Mar 082023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 11, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media on Wednesday, the day after he signed a new 4-year, $160 million contract with the team (VIDEO):

Q: There’s a lot of different aspects that go into a contract. What was most important to you about the way this was structured? Was it the average value? The length? The guaranteed (money)? Take us through your thoughts on that a little bit.

A: There’s several really key components to it. And I think going in, it wasn’t really one thing or the other. I think it was the overall deal and how it worked together and how they balanced each other out. So, I don’t think there was one thing that was overidingly more important than the others. I think it was more about the balance of the deal and putting all those things together in the best way we could.

Q: How did negotiations work for you? I don’t think you were sitting down at the table with (senior vice president of football operations & strategy) Kevin (Abrams) and (general manager) Joe (Schoen). How did the communication work as far as you with your agents, your new agents? Can you take us through what that process was like?

A: I was certainly communicating with them a lot and talking to them, getting updates after their conversations with the Giants. And I was keeping pretty close touch with all that. I thought they did a great job.

Q: Was there ever a point where you thought it might not get done? Joe Schoen told us last week that he saw you in the facility on Monday, and he kind of told you, ‘This is your first negotiation. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ Did it get worse before it got better?

A: Yeah, it’s my first time going through it. There’s certainly an emotional component to it as well, and we went up to the deadline, as you know. But it was good. I think there were probably some points where you had more confidence and some points in time where you had less confidence. But I wanted to find a way to work it out, and that was the goal. It was very much my mindset, and I’m glad we did. I’m thrilled to be back.

Q: Obviously, your contract is your contract. And you’re entitled to go for as much as you can, but how cognizant were you of what you get maybe takes from others? And you and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) were linked here as far as franchise tags and things like that?

A: In a situation like this, you’re trying to do what’s best for you and your family while also balancing being part of a team and understanding the goals and vision that we have as a team and as an organization. That was certainly important to me throughout the deal. And I think we found a way to do both those things and to do it the right way for both sides. That was certainly important to me. Saquon – I’ve said it, he means a ton to me as a teammate, as a friend. And he means a ton to us as a player. So, I won’t talk about his business. But that was a piece of it, too.

Q: There have already been, this morning, columns that said, ‘Oh, Daniel’s paid like a franchise quarterback. Now he needs to prove that he is one.’ Do you feel any added pressure, added responsibility, with the new deal?

A: I’ve always felt that responsibility. And playing this position, especially for a team like the New York Giants and this city, you have that responsibility. And I take that very seriously. It certainly doesn’t change. I certainly do feel that, and it’s my goal to earn that every day and in the offseason while we’re preparing for the season and when we get to the season, doing my best and preparing this team to win games and me to put us in a position to do that. Yeah, I take that responsibility very seriously.

Q: You obviously have mentioned, seemingly everyone has mentioned, how close you guys got to a deadline yesterday. From your perspective, emotionally, did you take any time after you got that, ‘Okay, it’s agreed upon,’ and thought about what this process was like? I can’t imagine it’s been easy, especially the last week or so?

A: I certainly did. Yeah, just super grateful for the opportunity and grateful to the Mara family and the Tisch family. And just to be part of this organization has meant a ton to me. It’s been an honor to represent the team. Just very grateful for that and grateful for all the people that helped me get this opportunity along the way: my family, my friends, teammates, coaches, everybody. So, definitely took some time to think about that. I talked to a lot of people. I haven’t talked to everybody yet. Just very grateful.

Q: People always admire the way you’re able to stay even-keel. Was it more challenging to prevent your emotions from getting involved here and riding a bit of a rollercoaster, especially down the final minutes or final hours of what was going on here?

A: There’s certainly an emotional component to it. And you feel the pressure of the deadline. I think we all felt that. And I did as well. I wanted to be here, like I said. And I’m glad we got it worked out. It was always my goal to get it worked out. I’m glad we did.

Q: How did you celebrate this? And how was coming to an agreement on something like this different than being drafted?

A: I had dinner last night with some friends and my agents. Just grateful to have the opportunity to be back. I think it’s similar to being drafted. It’s an opportunity to play, but also an opportunity to go earn it and to prove it and continue to improve as a player and win a lot of football games. That’s my goal, and I’m tremendously excited about the opportunity. But there’s certainly a lot of work to do going forward, and I’m excited for that part of it, too.

Q: Was it at all strange to be in these intense negotiations knowing that no matter the outcome, you were still going to be a Giant? And why is it more valuable to you to be on this long-term deal than on the (franchise) tag? One of the things, you might have lost Saquon if you didn’t get a deal done. But why was that so important to you?

A: Well, I think it’s better for the team. It gives us a little more flexibility, and that’s an important component to it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to find a way to work it out so that it was good for both sides, and it worked. And it allowed us to have an opportunity to do what’s best for us going forward. So, I think that was a key component to it. I think we did that.

Q: I think the question when you mentioned dinner is did you pick up the check then after signing that kind of deal? Was that an expectation there at that point?

A: (Laughs) Yeah, I picked up the tab.

Q: The numbers that were thrown out there throughout the process, there were some big numbers thrown out there, how much did you hear that? And how important was the $40 million mark for you?

A: I think I saw some of that. There was plenty of numbers thrown out. Some may have been true; some may not have been true. It’s a negotiation. That’s part of it. But I’m glad with where we ended up, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited for the opportunity. I think it’s a great deal for both sides and allows us to do some things going forward and continue to grow and improve.

Q: Was that $40 million a benchmark number for you at all? Or was that an exaggeration as well?

A: I think, as I said earlier, it’s more about the deal as a whole – each piece of it fitting together in the best way it could.

Q: Since this was your first time, you obviously have a lot of contacts around the league. (Former Giants quarterback) Eli’s (Manning) in the building. Did you talk to any quarterbacks or any players who have gone through this before for the first time to kind of get a feel for how things would go? Or did you pretty much rely on what your agents had to say?

A: Yeah, I spoke to Eli before the process started and a little bit during. And he gave me some good advice. I think his message was just that things, they’ll work out how they’re supposed to. One day, you’re going to feel good about it. One day, not as good. But just to keep working. Like I said, we had the goal the whole time to get it worked out. So, I’m glad we did. But he gave me some advice. I leaned on my agents and my family, certainly.

Q: Did you talk to any other players that have gone through this, whether it be teammates, veteran teammates, guys you played in college with or anything like that to get some advice?

A: Certainly, my current teammates and some guys who have been through it. I would say I leaned heavily on my agents and my family.

Q: Where were you physically when you found out the deal was done? How did you find out? Do you remember what time it was?

A: I was in the building. I think it was 3:53 or 3:54, something like that. It was right up next to the deadline.

Q: Who did you find out from? Did your agent call you or just find you in the hallway? Or how did that happen? Were you in the room?

A: They told me. My agent told me where it was, and I accepted it. So, it was exciting. Like I said, very grateful, very appreciative about the opportunity.

Q: Why was it important for you to change agencies? And did you feel like the time it took for you to do that put some pressure on both sides to kind of make it happen in a short amount of time?

A: I’m certainly very grateful and appreciative of CAA and have some really strong relationships with those guys. I just thought this was the best thing for me going forward to work with Athletes First. And it was great working with them. I think we worked hard these last few weeks to get it done. And I don’t want to speculate on how it would’ve gone if it was different. You never really know. But we got it done, and we’re here. We’re excited about it. I’m excited to be back.

Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants about going out and getting a number one receiver, adding to the receiving corps? Was part of you committing here long-term a commitment and a belief that they were going to go and further upgrade your weapons in the passing game so that you could go and earn it and prove it?

A: I think that’s a question probably for Joe (Schoen) and Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll). So, none of that was discussed specifically. We were focused on my deal, and I was focused on my business and getting the deal done. And I’m excited about it.

Q: Was there ever a moment – during the season, after the season, during these negotiations – where you had to say to yourself, ‘I might not be a Giant long-term,’?

A: I think it was always my goal to be back here and to be here long-term. I’ve really enjoyed being here. I think it’s a special place. It’s a special organization to be a part of. So, it was always my goal and my hope that we’d find a way to work it out and that they’d bring me back. I’m excited about that. I think you go through times where you’re more confident, times where you’re less confident. But it was always my goal and hope to be back.

Q: I heard what you said toward the beginning about Saquon, but you’ll forgive me if I ask you yet another question about Saquon Barkley. Is it your expectation that you’re handing off the ball to him in September and he’s a teammate and he’s also happy with everything going on with the Giants? You know him better than most.

A: I’ll let Saquon speak for himself. He’s meant a ton to me as a teammate, as a player. He’s a tremendous part of what we’re doing. So, he’s a big part of this team. I’ll let him speak about his business. He means a lot to me. I’ve loved playing with him.

Q: I assume it’s taken weeks or months to get this contract together. Did they tell you how long it’s going to take to dot all the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s until you can finally put your signature on it? Or have you done that yet?

A: Yeah, I signed it last night.

Q: Do you have any part in how much your cap hit will be? Or is that something you leave to Joe and the agents or whatever?

A: I think that’s something that I let them figure out. I’m not an expert with any of that stuff or how it all works. So, I let them handle that.

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss quarterback Daniel Jones as well as other team personnel issues (VIDEO):

Q: Now that everything is done, could you bring us inside the negotiations a little bit? Obviously, it went up to the deadline. It was a lot of talks in the last week or so. What were the sticking points, and what brought it over the goal line?

A: It started roughly, I think it was three weeks ago today, when Athletes First, their group flew out here. We had a dinner initially. They were actually in the building Thursday, Friday, for a couple of days. We started our initial conversations then. And then we kind of went remote after that up until the Combine. So, we were in constant communication with them. I use that ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ We started off; we were far apart. Then, just over the days, weeks, hours, we eventually got closer. It pretty much came all the way down to the finish line, I think. Literally, it was like 3:54. The deal got done. And there was a lot of moving parts to it. But without getting into the details of the sticking points and whatnot, I thought for the most part, at the end of the day, we’d get a deal done. Again, I said it all along that franchising him wasn’t best for the franchise and it wasn’t best for (quarterback) Daniel (Jones). So, at the end of the day, I was pleased to get it done. It definitely went up to the wire.

Q: You talk a lot about walkaway numbers and lines in the sand. Did you have to slide that at all as the clock was ticking yesterday? Or did you hold firm at whatever that number was in your mind throughout the process?

A: All the way to the end, you’re not going to get everything you want in a negotiation. Rarely is that ever going to happen. I think that goes for both sides. There was give and take. People were standing firm on what was most important for each side. At the end of the day, each side had to give a little bit. That’s why it went down to the wire. We’re happy we were able to get it done.

Q: You came in here with Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) and were evaluating everybody and certainly did not have to fall in love with Daniel Jones as a quarterback. You didn’t draft him. By giving him this deal, are you saying that you feel you can win a Super Bowl with him?

A: Yeah, that’s the goal. Everybody’s goal is to win a Super Bowl. I think Daniel, he played well his rookie year. He played well for us this past year. I think the coaching staff has confidence in him. As an organization, we have a confidence in him. We’re going to continue to build the team around him. That’s the ultimate goal.

Q: Would you say that this contract is about what he can do rather than what he has done? Because around the league, a lot of people look at this and say, ‘Daniel Jones – $40 million a year? No way.’ And they just recite numbers that show he’s not a $40 million a year quarterback. So, why is he?

A: We can’t worry about what people are saying outside the building. All we care about is inside these walls. And we’ve got a very talented, experienced coaching staff and a very talented personnel staff, I believe. And what matters is what we think inside this building. That’s how we’re always going to make decisions. We’re not going to worry about the outside noise. And we’re going to be convicted in what we’re doing. It’s a well thought out process, and we’re happy with the decision that we made. And we’re happy to move forward with Daniel.

Q: Did you put any pressure on yourself as the process moved along – the idea that you knew what you wanted to accomplish, and you knew what you didn’t want to happen? As it started getting closer, did you have to dig in and maybe learn a little bit about yourself in this negotiation as far as how to handle it, how to deal with the emotions? We just asked Daniel whether that was on the other side of the table or not? From your perspective, what did you come away with down the stretch of this negotiation?

A: I think the quarterback deals are always going to be the – I talked to a couple of general managers at the Combine. The quarterback deals are the difficult ones. I went through one a few years ago with (Buffalo Bills quarterback) Josh (Allen). I learned a lot from how (Buffalo Bills general manager) Brandon (Beane) handled the situation. (Senior Vice President of Football Operations & Strategy) Kevin Abrams did a great job. (So did Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs, (Football Operations Assistant) Charles Tisch, (Football Data & Systems Coordinator) Max Kirin, (Director of Football Data & Innovation) Tyseer Siam. They all did a great job whether it was stats, where we were going with our incentives, contract structure, whatever it was, the negotiating part. They all did an amazing job. Last year, we didn’t have a lot of money. So, this is kind of my first time going through a major deal with the team and the negotiating team that’s here. And they did a phenomenal job. So, there was some learning there back and forth. I know I’m stubborn. I know I like to dig in. Some of that came out, probably different sides of me that those guys hadn’t seen. But my experiences that I had in Buffalo, I leaned on some of that. Again, it was a deal we wanted to get done. So, you have to be willing to be flexible with these deals. That’s how we eventually got it done – just being flexible and doing what’s best for the franchise. I was at peace with whichever way we went with it at the end, whether it was franchise (tag) or getting the deal done. But ultimately my job was to do what was best for the franchise and keep that in mind. I think where we landed was best for both parties.

Q: Did you guys have kind of a drop-dead time where you said, ‘You know what? We can’t be messing around knowing that Wi-Fi goes down and the tag doesn’t go into the league office.’ We had that fax issue years ago with (former Broncos defensive end Elvis) Dumervil, I think it was.

A: That came up. One of our guys was saying, ‘I don’t trust the Wi-Fi. We’ve got to get this in.’ So, that was real. We tried to propose like, ‘Hey, noon deadline. Let’s agree to something by noon and then that way we don’t have to scramble at the end.’ And that didn’t happen. We went all the way to the deadline. We were scrambling. We were prepared. We had several emails prepared, depending which way everything went. Fortunately, I think the best-case scenario came to fruition.

Q: Obviously, with you guys extending Daniel, you were able to franchise tag (running back) Saquon (Barkley). So, I was just wondering where things stand right now with him. Are you guys still negotiating? How are those negotiations going? Is there hope you might be able to get something long-term done with him as well before the new league year begins?

A: I’m going to talk to Saquon today. I talked to him yesterday before we put the franchise tag on him. Again, we’ve had deals out, whether it’s the bye week or recently. We’re going to continue to negotiate. We love Saquon. He’s a good teammate. He’s a captain. He’s a hell of a player. So, right now, he’s under the franchise tag. As we build the team and continue with our offseason plan, we’ll do what’s best for the team. We’re still mapping that out.

