the right way. That’s the only legacy I ever cared about and to this day, that’s the only thing I ever care about. So to see what some of my former teammates said about me… I couldn’t care less about Super Bowl rings and I couldn’t care less about quarterback sacks or any of that stuff. When guys talk to you about your character and talk to you about friendship and they talk to you about the memories in the locker room or on the road trips – that’s what I’ll remember. To my dying day, that’s what I will remember.
I had the opportunity to do an interview a couple of days ago with Bob Papa and we had a conversation about looking at the championship banners and we made a friendly bet and then he said, ‘I bet you can’t name all of the players that played in Super Bowl 46 and 42.’ I one-upped him and I said, ‘Not only can I name them, I can name the colleges that they went to’ and I did. That just lets you know the bond is strong. For all of you guys that never strapped it up and got the opportunity to play with guys that started out as a teammate and become brothers, you might not understand what I am saying here today. You might not understand why I’m filled with gratitude and humbled at the same time that in a way it’s over, but it’s not. Just like JPP said, I’ll be on the sidelines. He still calls me to this day, along with Zak, Eli and Vic (Cruz). They still call me to this day in situations and ask me how would I do it. I’m like I didn’t have a magic key. I was making it up as I was going, too, but I had so many great people before me and I tell Eli the same thing. You have so many great people before you that walk these halls every day. I’m a guy that always looks at unsung heroes. You all remember him because he caught a football on the top of his head, but David Tyree has been a mentor to me in all of life, not just on the field. I remember when guys like Dave Tollefson, you couldn’t get that guy to say no to anything when it came to helping somebody else out. You always remember the greats, but I’ll always remember each and every last one of them for what they meant to this team, what they meant to this organization, what they meant to me personally.
Before I start crying, I’m going to hurry up and sit down because words don’t express how I feel about this organization. This is not Justin Tuck’s day. It’s not. I don’t want any of you guys writing that and to say that. This is just another day in the history of the New York Giants. Another day of the collective effort of everybody in this family taking a young pup from Nowhere, Alabama and making him into the man you see here today.
My mom and my dad couldn’t make it today. My mom doesn’t like flying. But if I was going to tell you guys anything that you can say something about my legacy is something that she told me a long time ago. She told me there will never be a time that you’ll regret if in the process you give 100 percent. I think I gave it 100 percent and that’s me looking in the mirror. I think I gave 100 percent, but I don’t have any regrets. I don’t.
I love you guys, man. To the media, I love you guys. I know a lot of times it didn’t sound like that and you might not have gotten that vibe, but you all gave me a huge platform as well to get my story out there. Pat Hanlon probably likes me saying that. Thank you. I can’t say that enough. Spags… After you told me backstage about it, I wasn’t going to say it, but Spags, I’m thankful. You gave me an opportunity to play every position on the defensive side of the ball except one. Every time I see him I remind him of it. That’s a trivia question for you. Everybody talks about the Super Bowl sacks, but did you know the only position Justin Tuck didn’t play on defense was safety? It was the only one and for good reason, because when he put me at cornerback I didn’t do it right.
Coach Coughlin, I know you’re not here today, but thank you. A lot of the young guys look at coaches and are saying no way they want them to be their best friend. Coach McAdoo, don’t be a player’s best friend. The one thing I learned from Coach Coughlin is this. I’m going to push you and I’m going to push you. I don’t care if you don’t like it. But the one thing that he demanded and he definitely got because he deserved it was the respect of his players. I’m not surprising anybody by saying this. We didn’t like Coach Coughlin, but you better not say anything bad about him. Not in my presence. That goes for all the rest of our coaches. And one of the reasons why I’ll never be a coach is because I see these guys when I came in at 5 a.m. and they were already in there. If I had an event and I had to drive past the stadium on Route 3 at 10 o’clock going home and you look to your left and you see the lights on, those coaches were still there. You wonder why we were so prepared. You always talk about talent. Talent has got nothing to do with it.
My rookies have left, but I wanted to say this and I hope they see this when I say this. Those guys that are drafted to the New York Giants, all that means is that you have an opportunity. Nothing is going to be given to you. Nothing. Me and Jerry Reese don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but he doesn’t even know that he helped me out a lot. I’ll tell you why and this is why nothing is given to you. When I came in here, I had a Hall of Famer in front of me. I had a young stud in front of me. The next year they drafted a first round pick. The next year they drafted a first round pick. Nothing is ever given to you. You can be the strongest and the meanest and the best ever, but you always have got to come in here and you’ve got to fight. That’s for my rookies, and I hope they see that. I always come in here and fight. I’m tired of what I’ve seen from the New York Giants the last three years and I was a part of it because maybe I faltered in my way of being a better leader and allowed some things to go on that didn’t necessarily have to go on. I say this and I’m going to sit down. I am super excited about what’s next. I’m super excited of what I see from this young group of guys.
I normally don’t give shout-outs to rookies, but I’m going to give one because he might be smarter than the education normally lends him to be from Ohio State. About a couple of days ago, the other Eli (Apple) called me. It was funny because I look at the number and I’m wondering who is this. He starts talking about he wants to learn how to be successful in New York. Eli, you might be onto something.
I will do everything in my power to always be the character that Mr. Mara can be proud of, that Jerry Reese and Steve Tisch and all of those guys can be proud of. As I step off this podium today, I’m not leaving. I’m just exiting. If you ever need me, and I’m talking to everybody in here and I always say this, but I always mean it – if you ever need me, my number, my e-mail hasn’t changed and it won’t. God bless you guys and God keep you. Go Giants.
Q: Not many players go to get their MBA after they retire. You could have probably gone on to do a lot of things without that. What do you hope to do with it?
A: I think for me personally, I knew I wanted to — and everything I do I want to be prepared, I want to be really prepared and a lot of things that I have come in contact with this being in New York in the finance space, I guess, points me to that direction of getting my MBA and if I am going to get it, I am going to go and try to do it at the best university there is and I don’t know if you checked, but Wharton is number one, so that is why. That almost gives me another chance to take a shot at Boston College, Mr. Mara, but I am not going to do it. I am not going to do it. I might.
Q: Justin, the end of your speech there was a very captain-like address to the future players of this team. Was that important to you to sort of give them a message going forward?
A: You should hear what I tell them in person. Strahan told me something when he was getting ready to depart. He said, ‘The only reason why I feel confident in leaving is because I know I am leaving (this) in good hands.’ I want to have the same sentiment going forward and I think Jason Pierre-Paul is going to shock a lot of people this year and that is not because of anything that you have seen but just in the conversations I have had with him and I am challenging him and he is not the only one. I am challenging Vic (Cruz), I am challenging these guys that I know have that ability to step up and kind of be the missing piece that maybe the Giants are missing.
Q: You have been passionate for your Rush for Literacy program. Was there a specific reason you chose literacy.
A: The United States is 26th in education. Me and my wife are very passionate about kids and education and we knew that was something that we could not only get behind and write a check to but go visit schools and have conversations with parents and teachers about. What is the missing link? How can we make this better? We knew education was super important to us. You know, unlike going to Boston College, we went to Notre Dame, so we actually got one and we have seen the benefits of it, so yeah. I am so glad I am going to get the last say (today). (BC Alum) Mr. Mara isn’t speaking out against me, right? Okay, good.
Q: Did you have one single favorite memory on this team?
A: I think a lot of times when people ask that type of question, the recipient of the question literally tries to pick out one play or moment and it is impossible, it really is. I can sit here and name 60 plays or 60 moments that have, probably, equal amount of influence on me as a person, so I won’t even try to name one. I will answer your question by saying the year we won Super Bowl 46 will be as memorable as anything ever just because of personal ups and downs, team ups and downs. I lost a grandfather and three uncles in that season and was battling with injuries throughout the year and somehow God smiled down on us and we all righted the ship at the right time and we won another improbable Super Bowl, so that season. I stay awake a lot thinking about that season and remembering small pockets of moments that other people might not remember but that affected us for the good that year, so I hope that justifies a correct answer to your question.
Q: You had an opportunity to go elsewhere, a little taste of another organization. In retrospect, what was it about here that was sort of special to you?
A: Well, I mean I think why I will remember the Giants as being special is because there is really not another place that has the combination of being in New York City, having the fan base that we have, getting the opportunity to work with the football minds that I got the opportunity to work with from top to bottom and it is a classy organization. ‘Classy’ gets thrown around a little bit too much but it is a classy organization, they do it right from top to bottom and I can’t be prouder or more excited to represent an organization like that and you know, my time in Oakland was great as well, but it is nothing like home. You can’t compare it. I love New York City, I love New Jersey, I love the surrounding areas but for me, there is no place like Kellyton, Alabama. That will always be home and in my football sense, this will always be home.
Q: Justin, will it be a test of your sense of humor going down to get your MBA in Philadelphia, with all those green jerseys around?
A: Well, you have to understand something. I married my wife eight years ago and we dated about five years before that, so it has been about 13, 14 years. Her mother’s father started the, am I saying this right, he started the Eagles booster club, so as you can imagine, I have had a lot of practice. I have had about 14 years of practicing and to my credit, the last eight years there haven’t been too many Eagles jerseys floating around that house, so you can thank me for that, Mr. Mara. We have a few more Giants fans down that way, but it is going to be interesting. For me, they don’t want to get into that conversation with me for two reasons. I will use two just as a starting point just because obviously there are a lot more than just two. I don’t wear them, but you get the gist. It is something that they don’t have, so if you want to get in a conversation about Giants vs. Eagles, or Cowboys or Redskins, for that matter either, I think I can win that argument.
Q: Do you like the idea that you are transitioning as a young group is starting here and did they ask you to take five minutes today to talk to them as a group?
A: I think Coach McAdoo is very respectful for my time at this moment and he has hinted to being a little involved going forward, when the whole group is here. It is ironic that I know a few of the young guys that came in, so I have already had a few run in’s and conversations with them. Like I said, obviously school will take up a few moments of my time and few is an understatement, but I am around. I mean it when I say it, if they need me in any capacity, I am pretty much willing to help out.
Q: What was your conversation with Eli Apple like?
A: I’ll tell you one snippet and I’ll leave it at that. I told him just to focus on football. That is very generic about that conversation, but just to focus on football. Being in New York can be overwhelming, especially for a guy that is named Eli, for one but just to focus on his craft and he will be just fine. This place embraces a winner, so just go out and win.
Q: If these rookies are talking tonight and they say, what do you think Justin Tuck’s legacy will be? What would your answer be?
A: That is not for me to answer. I know what I want it to be and I mentioned it. The only legacy that I care about is people, years from now, saying that he did it the right way. I never really cared about stats or anything of that nature. I think that the legacy of a lot of the guys here is cemented in the fact that we won two Super Bowls and that is the first thing that people are going to say, but we got some great guys in that locker room, on and off the field, and that is the only thing I can ask for. It is more important for me to see a kid smiling because he got an A on his report card than it is for me to do any of the other stuff, so I hope that is something that they will say.
Q: You mentioned that the 2011 season was a memorable one. Considering everything you went through, did you maybe need more lifting from your teammates than at other times in your career?
A: I am super proud of what my teammates gave me when I was here and for me to be the captain of this football team was pretty easy, to be honest with you. We really didn’t have guys that required me getting phone calls at 12 or 2 o’clock in the morning, anything like that. We had some clowns, and I think every football team does and I think that added to the character of the guys in that locker room. I think what I needed was what I got and that was a real heart to heart with Coach Coughlin midway through the season, to stop feeling sorry for yourself because there was some heartache that had happened. I needed that tough love and it helped and I think that helped me elevate my play. I think that is what the team needed. They needed me to elevate my play, not the other way around.
Q: Justin, before the Giants play the Cowboys twice this year, can I call you up and you can tell me you hate them?
A: You can run that story for years and years to come. That will not change. That will not change. That is a good one. I like that one.
GIANTS CUT JEROME CUNNINGHAM AND G.J. KINNE…
The New York Giants have waived tight end Jerome Cunningham and quarterback/safety G.J. Kinne.
The Giants signed Kinne to the Practice Squad in September 2015. Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. The Giants used him at safety in practice at times in 2015.
Cunningham spent the first five weeks of the 2015 season on the 53-man roster, was waived and signed to the Practice Squad in October, and then re-signed to the 53-man roster in early November. In all, Cunningham played in nine games with three starts, catching eight passes for 59 yards. Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but remained unsigned until the Giants signed him in August 2014.
JUSTIN TUCK TO RETIRE AS A NEW YORK GIANT…
Defensive end Justin Tuck will retire from the NFL on Friday as a New York Giant. The 33-year old Tuck was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Giants and played nine seasons (2005-2013) with the team. He played his final two seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2014-2015). Tuck finished unofficially in 10th place on the team’s all-time sack list with 60.5. He won two Super Bowl rings with the team during the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
GIANTS SIGN LB GRAHAM STEWART…
Although not officially confirmed, a local station in Connecticut is reporting that the New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Graham Stewart (University of Connecticut). Stewart lacks ideal size, but he is a decent athlete and team leader who plays hard. He is a self-described run-and-hit linebacker.
CORNERBACK LEON HALL VISITS GIANTS… FOX Sports reports that unrestricted free agent cornerback Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals) visited the New York Giants on Monday. However, The New York Post is reporting that Hall left the team’s facility without a contract and that the meeting was a “fact finding mission for both sides.”
Hall has also met with the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals.
The 31-year old Hall was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In his nine seasons with the Bengals, Hall has played in 121 regular-season games with 105 starts. Hall started four of the 14 games he played in last season, finishing with 44 tackles, nine pass defenses, and two interceptions. He also won “AFC Player of the Week” for his performance in a December game against the St. Louis Rams.
The aging Hall is a physical press corner who tackles very well. He is very experienced and technically-sound. The strength of Hall’s game is his ability to cover receivers out of the slot position. Versatile, Hall has also played safety in some packages. Hall has suffered two Achilles’ tendon injuries (2011 and 2013) that has robbed him of some of his explosiveness. Hall also had back surgery this offseason to repair a disc injury. He is a hard worker and team leader.
MORE TRYOUT PLAYERS FOR ROOKIE MINI-CAMP…
In addition to the 18 tryout invites that we already reported, according to various sources, the following players will also try out at the New York Giants rookie mini-camp on May 6-7:
WR Brett Blaszko, University of Calgary (Canada)
OT Brus Palaj, Wagner College
OL Philippe Gagnon, Laval University (Canada)
OC Jake Richard, Ball State University
DE/LB Schnayder Termidor, Ithaca College
PK Quinn Van Gylswyk, University of British Columbia (Canada)
JERRY REESE AND BEN MCADOO ON WFAN…
New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Ben McAdoo were interviewed on WFAN Radio on Monday. The audio from both interviews is available at CBS New York’s website:
Though not official, the New York Giants have reportedly signed the following 15 undrafted rookie free agents. However, sometimes these reports are a bit premature and those who supposedly have signed are merely rookie mini-camp tryout players.
The Giants will hold a rookie mini-camp on May 6-7 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Those participating will include the team’s six 2016 NFL draft picks, signed rookie free agents, and rookie and street free agents invited on a tryout basis.
QB Josh Woodrum, 6’3”, 231lbs, 4.78, Liberty University (Video)
Woodrum combines excellent size with good arm strength. Smart, tough, and competitive. Developmental type who did not play in an NFL-style offense and will need a lot of work reading defenses and improving his accuracy. He has decent mobility for his size.
RB Marshaun Coprich, 5’8”, 207lbs, 4.46, Illinois State University (Video)
Coprich lacks ideal size but he is a tough, well-built, instinctive running back with good vision, balance, acceleration, and elusiveness. He lacks power and won’t run through many tackles. Coprich has had some drug issues.
WR K.J. Maye, 5’8”, 194lbs, 4.50, University of Minnesota (Video)
Maye is a very short, but well-built receiver who is more quick than fast. Maye is a good route runner, adjusts well to the football, and has excellent hands. Fearless and very competitive.
WR Roger Lewis, 6’0”, 201lbs, 4.51, Bowling Green State University (Video)
Lewis combines decent size and overall athletic ability. Lewis lacks ideal speed, quickness, and strength, but he makes big plays. Competitive, passionate, productive receiver who adjusts well to the football and has good hands. Film junkie.
WR Darius Powe, 6’3”, 220lbs, 4.49, University of California (Video)
Powe combines excellent size and speed. He caught 47 passes for 560 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season.
WR Michael Esiobu, 6’2”, 223lbs, 4.55, Lakeland College (Video)
Esiobu combines very good size, strength, and overall athleticism. He is a very raw, developmental prospect.
TE Ryan Malleck, 6’5”, 247lbs, 4.75, Virginia Tech
Malleck is a tall but thin H-Back type. Malleck is a tough, smart overachiever who plays hard, but lacks bulk strength to be an effective blocker. He is a limited athlete in the passing game, but is a heady receiver with very good hands.
TE Cedrick Lang, 6’9”, 290lbs, 4.95, UTEP
Former basketball player who only recently switched to football. Superb size but extremely raw. Only played one year of college football, starting one game and finishing the year with only 11 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Mainly used as a blocker. Lang could project to offensive tackle.