Q: Daniel said he was in the building yesterday when the deal went down. I was wondering if you were able to talk with him after, what those conversations were like and now that it’s finally settled, what it was like to kind of see him in that atmosphere and that environment.

A: I think it was a big relief for everybody. It was stressful enough over the three weeks as we’re going through the process. But then with the time crunch at the end, it was just added stress on top of it all the way up to the deadline. I think there was a sense of relief on all parties afterwards, gave some big hugs. Then I ran off to do the other things that we needed to do before four o’clock. Again, he was here late last night to sign the deal. I think there was just a lot of relief on both sides.

Q: For the fans, you can sit around, and you can say, ‘The Giants went into free agency with $48 million – or whatever the number is – in cap space.’ For the average guy, you’re going to think, ‘Well Daniels is getting $40 (million). Saquon is getting $10 (million). Do you have anything for anybody else?’ Can you explain to them how there is money available for other people?

A: Yeah, with the salary cap and the signing bonus, again, where we were, the way we did Daniel’s deal with the signing bonus, that spreads out over four years. And then his P5 is $9.5 (million) this year. And then the proration of the signing bonus, which I think was $36 (million), so that’s where we have money there. Everybody looks at the $40 (million) number, but that frees up some money. We’ll see what happens with Saquon. The franchise number is just over $10 (million). If you extend him, and there’s a signing bonus involved, you can free up more cap space. There’s more people. (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence is a guy we’ve started talking with his representatives. He’s on the fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So, the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the length of the contract up to five years, and that’s how you’re able to lower the yearly amount that counts against the cap.

Q: And it leaves you money for everybody else?

A: Yes.

Q: You mentioned that you’ve had conversations with Dexter Lawrence’s reps, but I’m just wondering: with Daniel having fallen into place, Saquon a tag in place now, where do you stand with decisions regarding (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay? Is he a pre-June (cut) or a post-June (cut)? And also, what about (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), who I think you’d mentioned you were looking to maybe do something with him?

A: Those are ongoing conversations. We got back from the Combine late Sunday night. Athletes First was here on Monday. The meetings that I’ve had this morning are usually done the Monday after the Combine. So, it was kind of a ‘wait and see’ until we knew where we landed with Daniel and Saquon. And now that we’re there, now we’re really going into strategy meetings leading up to Monday when we can start negotiating with free agents. Kenny – we’ll see. There’s a good chance that we just take the hit this year. We already have some money that’s dead money in 2024. Just to get through this past season, we had to do some financial moves and actually kick dead money into 2024. So, if we can take our medicine this year, I think that’ll help us in 2024 and get out of the business of having a lot of dead money in any year.

Q: The advantage to making Kenny a post-June 1 (cut) is that you don’t get to use the money after June 1, but you get a lot more. And you of course have a spillover to the following year when the cap goes up. Might that be an option for you to consider, considering that will give you enough to get you through 2023, plus if you want to extend somebody, now you have a nice little cushion?

A: That can be said for next year if you’re sitting there with $17 million in dead money, and it’s 12 months from now, (you might think), ‘Gosh dang, I wish we would have just taken our medicine last year. We’d have more money.’ And we have (tackle) Andrew Thomas who’s a good player, (safety) Xavier McKinney – there’s other players on the roster who you may want to extend, or you may want to go outside the building. So, if we have the financial flexibility just to take our medicine and take on the dead money this year, that may be better. But those are all decisions that we’ll make moving forward. We’re having those meetings now and going through what the best-case scenarios are. We still have until Wednesday to make that decision.

Q: Now that you have Daniel under wraps, and I’m going to presume Saquon, how do you go about making this offense better and making this team better around what is now your franchise quarterback?

A: There’s several avenues. Now we have some financial flexibility this year. This morning, we’re going over the free agent market. I know people want to talk about offense and the receivers a lot, but we’re still building a team in all three phases. We’re going to look to upgrade offensively, defensively and our special teams unit. So, it’s nice, again, to have the draft capital that we have, the financial flexibility we have to really start building this thing. I don’t want to say this starts the build, because we made some moves last year and through the draft and some waiver wire claims that are still going to be here. But this is finally where we have flexibility and draft capital, second draft class. And we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.

Q: You inherited somewhat of a mess last season. Is there a way you would be able to explain to us how much better you feel about the organization right now and its flexibility in some respects?

A: (Laughs) I’ll give you a good example. We were just talking about a player. I won’t name the position or anything. We were like, ‘Yeah, we’re guessing his market might be $2.5 (million),’ and I was like, ‘We can afford that. It’s only $2.5 (million). We can actually afford it.’ We’re not shopping for minimum players anymore. So, even players like that that can be really good depth players will make us that much better. So, just having the flexibility now to be creative, go get players at maybe a little bit higher value, but also being able to sign, whether it’s tier three players, two, one, however you do it. We can map it out, and there’s players that we can go procure now that maybe we weren’t in the past. So, this offseason we’ll build a bit. I still believe in building through the draft. And we can sign guys in free agency to help the roster. I still think with Daniel and Dexter coming down the road and some of the other players, you’re still going to need to build through the draft because I think there’s going to be some players who will be making good money on our roster. So, it’s still going to be important.

Q: Did you hear from anyone in Buffalo congratulating you? You went through that with Josh, obviously. And now you have your own situation.

A: Yeah, I had a few. A lot of those. And talking with Brandon (Beane); I talked to him last night. I watched him go through this, but until you actually go through it, you don’t realize the stress, the pressure, the back and forth and sleepless nights and how much it weighs on you. I told him I totally understand now those mornings when he came in and he looked like hell because he wasn’t sleeping. And I knew exactly where he was.

Q: In the eleventh hour when you said both sides had to stand for what they wanted most and then concede some things. As Daniel ends up getting $40 million – getting his guaranteed money – what do you feel like the team got in concessions that were important to you guys at the end of the day?

A: I don’t want to get into the details of it, but we came to a spot where what was important to them and what was important to us, we came to an agreement. They got what they wanted, and we got what we wanted. And there were some concessions on other things that maybe weren’t as big of a priority. So, we hashed that out all the way up to the end. And I think where they gave and where we gave, I really do (think that) the best deals are won when both parties are happy at the end. I think that’s the landing spot we came to.

Q: (Safety) Julian Love looks like a guy who you now have to turn your attention to. Wondering if you have any optimism that that will get done or if you feel that there’s still a gap there with about a week to play with here?

A: That’s a good question. We’re going to reach out to our UFAs today. Kevin Abrams did an amazing job, Ed Triggs, those guys did awesome, Charles Tisch. We’re going to start reaching out to the agents today, kind of seeing where they are, where we are. We’re going to see if we can get something done before Wednesday, when the new league year starts. We’ll be in constant communication with those guys over the next few days.

Q: How involved or not involved was (President and Chief Executive Officer, Board Director) John Mara in this deal actually happening, at the end getting done? How involved was he in the process?

A: John Mara, (Senior Player Personnel Executive, Board Director) Chris Mara, (Executive Vice President, Chairman of The Board) Steve Tisch, I got a text chain with them. I called them. I talked to them. I kept them abreast since the beginning of the process we started three weeks ago. So, phone calls or text chains just keeping them abreast of what was going on.

Q: How much time do you guys think that you and their side put in in the last two or three days? I know they came out here Monday. Did you guys pull an all-nighter that night? How long were you working on it? Were there points where you guys separated and were like, ‘Man, I’m not sure we’re getting there,’?

A: We were here late Monday night, back in early Tuesday morning. It was on our mind that last 72 hours – I’d say the last three weeks because we’ve been in constant communication. But them being here physically, we met with them nine straight days up to the end, in person. Nine straight days of meetings; that’s a lot of time, whether it was at the Combine or when they were here. So, a lot of time. It got a little dicey as it was getting close to 3:30, 3:40. There was part of me that was like, ‘We may not get to the finish line.’ Again, the last four or five minutes, we tied a bow on it, luckily.

Q: You said both sides kind of stood ground on what was important to them. I’m curious: what was important to you when you went into this deal? What did you want to get out of it – a big picture?

A: I wanted to know we had our quarterback here and it wasn’t a franchise tag type of teal. So, to me, that was a worst-case scenario – putting the franchise tag on him. But I also knew I had that as a tool. So, the deal had to make sense for the franchise, both short-term and long-term. That’s what was important to me. The fact that we didn’t have to put the franchise tag on him and the way the deal was structured and the years, I think both parties were happy at the end.

Q: When a new regime comes in – you and Dabs came in last year – this is not how this usually goes when there’s a quarterback in place that there’s a question about. I’m curious if a year ago you thought you’d be here today – signing Daniel to a long-term contract and when you really thought that that’s the direction that you wanted to go.

A: I would say if I thought I was going to be here a year ago, I would’ve done the fifth-year option. But again, I knew from doing work on Daniel coming out of the draft, the type of person he was. From everybody in the building, the type of person he was, his work ethic. He has all the physical tools. He’s athletic. He can make all the throws. Just the situation he was in, I do think you have to look into that. Year two and three, what he went through. The talent that was around him, the injuries. There’s a lot that went into it. But being around Daniel for the last 13 months and seeing him play and the fourth-quarter comebacks and winning a playoff game on the road, there’s a lot of positives that a 25-year-old young man just displayed throughout the season. And the upside, I’ve got a lot of belief in our staff and Daniel’s work ethic and their relationship that will continue to grow, and Daniel will continue to get better. If he’s just at his floor right now, I’m really excited about what his ceiling is going to be.

Q: You mentioned Saquon, but he had said as soon as the season ended that if he was tagged, he would not be happy. Do you get the impression right now that he is not happy? Or have you alleviated that by saying, ‘We’re still working here, Saquon,’?

A: I haven’t talked in-depth with Saquon yet. I’m going to talk with him today. That’s negotiations. We had some deals out there, and we tried to get a deal done with him and his representatives. And we couldn’t. I think both parties knew at the end of the day that this was an option, and if he’s frustrated, I can understand some of that. We could be frustrated as well that we weren’t able to get a deal done. I love Saquon. He’s a good player. He’s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’ll see where it goes from here.

Q: How much of an impact, now that you do have some money to go out and spend, how much of an impact do you think free agency, outside free agents, can have on improving your team this offseason?

A: At certain positions, I think it’ll have a major impact, depending on where we go and the price point. Again, we can’t negotiate until Monday. So, we’re not really certain where some of these players are going to be from a financial standpoint, contract years and those types of things. So, we’ll be fiscally responsible with the moves that we make. Again, I think when you’re signing people outside the building, you’ve got to make sure you’re right on the character, the medical. It’s not like the draft where we can go to the Combine, and we can do physicals on these guys and see where they may have previous injuries and what those look like. You don’t get to interview them and go to their schools and all that stuff. So, we’ve got to be diligent with our research on the players and also, like I said, be fiscally responsible with where you pay these guys. So, we’re going to do our research. I think we’ve got some players targeted that will make impacts if the contract structure is right. And again, if not, we have plan B, C and D if we need to go there.

Q: Just following up on (a previous question) about Julian. You had said last week, ‘Some guys have been released. Let’s see where the safety market is going.’ How do you feel about, without naming any names, this free agent safety market?

A: I think there’s some depth there. I really do. When you’re looking at the markets, I think you really need to look at the draft, too. Let’s say it’s a deep safety market in free agency, and there’s some really good safeties in the draft, well then sometimes that suppresses the market. We’ll take all that into account. If a player and their price gets out of hand, we also know what the landscape of the draft looks like. There’s different avenues where you can acquire players. Again, we’ll make sure that we’re aware of all those.

Feb 282023
Joe Schoen, New York Giants (February 28, 2023)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana (VIDEO). Schoen also answered questions from fans (VIDEO).

ESPN is reporting that the Giants will release wide receiver Kenny Golladay on March 15, the first day of the 2023 League year. Depending on whether the Giants choose to designate him a pre- or post-June 1st cut, they can “save either $6.7 million or $13.5 million against the 2023 cap, respectively. However, the latter option will kick dead money into 2024.

Golladay will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in NFL history. The Giants signed Golladay as an unrestricted free agent from the Detroit Lions in March 2021 to a 4-year, $72 million contract. According to Spotrac, he received over $40 million of that contract in his two years with the team, playing in 26 regular-season games with 18 starts, catching just 43 passes for 602 yards and one touchdown. He had only six catches for 81 yards in 2022, as mediocre receivers easily passed him on the depth chart. He also dropped four targets on the limited chances he did get.

The 6’4”, 214-pound Golladay was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Lions. Golladay broke out in 2018 and 2019, catching 135 passes for 2,253 yards and 16 touchdowns. Golladay missed 11 games in 2020 with hamstring and hip injuries. He finished with just 20 catches for 338 yards and two touchdowns in five games.

The Indianapolis Colts have hired New York Giants Assistant Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano, Jr. to be their new offensive line coach. The Colts hired away Giants Running Backs Coach DeAndre Smith earlier this month. The 56-year old Sparano joined the Giants last year after serving as assistant line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-2020) and Carolina Panthers (2021).

For a complete listing of the coaching staff, see the New York Giants Coaching Staff section of the website.


Jan 232023
Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen, New York Giants (January 11, 2023)

Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Joe Schoen: I just want to start off by thanking the Maras and Tisches. I’ve been here about a year, and thank them for giving us all the resources we needed throughout the season since the day we got here to build the best team we could last season along with any type of resources we needed. I would also like to thank everybody that works under this roof that contributed to not only the culture but their particular job responsibilities throughout the season. There’s tremendous energy in the building right now, a really good culture. I’m just really happy with everybody’s efforts throughout the year. I want to thank them for their efforts.

With that being said, I would say it was a good season for us in many different ways. When you come in when I did in January, you’re trying to get to know the roster, trying to get to know the players. Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) had a very good plan in terms of the offseason, the OTAs, to bring the players together and start to develop that culture and comradery amongst the team. I thought that carried over to our fast start early in the season. The start we got off to was good. I think some of the positives were some young players got to experience success that maybe they haven’t in the past and how you handle that. And we had a little bit of a lull, I would say, after the bye week, and also allowed some of our young players to learn how to overcome adversity and steady the ship. And we did that down the road and were able to win a playoff game. A lot of young players were able to get playoff experience. So, all in all, a lot of those lessons learned throughout the season will hopefully continue to help us moving forward. The foundation has been set, and I think some of those experiences that the players were able to go through this year will just allow us to build moving forward. With that being said, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: Do you plan on re-signing (quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?