DE Romeo Okwara, 6’5”, 265lbs, 4.87, University of Notre Dame (Video)
Okwara has excellent size and arm length. He is a good athlete with fine first-step quickness. He looks the part and plays hard. Okwara is physical and an aggressive tackler. He flashes as both a run defender and pass rusher but needs more development. Okwara plays too high and gets hung up on blocks too frequently. He doesn’t appear overly instinctive.
DE Mike Rose, 6’2”, 281lbs, 4.66, North Carolina State University (Video)
Rose lacks ideal height, but he is well-built, strong, and a better athlete than advertised. Rose can set the edge in run defense and really flashes as a pass rusher. Instinctive and plays hard.
DT Melvin Lewis, 6’2”, 343lbs, 5.43, University of Kentucky
Mammouth nose tackle who missed half the 2015 season with a broken leg. Team leader and a hard worker.
DT Greg Milhouse, 6’1”, 295lbs, 4.91, Campbell University (Video)
Milhouse is an active, undersized, athletic defensive tackle. He disrupts with a nice combination of quickness and power. Milhouse plays with natural leverage and flashes on the pass rush.
CB Michael Hunter, 6’0”, 186lbs, 4.40, Oklahoma State University
Hunter has a nice combination of size and speed. He is a physical, press corner.
CB Donte Deayon, 5’9”, 158lbs, 4.48, Boise State University (Video)
Deayon is a fluid, dimunitive corner with very good quickness and leaping ability. Tough, confident play-maker. He has experience returning punts.
S Andrew Adams, 5’11”, 203lbs, 4.54, University of Connecticut (Video)
Adams lacks ideal height and speed but he is a well-built, athletic safety with good quickness. He is a good hitter and tackler. Adams has an instinctive feel for coverage, but needs to be more aggressive in run defense. Active and productive.
Other players who will supposedly attend on a tryout basis include:
RB Mercer Timmis, University of Calgary (Canada)
RB Terry Williams, Kutztown University
WR Miles Shuler, Northwestern University
WR Doug Corby, Queens University (Canada)
OG Charles Vaillancourt, Laval (Canada) University
OG Brandon Revenberg, Grand Valley State
OG Mykhael Quave, Louisiana-Lafayette
DE Ishaq Williams, University of Notre Dame
DE Nick Woodman, Utica College
LB Kassan Messiah, University of Massachusetts
S Taylor Loffler, University of British Columbia (Canada)
On the third and final day of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected linebacker B.J. Goodson (Clemson University) in the 4th round, running back Paul Perkins (UCLA) in the 5th round, and tight end Jerell Adams (University of South Carolina) in the 6th round.
LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’1”, 242-pound Goodson has a nice combination of size and strength with just enough overall athleticism. Goodson is a stout, physical run defender who can stack and shed at the point-of-attack. He is also adept at avoiding blockers and getting to the ball carrier. Goodson will hit you and is a strong, reliable tackler. He lacks ideal range, recovery quickness, and closing burst. Though not a strong suite, Goodson is better in coverage than advertised, showing good awareness. He also flashes as a blitzer. Goodson is a smart, tough, consistent player and team leader. Versatile, Goodson can play all three linebacker spots.
RUNNING BACK PAUL PERKINS SCOUTING REPORT: Fourth-year junior. The 5’10”, 208-pound Perkins lacks ideal size and speed but he is a super-productive and competitive play-maker with excellent vision, balance, patience, and instincts. He can make something out of nothing in tight quarters and bursts through the hole. Perkins is very quick and elusive with superb change-of-direction ability. Perkins is a tough runner who plays bigger than his size, but he lacks power. Perkins is also very productive catching the ball out of the backfield. Team leader.
TIGHT END JERELL ADAMS SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’5”, 247-pound Adams is a tall tight end with long arms who needs to add more strength and bulk. Adams has the tools and temperament to develop into a good blocker. He plays with toughness and works to finish his blocks. Adams has good speed for the position and can threaten a defense down the field. He adjusts well to the football, has good hands, and runs well after the catch. Adams is a bit of a developmental project as he does need to work on his route running and overall technique. His work ethic has been questioned. Big upside.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: B.J. Goodson. Middle linebacker from Clemson. He can actually play all three positions. The thing we like about him is that he’s a football player. He’s a tackling machine, lots of tackles. I think he had 5.5 sacks and a couple of interceptions. He was a really productive player. I think he’ll create some competition in the linebacker level.
Running back Paul Perkins from UCLA. All-around player. He can run it. He can catch it. He can block. He’ll play on all of the core teams, just like Goodson will, as well. Solid football player. People say he doesn’t have homerun speed, but I saw him on an 82-yard touchdown against Colorado. Really good, solid football player. I like him a lot. He’s a three-down player.
Tight end Jerell Adams from South Carolina. Big kid. Really good down the seam. He can stretch the seam; can stretch the defense down the seam. He’s a better blocker right now than a receiver, but our coaches really liked him. Our scouts liked him. They think he has a nice upside and can work in that tight end group.
Q: Did you accomplish everything you wanted to do in this draft?
A: We got the best six players that we could get. We accomplished that.
Q: Does it change anything for you moving forward that you didn’t get any offensive linemen?
A: We’re always trying to upgrade our roster every day.
Q: This is the first time in Giants history that you didn’t add a lineman. If I told you that three days ago, would you say that’s interesting?
A: I’m saying that now. Hmm. Interesting. We drafted the best players available for us. We have some offensive linemen and we have some defensive linemen. We’ll continue to try to improve everywhere on the roster, including the offensive and defensive line.
Q: Where do you stand at running back?
A: We have some good players in there, there’s some good competition and we’ll see where that goes.
Q: Some have likened Paul Perkins to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.
A: I’m not sure about that. We just think he’s a really good football player. We like that he’s going to create some competition in the running back room. That’s a big key on your roster when you can create competition and he’ll help do that.
Q: There are rumors floating around that Anthony Davis may be on the horizon for the Giants. Is there any truth to that?
A: I’m not talking about anybody else’s player.
Q: Do you feel you have to add an offensive lineman in your mind at some point?
A: We’re going to continue to upgrade our roster every day. Everyday we’ll continue to upgrade every position – offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs to receiver. Every position.
Q: You have a lot of roster spots. What’s realistic in terms of undrafted free agents and how many guys you’ll add?
A: We’re in the room and we’re working on that right now. We don’t have as many as some teams, but we’ve got enough to try to fill the roster with different positions and we’ll do that.
Q: It doesn’t appear that any of these players have injury or character issues. Was that a goal going into the draft?
A: We always try to do that. We don’t go out and say, ‘let’s draft some hurt guys or some guys with some character issues.’ We try to get clean guys all of the time. It’s been like that ever since I’ve been with the New York Giants. That’s nothing new.
Q: The three positions you addressed are positions where you seem to have volume, but not necessarily all set starters. Is that a coincidence?
A: We’re just looking to add good players on the roster and we thought those three players were three good players that create some competition and we think those guys will do that.
Q: All of the players you selected were from major programs, major conferences. Was that intentional?
A: No. We try to get the best players up there. They could have been from Tennessee-Martin or they could have been from UCLA. We just tried to get the best player available.
Q: Anybody from Tennessee-Martin come off the board yet?
A: Not yet. We’re still working on it.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Can we get a summary of each guy?
A: B.J. (Goodson) is, I am sure you heard, competitive, tough guy, plays the game the right way, has played multiple positions there, probably best as a middle backer going forward for us. You know, thick, strong body. [He has a special] teams temperament. We had him in on a visit and he did an excellent job. He handled himself very well and just a pro there at Clemson. Paul Perkins, another guy [who is] productive, obviously great pedigree football player, hardest working guy on the team, really good skill set as far as catching the ball out of the backfield. He blocks, makes big plays for them and just another good football player. Jerell Adams, big, tall, long guy. Fastest tight end in the draft. [It is] rare to see a guy that gives block effort like this guy. You don’t see these guys actually give effort. He does it, he uses his length to get on people, fast down the seam, a little raw on his route running and hands but in the sixth round of the draft a big, fast, competitive guy who is a good person off the field, we thought, was worth a chance.
Q: Were you surprised an offensive or defensive lineman didn’t fall your way?
A: Yeah, not surprised. You are never surprised by anything. We weren’t going to force anything. You always want big bodies, but you want the right big bodies. You can’t just go into it saying we want an offensive lineman and they throw somebody up there or we want a D-lineman. We spent a lot in the offseason on the D-line. We’ve got some high draft picks on the O-line, so we have some good players there right now and we weren’t going to force the issue at either one of those positions.
Q: Did you get close at any point or did the board just not fall your way?
A: There were discussions here and there, but nobody who was at the time the highest ranked on the board or close to that, but we discussed some guys.
Q: It is the first time in franchise history that the team did not draft a lineman.
A: Alright, historic.
Q: What did you think of the draft overall?
A: It was good. It was good. [We are] really excited about the type of players we got, on and off the field. Some playmakers, some football players as far as hard working guys who are going to come in here and be what we are all about here with the Giants.
Q: I don’t know if you want to characterize it this way but you took a lot of guys who played at big schools, who played a lot and were productive. Was that an effort that went into this year?
A: No, we never have a theme going into a draft or the scouting season. It materializes itself through our draft process and meetings and then especially when you get to draft day where we talk about our players and where we stack them. It just so happened that all these guys sort of have the same qualities. Like you said, big school guys that have been productive and have played a lot.
Q: When the draft ends and you are trying to get these undrafted free agents, do you still focus on your board or is it just a mad dash?
A: Well, we kind of set it now. It is funny you said that because we set it all now where we target people, but of course, “Well, this guy just got drafted, so let’s re-shuffle.” We still try to move the high priority players into position for free agents but it is such chaos between now and the next few hours that it is tough to. Draft day is calm and easy almost, but this free agent process is very hectic.
Q: At that point there when a guy comes down to a certain position, do you kind of look at a guy at that position to try and fill out your roster?
A: Yeah, this is the time where you prioritize the positions you think have to be filled in, positions of need and higher priority type players.
Q: Do you have a long list of free agents you would like to sign now?
A: Yeah, sure. Stack them up and our scouts and coaches go at them.
Q: You have a good amount of roster spots. What is a realistic number of undrafted free agents you bring in?
A: Probably like 12 or 15. Somewhere around there.
Q: Is that a big number for you?
A: Yeah, the last few years have been 10 or under so this has been the highest in the last few years.
Q: Will some of those just be invited to the rookie mini camp next week?
A: We will hit it hard tonight with priority guys and then kind of the guys that fall through the cracks and we have to fill it out for camp, we will call those guys the next couple of days but tonight, we will go after the guys we really want.
Q: But it is possible that if you do get all the guys you want with the 12 or 15, you may have to make some roster adjustments?
Q: With B.J. Goodson, does he remind you of anybody? Maybe a Jon Goff?
A: Goff wouldn’t have come to mind, but not really, no, not really.
Q: When you are talking about him, he really only started one year. Is he a guy that you think can come in and play immediately?
A: Well, it is interesting at Clemson. Shaq Lawson was a one-year starter; Kevin Dodd was a one-year starter, Vic Beasley. For some reason, even their better players only start one year. Some guys are late developers, so what he did this year, the production, the leadership on and off the field, he has the mindset and the temperament to come in here and compete. The guy wants it and so is he going to start? I don’t know, but he is going to push people and he is going to work his butt off to get on to the field.
Q: You don’t think the gap of being NFL-ready is large for him?
A: No. Temperament, mindset, football intelligence, competitiveness, he is NFL-ready in those aspects. He is not raw by any stretch of the imagination. The guy plays the game the right way and knows how to play the game.
Q: The thing that was missing last year seemed to be the ability to cover underneath in passing routes. With what you took, did you address that?
A: Well, you can’t answer every problem with one pick or two picks. So is he that guy? He has the smarts. Do we have other people that can do that? Sure. Do we have other additions that can help out? Yeah. We will see how Spags draws it up and see what players he puts on the field and we will go from there.
Q: When you are going through the process, you get some positions like safety and running back where there is a crowd on the roster. Is there ever a hesitancy where you look at it as we see this guy on the top of our board but there is too much of a crowd?
A: Yeah, that comes into play certain times where we have five receivers and we don’t need a sixth but, again, if the player is just too good to pass up at that moment, you don’t want to give up a good player because you think you have depth. We have thought we’ve had depth certain times at other positions throughout the years and number one guy gets hurt, number two guy gets hurt and the number three guy gets hurt, and where is your depth? It is gone, so you always want to just keep putting good players on your football team.
Q: On that topic, you have a lot of running backs. What does [Perkins] bring, trait-wise, that you didn’t think you already had?
A: I don’t think it is anything different. I don’t want to say that, but his qualities are: he is a complete back, he has great vision, he has got one-cut quickness, excellent hands, competitive in the blocking game and outstanding off the field, so those were his traits we were attracted by.
Q: It seemed like this was a deep running back draft. How much did that factor into that decision today?
A: It definitely was a deep draft. Maybe not at the top but then later rounds and a lot of successful backs in the league, as you guys know, have been later round picks and he just was there at the time. We felt comfortable taking a guy, the highest rated guy at the time, we felt could help us.
Q: Did you guys look at that because it’s a position where more successful guys are available in later rounds?
A: Yeah, once you start talking about it, that is it but then also it is what players are available. If you have a stud in the first round and he is available and part of the conversation, you take him there, but it just so happened that where we were picking and the players that were available, this is where we like him and where we took him.
Q: Does not having a 7th rounder help you with the undrafted guys?
A: I hope so. I hope so. Usually you are just focusing on drafting, but now we can just focus on the free agents and get the plan going even quicker.
McAdoo: B.J. Goodson. Talented linebacker. Made a move from outside to inside, he can play all three spots if you need him to. Very productive, sound football player. Paul Perkins, running back from UCLA. He’s a complete back—can carry it, can protect the quarterback and can protect ball, and is good in the passing game. Jerell Adams. Explosive in-line type tight end. Can run down the middle of the field and stress the defense out in that matter, and can block in-line.
Q: What’s Goodson’s ideal position in your mind? What’s his ideal role?
A: I think middle of the three.
Q: What is it about him that makes him a middle linebacker to you?
A: I think he’s smart, I think he has good instincts, good wrap tackler, can be physical between the tackles.
Q: You talked about the different skills and the different traits your running backs have now. You describe Perkins as a complete back…is that something you felt like you needed to bring in, somebody who can do all the jobs?
A: The two most important things for a running back: number one, protect the ball; number two, protect the quarterback. He certainly fits that role.
Q: You have a crowded group there now. What’s the plan going forward there?
A: We have a lot of competition in the room. We like all those guys, they all have distinct things they do well, and there will be a lot of competition. It will be exciting to watch and see how it unfolds.
Q: Are you surprised the board fell is such a way that you didn’t get an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman?
A: That’s probably pretty unique. The last thing you want to do is reach down and reach for a guy. That’s how it went this year.
Q: The tight ends’ blocking was an issue after Daniel Fells went down last season. Do you think Jerell is someone who can hit the ground running as a blocker?
A: There’s always a learning curve coming into this league. Hitting the ground running, that’s tough to say at this point. But getting him in the building next week will obviously help—see where he is and see how he can handle the terminology that we’re going to throw at him. But we certainly feel that he has traits that we can develop into a good in-line player. He also has good speed down the middle of the field, he’s a big target. He has a unique skillset for the position that we like.
Q: Is the running back more of a classic third down back or do you see him as an every down back?
A: No, he can play first, second and third down.
Q: This was your first draft in the role of head coach. Overall, what’d you think of it? How’d you think it went for you?
A: A lot of work went into it. I think we did a nice job of not having any kneejerk reactions and just trusting the board and trusting the work that everyone puts into it. The scouts put a ton of work into it, the coaches evaluate a lot of players, and you put all the input up, get it on the board and just trust the process.
Q: For you personally, in these three days, how much more were you involved and did you do maybe more than as the offensive coordinator?
A: I was in the room the whole time. Had a chance to bounce some things off of Jerry, but at the end of the day, we both sat there and trusted the board and trusted the whole body of work. It’s been a long time coming when you get to this process and you just have to trust everything that you put into it.
Q: As the offensive coordinator, you’re not in the room the whole time?
A: As the offensive coordinator, I was a major part of the process, yes.
Q: When you look at this draft, the first round you got a defensive back that will probably be on the field maybe 60 percent of the time; second round, maybe a slot player. Did you make your team deeper, because it doesn’t seem like there’s one guy you got who is a superstar? It just seems like you got six guys who can help.
A: Well, we may have zero starters out of the mix, we may have six starters in the mix…no one knows at this point, it’s too early to tell. But we know we have high character guys, good football players who play the game the way we want them to play the game. And depth is just as important as anything else in this league, and we feel like we have six good players to work with.
Q: Are you okay with the right side of your offensive line as it is right now or are you going to look to upgrade with a free agent or something like that?
A: The right side of the offensive line, the story is yet to be written on the right side of the offensive line. We’re just starting the 2016 offseason. We’re going to look at every possible combination, give guys a chance to compete, and see where it goes from there. It’s still early.
Q: Would you like to add somebody though to that right side to even add more competition to it? Do you feel like you need to?
A: If the right somebody shows up.
Q: During the course of the draft, did things happen elsewhere that really surprised you? A player you thought wouldn’t be that high or a player you thought would and he slipped down?