Schoen: We’d like Daniel to be here. Again, he said it yesterday – there’s a business side to it. We feel like Daniel played well this season. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. Again, there’s a business side to it. We haven’t went down that road yet. We still have to have our meetings with our staff late in the week, and we’ll devise an offseason plan. We haven’t had those meetings yet, but we would like to have Daniel Jones back.

Q: Having said that, when did you know? You and Dabs came in and had to do your due diligence and see what you had in Daniel (Jones) and everybody else. When did you make the decision, both of you guys, ‘This guy is our guy to move forward with,’?

Schoen: I don’t know if there was necessarily an ‘Aha’ moment or anything like that. We just continued to evaluate him throughout the season and what the coaches were asking him to do. And he was executing the game plans. Dabs and I communicate on a daily basis – not just Dabs and I, but the offensive staff and what they’re asking him to do. He continued to improve throughout the season. I don’t know the exact date or time when we’re like, ‘Daniel is our guy,’ but we’re pleased with how he played this season.

Q: Obviously you need a new contract with (running back) Saquon (Barkley). Is that somebody, also, you also would like to keep, and is the franchise tag a possibility?

Schoen: Again, this is a special team to me. It was my first year. We’d like to have all the guys back, I really would. But there’s a business side to it. There’s rules that you need to operate under in terms of the salary cap. Saquon, he’s a good player. He’s a great teammate. I loved getting to know him this season. He’s a guy we would like to have back. It’s just, again, we haven’t had our end-of-season meetings yet. We’re less than 48 hours after that game. Everybody is going to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster and then we’ve got to operate under the salary cap. How are you going to divvy up? How are we going to create the roster? What are the priority positions, and how are we going to move forward? We would like to have Saquon back if it works out.

Q: Do you think you overachieved as a ball club, and do you think having sustained success is really what you’re going for most of all here? And is there a possibility that a team, if they did overachieve, could take a step backwards along the way to getting where you want to go?

Schoen: That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say we overachieved. I think Dabs did a good job, along with his staff, of like, ‘Focus on the process and not necessarily the results.’ They came in on a weekly basis and focused on the process. They saw the dividends came on Sunday. I think there was a lot of good football players on our team. I think there were a lot of good teammates. Maybe we weren’t the most talented, but we did have a good team. Guys cared about each other. The culture was good, and the process we had in place – again, I think the dividends showed on Sundays.

Q: When you say you want Daniel (Jones) back, ideally would you like that to be a long-term deal or a multi-year deal?

Schoen: We’re going to get into all that. Again, it takes two. Both sides have got to have those conversations. We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. There’s tools at our disposal. Again, we’ll go through several scenarios. It’s kind of like I mentioned it last year, maybe it was at the combine, with the ‘if, then’ scenarios. You got to go through all those because you don’t know how things are going to fall because it’s negotiating. This is why you love the draft – you turn in the card, and they’re yours. You know what the contract structure is; you know the years. This is where there’s two parties involved, and it’s going to be time consuming. We’ll get together as a staff. We’ll talk through the different options and have those discussions when it’s appropriate.

Q: When do you plan to start those negotiations with the agents about extensions? Is there any urgency to get it done before that tag deadline to lock one of those guys in?

Schoen: We haven’t discussed that yet. Again, we’re going to meet as a staff on Thursday. We’ve got all-star games coming up. The last couple days have been a lot of – we did exit meetings yesterday with the entire football team, each player individually, working on calendars as we move forward the next couple weeks, so we mirror personnel calendars with the coaches. We’ll have those meetings on Thursday, and those will continue through the weekend.

Q: With Saquon (Barkley), how do you view running back positional value versus he’s also, other than Daniel (Jones), your best playmaker?

Schoen: Listen, Saquon has done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he’s a good football player. Again, the positional value – we’ll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources. That’s what it comes down to. Again, he’s a good football player. He was durable for us this year; he played well. And again, he’s a guy that we would like to have back.

Q: In terms of the (salary) cap, would you like to do something to lower (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams’ cap number?

Schoen: We haven’t discussed that yet. I like his quote yesterday; I just saw that before I came down here that he would be interested in taking a pay cut. You guys did a good job on that, whoever asked him that. He didn’t mention that in the exit interview with us.

Q: You redid the deal, and the numbers are really high. It’s not like you have no cap space, but what’s your comfort level with a number that high in general?

Schoen: We’ll talk about that. Again, there’s several options. We’ve got to go through the entire roster, we have a lot of UFAs (unrestricted free agents). We have guys that are good players that have contracts on the horizon. That’s all part of the planning that we’ll go through. And again, we just got to talk about how we want to divvy it up and prioritize different areas. And if we need to open up money, we won’t rule that out.

Q: Joe just said, ‘We may not have been the most talented, but we were a team.’ Do you now look ahead, after your first year, and think, ‘Okay, now we are one of the more talented teams, we can do a lot more with this,’?

Daboll: You know me; I take it day by day. I think it’s year by year. Every team is different. Just because you won one year doesn’t guarantee you anything the next year relative to what players you have, what players you don’t have. You take a look at last year’s playoff (teams) – I think seven of them didn’t make the playoffs the following year. Two top seeds had losing records. I think our goal will always be just get better each day, try to put the best team we can together, work at it each day and not get too far ahead of ourselves. I appreciate, like Joe said, all the people that had a hand in this year. Obviously, it didn’t end up where we wanted to end up. But it took a lot of work. It took a lot of energy. It took a lot of people in all areas of our building. The offseason started the day after we lost, unfortunately. That’s where we’re at. We’ll do the best job we can of building up our team the best way we can, our organization, and then going out there and taking it day by day.

Q: Joes said that he wants Daniel (Jones) back. Obviously, you guys have talked about this a lot. Why do you want Daniel back and why do you think he can take this team, get another trophy for this team? Do you think he can?

Daboll: I’ve said it all year; he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do as an offensive staff. And he’s done a really good job with operating and executing our offense. I think he’s made strides in a lot of different areas. Certainly, we can all make strides in more, but he’s been a good leader for us, played the quarterback position well for us. I’m happy we had him.

Q: How much does it change everything in regards to the team building that you have the quarterback, assuming you’re able to re-sign him, and you don’t have to find a quarterback or draft a quarterback and you can use those resources elsewhere?

Schoen: I don’t think it really changes. It doesn’t really change what we are going to do. We’ve still got to draft well. We want to be in good cap health. We’re in a unique situation in that we have some players that are upcoming that were drafted here previously before we came here that played well. Again, it just comes down to how we want to divvy it up. Again, the money and the resources that we have along with the draft – we’re still trying to build this thing so we can sustain it.

Q: But in Buffalo, you had to trade up to get (Buffalo quarterback) Josh (Allen), right?

Schoen: Every situation is different. I know you want to make the parallels with here and Buffalo. We made the playoffs the first year. I mean, every situation is unique and different. There were different factors that played into that. And again, I think Daniel played well enough this year. We’d like to have him back. And again – we have some difficult offseason decisions to make and how we are going to go about those. So, I look forward to getting to work on that here by the end of the week.

Q: On Saquon (Barkley), when you try to determine his financial value – how much do you factor in character and contribution to culture as opposed to talent when it comes to that evaluation?

Schoen: If that wasn’t important, we probably wouldn’t be approaching him. So, that’s kind of a starter for us – if you’re a good teammate, you’re a culture fit for how we want to do things. That’s where we go to those players. We don’t factor in – when you’re making comps (comparisons), it’s hard to put a value on that. It’s important, but you can look at how many yards, touchdowns, Pro Bowls, games played, games missed. Those are more markers that we can establish value on. We wouldn’t approach him or look to sign a guy if they didn’t fit our culture if we didn’t think so.

Q: How close were you with him (Saquon Barkley in bye week conversations)? How close were you with him, and did you consider yourself close when you had that conversation?

Schoen: We had productive conversations. We were off on the value. Again, we said we would circle back up at the end of the season and continue those conversations, but that time of year, we weren’t really that close I would think.

Q: When you talk about you have to make decisions when allocating resources, does it give you any pause that you see these big second contract for running backs kind of haven’t panned out, generally, across the league?

Schoen: I wouldn’t say all of them haven’t panned out. But there’s a risk to any big contract. Anybody can go out there and get hurt at any position. I think that’s risk-reward. The good thing about, I feel, extending people in-house (is that) you know their work ethic. You know their durability. You know their injury history. You know how they train. You know how they practice. So, in terms of eliminating some of the margin for error, it’s a known commodity.

Q: You’ve seen what a team can do when they bring in a top-flight wide receiver. You guys did that with (wide receiver Stefon) Diggs at Buffalo and (Eagles quarterback) Jalen Hurts with (Eagles wide receiver) A.J. Brown. If Daniel Jones is the quarterback, whoever’s under center, how much of a priority is it to get a wide receiver that you can prepare to continue that evolution?

Schoen: I think we want to continue to build the entire team. Again, I know a number one wide receiver can be important, but there’s some number one wide receivers that are home right now. You can go through this past weekend; you can go through a couple of weekends ago in the playoffs. A number one receiver doesn’t guarantee you anything. I think it’s important that we continue to build the team, and there’s multiple positions where we want to upgrade throughout the offseason. So, yeah, I’d love to have a number one wide receiver. But we’ve got to place value on everything we do, and if it makes sense, that’s something we’ll look to do.

Q: Who are your biggest weaknesses? What do you think your weaknesses are?

Schoen: We’re going to go through that with the coaches. Again, we’re going to talk through all that. Again, we’re going to step back, take the emotion out of it, evaluate the roster. We’ll come up how we want to approach the offseason and where we need to improve.

Q: What do you make of your rookie class, your first draft, and just your entire rookie class? What do you think about it, and was it what you wanted it to be?

Schoen: I like the guys we brought in. I think there’s some ups and downs, which you’re always going to have with rookie classes. (Outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), he got injured in that Cincinnati game in the preseason and then kind of got healthy throughout the season and hit his stride. (Tackle) Evan (Neal), same deal – had some ups and downs and battled through injury. (Wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) was really coming along. He had over 100 yards through three quarters in the Detroit game, so, he would’ve been a big-time contributor, especially down the stretch, if he would’ve stayed healthy. So, a lot of big contributions without going through everyone.(Cornerback Cor’Dale) Flott made some big plays, made a big play in the Minnesota game. Has a high ceiling; we’re excited about him. (Offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu started some games and then got injured. When these guys get healthy next year, I think that’s going to provide depth. And some of those guys are going to compete for starting spots. (Tight end Daniel) Bellinger, we thought, had a really good season. Again, he got injured. I think they all got injured except for (inside linebacker Micah) McFadden at some point unfortunately. (Safety) Dane Belton, same deal. When he was out there, he played well. Had two interceptions for us. (Defensive lineman) D.J. Davidson, unfortunately, had an ACL in London but was a contributor in a rotational role. (Inside linebacker Darrian) Beavers. in the preseason, he was competing to start at Mike. Excited to see him when he comes back. And then, (offensive lineman) Marcus McKethan was having a really good camp for us before tearing his ACL. So, when healthy, I think there’s going to be some really good contributors out of the class and then some other guys that will be really good depth players for us. But smart, tough, dependable players that we’re happy we have.

Q: Has (defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence done enough to earn another contract?

Schoen: I would say Dexter’s done enough. Again, we want all of our guys back. We want them to be here for a long time. Dexter played well, and we’ve got him under the fifth-year option. And that’ll be part of our end-of-season review in terms of how we want to approach that. But yeah, Dexter played really well, great person, great teammate. Happy he’s here.

Q: You have him under contract, but I presume you’ll sit down and talk with him about it, right?

Schoen: If you presume. Well, we’re going to talk about it here in the future and then again, it goes back to we have certain cap space, and we have certain tools at our disposal. We’ll figure out how we want to utilize them.

Q: Now that you have that cap space – now that you are a little bit more financially healthier, significantly more financially healthy than you were last year – do you plan on being aggressive in the free agent market? Is that somewhere where you’re going to now look to really infuse this roster with talent that way?

Schoen: We’ve got some guys that are good players that are currently UFAs. These are known commodities in-house that we know intimately from being with them for a year. And we’ll see who we want to bring back throughout these meetings and what their market value is going to be based on our analysis. Again, if we can bring some of our own back, we will, mixed with guys outside the building. We’ll look at that. Ideally to me, the known commodities that are good football players that you know, that’s going to be our priority first. And then we’ll look outside the building, if we need to, to supplement the roster.

Q: In some ways, is taking that next step a bigger challenge for a football team, i.e., going from a playoff team to a true contender, is that a bigger step in some way?

Schoen: You’re saying from?

Q: From where you were, in a difficult situation to making the playoffs, is it harder to go to the next step? From being a playoff team to truly contending for a title?

Schoen: I think what Dabs said, each year is different. Each team is different, the players that we lose, the players that we bring in. Again, we like our process, whether it’s free agency, draft, waiver wire. In terms of improving the roster, we’re always going to look to do that. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and the personnel staff that we’ll continue to improve the roster any way we can. And again, every season is different.

Q: Do you think ownership still has patience for a long-term build and process? Or do you think your success this year may have accelerated expectations from ownership?

Schoen: We haven’t really talked specifically about that. I’m in constant communication with (President and chief executive officer) John (Mara), (senior player personnel executive) Chris (Mara), (chairman and executive vice president) Steve (Tisch) about what we’re thinking, what the plan is and where we are. That hasn’t come up.

Q: Was it challenging at all this year for you that you had your plan set, and if ownership wanted it accelerated, did you kind of have to hold firm on some of the things that you believed in and not accelerate the plan based on what you were seeing in the standings, record wise or even on the field?

Schoen: I think it goes back to almost my opening press conference. We wanted to see progress. The question was, ‘What’s a successful season?’ We wanted to see progress, and I think you saw that throughout the season. Again, credit to my personnel staff. They were relentless in terms of eating up the waiver wire, waiver claims and practice squad. Did a really good job. But again, to your point, we had to honestly evaluate the roster, whether it was the trade deadline or not. I don’t believe in the ‘You’re one player away.’ I think it’s truly a team game. And that’s where we were and the holes that we had. I thought it was best just to stay pat where we were. We have nine picks going into next year’s draft. We do have a little bit more financial flexibility. As a group, we thought that was the best thing to do.

Q: You called the loss to the Eagles ‘a crash landing.’ How do you balance the success of the regular season with the disappointment of that playoff game in evaluating the entire season?