A: I guess when it comes to the draft, all it takes is one team or one general manager, one head coach, to fall in love with a guy. They don’t want to lose that guy or miss out on the player, so I guess that doesn’t surprise me.
Q: Are you guilty of that?
Q: Just looking ahead to the minicamp, do you have a set of objectives that you want to see, want to accomplish with these guys as well as the undrafted free agents?
A: The rookie minicamp? Yeah, the rookie minicamp is more of an orientation. We want to bring them in, introduce them to the first install with normal down and distance install, teach them how we’re going to practice, let them know where the restrooms are, and just get their feet wet a little bit. We’re not going to be out there for three hours practicing, we’re just going to introduce them to things. It’s more of an orientation than anything…to see the building for the first time so when they get a chance to come in here with the vets and mix it up with the older guys, there’s not much young bull going on and they at least know where they’re going.
Q: Just going to be looking at retention of information? I imagine you’re probably going to throw a lot at them as far as the install and the playbook?
A: Absolutely. Their hair will be fire once they hit the building until they leave. A lot of the vets have had the installs for a couple seasons…defense, for one year now. They’ve gone through a couple installs already with the minicamp and with the phase one work, so we are going to throw a lot at them and we’ll see how fast they can catch up. But we’ll have a chance to spend more time—you can spend more time in the afternoons with these rookies when the vets are out of here. That’s really their time to grow and digest the information.
Q: You’ve gone through the two big phases where you add players to this team in free agency and the draft. Do you like what you have so far?
A: You certainly would rather add them than take them away, that’s the worst part of the job. But absolutely, the free agency process and the draft process have been fairly clean and straight forward. You have a plan in place and you trust the plan, you stick with the plan, and have no knee-jerk reactions to anything…stay the course and that’s what we’ve done.
Q: It doesn’t appear that any of the players you took have character red flags or injury red flags. We talked to you a couple days ago about a couple of high profile guys you passed on early maybe because of that. Was it important for you to have clean players where you didn’t have to necessarily sweat out a doctor’s report or other issues?
A: The medical question and the character question, I think, are two different questions. I think it’s important that when you bring in young players, you bring young players who can be potential pros, not just potential NFL players. I think we did that with all six of these guys.
Q: Will there be any overlap with the veterans and the rookies coming in for the minicamp this week or is that not going to be until the following week?
A: They may run into each other a little bit on Thursday afternoon, but we’ll get the vets out of here and then bring the rookies—have everything be a little bit separate, but nothing formal.
Q: Once the rookies get here, they’re here?
A: The following Monday, they’ll be intermixed, yes.
MEDIA Q&A WITH LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON:
Q: Where were you when you learned the news that you were going to be a New York Giant?
A: I’m home right in Lamar, South Carolina. I’m just excited, man…excited and ready to go to work.
Q: You visited the Giants—pre-draft visit, correct?
A: Yes sir, yes sir.
Q: What was your takeaway, your feeling after you left the facility?
A: Definitely wanted to be there. Definitely a legendary place…a place where football is very, very important. They talk about the New York Football Giants, man, and finding out how much that means to the city and the community…it’s really, really big.
Q: You talk about going to a place where a city is beloved…you come from a college where football is almost like a religion down there. What was it like playing at Clemson? What was it like helping Clemson rise on the national stage and getting them eventually to the national title game?
A: It was destined to happen. It was empowering, as far as my leadership and helping those guys win all of the games that we won and having the phenomenal year that we had. Definitely just a blessing. I really, really enjoyed the ride. I’m ready to see where this journey will take me in New York. I’m ready.
Q: The draft list had you listed as an outside linebacker. Is that what you would classify yourself as or you think you’re a guy who can play inside as well?
A: Inside as well, can play inside as well. Great help on special teams. I’m ready to get with the veterans and get up under their wings and learn as much as I can and get ready to help that team get ready to win another Super Bowl.
Q: When you visited, did the Giants mention to you what they kind of envisioned you as?
A: Definitely a great linebacker. They saw me helping out on special teams. The special teams coach really likes me a lot. I really, really enjoyed the relationship with the linebackers coach. I really, really just fell in love with everything on my visit.
Q: Can you cover in the pass?
A: Yes sir, definitely. At Clemson I played as a three-down linebacker. It’s normal, it’s natural to me. To me, it’s not a question, just something I want to work on every day and just something to get better at, perfecting my craft. You can never be too satisfied or never not be hungry, there’s always room for improvement.
Q: What was behind the move to MIKE linebacker? Was that because there was an opening there? Is that where they thought you were a better fit for this past year?
A: No sir, that was home for me. I actually moved out to outside linebacker my junior year because Coach saw a fit. He saw how dedicated I was, he saw the talent in me, and he wanted to get me on the field. With having Stephone and Tony Steward, having those guys out there, just being able to get me out there with those guys. So I learned the SAM linebacker position, and then once Stephone left, I went back home to the MIKE position and it played out from there.
Q: What was it like working with a personality like Dabo Swinney?
A: Oh man, brings great, great energy. Fun, fun, fun coach to play for. That guy, he’s phenomenal, he’s about the right things. I don’t have nothing but great things to say about Coach Swinney. He’s a great guy off the field, I love Coach Swinney.
Q: What does B.J. stand for?
A: B.J. is a name that was given to me from my mother. My first name is Billy, my middle name is Javaris. My mother, she just wanted to call me B.J. It was something that just stuck with me from a kid.
MEDIA Q&A WITH RUNNING BACK PAUL PERKINS:
Perkins: I’m just honored to be here and going to New York. This is awesome. I can’t even put this into words right now.
Q: Did you have any sense it would be the Giants and it would be now?
A: I had no idea. I can’t even really put this into words right now. Sorry if I’m speechless.
Q: What do you think you bring to an NFL team?
A: I think I can bring it all. I can definitely come in there with hard work and definitely come in there with the mentality to improve the team.
Q: How has UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. prepared you for the NFL?
A: Our whole coaching staff was NFL-ready and they prepared us very well. All the way from coach Mora to the running backs coach to our (graduate assistants), they all did a tremendous job. I’m thankful for them.
Q: What has your interaction been with the Giants during this process?
A: I only talked to them one time. I think it was last week and they were just checking if this was the right number.
Q: Was that sort of the norm?
A: It was the norm. I was getting a lot of calls from a lot of teams with the same type of questioning. I’m glad I got this one. This is the best one so far.
Q: Someone compared you to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.
A: Tiki Barber is not a bad person to get compared to. He’s been a great running back for a long time. I idolized him growing up and to be compared in the same breath as him is an honor.
Q: Do you see the skill set similarities?
A: We’re similar. I’m not sure how tall or big he was, but I feel like we’re about the same height and we have the same type of abilities.
Q: How much did UCLA use you catching the ball out of the backfield and how much is that a part of your game?
A: I think I can be utilized in the passing game. I just need a team to utilize me like that and I feel like the Giants will use me to my full capabilities.
Q: Are you going to give Owa Odighizuwa a call after you’re done with us?
A: I was actually talking to Owa not too long ago. I FaceTimed him. Now I just can’t wait to go up there.
Q: Did he tell you anything about the Giants?
A: No. He said he would call me back because he had to do something. He’s going to call me back in a little while after I get off the phone with you guys. We’ll chat it up.
Q: You FaceTimed him after you got picked here?
A: I did, right afterwards.
Q: I assume you’re pretty close with him?
A: All of the NFL players do a good job of coming back and talking to the younger players and Owa just happened to be one of the players that helped me and mentored me.
Q: How does it feel to be selected immediately after one of the guys who blocked for you in Caleb Benenoch?
A: It was awesome. I’m honestly speechless right now. I’m feeling great right now.
Q: Do you think you can be an every down, between the tackles runner, as well?
A: Yes sir. I think I can do it all. There’s a lot of great running backs. I feel like I can do it all.
MEDIA Q&A WITH TIGHT END JERELL ADAMS:
Q: Did you meet with the Giants at the Senior Bowl or was it later in the process?
A: The last time I met with the Giants was at the combine.
Q: Did you have a good amount of contact with them?
A: I had a formal interview with them and it went great and they said they liked me and they drafted me.
Q: Do you consider yourself an all-around tight end or more of a pass catcher?
A: I feel like I am more of an all-around tight end. I feel like I can block very well and catch very well.
Q: What was your expectation coming into the draft and what was it like having to sit there and wait until this point today?
A: My expectations coming into the draft were just to get drafted. I was blessed to go through the process and I am just happy to have gone through it and to get drafted by the Giants.
Q: Where were you when you found out you were going to become a New York Giant?
A: I was at home, at my mama’s house.
Q: What was the raw feeling you felt when you picked up that phone?
A: It was the best feeling ever. It was a phone call I was waiting for forever. It was a dream come true.