Daboll: I think you just take a step back. You give the coaches some time to evaluate the players, and then we’ll have time to evaluate the things that we’ve done, whether that’s scheme, personnel, decisions. You just take a step back. Unfortunately, I’ve been involved in eight playoff losses. So, 24 wins. Each year’s a different year. It’s different than it was 30 years ago. Each year, you come in here in April 17 for the offseason program, and when you ask the new guys to stand up, it will be dang near half the room. So, what we’ve tried to build is our foundation – how we meet, how we practice, how we prepare, how we travel, our mindset going into games. You have guys that have been on the roster on the roster that are coming back and that can help facilitate that with the new players that are coming in because every year’s a new year. The team we had this year will be different next year, but that’s just the NFL. So, how you build the chemistry with the team is important. It starts in April. You’re glad you have some of the players that you’re going to have coming back, but certainly, you’re going to have a lot of new players, whether that’s draft picks, free agents, different guys. And everybody’s got to come together again and start building the team for the next season.

Q: Do you anticipate any changes to your coaching staff? Do you have to always prepare for the potential of replacing a coordinator if they get a (head coaching) job?

Daboll: Like I’ve said all season, I’ve had a lot of confidence in our guys. They’ve done a great job, and women, on our staff. When you have these interviews that come up, and I’ve been part of them the last three seasons, you always have to have a plan because you never know what’s going to happen if (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) gets a job, if (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka gets a job. So, you have to go through the whole process. The good thing about being here for the second year is that you have a lot of people in place that again, to go back to what I said about the players, that know how we do things. So, as I’m sitting up there with (director of coaching operations Laura Young) LY and going through calendars and OTA practices and when the offseason starts and self-scout, we do a lot of things. Last year was the first time we all did it together. This will be the second time. So, a little bit more smooth.

Q: Do you think there’s a big gap between the Giants and the two teams that remain standing in the NFC?

Schoen: Yeah, I know Philly more intimately. And, yeah, I would say yes. There’s a talent gap there that we need to close, and to me, it’s the NFC East. I mean, we were 1-5-1 against the NFC East. If you win the division, the rest takes care of itself. So, that’s always going to be a goal of ours: to close that gap and be NFC East champs. That’s the goal, and that’s what we’re going to work towards.

Q: You had a lot of restrictions on you when you came in last year, financially, with putting together a staff. Things are a little more stable now going into this offseason. How much have you been looking forward to this offseason and really getting your hands on this roster and doing it the way you’ve wanted to do it?

Schoen: I didn’t want the season to end, I’ll tell you that (laughs). Dabs saying ‘a crash landing,’ that’s right. Still driving in this morning, it still hurts. But you just have more flexibility. There were times in season where there were maybe some veteran players that we wanted to sign that would’ve helped us, but we just weren’t able to do it. That part stings throughout the season because we could’ve helped the roster, but just didn’t have the flexibility. Yeah, to have financial flexibility, nine draft picks, to be able to devise a plan where you have a little bit more flexibility and resources, I’m definitely excited about that.

Q: For both of you, picking up on the Philly theme, with the two competitive games between the two of you, how much did the trenches – how much did the line of scrimmage – matter in both of those games where it certainly seems like Philly has more guys at that level, more of a rotation at those levels, to some degree, and just were better in that part of the game?

Daboll: I think you asked that after the game, too. They have a good defensive line and good offensive line. Everything starts up front. We certainly could’ve done a better job, too. But give them credit. They have good players on both sides of the ball. I think we have good players, but they just played better and did better than we did.

Q: How was that dinner with (wide receiver) Odell Beckham (Jr.)? And is he a player you’re going to revisit going into the spring?

Schoen: Dinner was good, and we’re going to consider, again, when we have this offseason meeting, every position, who’s available. Who are the players who are potential – that we could sign? Again, we’ll devise the plan from there. That’s kind of where we are right now.

Q: What’s your opinion of this free agent class in general?

Schoen: The UFA class? Again, you can look at it today, and it’s going to change by the time we get there because a lot of the times the good players that are UFAs end up staying with their teams. So, we’re working through that now. We’ll start our free agent meetings next week, devise a plan in terms of the players that maybe we want to target. But there’s definitely some players out there that would help us.

Q: Do you think free agency is more of a tool to build a team than it was maybe five, 10 years ago?

Schoen: It can be. It can be if you get the right guys and they’re durable because typically when you’re signing outside your building, you’re paying those guys a little bit of money that if they stay healthy and produce at the level, then yeah. It’s definitely a tool that we’ve used before. Obviously, the draft and develop, like I was saying earlier with players in your system already, in your building, you know them. You can’t really do a lot of research on some players that are with different teams, or you don’t know their work ethic or injury history. So, again, I think when you’re making those financial decisions, you’ve got intimate knowledge of the players, I think there’s less margin for error, in-house.

Q: Is (safety) Julian Love – I know you’re not going to go down the whole list – but he’s a guy, culture, you know him, he stayed healthy, he did a lot of different things. Brian (Daboll) said some good things about him. Is he a guy you look at and say, ‘Yeah, he’s important,’?

Schoen: Again, we’d like to have a lot of these guys back. It’s just as we go through this and we talk to the representatives, he’s a guy – I know he mentioned it yesterday – that we talked to in the bye week. And we weren’t able to get something done with Julian. Julian knows how we feel about him. We had a good exit interview with him yesterday. Again, as we start to get into the offseason planning, we’ll talk to the coaches. We’ll see where he fits in. And if we can get something done, that’ll be good.

Q: (Wide receiver) Sterling Shepard – the role he could have going forward. He’s been a guy that’s been around forever. Brian talked about him and the fact that he’s had an effect on the team culture.

Schoen: Love Shep. He’s awesome; juice guy all the time. He’s one of my favorites here. We’ll continue to monitor his rehab, coming off the ACL. He had the Achilles before. He’s been a tremendous resource around here for us. He’s a guy that we’ll talk about as well at the end of the week and continue to communicate with the training staff, (senior vice president, medical services/head athletic trainer) Ronnie Barnes and those guys, on where he is from that standpoint, when he’ll be healthy enough to play. Again, that’s something we may or may not entertain.

Q: Did your guys’ opinions on (safety) Xavier (McKinney) change because of the circumstances of his injury and how that happened? You saw him as a cornerstone moving forward. Did that change at all?

Schoen: Not for us. He’s a young man that made a mistake. To me, really initially, it wasn’t about football. It was more about his wellbeing as a young man. And we’ve got younger kids. Dabs has some older than mine. But we all make mistakes. And we’ve got to learn from it. For us, it was just about supporting Xavier through that. He fought to get back. Football was secondary when we got the call. I’m just glad that he was able to play again. He’s a great kid that we look forward to working with.

Q: With respect to free agency, how married are you to what you believe a player is worth and your walk-away number compared to sometimes when you’re in negotiations and the market value can exponentially change how much a player is going to get?

Schoen: That’s something our staff, they do a great job, and we talk about it all the time: ‘What’s the walk-away?’ We come up with a walk-away, and you have to be comfortable because, I’ll use the term I use around here, if you shop hungry, you overpay. It’s a bad deal, and then you get buyer’s remorse. It’s important in free agency to come up with the proper value – where you see them as a staff and the value and where it fits into your salary cap and your team. And then, I think it’s smart to have a walk-away number.

Q: Do you view Daniel (Jones) as a quarterback who can help you win a Super Bowl?

Schoen: We’re happy Daniel’s going to be here. We’re happy he’s going to be here. Hopefully we can get something done with his representatives. And that would be the goal – to build a team around him where he can lead us and win a Super Bowl.

Q: You’re saying he’s going to be here next year?

Schoen: We’re going to have these offseason meetings here at the end of the week, and we’re going to talk about it. And then with the resources we have, we’re going to talk to his representatives and hopefully be able to get something done to go off the first question.

Q: You were 22-59 before you got here. The Giants were 22-59 the five years that preceded you guys getting here. Why do you believe this team turned the corner this year?

Schoen: That’s a good question. A lot of factors. Again, I said it in the first press conference. The cupboard wasn’t bare. There was some talented players here – really good coaching staff. They did a really good throughout the season as we continued to, whether it was draft, free agency, waiver wire, improve the roster, our practice squad. We were able to create a good culture where the players were able to be themselves. And the coaching staff did a good job of maximizing the talent of the roster on a weekly basis. So, a lot of credit goes to Dabs and his staff.

Q: From your vantage point, what do you view as the reason for the injuries in the first half, early season? And have you already commissioned and kind of studied your evaluation of how to improve that?

Schoen: We’re working through that, specifically the rookie class. Is it the young players coming in, the onboarding process? Are we doing that right? We’re going to turn over every leaf to figure that out because healthy players give us the best chance to win. We had some ACLs this year. We had some MCLs, stingers. So, we’ll do a deep dive in the offseason and do whatever we can to try to improve that, that way we can be the healthiest we can.

Q: At what point do you close the book on 2022? Or is it something that’s fluid and that you’re constantly working on last year, building towards the future?

Schoen: It’s pretty much closed. It’s pretty much closed other than evaluating the roster off of the 2022 season. But we already kind of know what lies ahead. We talked to our UFAs and everybody yesterday. So now it’s, to me, All-Star games are coming here. You’ve got the East-West games, Senior Bowl, Combine meetings, free agency meetings. There’s no vacation. We’ve got to keep moving forward and devise that plan for the offseason.

Q: (A previous question) mentioned Dex, but there are other guys with one year left who seem like reasonable extension candidates. Do you simultaneously negotiate with them? Or are the UFAs the priority because they don’t have a year left?

Schoen: UFAs will probably be the priority early on, but we’ll also factor those in. We’ll look at it holistically, who’s under contract for ’23, ’24 and so on. Again, we’re not just planning for the 2023 offseason. We’re looking down the line of ’24 and ’25 as well. What’s on the horizon? How will this affect us moving forward? So, we’re going through a bunch of different scenarios, and we’ll continue to do that at the end of the week and throughout the weekend.

Q: How much further along are you in the process, looking ahead to the next season, coming off of what you just did rather than last year? Joe, I think you just got the job two days ago a year ago. Dabs hadn’t been hired yet. Do you think that is an advantage that you can actually move towards 2023 with everything that you have at your disposal rather than trying to catch up?

Schoen: Yeah, we talked about it the other day. Once we got through the exit interviews yesterday, we’ve pretty much been through a calendar year – a football calendar year together. So, the coaches’ evaluations of UFAs, the coaches’ evaluation of our roster, All-Star games, we’ve been through all of this stuff. So, the process is in place. Everybody here right now has been a part of that. So, there’s clarity in terms of what we want from our staff, what Dabs and his staff want from us. So, the transition into this offseason will be much smoother.

Q: There’s been a lot of time talking about, ‘Are you going to sign him? Are you going to sign him?’ Is there anybody you said, ‘Look, you’re not coming back,’?

Schoen: (Laughs) No, we didn’t have those conversations yesterday. No, we didn’t. That’s a good question, though.

Q: That gap that exists between you and the Eagles and the other Super Bowl contenders, given your roster and cap situation, do you think it’s possible to close that gap in one year? Or is it likely to take longer than that?

Schoen: We’re going to try to do the best we can. We’re always going to try to build a better roster, players, whatever it may be, whatever it is – resources around here. Anything that we can do that’s in the best interest of the franchise that’s going to make us better, we’re going to do. You can’t put a timeframe on that, but we’re going to be relentless in the pursuit of building a championship team here.

Q: How much is different this offseason because you came in last year and you basically just cleared the deck? You didn’t make any big signings. You’re going to potentially commit to guys, big money, long term. You’re going to sort of define your tenure. How do you view that? Is that a big difference?

Schoen: Obviously, the resources that are available are different than last year. I think, again, the advantage of being around the players for a year, you know who they are. You know how they work. And again, just having more flexibility, it’s different from that standpoint. As for defining my tenure and all, I’m not really worried about that. We’re trying to do the best we can with what we have to build a championship team where we can sustain success.

Q: As a team, what do you feel like you guys especially need to be to be a better team? Not to name the players or anything, but just as a team, what are the areas do you feel like you need to improve?

Daboll: That’s kind of what Joe talked about. We’ll dive into that as a coaching staff here. We’ll spend a lot of time on self-scout and process and things we can improve on, whether that’s night before meetings, whether that’s practice, whether that’s situational play calls, techniques, drills. I think you close the chapter on last season, but you need to figure out some of the things that you need to do a better job of. There certainly will be probably a significant amount of things that we sit back and say, ‘Boy, we could’ve done this a little bit different or improve on this,’ and take a deep dive into it. Take your time doing it. And then once you get back on April 17 and start going through it, you try to implement those new things or corrections that need to be made or scheduling differences.

But again, every year is such a new year – at least the 20-plus years I’ve been in the league. Again, half the team is usually different. So, you don’t just collect talent. You try to build a team. And that’s what we talk about all the time. There’s certainly players that will be out there – whether it’s free agents, whether it’s draft picks – that are talented players. But it’s how you put together the team, how the team responds to adversity, how it comes together in the offseason, leading up to training camp, the things you do in training camp – all the things that you go through each season, that’s what defines a team early in the stages and how you handle a lot of different things, the coaches, the players, the support staff. It’s just a new year. Every year is a new year. Like I told the guys when they left how much I appreciated their work and their commitment to the team, but unfortunately, you’re all not going to be here. You wish you could just bottle it up and then bring it back April 17, and the people in the seats are there and everybody has kind of worked together, been through some tough times. But that’s not the case.

So, however many new people are here, you’ve got to put them into your system. You’ve got to bring them along. You’ve got to build team chemistry. And every team that I’ve been part of has been different. Not one team is the same. So, that’s the beauty about this league is every year it’s a new year for everybody. There’s only four teams playing – the four best teams in the league. They’ve all earned it. So, every team that is not holding that trophy at the end of the season, it’s a stinger. So, you’ve got to try to figure out ways to do a better job the next season. But it’s such a new year. Every year is different. Every year that I’ve been part of has been different. I’ve been part of a Super Bowl team and then didn’t make the playoffs the next year. So, how we build our team and how we build the organization and continue to grow, I think all those things are important. But the team itself, that’ll all come together throughout the months of April, May, June, July, August, right into the regular season like this did.

On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers announced that they completed their respective interviews with New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka for their head-coaching vacancies. In addition, the Colts also announced that they had interviewed Giants Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale for the same position.

In addition to the 11 players the Giants have already signed to reserve/future contracts, the Giants announced they have also re-signed TE/FB Chris Myarick to a reserve/future contract. Myrarick spent time on both the 53-man roster and Practice Squad this season.