Q: When you look on the surface at your numbers, people don’t see huge numbers. What do you attribute that to?
A: Honestly, I didn’t have the progress yet that I wanted at South Carolina because of the quarterback situation but I felt like I made the best out of it and did what I could do.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: I feel like I can block very well and catch very well. My weakness, I would say is me coming out of my breaks out of my routes. I can use some improvement on that but there is always work to be done, no matter how good you may think you are.
Q: You really did well at the combine athletically. Was that one of your goals for this process? To kind of show that your numbers were not indicative of your ability.
A: Yes, sir, that was my goal for the Senior Bowl and the combine, to just show how athletic and how good I felt I was. At the Senior Bowl and combine, I just felt like I had a chance to show them how good I am.
Q: Do you feel like you accomplished what you had to get done?
A: Yes, sir. I felt like I accomplished everything I needed to.
With the eighth pick in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected safety Darian Thompson from Boise State University.
SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’2”, 208-pound Thompson is a big, physical safety who lacks ideal overall athleticism and speed. Big hitter and aggressive in run support. He is an intelligent, disciplined, instinctive center-fielder against the pass who makes plays on the football (19 career interceptions). Plays faster than he times – smooth with no wasted motion. Hard working and competitive. Team leader.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Darian Thompson, free safety, Boise State. Big kid, center fielder, checks a lot of boxes for us. We really like how he makes plays on the football. We think he’s a solid tackler back there. Makes the calls. Captain. High test score. A lot of things to like about him. Any questions?
Q: Was Darian once again at the top of your board?
A: There were a couple of guys we talked about right here with this pick…a couple guys.
Q: Did you like him because how he would team up with Landon Collins?
A: Well, we think he’s a free safety. He makes the calls back there for his team, he’s a ball hawk back there. We think he’s going to create a lot of competition in the secondary at that safety position. Looking forward to getting him in here.
Q: Does he free up Landon though to come down to the box?
A: Well, that’s up to the coaches…that’s up to Ben (McAdoo) and Steve (Spagnuolo), whatever they want to do with him. I think his skillset is a free safety skillset. I do think he’s a tough tackler, can come down in the box. I think he’s interchangeable. I think he’s one of those safeties that can do both.
Q: You don’t seem like you have a lot of guys on the roster with that kind of productivity as far as the interceptions, the guy gets the ball. Do you see that translating to the next level?
A: Well, we sure hope so. Never translate until you get them out there and they have to do it. But we sure think he has a skillset to do that. Again, he checks a lot of boxes for us.
Q: You said there were a couple guys in this one…what was it about him that sort of pushed him over the top?
A: It was just the guys we have there…we thought where we are right now and the skillset we’re looking for, we thought he had the best skillset at this point.
Q: Now that this round is done and your top three players are in the books, will you go into tomorrow—I hate to say it—just looking for the best available player?
A: We’re always looking for value and need…we’re always trying to couple those two things together. We try our best to get that.
Q: Does “need” mean you’ll be looking for an offensive lineman?
A: We’re going to look for the best player. We’re going to try to couple value with need.
Q: Do you feel like you have to get an offensive lineman with one of those last three picks, maybe not in one specific one, but you’d like one of those three picks to come away with that position?
A: No, we just feel like we can try to get a value pick and a need pick as well. Whatever we think the value is and what we think the need is, we can try to couple those things together.
Q: What are the chances of you guys making some sort of trade to earn yourselves another pick tonight?
A: We’ll keep all our options open.
Q: Have you had many phone calls tonight?
A: We’ve made phone calls, we’ve taken phone calls, yeah.
Q: Were you close to a trade before the second round pick?
A: I don’t think we were close to a trade. I can’t remember that far back.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Did you see Darian Thompson in person?
A: I saw him in practice in the Senior Bowl and in the Combine.
Q: What makes him different from the other guys you have that are going to compete for that free safety spot.
A: We have a nice mix of guys who all have something different. Nat’s a box guy and real competitive. Mykkele’s a free range guy. This guy’s a free safety who can also play strong. He plays that way there. He has good ball skills, feel for the game, competitiveness and size. So they all give you something different.
Q: Do you project how he will play and how he will play off of Landon?
A: Sure. What we like is that this guy has played strong safety and the linebacker position, so they move him all around. His versatility definitely was intriguing.
Q: When it comes down to final two guys at the end, for you, what was the determining factor?
A: When you talk them through, you try to highlight the positives. And it comes down to who has the most positives in their profile on and off the field.
Q: I’m not sure of the history of all the other safeties, but this guy has more interceptions than any of them.
A: Yes, he has a ton of them, more than a lot of guys who have played.
Q: You talked yesterday about interceptions being a random statistic. What makes this guy different?
A: This guy’s a ball hawk. His instincts are what separates. He can anticipate where a route is, where a ball is going and he jumps on it. And that’s what distinguishes him with making interceptions.
Q: How is he in coverage in general?
A: You don’t want him covering quick slot guys. He’s better in zone using the field. He’s got some range, so that’s the optimal way to use him.
Q: Is it hard to rate him because she’s not a big conference guy?
A: Boise State is a big time program. They’re a different mid-major. They’re big time, so they’ve had players, first round picks, the whole deal. They’re up there with all of the other upper echelon teams.
Q: Was there anything that was different about how these two days unfolded, compared to the past?
A: No. Get up there, stack em up, talk about em and pick em. There’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Q: He was used as a linebacker in college?
A: Well, not a real linebacker, but nowadays because so many teams play spread, they’ll put their safeties down in maybe a rover or a spur – every team calls it something different, so they used him in that kind of role. It’s not a true linebacker position. It’s just a hybrid safety/linebacker role.
McAdoo: Darian Thompson, another good, smart player from a winning program, fortunate to have him, excited for him to get here.
Q: When you see 19 career interceptions, that must make your eyes light up a little?
A: Yeah, he is very instinctive. He has tremendous ball skills, but the instincts and the twitch make it happen for him.
Q: Is there a flip side to that? Sometimes a ball-hawking safety can be a gambling safety. Does he gamble sometimes?
A: I think it is more of instincts. He may have a little bit of a gambler in him, but I think it is more off of instincts.
Q: What is your role here with guys in the middle rounds? How much have you conversed with them?
A: It is more off of film study with Darian. I studied Darian on a couple different occasions with some film off of a point of attack tape and off of game film and he is someone that jumped out at me. High character guy, good ball skills, he can tackle in the open field and he plays in a variety of roles. He can play back in the post, he can play back in split safety looks and he can play down in the slot — he did that a lot in their fire zones.
Q: Jerry talked about there being a couple guys there with this pick. What differentiated Darian from those other picks?
A: Well, we had a cluster of guys there we were looking at. To me, the instincts, the twitch, very smart player, high character guy, fits what we are looking for that way and the ability to get the ball back to the offense and change the game that way. The game is about the ball and he can get the offense the ball.
Q: Are you hoping that if his skillset translates quickly enough that you can move Landon Collins more to strong safety?
A: We need to get them both in here and look at them. I think Landon had a nice camp this week. [He] did some nice things back deep and we feel that he is growing and doing a nice job there improving and I don’t think you can say always and never in this business.
Q: Is this any type of statement about the other guys you have at safety?
A: Oh, we have a lot of young guys in the safety mix and quite frankly, we haven’t seen them. They have been nicked up. They basically had a medical redshirt type year last year and it is good to get them back out there, they are working to get back out and get back out 100% so we are chomping at the bit to look at those guys and Darian is a guy we are going to throw into the mix and let them all compete.
Q: When you say he has a twitch, what do you mean?
A: He can stick his foot in the ground and go zero to sixty real quick.
Q: We saw Mykkele Thompson playing in the slot the other day. How much of that is planned for him and how much of that is because you guys are short on corners?
A: Probably a combination of both. We are going to look at guys in a variety of different roles. Mykklele is a guy who has played corner and has played safety and it is always nice to have some flexibility and versatility there.
Q: Is Darian as big as you are going to want him?
A: I think he is a pretty good size right now but I think that when they get here and they obviously have training table where they are coming from at Boise, but when they have a chance to get a little bit of money in their pocket and eat properly, their body composition usually changes a little bit.
Q: Can you use him perhaps as a surprise pass rusher?
A: We are going look at him in a variety of roles right there. I am not going to give you the keys to the kingdom as far as how he is going to show up on game day, but yeah, he is a versatile guy.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DARIAN THOMPSON:
Q: Darian, congratulations.
A: I appreciate that, thank you very much. I’m extremely blessed and excited to get out there and get to work.
Q: Are you at home right now?
A: I am, I’m in California—a little ways away, but I’m ready…I’m ready to make that trip.
Q: Where were you when you found out that you had been selected?