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Joe Schoen, New York Giants (October 2, 2022)

Joe Schoen – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen spoke to the media on Tuesday to discuss the state of the franchise at the mid-way point of the 2022 NFL regular season (VIDEO):

Schoen: Good to see all you guys. We haven’t talked in a while. Sitting up here 6-2 after eight games, so I’m excited about that. I’m pleased with the way things are going internally; the coaching staff, personnel staff, the entire organization just has been on the same page throughout the season this far, which I’m very pleased with. Again, we’re 6-2. We’ve done a lot of good things. I think everybody would agree that there’s still some meat on the bone and areas where we can improve. But we’ve got nine games to go, and it’s a long way to go. But I’m pleased with where we are right now. Obviously, we made a move with (wide receiver) Kadarius (Toney) last week. I’ll just echo what Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) said on that. It’s a move that was made – best decision for the organization for where we are and probably just leave it at that. There’s really not a lot more for me to add on that. Just excited and happy for the coaching staff. I think they’ve done a hell of a job with the amount of players we’ve had come in and out of the building since the start of the season, whether it was due to injuries or just trying to upgrade. They continue to answer the bell and get those players ready. Some of those guys went out there and played meaningful snaps for us and helped us get to where we are today at 6-2. So with that being said, I’ll just open it up to questions for you guys. I’m sure you’ve got a lot.

Q: What was today like, and how close did you get to maybe doing something?

A: Again, today is the end of it. It’s the trade deadline. These conversations are ongoing. I’ll go back to some of the players that have been mentioned in the media. We had talks in August with teams about some of those guys that met some of the parameters that we’re looking at. So, there were some conversations. And part of my job and our personnel staff is to assign value to players. Whether it’s in free agency, what you’re going to pay a player, what round you’re going to put a player in the draft, if you’re going to trade for a player, what value are you comfortable with? We had several conversations with teams on multiple positions, and the price point didn’t match up. And things just didn’t work out. But we were active with phone calls trying to improve the roster, which we’ll continue to do.

Q: The picks that you got for Kadarius, were they always going to be banked for April, or was there a possibility of using them in the following week?

A: If something made sense in regard to the position, we explored a lot of opportunities. We’ve been on the phone a lot the last few days. Not just the last few days – these calls again have been going on for, I’ll go back to August on some of these players that we had identified under certain parameters. You know, years left, contract structure, where we were in terms of salary cap that would make sense for us and just the value. You’ve got to have two to tango on these deals and just different value between the other team and where we were just didn’t work out for us.

Q: How much was wide receiver a target of these conversations you were having, and how do you feel about the group you have going forward?

A: Wide receivers were part of the conversations, but again so were, I’m not going to go into every position that we were talking about. We were just trying to add good players whether it was front line or depth players. The problems is there’s a lot of teams that are still in it where we are in the season. So, not a lot of teams are sellers; teams are banged up. There’s not a surplus of players that are available. It’s a small pool. It only takes one team to outbid you or go higher. Where we are receiver-wise, again, the guys that have played had good games, bad games. Jacksonville – we’d like to have some of those back and some of those drops. But (wide receiver) Kenny’s (Golladay) hopefully coming back soon. Fingers are crossed he’ll be back for Houston. It’ll be good to get a look at him again. I’m hopeful for him against Houston.

Q: How did you balance you guys having six wins right now and feeling like you might need to add to capitalize on your start versus keeping the big picture in mind and what you’re trying to accomplish?

A: When we made the Toney move, we talked to the captains and let them know we’re always going to win. Daboll and I are super competitive and we’re always going to try to do what’s best for the organization. But again, you just can’t be reckless with those draft picks and the future capital, where we are as we build this thing. Again, there’s a lot of players that are here that we like. Some were here before I got here that have done a really good job for us and are good players. Just being smart, we didn’t want to be reckless with it. Again, if there was an opportunity where we could make a move that could help this year, we were definitely open to it.

Q: If you think back to where you were before the game in Nashville, what you thought about putting this team you have together to now sitting 6-2, has your opinion of what you have here dramatically changed because the team is 6-2? I mean, (it’s) probably not what you thought was going to happen after eight games. Do you look at it and say, ‘Oh geez, we’re a lot better’ or are you kind of still keeping it at what you thought before?

A: I think I said this to you guys in August: It’s going to be an overreaction after Week 1 one way or the other way. It takes four to five weeks, I think, to truly figure out who your team is. What I’ll tell you about our team is there’s a lot of tough dudes that care about each other and love football. I thought we had some tough guys, I knew we had some competitive guys. I knew we had some good players, just you never know how those guys are going to gel. And when adversity strikes, what’s that going to look like? (Quarterback) Daniel’s (Jones) got five fourth-quarter comebacks. It’s a team effort, but the guys are resilient. They don’t give up; you guys have seen the games. We get into the fourth quarter, and we’ve been able to come out with some wins. I think the talent is the same. I think the way they’ve gelled, it’s a little bit of an unknown leaving training camp. You just didn’t know how they were going to react in the heat of battle. I think they’ve done a good job. They’re fun to watch, and they compete for 60 minutes. I’m really proud of the guys.

Q: You mentioned Daniel. What have you seen from him over the start of the season? How has that maybe changed your evaluation?

A: I think Daniel’s done a good job. Those ‘got to have it’ moments, third downs, fourth quarters when you’ve got to have it. And I think he’s answered the bell in a lot of those situations. He’s the same guy he was the day we got here in terms of – it’s their time off, and he’s in here at 7:30 this morning having breakfast. It didn’t surprise me a bit. So, he’s a gym rat. He’s always around, and I think he’s done a good job leading the team this year.

Q: What have you seen from (running back) Saquon (Barkley), and do you see him at this point as more than a running back, as maybe your team’s best playmaker like (San Francisco 49ers running back) Christian McCaffrey?

A: Saquon’s a great kid; he’s tough. He’s obviously talented. It’s a team game. I think him being healthy this year, you’ve kind of seen who he is and what he can do, whether that’s catching the ball or running the ball. Again, it’s credit to the offensive line and the receivers blocking for him. And he’s taken advantage of those opportunities with his God-given gifts too and helped us a lot. So, I’m pleased with where Saquon is.

Q: So, Daniel and Saquon – obviously neither has a contract after this year. How much did that weigh on you? You only get one franchise tag, and they’re both playing very well.

A: There’s nine games left, so it’s an ongoing evaluation for everybody on the roster, not just Saquon and Daniel being UFAs (unrestricted free agents). Obviously, those are two important players to where we are right now, but it’s a constant evaluation. We still have nine games left.

Q: How open are you to potentially extending one of them or taking care of one of them or both of them before the season is over?

A: Yeah, we’ll have those meetings this week. We’ll talk about it if we want to (do something). We had to get through the trade deadline today and those conversations. We’ll kind of circle up with some strategy meetings as we move forward on contract extensions and if we may or may not do anybody. If I did, this would be the week. I would want to entertain it during the bye week, and then I probably won’t do anything after that. I don’t want anything to be a distraction to the players or organization. So, if we do something, it would be probably before Monday with any of our guys. I’m not saying him, but when we have those conversations.

Q: You obviously said going back to August, you’ve had these conversations about players on other teams and the idea of assigning values. The closer you got to the trade deadline and the more you guys kept winning – the idea that you’re sitting here at 6-2 –was it any more difficult for you to not veer from the course you’ve set right now? Whether it’s changing value or putting more emphasis on adding to this team because of where you’re at now?

A: Yeah, absolutely. You have to step back and honestly evaluate the roster, too. You can get caught up in the, ‘Hey, we won the game,’ but we were also down 17-3 in the game at some point. You’ve got to step back and look at it for what it is. Again, there’s several positions where you look at it and maybe you don’t have a lot of depth or maybe we’re a little bit older or what’s best for the future in a three-to-four-year window – you’re always analyzing that – or what’s just better for this year. We had conversations with other teams for guys with expiring contracts this year. Again, obviously the value being a little bit lower with guys that expire next year or are in a contract for two years. So, you take that all into account in all the positions when you’re making these calls. But again, there’s not this surplus of players that are available if that makes sense.

Q: Is it any more challenging to think for the future when your quarterback situation is so unsettled? Like if you had Daniel signed for five years, would that change things – the fact that you don’t know what that position’s going to look like next year?

A: No, I don’t think so because, again, if the value we assign to a player or position matches up with something we’re comfortable giving up for that player, I would have done it now. And Daniel’s up. It’s not going to change if he’s under contract for five years. We’ll still look to be aggressive to upgrade the roster if we have the resources and it makes sense.

Q: You said you’re going to have strategy meetings this week to talk about possible extensions for some guys. Have you made a decision on Daniel that you would like him to be here beyond this year?

A: We’ve got nine games left. I mean for all these guys, it’s going to be a continuing evaluation. We’ll talk through it – what the market looks like. We’ll have those meetings, but it’s going to be an ongoing evaluation. We’ve had Daniel for eight games.

Q: Your team was 6-1 before this. The stats say 6-1 teams make the playoffs 85, whatever, percent of the time. Should this team make the playoffs now, you think?

A: We’re just focused on Houston. It’s week-to-week. We’re 6-2. We’ve got nine games left. A lot can change. We’re one week at a time with this group. I appreciate the preparation; they’ve had a good week at practice every week. They’re pros – the work they’re putting in. And I think the results are showing on Sunday because of the preparation that they’re putting in during the week.

Q: Excluding Daniel and Saquon, are there guys that you would like to get extended this weekend?

A: There’s some guys that we’re going to talk about when we look at our UFAs and some of the guys that we could potentially extend. We’re going to have those conversations. Again, you’re balancing; we’re eight games in. There’s nine to go. Certain players will maybe want to play it out and see if you can up your value or take guarantees now. There’s a lot that goes into it. We’ll focus on that stuff later on in the week as we go through it. Some people may not have an appetite for extensions. Like I said, they may want to hit free agency and the open market. We’ll see; we’ll go through all of our UFAs, the guys with expiring contracts, and talk about them later on.

Q: Was your cap situation, a limited amount, any problem in terms of wanting to maybe make a deal that way if you had more cash to do it, you could’ve done it?

A: There were a couple of players where it just wasn’t going to work out. Financially, we couldn’t do it; and the team wasn’t going to buy down the money, or if they did, they’d want a higher pick. And it just didn’t make sense for an expiring contract. Again, there were a lot of scenarios, a lot of different players that we talked about. It just couldn’t come to landing the plane on some of them where both teams agreed on the compensation.

Q: Now that the trading deadline is passed, is the cap situation for the future now to the point where you think you can do more things next year?

A: Yeah. When the season is over, I think we will be in much better shape. Will we get through the season without having to push a little bit more down the road? We’re not trending that way. These practice squad elevations cost you; these players going on IR (injured reserve) cost you money. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t have to do it again, but we’ll see. Again, we got nine games left. I would like to not have to convert any more money. That was a last scenario from when I got here, we just had to do it. Regardless if we do, hopefully it’s minimal and we’ll still be in good shape going into 2023.

Q: Did the rest of the NFC East play an impact at all with four teams now in contention with the playoffs? Did that impact you at all in terms of the moves that you could potentially make?

A: There’s some good teams, yeah. There’s some good teams in the NFC East and the NFC in general. Just always trying to upgrade the roster. That’s always in mind – winning the division. Where we were and where we can improve, I’m always going to look at that.

Q: Obviously when (wide receiver) Odell Beckham Jr. dropped in here a few weeks ago, it created a bit of a stir. Do you have any interest in him? He’s a free agent, you can talk about it.

A: I had no idea he was in the building until he was out of the building. Obviously, he’s been a good player. He’s a guy we would consider and talk to when he’s healthy. I think he did the ACL in February, so, not sure really where he is physically. Yeah, any player to upgrade the roster, we’re going to consider and have conversations with their representatives.

Q: What would you say to the idea that he would like to come back here if that were the case?

A: Does he? I don’t know. You tell me. You guys probably talk to him more than anyone.

Q: Say he does.

A: That’s a hypothetical. He’s a good player from when I evaluated him, if he’s healthy. If a player is healthy and they would help us win football games, we would pursue them if they fit what we’re looking for.

Q: What was ownership’s opinion of staying relatively quiet, especially on the buying front at the deadline here?

A: Yeah, Dabs and I are in constant communication with ownership on everything we do. I’ve kept them in the loop on all the conversations we had and what we were looking for. They were supportive in everything we were doing. They’ve been abreast of everything.

Q: We’ve asked you a lot of questions about buying. Besides Kadarius, did you have other offers? Did people call to see if you were selling anybody else? Did you have to resist anything to keep this team together?

A: That’s a good question. We got a call on one player on Monday. It was a hard ‘no’.

Q: Which player?

A: I’m not going to say which player. It was a good player.

Q: On Kadarius – why now versus maybe just nine more games, then revisit after the season?

A: It was the best decision for the organization. Again, Dabs and I talk all the time. I know he mentions that to you guys. We talk about everything and at the end of the day, it was best for both parties.

Q: What do you say to the idea that you’re 6-2 now, and the totality of it all is that you got rid of a player, and you didn’t add any players when you’re 6-2?

A: Yeah, I don’t disagree – I understand the train of thought there. This particular move was the best for the organization. And we’ll continue to look, and we’ll continue to add players to the roster, the practice squad. Again, the rookie class – I’m proud of those guys. We’re number four in rookie playtime right now. I think we’re getting a big contribution from those guys. They’ll continue to get better. We did a study. I think this is a testament to the coaching staff, not to go off on a tangent on that. We lead the league with 12 players that were not here (before) September that have played offensive and defensive snaps for us. Whether that’s (linebacker) Jaylon Smith, (cornerback Fabian) Moreau, (guard) Tyre Phillips started at right tackle. A testament to our coaching staff; we’re bringing in new players and they got to stay here late hours and get these guys ready to play. A lot of these guys have played winning football for us. Again, the pro scouting staff has done a great job as well identifying these players, upgrading the practice squad and those players have filled in admirably and helped us get to where we are. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that. We didn’t add one, but the coaching staff has done a great job with what we’ve been trying to bring in to backfill some of the roster.

Q: On the Kadarius subject – he says he’s healthy, right? He’s going there, he’s healthy now and he hinted that he wasn’t injured here. What do you say to that?

A: He was going to practice on Thursday, so I don’t know. I guess he was healthy. He was going to practice on Thursday.

Q: You talked to us a lot before the season. You said there’s some good players, and there was a gap between the number of good players and the number of not so good players. I’m just wondering when you look at this point in the season – are you at all surprised with where you are?