A: I’m back at home in Lancaster, California in the backyard at my girlfriend’s just wondering when the phone call was going to come through, and it happened. It’s truly a blessing and I’m extremely excited about it.
Q: How often did you meet with the Giants prior to tonight?
A: A couple of times, not too often. Not too often, but a couple of times. When I did, it went well. I’m excited that they pulled the trigger on me. I’m sure that they’re excited as well.
Q: If you had to summarize your skillset, what makes you unique from other candidates?
A: First of all, I’m an extremely smart football player. I know how to study film and diagnose plays and put myself in the right spot in order to make plays and make turnovers. I think that’s what I do best. I have a knack for the football, and I feel like an interception is just as much as a touchdown, so that’s what I’m going after.
Q: They used you in a lot of different ways when you were in college. Did you have a specific niche, if you will, out of all the things they asked you to do that you really liked?
A: No, not specific things that I liked. I honestly just like being out there on the field, being able to compete and have fun with the game that I love. So there’s no one thing that I liked over another, just being out there is perfectly fine with me.
Q: A lot of times when somebody gets picked, there’s maybe a veteran starter or somebody who’s already entrenched in that job. It seems like at this point it’s pretty wide open for you. What are your thoughts coming into this season and into camp once you get here?
A: Like I said, I’m extremely blessed to be there. When I get in there, have my best foot forward and just continue to work. I believe I have a great work ethic and nothing’s going to change from that, so whatever happens when I get there, it just happens. I’m excited; I’m going to give it all I have and see what happens when I get out there.
Q: Was that depth chart something that you noticed when the Giants called or when you were thinking about one of 32 landing spots?
A: It kind of didn’t really matter…because I know the type of player that I am. I know that I’m going to come in there and I’m going to work, regardless of whether there’s a veteran in front of me or not. I know I’ll be able to contribute to the team in multiple ways, so I was happy with that.
Q: Have you had a chance to watch the Giants in recent years?
A: I have had a chance to watch the Giants, and they’re always a good football team. To be able to get out there and play with some of those guys that we see all the time on TV and commercials and things like that, and to be a part of the team and to help them achieve their goal of winning the Super Bowl, is just awesome to me.
Q: You were at what is arguably the most renowned mid-major team in the country at Boise State. Can you talk about what it was like being with that team with the national spotlight on you guys? Can you talk about what is probably the biggest lesson you learned in your years with the Broncos?
A: Yeah, Boise State is a great program. Everybody on that team has a chip on their shoulder because they weren’t picked or chosen to go to a bigger school, so everybody has an attitude and everybody has a chip on their shoulder like I was talking about. I still have that chip. Regardless of where I would have gone tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever it would have been, I would have that chip. I’m just excited to bring it to New York. I’m excited to bring it to the Giants and to see what happens from there.
Q: How surprised were you that this ended up being the landing spot?
A: I was pretty surprised. Pretty surprised…and I’m happy. This is the one place I thought before the draft that I could end up, and I’m happy that it happened to be there.
Q: Why’d you think that?
A: Just agent talk and things of that sort. They say, “Maybe this, maybe that.” Nothing’s ever set in stone, and as we see, the draft can go in all different types of ways. I’m happy where I am now, I couldn’t be more excited. Like I said earlier, I’m just ready to get to work.
With the ninth pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected wide receiver Sterling Shepard from the University of Oklahoma.
SCOUTING REPORT: The 5’10”, 194-pound Shepard may lack ideal size, but he was arguably the best slot wide receiver available in the draft. Shepard is a very strong, extremely quick, and super-productive receiver with good speed. He plays bigger than his size due to his strength and excellent leaping ability. Shepard is an excellent route runner who knows how to get open. Sudden and creates separation. He is tough, fearless, and super-competitive. He attacks the football and has excellent hands. Runs well after the catch. Shepard has an outstanding work ethic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He has experience returning punts.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Sterling Shepard, wide receiver, Oklahoma. Slot receiver. Has some return specialist to him. Terrific competitor. Just everything you want in a slot wide receiver. Our coaches believe he can play on the outside as well. The highest player on our board. I know you guys think I’m kidding when I say that, but highest player on our board, and an easy pick for us. Had a couple more names around that we liked as well, but it was too much value for us to pass this guy up. We think he’s going to come in and he’s NFL-ready —ready to play right now. He’ll be right in our receiver corps, and get a lot of competition in there, we hope. Any questions?
Q: Is he a little bit like a young Victor Cruz?
A: Yeah, some of scouts—that name came up when our scout group talked about him. That’s one of the names that came up, a young Victor Cruz. Very similar in some ways, body type. The one thing about this kid is he’s 5’10 and some change, but his strike zone—what we call a strike zone—is bigger than that. He’s got a 41-inch vertical jump, he’s got big hands…he’s a tenacious slot receiver, run after the catch. Get the ball to him quick and he does some nice things after that catch as well. Yeah, Victor Cruz was one of the names that came up.
Q: Does that worry you at all? Is that anything you guys even think about? Obviously Victor is a smaller guy, Odell plays bigger but under six foot, now a third guy under six foot.
A: You’d like to have all of them 6’5 that run 4.4 and all that, but it’s just not the way it is all the time. I think that there’s a lot of tall receivers in the Hall of Fame that probably never even played in a Super Bowl, if you look at that history. We think he’s plenty tall enough, and we think he’s a terrific young receiver.
Q: You said he’s NFL-ready…what are some of the things he has picked up to be able to play?
A: He plays in the slot…he’s just crafty and knows how to get open in his routes. He has the quickness, the explosion in his route, the run after the catch, and the toughness to go over the middle, those kinds of things. Good bloodline, too; he’s been around football all his life.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: What did you like about Sterling Shepard as a player that drew you to him?
A: He’s a guy that you go to Oklahoma, especially over the last few years – you go to certain schools and there are young guys, and you think ‘Who is that guy?’ He’s been that guy at Oklahoma because he’s always made plays. He’s quick, athletic, competitive and savvy. He’s has been a playmaker for them since the time he stepped on campus.
Q: Does his height matter to you and how much do you take that into consideration?
A: You like 6’5”, 200 pounds and run a 4.4 and all that, but this guy overcomes his lack of height with his other skills. He’s got a 41-inch vertical. He’s competitive to the ball. His catch radius is bigger – he plays bigger than his actual size. His catch radius is where he can go up and get the ball. So short receivers who play small are our concern. Short receivers who play big are not a concern.
Q: On tape he looks very tough, like he could break a tackle. Do you see that as well?
A: He’s very tough. That’s the knock on the little guys. They’re tough, but can they play big? He does both. He is very tough. He’ll go inside with no fear, catch the ball, take the hit, make guys miss and keep going.
Q: Do you think his lack of height kept him out of the first round?
A: Maybe, it might have been a factor.
Q: He’s not a skinny guy, right?
A: He’s rocked up. He’s not a frail, short guy. He’s thick and muscled up.
Q: Is he the type of guy to run the entire route tree?
A: Yes, he runs it all. The offense they run at Oklahoma, he runs all the routes, unlike some other college systems where they run up the field and turn around. This guy runs an NFL route tree.
Q: Everyone is saying he’s a young Victor Cruz, who wasn’t drafted. Do you see that?
A: It’s been thrown around. It’s been in our meetings. The comparison has come up. The stature, the quickness, the toughs, the ‘make you miss’ – those things are very similar. But I never like to say guys are the next somebody or compare them like that. But I can definitely see why the comparisons are made.
Q: You said that Shepard was the one you wanted. Were the first eight who went ahead of him not as important to you as he was?
A: All of the players are important. We stacked the board the way we like the guys and the way we think they’re going to fall. Obviously the first round is kind of predictable. The second round is predictable. But once you start getting into the third round, it just goes all over the place. But we stack our guys and say: first round, we like this group of guys, second round we like this guy. But coming into today, this was a guy we really liked to get.
Q: What does it say about how the league has changed, when your first two picks are nickel corner back and slot receiver?
A: It’s basketball on grass. Guys throw the ball. You need athletes getting in space. You still need to block. You’ve got to protect. But the more athletes you have out there, the better. It’s not ground and pound anymore. We throw the ball and a lot of teams do that.
Q: Was Shepard the top-rated receiver you had on your board since the start of the draft?
A: Probably not.
Q: Was this a guy you had your eye on prior to this year’s draft process?
A: Yes. He’s a senior, which is rare. You never see a top player stay for all four years. He had a nice body of work, as opposed to a junior who does one year and comes out of nowhere. This guy has done it for a few years. So when you go to Oklahoma, you always hear about Sterling Shepard – the guy who makes plays.
Q: Do you wait for positioning as you move along in the draft to get a specific position player?
A: We always try to match the need and the value, so hopefully we have a group of guys of equal value and need. We’ll take those guys.
Q: Did someone from the scouting department see all of Oklahoma’s games last season? Either in person or on film?
A: Yes, throughout our process, we had three scouts that go there. We break it down to early, middle and late, where our scouts go in and watch film that particular time of year. I immerse myself in the tape; Jerry, the receivers coach, as well. We’ve pretty much seen anything this guy has done.
Q: Was there any particular game that made him pop out?
A: The Tennessee game. That’s a quintessential game if you want to see what he’s all about. They were down and he’s making big touchdowns at the end to win the game.
Q: How instrumental was Ben McAdoo in the process given he’s an offensive coach?
A: No more than any other one. He was instrumental in that he liked him, which makes it good.
Q: Do you see Shepard augmenting or helping a guy like Odell Beckham Jr. go to another level?
A: I hope so. The more playmakers you have around a guy like Odell, the better. You want to double Odell, this guy will kill you. If he’s healthy, that’s a nice scenario for us.
Q: Is the goal of the draft to find a guy to complement Odell?
A: We definitely had our eye on the receiver position.
Q: Does it concern you that a guy you had your eye on has a big Senior Bowl week?
A: Without a doubt. That’s happened in the past, where we think we had a guy who wasn’t as highly rated as you think he is and then he blows up at the combine or the Senior Bowl. Then everyone jumps on him.
Q: Do you hope that doesn’t happen when you have a guy you like?
A: Yes, for sure, especially the combine. You like a guy, then he blows it out and becomes a combine superstar. Then it’s over with for you.
McAdoo: Hope is everyone is well tonight. We got a great pick tonight, Sterling Shepard, tremendous young man, high character, plays the game the right way, plays the game the way it should be played, feisty player, can separate both inside and outside, strong hands, he’ll block you and we’re fortunate to have him, fortunate that he was on the board when he was.
Q: Is there a little Victor Cruz in him?
A: There are times when you see him make some moves inside where you see that strength and that explosiveness that Victor has, yes, but they are different players.
Q: Is he a classic example of a player who plays bigger than his size?
A: Absolutely. He has a bigger catch radius than someone who is 5’10. He has big hands, so he is not afraid to reach out and pluck it away from his body and he is very confident after the catch.
Q: Does he remind you of anyone who has played or currently plays in the NFL?
A: There are some similarities between he and Victor [Cruz]. There are some similarities that I have seen with some of the guys I have coached in the past in Green Bay. He is a high character guy and when you take a look, there may be a little Randall Cobb in him, you see that. He will reach back and pluck the ball the way James Jones did a little bit in Green Bay in the past, so he has that in him; strong, confident hands as far as being a hands catcher but there are some guys out there that he reminds you of.
Q: Is he mostly a slot guy?
A: No, he is like the rest of the guys we have. You look at Odell, he can play inside and outside and Victor can play inside and outside, as well, and Sterling is no different that way. He has been productive in the past on the outside, this year he played more on the inside but they need to be flexible that way and they are definitely bright enough to do that and he certainly fits that role for us.
Q: Is it mandatory for him to contribute as a rookie being a 2nd round pick?
A: Well, he is going to get an opportunity to compete just like everybody else and the cream will rise to the top there.
Q: You obviously mentioned Cruz and Odell. Can you see those three on the field at the same time?
A: Yeah, absolutely. We play a lot of receivers and we like to use a lot of different guys there. Dwayne Harris factors there as well. He had a nice year. Geremy Davis is coming along, Myles [White] has done some good things for us and there are a lot of guys who are in the mix as far as that goes and the more the merrier, the better the competition.
Q: Does it make it harder for teams to match up when you have three guys who can play all of the positions?
A: It gives you more flexibility. Obviously, Odell is a difference-maker and Odell is a guy that is going to play inside and outside, he is going to be on the single side, he is going to be to the three-receiver side, he is going to be in the backfield, he is going to be a little bit of everywhere, so the other positions have to have flexibility.
Q: How important was it for you to get a compliment to Odell in this draft?
A: We had the minicamp last week. We have confidence in the guys that are already in the locker room and we expect that they will continue to push each other. They are certainly not going to make it easy on Sterling and that is how we want it, we want competition in that room.
Q: You would have been alright going at it with what you had if the draft had unfolded that way?
Q: What do you find are some of the toughest things receivers have to pick up and learn as they come into the NFL?
A: Well, I think the offenses are different from where they are coming from. He has been maybe in a little bit more of a pro style type offense than some that we see. There will certainly be a little bit of a learning curve for him so that is probably the number one adjustment. We are a little bit different than maybe most because we will spend a lot of time in the no-huddle, so that may help him with the learning curve a little bit. The defenses that he is going to see. He is going to see a lot of big, physical, gifted athletes playing the corner spot. That will be a big adjustment for any receiver coming into the league.
Q: Sterling had some experience at Oklahoma on punt return. Do you envision him fulfilling that role in New York?
A: We will certainly add him to the mix there. He will be a guy that is going to get some opportunities there, yes.
Q: What are you looking to get out of your final four selections?
A: The highest guy on the board.
Q: You said the no-huddle with help him a little bit?
A: Yeah, I think it streamlines things as far as the information that they get and how they get it. It is a little more visual than it is verbal and some guys learn a little easier that way.
Q: He made a big jump between 2014 and 2015. Is there anything that you saw on film with that? Maybe a better quarterback?
A: I think the natural maturation of a young player and their quarterback play was better this year. That is a good point.
Q: How is he as a blocker?
A: He gets after you. I like that. He is a complete player. He is not a finesse guy by any stretch of the imagination.
MEDIA Q&A WITH STERLING SHEPARD:
Q: When you found out you were drafted by the Giants, how much did you think about playing with Odell Beckham Jr?
A: I mean that’s one of the guys I look at. I look at (Beckham’s) game every week and I try to pattern my game after him. I was excited to be able to get drafted by the New York Giants and be able to play alongside him, as well as Victor Cruz—another guy that I look at, too. I’m excited.
Q: Odell Beckham recently tweeted out that the Giants got themselves a good receiver or something like that. How does that make you feel to get the Odell Beckham Jr seal of approval?
A: That’s always good. He’s now a teammate so I’m excited to be alongside of him, like I said. To have his approval is great, it’s a great feeling.
Q: How much contact did you have with the New York Giants coming into tonight? Did they talk to you at all at the Combine at all? Did you interview with them?
A: No, that’s the funny part. I hadn’t talked to them very much at all. I went to the Combine, I went to the Senior Bowl and I hadn’t talked to them at all. I think I may have filled out a questionnaire, but that was about it.
Q: You had some good times over at Oklahoma…you had one of college football’s best coaches, Bob Stoops, helping you out down there. How did it feel to play at such an elite program, a program that was nationally recognized and made the college football playoff? How did the experience at Oklahoma prepare you for the NFL?
A: It’s a huge program, and it comes along with a lot of history. A lot of the guys that came before you that made a name for that program, so it was an honor to play there. I got to play after my father and wear the same number as him. It was an honor to put that jersey on every week and go out and give them my all. I loved it, I loved my experience at Oklahoma.
Q: A lot of people here with the Giants know Victor Cruz very well and say you remind them a lot of him. Do you see some of that?
A: Yeah. Like I said, that’s one of the guys that I look at a lot. Victor Cruz is a great receiver…we’re kind of the same size, same stature. I definitely look up to that guy. I can see some similarities.
Q: Do you consider yourself a slot receiver or do you think you’re a guy who can play on the outside? What would you call yourself?
A: Honestly, I play so big, I don’t limit myself to just the inside. A lot of people think that that’s all I can do is play inside just because of my size, but I think guys like Odell and Victor have proven that that’s not the case. I’m definitely one of those guys that can be bounced around and move all around.
Q: Is that something that motivates you — that people look at your size and pigeon hole you as just a slot receiver?
A: Yeah, man. I listen to it and I take it in and move on because I know what I can do. Just gives me a little bit more fire.
Q: Do you know Odell? Do you have any relationship with him? Have you ever met him?
A: No…I mean we have some mutual friends—Kenny Stills—those guys know each other. But no, I’ve never met him or anything like that.
Q: What do you anticipate with that when you do get to meet him?
A: It’s going to be like we’re going straight to work. Everybody is ready to work. I feel like we’ll click when I get there.
Q: In what ways do you feel like you benefitted from going all the way through your senior year as a player and a student-athlete?
A: One, I got my degree…that’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish since I was a little kid, is graduating from Oklahoma, so I was able to accomplish that. Then I got to mature just as a young man. I got to accomplish those two things. As a player, I got to get bigger and stronger and faster. Coach Smitty does a great job with the weight program and the conditioning, so I just developed.