A: Again, it’s hard to tell early in the year, is my point – just trying to figure out who the team is and who they’re going to be. We got some fighters on this roster and as a whole, as a collective on game day – the 53 (on the active roster), the practice squad – they competed their tails off. and they played well together – complementary football. Again, maybe early on in the year, the middle class of the roster maybe wasn’t where I thought it should be, we’ve upgraded a little bit and the next-man mentality up with the injuries that we’ve had. Again, back to the coaching staff, and the pro scouting staff, have done a great job of bringing players in that have answered the bell when their number was called. (Cornerback Nick) McCloud is out there against Green Bay. McCloud and (cornerback Justin) Layne comes in and makes a play. Again, one guy was in Pittsburgh in training camp and one guy was in Buffalo in training camp and they’re making plays for us in the fourth quarter. I think we’ve upgraded the backend of the roster and those guys have stepped up when the opportunity called.

Q: You know Brian (Daboll). You’re probably the main reason why he’s here. So, you have a lot of faith in him. Has he done more in this first half of his first season as a head coach? How would you assess that? Obviously, you had confidence in him, but is there even more there?

A: I think Dabs has done a great job. I think kind of what you’re seeing now – he’s a good leader. He’s done a good job. I think he did a phenomenal job with his staff. (Offensive coordinator) Mike Kafka has done a good job. TMac (special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey) on special teams. (Defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale), having a veteran defensive coordinator that has played in games, playoff games, whatever it may be and handled that side of the ball – he’s done a good job. I think Dabs and I have great communication; that’s where it starts. We’re constantly talking about not just 2022 but beyond – how different roster moves will affect us, looking into the future but also laser-focused on today. I think he’s done a good job, and his staff has done a really good job. Again, I go back to how difficult it is for these players that have been here all spring and August, it’s tough enough for them to know the playbook, but to bring in new guys and two weeks later they’re playing on Sunday – again, that’s very difficult to do. And this staff has done a good job of that. I’m happy with Dabs and his staff.

Q: What do you think is the most impressive part about what he’s done? Is it game day-coaching? Is it the off-field leadership? What’s impressed you most?

A: I would say both. That’s what you look at. There have been a couple of times – one or two times – with 10 guys on the field. The clock management, the time management in games, I think, has been very good. Those are things that he can control in-game; I think he’s been really good. And yeah, leadership, being himself – he’s not trying to be anybody else. Dabs today is the same guy that I worked with the last five years and the same guy that I worked with in Miami. He’s not trying to be somebody else. He’s very comfortable in his skin, and he’s got very good leadership. Not just amongst the team but the staff and the entire organization.

Q: When the staff came together, you ended up having a coordinator from Kansas City (Mike Kafka), coordinator from Baltimore (Wink Martindale) and then a heavy Buffalo influence. Have you been able to see those three winning cultures come together, and what is that like in a room? Does it ever get discussed – all three places?

A: Yeah, it is. Before we played Baltimore, I picked Wink’s brain on Baltimore because historically, year-in and year-out, they’re competing for playoffs and championships. Same thing with Kansas City. (Kansas City head coach) Andy Reid and (Baltimore head coach John) Harbaugh – those are very good coaches that you look up to and respect. Just coming from a winning culture, knowing what it’s supposed to look like, the way you lead meetings, the way you practice, the way you do things. I think those are all characteristics they brought with them.

Q: Do you believe the style (in which) you guys are winning is sustainable over 17 weeks, every game kind of being (that close)?

A: 6-2.

Q: There’s nine more weeks. You think it’s sustainable?

A: Recipe or not, it’s working. I think, again, there’s nine games left. There’s things we know we can improve on. You can’t coach effort. You can’t coach toughness, and our guys have been tough. They’ve been competitive. They’ve been resilient. They’re playing their butts off. They’re preparing right. Some weeks, there’s just going to be negative matchups. No matter where I’ve been, there’s some games you play, you’re like, ‘That’s their good against our not so good.’ And it’s going to happen. Or some weeks, you just don’t have it. It’s the NFL; there’s a lot of parity in the league. And we’ve been able not to beat ourselves. We turned it over a couple of times in Seattle, but there’s 11 minutes left in the game, it’s 13-13. That’s where we’ve been a lot this season. We’ve made more plays than the other team. So again, I’m really proud of where the guys are and the way they’re playing and the way they’re approaching their craft. Again, whether it’s sustainable or not, I think we’ve got some good players here. I’m looking forward to the final nine games.

Q: How much different do you feel about your (roster)? You know, you had eight games, basically half a season, to see them. How much different do you feel about the roster as a whole? Do you feel like you have more building block players now than maybe previously?

A: No. I don’t think so. I think I feel the same about the guys. Again, to me, it was just about how everybody came together. It’s still forming, and we’re trying to evolve in different parts of the game. I feel the same. The players I thought were good players have proved to be good players. Some of the backups have maybe exceeded my expectations, which is good. Again, a testament to the coaching staff. (You) kind of see how it was. We’ve come together really good – played complementary football.

Q: You don’t hear the word franchise before every position, but (you do hear) franchise quarterback. The other position is franchise left tackle. I’m curious: What do you think of (tackle) Andrew Thomas’ development because there’s a lot of metrics out there that say he’s the best in the NFL?

A: I think Andrew’s been really good. Again, you’re looking at a left tackle. He’s got feet. He’s got length, balance, body control. I think Andrew is playing at a high level. I can go on and on about all the strengths. The weakness box is going to be close to empty. He’s good; he’s even a better person. I’ve really enjoyed working with him.

Q: Has your winning adjusted the way you are scouting prospects, like targeting where you’re going to be picking, how much research you maybe are doing on certain guys versus time you’re not spending on others?

A: That’s a good question. We basically have a top 10 report that I get weekly, and it’s by position. So, I’m trying to attack that entire thing. If it’s a left tackle, it’s alright, I’m still going to see the guy. Just because we’ve got Andrew Thomas – or Evan Neal’s at right tackle – I’m still trying to see the top 100 prospects, if I can, in person. So, it won’t affect how I’m scouting or who I’m going to see.

Q: When you say you rely on the coaching staff to develop players, I would imagine there are levels of talent of those players. You go to whatever guys have been picked in the first round, you say, ‘Okay, go develop Saquon Barkley.’ Well, you might develop him a little bit different.

A: (Laughs) It’s a great coaching.

Q: It seems like this staff has been able to develop on several levels – players who are here, maybe got a clean slate to be here, players that have been brought in. How valuable can that be in building a roster when you know you can rely on your staff to build up the players that are actually here?

A: That’s something (former head) Coach (Bill) Parcells used to say to me: ‘The quickest way for a head coach to get fired is not develop young talent.’ And Dabs and I are aligned in that. Like, the importance of – we saw in Buffalo with some of the young players that are contributing for them. And I’m constantly on him about, ‘Hey, we got to get this guy more playtime’ in order to keep developing these guys, and the coaches have bought into it. It helps when Dabs and I are aligned in that in terms of the young players developing. Again, there’s going to be growing pains. I mentioned it earlier, very few rookies are instant coffee when they come in the building, and it takes time. They have to go through growing pains. The good thing now is we’re winning some games. They’re getting valuable playtime while being able to make some mistakes. We’re still able to win some of those games, which will pay dividends in the long haul. So, I’m a firm believer good coaches are the ones that can develop young players.

Q: Since you’ve been here, I assume you could have walked down your block, and nobody would’ve known you. Now that this team is 6-2, has your life changed in any way?

A: I got asked that question earlier: ‘What was the weirdest thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been with the Giants?’ (This question is) kind of along the same lines. I was at Lowes with my wife not too long ago, and I felt like this guy kept looking at me, and I’m like, ‘What the hell’s going on? Why’s this guy creeping around?’ I’m in the next aisle, and there he is again. (He’s in) the next aisle. And finally, he came up to me and was like, ‘Are you Joe Schoen? Can I get a picture with you?’ And it was in Lowes, and I thought it was kind of creepy. And then I realized that it’s hard to get used to being out and being recognized. I’m not used to that. I haven’t gotten used to that. But it’s a lot better than booing or cussing you (laughs) or throwing things at you. It’s been great so far. That’s hard for me to get used to for sure.

Sep 012022
Blake Martinez, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Blake Martinez – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have terminated the contract of inside linebacker Blake Martinez. The team also claimed offensive lineman Tyre Phillips off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. ESPN is reporting that Martinez’s release was a mutual decision by both parties.

In addition, as expected, the New York Giants re-signed three vested veterans who they cut yesterday in temporary roster-juggling moves. In order make room for the four players the team claimed off of waivers on Wednesday, the Giants had terminated the contracts of TE Tanner HudsonOG Max GarciaDL Nick Williams, and ILB Austin Calitro. Three additional roster spots became available as soon as the Giants were allowed to officially place OG Shane Lemieux, OLB Elerson Smith, and CB Rodarius Williams on short-term Injured Reserve.

Since all four players who were cut were vested veterans, they did not have to pass through waivers. Hudson, Williams, and Calitro were the players who were re-signed to the 53-man roster. Garcia was signed to the Practice Squad.

The Giants also waived TE Ricky Seals-Jones (toe) off of Injured Reserve with an injury settlement.

The Giants placed Blake Martinez on Injured Reserve in late September 2021 with a torn ACL in his left knee. He only played in three games and finished the year with 23 tackles. The Giants signed Martinez as an unrestricted free agent from the Green Bay Packers in March 2020. He had a major impact on the defense in 2020, starting all 16 games and playing in 97 percent of all defensive snaps. Martinez finished the season with a team-high 151 tackles and also accrued nine tackles for losses, three sacks, six quarterback hits, five pass defenses, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. The 6’2”, 237-pound Martinez was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Packers.

The 25-year old, 6’5”, 330-pound Phillips was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Ravens. In his first two years in the NFL, Phillips has played in 22 regular-season games with 13 starts, despite suffering an ankle injury in 2020 and a torn ACL in 2021. He has experience playing both guard spots and right tackle.

The Giants placed Seals-Jones on Injured Reserve on August 23rd with a toe injury that he suffered early in training camp. The Giants signed Seals-Jones in March 2022 as an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Commanders.

As previously reported in yesterday’s update, the Giants signed 15 players to their 16-man Practice Squad on Wednesday. On Thursday the team added six more players and released five from the Practice Squad.

Signed to Practice Squad:

  • WR Kalil Pimpleton
  • OG Max Garcia
  • OG Wyatt Davis
  • DL Henry Mondeaux
  • LB Charles Wiley
  • S Tony Jefferson

Released from Practice Squad:

  • WR Jaylon Moore
  • OT Roy Mbaeteka
  • OT Garrett McGhin
  • CB Darren Evans
  • S Nate Meadors 

Garcia was cut by the Giants from their 53-man roster yesterday.

The 23-year old, 5’9”, 172-pound Pimpleton was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Lions waived him on Monday. Pimpleton has experience returning punts.

The 23-year old, 6’4”, 315-pound Davis was originally selected in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Davis spent time on both the 53-man roster (6 games with no starts) and Practice Squad as a rookie. The Vikings waived him on Tuesday.

The 26-year old, 6’5”, 280-pound Mondeaux was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Saints (2018), Kansas City Chiefs (2019), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2019-2022). The Steelers waived him on Tuesday. Mondeaux has played in 26 NFL games with two starts, accruing 21 tackles and two sacks.

The 24-year old, 6’2”, 251-pound Wiley was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Ravens cut Wiley on Tuesday.

The 30-year old, 5’11”, 211-pound Jefferson was originally signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2013-2016), Ravens (2017-2019, 2021-2022), and San Francisco 49ers (2021). The Ravens cut Jefferson on Tuesday. Robinson has played in 104 regular-season games with 66 starts. However, he has not started a game since 2019, when he tore his ACL mid-season. Robinson has only played in six regular-season games since 2019.

The transcript of Joe Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) did not practice. RB Sandro Platzgummer also missed practice with a concussion that he suffered in the preseason finale.

TE Daniel Bellinger (concussion) participated in non-contact drills.

Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

The players are off from Friday through Sunday. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media via Zoom on Monday.

Jul 272022
Kadarius Toney, New York Giants (July 27, 2022)

Kadarius Toney – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants held their first summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The training camp practice was open to the public for the first time since 2019.

General Manager Joe Schoen announced on Wednesday that Assistant Director of Player Personnel Dennis Hickey, who was hired by the team this offseason, will in effect serve as the director of college scouting without the title in 2022.

We interviewed probably three or four candidates for (director of college scouting), and we’re just going to move forward without one for the season,” said Schoen. “Dennis Hickey will fill that role primarily for this year, and we’ll evaluate it after the year. But between him, (Director of Player Personnel) Tim (McDonnell), (Assistant General Manager) Brandon Brown, will kind of head up the personnel department. (Director of Pro Scouting) Chris Rossetti will be doing the pro department. All those guys are outstanding additions, all the new guys.”

Hickey has extensive NFL experience including serving as pro personnel assistant, college scout, director of college scouting, and director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2013) as well as general manager for the Miami Dolphins (2014-2015), and senior national scout for the Buffalo Bills (2017-2022).

The Giants have signed offensive tackle Garrett McGhin and waived offensive tackle Kamaal Seymour.

The 26-year old, 6’6”, 302-pound McGhin was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2019 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bills (2019, 2020),  Carolina Panthers (2019-2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2020-2021), and New Jersey Generals (2022). McGhin has only played in two NFL games with no starts, both with the Panthers in 2019.

Seymour was just signed by the Giants yesterday. The 6’6”, 319-pound Seymour originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Las Vegas Raiders after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent all of his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Raiders and missed all of 2021 with an Achilles’ tendon injury. The Raiders waived him with a non-football injury in April.

The following players began training camp on injury lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee).
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring)

“Everybody is pretty much a full go besides guys that are on PUP or Azeez,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “We will manage who we need to manage, but there’s no red jerseys, we are ready to go.”

TE Daniel Bellinger (quad) passed his physical and was activated off of the PUP List.

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The players will not be in pads until next Monday.
  • The starting offense to open practice was QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, TE Daniel Bellinger, LT Andrew Thomas, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
  • Giants second-team offensive line: LT Devery Hamilton, LG Josh Ezuedu, OC Jamil Douglas, RG Marcus McKethan, and RT Matt Gono
  • Giants third-team offensive line: Giants 3rd O line: LT Roy Mbaeteka, LG Josh Rivas, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Max Garcia, and RT Markus McKethan
  • The starting defense to open practice was DL Leonard Williams, DL Dexter Lawrence, OLB Kavyon Thibodeaux, OLB Jihad Ward, ILB Blake Martinez, ILB Tae Crowder, CB Adoree’ Jackson, CB Aaron Robinson, CB Darnay Holmes, S Xavier McKinney, and S Julian Love.
  • When 11-on-11 drills began, Darrian Beavers replaced Martinez at inside linebacker.
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott broke up a pass in the end zone. Flott later prevented a touchdown pass intended for WR Robert Foster by shoving him out-of-bounds while he was the process of catching the ball.
  • CB Aaron Robinson knocked down a pass as well in 11-on-11 drills.
  • QB Daniel Jones scored on a quarterback draw in the first full-team, 11-on-11 session.
  • QB Daniel Jones hit RB Saquon Barkley for a touchdown, although OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux might have had a sack on the play.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw another touchdown strike to WR Kadarius Toney, who made an excellent catch, despite tight coverage from CB Aaron Robinson.
  • CB Darnay Holmes picked off a pass from QB Daniel Jones to RB Saquon Barkley in the red zone.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a fade pass to WR Wan’Dale Robinson for a touchdown against S Xavier McKinney.
  • RB Matt Breida ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor also threw touchdowns to WR David Sills, WR Richie James, and RB Antonio Williams.
  • QB Davis Webb threw touchdown passes to TE Ricky Seals-Jones, WR Austin Proehl, and WR Marcus Kemp.

    The transcript of Joe Schoen’s and Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

    The New York Giants practice Thursday morning (10:00-11:45AM). The practice is open to the public. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

    May 052022
    Evan Neal, New York Giants (April 28, 2022)

    Evan Neal – © USA TODAY Sports

    While the full 2022 NFL regular-season schedule will not be released until May 12th, the NFL announced on Wednesday that the New York Giants will play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday, October 9th. This will be the third time in franchise history that the Giants have played a regular-season game in London. The first was in 2007 against the Miami Dolphins and the second in 2016 against the Los Angeles Rams.

    New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen was interviewed by the following media outlets on Wednesday:

    While the 9-week offseason program that began on April 4th continues, the New York Giants will hold a 3-day rookie mini-camp on May 13-15. Those in attendance will include the team’s 11 draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, and tryout players.


    Apr 302022
    Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State Aztecs (November 26, 2021)

    Daniel Bellinger – © USA TODAY Sports

    On the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected:

    • TE Daniel Bellinger (San Diego State University)
    • S Dane Belton (University of Iowa)
    • LB Micah McFadden (Indiana University)
    • DL D.J. Davidson (Arizona State University)
    • OG Marcus McKethan (University of North Carolina)
    • LB Darrian Beavers (University of Cincinnati)

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on TE Daniel Bellinger: Senior entry from Las Vegas, NV. Three-year starter than earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors in 2020. Bellinger has the tool set and ability to play the traditional Y tight end spot. While his skill set is more receiver-friendly, he does show enough upside and ability to create impact as a blocker. He plays a twitchy, sudden game and understands his role well. Bellinger may not have the man-strength quite yet to have a big role, but he should fill the back end of a depth chart early on. He is a plus-athlete with some sneaky upside to him when it comes to getting open and making things happen after the catch.

    *It would not surprise me one bit to see Bellinger sneak into the end of round two. The triangle numbers are really solid, and he didn’t drop a single ball over his last two seasons. I just wish he got more looks in the passing game at San Diego State. He will likely be a year two guy at earliest because he had a hard time with defensive linemen in the Mountain West. I think NFL guys will eat him early on.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on S Dane Belton: Junior entry from Tampa, FL. Two-year starter that earned All Big-10 honors in both 2020 and 2021, first team in 2021. Belton played a hybrid safety/linebacker role that saw him involved in the box more often than not. He has a sturdy, strong frame with plus-power and straight line speed. He factors well in pursuit sideline to sideline and had a high success rate as a tackler. Belton started to turn a corner as a junior in coverage. He showed quality ball skills and plus-body control out of his breaks. He shows minimal wasted motion once he made up his mind. He can get into trouble when trying to forecast routes and throws, as he seems a step behind mentally and shows tightness in his hips laterally. He projects as a nickel or dime safety that can creep up toward the line and he will be a weapon on special teams.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on LB Micah McFadden: Senior entry from Tampa, FL. Three-year starter that earned honorable mention All-Big 10 honors in 2019, first team in 2020, second team in 2021. Also a third team All-American in 2019. McFadden is a well-put together, quick and sudden linebacker that flies all over the field and brings a high success rate as a tackler. He can defend the inside run with stout power and will get to the sideline against the outside running game. He excels in pursuit. McFadden does have the occasional lapse in concentration and will over-pursue his intentions, leaving him vulnerable and top heavy. He does not factor well in man coverage, as his hip tightness and eager mentality can be easy to toy with. He projects as a solid special teamer that could develop into a rotational inside linebacker in a 3-4 front.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on DL D.J. Davidson: Fifth year senior from Mesa, AZ. Took an additional year off between high school and college. Three-year starter that earned second team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021. Davidson will best project to a zero-tech in a 3-4 front. There, his natural power and ability to two-gap will be used most effectively. In an even front, he will not offer much as a pass rusher, but he could fit into a situational role as well. Davidson can play with quick feet in addition to a hard-to-move presence against the run. He has a natural sense to feel blocks and flow to the ball. He needs to work on lower body bend and techniques so his pad level can be better. The lack of leverage wins will eat him up at the next level. Davidson needs to fully buy into fixing his body and skill set for a couple years before he can be trusted.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on OG Marcus McKethan: Fifth year senior from Barnwell, SC. Three-year starter that has the body of a tackle but played right guard all three seasons. Two-time Honorable Mention All-ACC. McKethan looks like a tackle prototype with elite girth and length from head to toe. His power and lockout game are enough to stop professional defenders in their tracks right away. The issue with him revolves around reaction time and bend. He does not keep the feet active post-engagement and he will always struggle to win the leverage battle. McKethan is a project that a team will want to develop in undrafted free agency most likely, as the holes in his game are both hard to fix and far away from being pro-ready.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on LB Darrian Beavers: Fifth year senior from Cincinnati, OH. Spent 2017 and 2018 at Connecticut before transferring to Cincinnati. Four-year starter between the two programs. Second team All-AAC in 2020, first team in 2021. Was also a Butkus Award Finalist in his final season. Beavers brings a unique tool set to the table and it was used all over the front seven in college. He primarily lined up off the ball, but he saw over 250 snaps along the edge on-line over his three years at Cincinnati. The heaviness in his hands and overall ability to play both stout and fast should get the attention of versatile defensive schemes. He does not play very sudden and there are too many inconsistencies with his tackling and aggression in space. There won’t be a fit for him in every scheme but at the same time, he can bring versatility to a multiple-front defense that others cannot.

    *I have in my notes from the 2021 season that Beavers “…looks like an old school Steeler or Patriot…” Some make the mistake that Baltimore (Martindale/Ryan) went after the same personnel. I don’t agree. Martindale wants a bit more speed and twitch in his linebackers and even though Beavers tested OK with times, he doesn’t always play fast. I will say this though: He is an alpha. Beavers is a mean, powerful dude and he did line up all over the front seven. That said, he was not a very successful outside rusher.

    Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video):

    JOE SCHOEN: Daniel Bellinger was our first pick today, tight end out of San Diego State. A guy that we liked, size, speed, athleticism, should be able to help us on special teams, was in Senior Bowl, was at his pro day, too, and a guy we’ve liked throughout the process.

    Dane Belton, another guy we liked, the versatility in the player, he’s got ball skills, he can play from depth and down in the box, can pay nickel.

    So the common theme you’ll hear is versatility on a lot of these guys.

    Micah McFadden from Indiana, another guy with very good size, speed. He was a captain, he’s athletic. I think he’ll help us out. He can play inside, outside, and he’s a good blitzer as well. Again, another versatile piece.

    D.J. Davidson, see him more as a nose, out of Arizona State, be a good depth player that has some upside. We are excited about working with him inside, again, trying to add some depth up front there.

    Marcus McKethan, another guy obviously we spent some time with, the North Carolina kids. Huge human being. Very good size, length. Again, some versatility, he’s played tackle and he’s played guard. Again, going to add depth and competition to the roster. We’ll probably start him at guard, but he does have tackle flex.

    Darrian Beavers is another guy that we really liked, versatile piece, he played inside and he played outside. I was at his pro day. He did some stuff as an outside rusher and that looks like something that may be part of the package. Like his versatility to be inside, outside, and play on special teams.

    Excited about the young men that we added today. Again, everybody is going to come in here and compete, no matter where you were drafted, and these guys are no different, so we are excited about the players we added.

    Q. A few of the guys said that they had 30 visits here, the tight end had dinner with Brandon Brown. Did you identify these guys early and then honed in on? How does that process work?

    JOE SCHOEN: Typically, that’s what happens. When I first got here, the first meeting with the scouts was in February. So we kind of identified players that we were interested in and then who we needed to get around a little bit more.

    A lot of these guys — not to show my hand in the future, but you guys are good at tracking this stuff — but, yeah, we want to feel comfortable with the individuals as well as the player, and I think pretty much all these guys we spent significant amount of time with, whether it was coming here or going to see them.

    Q. What did you think of your first draft? Anything surprise you?

    JOE SCHOEN: Have to reflect on this tomorrow and throughout next week. It’s just different. You come in with a whole new staff, so you have a process in place, but where you used to look for answers when you had questions, you’re looking to different people, different scouts in the room that you haven’t worked with, and our staff did a tremendous job. The coaching staff did a tremendous job.

    So just still getting to know our roster as it is. Again, not being around a lot of these guys for a while, getting to know the new coaches. That’s just all that will come with time in working with each other. But overall, it was a good process, and I really enjoyed it.

    Q. Joe, did this go very much like you’ve been accustomed to the last four years in Buffalo and other places, or did you have to adjust this year?

    JOE SCHOEN: It went pretty much how I would plan it to go. The only difficult part was with the players being in here two weeks early with the next head coach. So our schedule when we typically would have had an uninterrupted meetings for a week or two with the coaches involved, those days were a little choppy. We had to move our schedule around.

    Overall, the process will stay the same that we had this year. It will start now. May and June, we’ll already start looking at the players for next season, and our scouts have already gotten a list of the Top-5 UFAs, Top-5 players from their areas. Next week, I may take a week, but we’ll start looking down the road what the players look like through free agency and the draft next week.

    Q. You have a pretty big class with 11 players. Do you anticipate bringing in many undrafted free agents — how big of a class do you anticipate?

    JOE SCHOEN: As soon as the Draft is over and we can start working on that, we will. We still have – defensively, I think is where we are going to have to add. Again, when we got here, where the roster was, we had to add a lot of pieces, and there’s only so many resources. So we did the best we could this weekend, and we’ll continue to do that in free agency.

    Again, players might have gotten drafted over somebody else, so what that means is maybe next week there’s going to be some cuts and may be some veterans that are on the street because they drafted over players on their current roster. We don’t play until September. Our location in the claim order, the final cutdown will be important or as players are cut.

    The roster is never finished. It won’t be finished during the season, and we’ll always be looking to upgrade.

    Q. Doesn’t seem like you found a replacement for James Bradberry in this draft class. At some point, does the contingency plan to keep him become the plan?

    JOE SCHOEN: We are going to work on that. We have had some conversations. I’ve talked to his representative. We’ll see where that goes. I don’t have a definitive answer on that right now, but we are working towards some contingency plans.

    Q. When would you like to have an answer on that?

    JOE SCHOEN: I’m not going to put a timeline on it as we are working through this. So I don’t know how long it will take, but we are working through some things.

    Q. For years, people were saying fix the offensive line. Since you two have been here, I think you’ve brought in six free agents, drafted three guys, you have guys coming back who have been hurt, you have veterans. Do you have enough bodies?

    JOE SCHOEN: I think so. We’ve got some big bodies, too.

    I think I told you guys at the Combine, we had maybe five healthy bodies, offensive lineman, on the roster, and that’s my point. There were several holes, and we didn’t have a lot of depth throughout the roster.

    So start there, start up front, let’s see the best version of Daniel Jones we can, and it starts by hopefully keeping him on his feet. And that’s going to help Saquon and that’s going to help the receivers because he’ll have more time to get him the ball. I think we upgraded the offensive line, which hopefully we did. We’ll see how the competition in training camp goes. But, yeah, I’m happy where we are with the depth overall.

    Q. When it comes to the war room, when you were setting up who is in there, how many guys, the way the whole setup is, here in years past they have had coaches, coordinators. Did you put into the process who you wanted in there, why it was important to do certain things?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I definitely wanted to be inclusive with the group. Those guys did a lot of the work. We had our pro department in there, too, so they could see the process and some professional development to see how the process works. And our pro scouts also sat in on some of the college meetings.

    I’m a firm believer in that, we talk out loud, we have conversations, try to think big picture the best we can. And if I can surround myself with as many of those people as I can, it’s just going to bring ideas and we’ll all be better.

    As for the setup of the room, I may want to change that a little bit. There was a different board this year, and I kind of like more of an open area in the middle, I’m a big pacer, where I can go to the scouts and talk to them. That’s something we’ll work on next year.

    But as for the coaches, you may not have seen them, but they were in and out, coordinators, position coaches. If it came down to two guys on defense, Wink may come in, or Kafka came in a few times for the offensive guys.

    Q. I was going off the other night when you said you had not seen Wink yet.

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I had not, and specifically that night, because it was 5 and 7, it was back to back, so without having any commotion or distractions in there, we thought that was the best way to do it, and they kind of knew what we were going to do anyway.

    Q. Do you anticipate making any changes to the personnel staff, subtractions, additions?

    JOE SCHOEN: I haven’t even thought about that yet. I’m about ready to fall asleep on this microphone.

    Q. In Buffalo, you concentrated on developing offensive lineman as well as drafting or acquiring starters. So have you brought that same kind of plan to the Giants, and is that where some of these picks are coming into play?

    JOE SCHOEN: Really across the board, we have a really good coaching staff, and I think X’s and O’s are very important as a coach, but also developing players. And Bobby Johnson has a very good track record from my time with him, as does Dabs and Shea Tierney. You bring in guys in that are wired the right way and have traits, they are all hands on deck in terms of developing these guys. That’s just the O-line, but the defense, we have some good coaches over there, too. A lot of these players have upside.

    Again, once you get in the second and third round, those players are in the third round for a reason, or fourth round for a reason, or sixth or seventh, when you take those guys, they are there for a reason. Nobody’s perfect. So the best we can do in terms of developing those guys and accentuating their strengths is what the coaching staff will try to do.

    Q. What were you trying to accomplish in your first draft, and how successful were you with the goals that you came in with? I know things change as you move along.

    JOE SCHOEN: Versatility, I mentioned earlier. Guys that have versatility, we wanted to add depth at competition to the roster, which I think we did. Again not every guy is going to come as a starter. It takes time. Guys have to develop. And Pat’s question, just develop and good coaching. Over time, you have to have depth players and frontline players. I think the idea was to get the best we could. Defensively, the guys with versatility. And offensively, as you’re around Brian, you’ll see, he’ll take the pieces and whatever we have and develop the offensive scheme around those pieces that we have, and Wink kind of adheres to the same philosophy.

    Q. A big picture, team building question. Where do you stand on the theory of building a team to compete in the division against the teams that you’re going to be facing twice a year for the next — forever year?

    JOE SCHOEN: You have to pay attention to that. There’s a lot of good D-Lines in our division, and I think that’s where the emphasis on the offensive line early on was important to us.

    Yeah, we definitely always — I was in Miami forever, and they had Gronk there for awhile, how are you going to defend this guy, when they had Gronk and Hernandez. So you’re always paying attention because you have to play that team twice a year. And the ultimate goal is to win the division, and the rest will take care of itself is. Yeah, we’ll always be looking at that.

    Q. When a guy like McKethan has some flex but mostly plays guard, would you rather him have the versatility to play both, or sometimes does a guy have a position and you’d rather hone in on that?

    BRIAN DABOLL: You’ll see here in OTAs when you guys are around and in training camp, we are big believers in mixing and matching as many people as we can early on because you can only get so many to go to a game. And the more you can do, the more you can do.

    Most of the players, unless you’re really, really, really good at one spot, and that probably goes throughout our team offensively and defensively, is as much versatility as you can have, the better it is for the team.

    Q. On the defensive side of the ball, guys have multi-versatility. How excited are you that you can change your defensive scheme because of the diversity of the skillsets?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Wink, he’s pretty diverse in what he’s done the past few years when he was in Baltimore. We are still working through some things, just figuring out what our guys can and cannot do.

    So we’ll see. We’ll take it kind of day-by-day on that. But I think the smarter you can be as a football team, the better you are in terms of being able to put your best foot forward.

    Q. I know Bobby Johnson was at the UNC pro day and worked those guys out. How valuable was getting his input and letting him get in there and coach them up?

    BRIAN DABOLL: That’s always valuable. The process, Joe talked about this, the communication we’ve had from the scouting department, the coaching staff, the people that set up the trips, it was very well organized, thought out.

    This morning I was watching a bunch of Zoom calls of potential guys we could pick. The coaches put a lot of time and effort into it. There were weekends off that they had they were out on the road, and the same thing with the scouting department. It’s been really good interaction with both sides.

    So 11 picks, 11 players, we’ll throw them out there with the rest of the guys on the team when they get here and let them compete it out.

    Q. Do you think you have an offensive line now you can work with and get done what you need to get done on offense?

    BRIAN DABOLL: We’ll see once we get pads on and things like that. I know the guys are hard working. They are smart. They show some toughness when you watch them on tape. The people that we’ve had in the building are dependable. It’s been good to go into meetings with Bobby and Tony (Sparano) and those guys. They are eager.

    Again, let’s not make it more than it is. Your job is to protect the inside part of the pocket and the width of the pocket and get moving in the running game, but that position you need five guys operating as one unit. And that is what will be really important.

    You’ll see. I know I will get a lot of questions on it once we get out in OTAs, and I’ll tell you right now, there are going to be a lot of guys mixing and matching. You can write the lineup down each day, but it’s going to change from day to day.

    Q. Guys have strengths and weaknesses, but evaluating players, guys are kind of the same, you say we want this guy, we want this guy, is there just something inside you that says we think he’s right for us?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, I would say after all the preparation, Zoom calls, interacting with the kids, going and seeing them or having them in your building, you’ve got enough information where you say, yeah, I’m good with this kid, can we all see the film, I’m good with this kid as a person and his ability to learn football and what he’ll bring to the organization. We try to get all that information so when we turn the card in with anybody, we are at that point.

    BRIAN DABOLL: If they are close, you know, sometimes there is a gut feeling. It’s like when you’re getting ready to call a big play in the red zone, you like two plays and you’re anticipating something coming up. There’s a gut feel at times. Some of that is the same with when two guys are close, but the preparation leads you to that decision usually for the most part.

    Q. Sometimes is it just like, you know what, close your eyes and say, I think I want to coach this guy?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Three times this past week, Joe flipped a coin and decided who he was going to pick. We were calling heads and tails over there.

    No, it’s a lot of work that goes into it. Joe has talked about it. I’ve talked about it. When you put a lot of hard work into it and you feel prepared, then you’re comfortable with the decisions that you make.

    Q. When you get into the middle rounds, how much do you lean towards traits? Some guys rated well on tests. Was that a big factor, or did that happen to be the case?

    JOE SCHOEN: After Wan’Dale being undersized and Flott, I figured I better go big guys today. You take that into account, but when you look at guys with developmental upside, if they have height, speed and character, the history of those guys developing is a little bit higher than others. Definitely when you get into day three, you do take that into account. It is important, I think.

    Q. Knowing you had Daniel under contract and Tyrod to back up and you had Davis Webb, do you sit there and say, quarterback is not a priority this year?

    JOE SCHOEN: I wouldn’t say we didn’t say it wasn’t a priority, because we did do work on those guys, and I think I said it yesterday that I had seen all those guys play live, and we did send a quarterback coach and coordinator to spend time with those guys and Zoom and other things.

    Again we are going to evaluate the entire board across all positions, and when we think the time is right, regardless of position, we’ll pull the trigger if we think it’s best for us.

    Q. What is it you guys think that you can get so much more out of Daniel Jones?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I’ll just speak on the few weeks that I’ve been around him. I’ve been very pleased with how he’s approached things. He’s an intelligent — he’s picking up the stuff really well. Again, the pieces around him, we have a lot of work that needs to be done but I’m encouraged with my interactions with him up to this point.

    Q. I asked you last night about the tight ends, you said it depends on the player?


    Q. You got one?

    BRIAN DABOLL: We got six. Just trying to figure out exactly what they do. I’ve had years where I had Marty Bennett and Gronkowski and other years with Charles Clay, who is a completely different type of guy.

    I would say we have a variety of guys right now on the roster, some bigger-type receivers. Some a little bit more blockers. Running around with shorts on, it’s good to see their movement skills and how they can track a ball. But once we get to training camp OTAs when they have to do things a little more quickly, we’ll figure that out.

    But I would say we have a mix of guys that can get down in a three-point stance and block some defensive ends, and that’s getting harder to find each year. It’s just the nature of the game. If you have young kids that play football, you see how the game is being played. It’s a spread game. A lot of RPOs, even from the earliest stages, and then you get into high school, and I don’t need to talk about the evolution of game right now, but that’s kind of what it is.

    You go to college and you see the same thing. It’s not — you’ve got to look at offensive linemen a little bit differently. You have to look at cover players a little bit differently. It’s a completely different game than it was even 22 years ago when I started, and I think you have to evolve as a coach, too, both how you evaluate players and how you design scheme.

    Q. Joe, what would you tell Giants fans you think you accomplished with this draft?

    JOE SCHOEN: I think we added competition and depth. Hopefully as many of these guys turn into starters as we can, but again we are not going to hand anybody anything. We want them to come in, compete, work hard, and, again, we want to see progress. I’ve said that since day one and I think this will lead us to that.

    Media Q&As with Draft Picks: Transcripts of the media Q&A phone call sessions with the draft picks immediately following their selection are available in The Corner Forum:

    Saturday’s Media Sessions with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal: The video and transcript of Saturday’s media sessions with the team’s two 1st-round draft picks are available in The Corner Forum and at

    Saturday’s Media Sessions with Wan’Dale Robinson, Joshua Ezeudu, and Cor’Dale Flott: The video and transcript of Saturday’s media sessions with the team’s second-day draft picks are available in The Corner Forum and at

    Apr 292022
    Wan'Dale Robinson, Kentucky (March 3, 2022)

    Wan’Dale Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports

    On the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected:

    • 2nd Round: WR Wan’Dale Robinson (University of Kentucky)
    • 3rd Round: OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu (University of North Carolina)
    • 3rd Round: CB Cor’Dale Flott (LSU)

    The Giants traded away their pick in the 2nd-round pick (36th overall) to the New York Jets for their 2nd-round pick (38th overall) for an additional 5th-round pick from the Jets (146th overall). The Giants also traded away that 2nd-round pick (38th overall) to the Atlanta Falcons for their 2nd-round pick (43rd overall) for additional 4th-round pick from the Falcons (114th overall).

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on WR Wan’Dale Robinson: Junior entry from Frankfort, KY. Spent two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to Kentucky for the 2021 season. Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in both 2019 and 2020, second team All-SEC in 2021. Robinson has been a hybrid receiver/running back from the start of his career and will give an NFL offense the opportunity to create a big-time playmaker out of him. He has the well-balanced athletic ability and overall skill set to do multiple things, align from different spots, and create on his own. He is much more than an undersized, underneath threat that can occasionally take a jet sweep. He has had a lot of success in the deep passing game and plays with the kind of competitive fire that an at least somewhat make up for the lack of ideal size. Because he has lined up all over the offense, Robinson is a little rough around the edges when it comes release and route nuances, but all can be corrected in time. He is a big play threat every time he gets on the field no matter where he lines up.

    *Robinson is a guy I have a feeling about. The quickness and burst he has the instant he touches the ball is exactly what gets overlooked by many when looking at measurables. He has the knack to find creases immediately. He is also one tough, strong dude that understands he can use the diminutive frame to his advantage, as a weapon. He is a gadget player, not someone that is always on the field. An argument can be made that only an established offense should be using a pick on a guy like this. I would not agree. Robinson is someone that can make things happen on his own. He can create big plays from nothing and that is what a growing offense needs. Robinson will make grown men hold their breath every time he gets the ball. The way Daboll used Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo is a nice template: 77 catches – 27 rushes – 21 punt returns – 29 kick returns since 2019. I see Robinson being a better version of that. Keep an eye here.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu: Fourth-year junior entry from Lawrenceville, GA. Three-year starter that earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors in 2021, second-team in 2020. Because of injuries and inconsistent play throughout the entire line, Ezeudu was moved around often. Throughout his career he played every spot along the line with some of his best tape coming from his snaps at left tackle. His top position will be inside at guard but that kind of versatility can boost his stock a bit. Ezeudu excels with his hands and displays quick feet, always a good place to start. The natural top-end athletic ability is limited, however, and it shows up when he needs to adjust laterally. His knee bend is inconsistent and there is a recoil in his reaction-times because of it. If he can improve some lower body techniques, there are some quality traits to work with.

    *When looking to add offensive linemen early day three, I love the idea of getting a guy that has credible experience and ability at multiple spots. There is no question Ezeudu projects best to guard, but I do think he could be a swing tackle if needed. So many teams have depth issues there. You see a guy or two go down with an injury and all of the sudden the entire offense needs to change. Ezeudu looks pro ready on most levels. His movement just seems a step too slow right now but I think he is better than over half the backups in the league right now. Throw in the versatility and I think it is a brilliant pick if he can be had in the right slot.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on CB Cor’Dale Flott: Junior entry from Saraland, AL. Two-year starter that saw time outside and at nickel. Cousin to fellow draft prospect Velus Jones, a wide receiver from Tennessee. Flott is a smooth mover that gets in and out of his breaks with no wasted motion. He plays faster than he times because of it. He lacks a physical presence on contact and there is not much of a frame to build on. Because of that, Flott will need to be near-flawless when it comes to route anticipation and reaction. He will likely project as a backup nickel that can see the field in deeper sub packages. He has some safety type traits against the pass only as well. He may be a guy without a true position and I’m not sure I see a ton of special teams upside.

    Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll after 2nd round (Video):

    JOE SCHOEN: We took Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky. Good football player we’ve had our eye on, generator with the ball in his hands, very good run after the catch, very good route runner, can separate. And for what we are going to do offensively, we thought he would be a very good fit for us.

    Q. Did you go into this day thinking, I want to trade down?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yes.

    Q. And the reason for that?

    JOE SCHOEN: We just thought it was what was best for us at this time. More picks would benefit us the most we thought based on who was on our board.

    Q. So would you stay at 36 or did you have a pick there?

    JOE SCHOEN: We had deals in place before the Draft started. So we were confident. We knew we could move back. That was part of the plan.

    Q. Both deals were in place?

    JOE SCHOEN: We had a couple deals in place, and then the one at 38 wasn’t necessarily in place, but it was something that we had talked about we would potentially be able to do, and then we were able to do it.

    Q. Seems like a similar type of skillset to Kadarius Toney. Does bringing him in impact —

    JOE SCHOEN: Is that a bad thing?

    Q. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Does it impact Kadarius at all?

    JOE SCHOEN: You guys saw Kadarius. I’ll take as many of those guys as we can on the field. Again, he’s a generator when the ball is in his hands. He can run after a catch. He can separate from DBs, he gets open. He played some running back at Nebraska. That’s a versatile piece you can use in your offense. If you look at some of the other guys, how you can use them, and if you look at Daboll’s past or you look at Kafka’s past in terms of the creativeness in their offense and the weapons they can utilize, I think you can kind of see what the vision may look like.

    Q. Brian, is he the kind of guy you look at, do you start thinking about all the different pieces you have already?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think you do that when you evaluate all these prospects, is make sure they are a fit for your team, whether it’s a receiver or a guy that plays in the back end or up front guys, what they can do for you.

    Like Joe mentioned, versatile, got quickness, explosiveness, he’s tough even for a smaller guy. Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky. So a guy we’re anxious to get our hands on and work with and implement into our scheme.

    Q. You’re not going to be able to coach him bigger. Is size a concern?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I’ve coached a lot of small guys: Deion Branch, Super Bowl MVP, Isaiah McKenzie last year.

    I mean, your job as a receiver is to get open and catch the ball, however that may be. Some guys are quicker. Some guys are faster. Some guys are bigger. But if they can find a way to generate and get open, then you use their skillset to the best of your ability.

    Q. What was out there with Kadarius recently, would this affect his future with the team at all? Would you view it that way?

    JOE SCHOEN: We like the player. If he can be like Kadarius when he’s on the field and he’s healthy, we’ll take as many of those guys as we can.

    BRIAN DABOLL: Kadarius has had a good week.

    Q. Did you expect Robinson to be available for you at this point?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we were hoping so. When we looked at certain players that may be there, he was a guy we thought could potentially be there and we have a very clear vision for the player and look forward to utilizing him.

    Q. Did I hear you say Kadarius had a good week?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I said Kadarius had a good week. Good to see him. Jumped right in and chugging along.

    Q. Have you shut the door on trying to trade him?

    JOE SCHOEN: We’re not shopping Kadarius Toney.

    Q. So you’re not going to trade him?

    JOE SCHOEN: Reflect on what I just said.

    Q. When a cornerback went right before, was that someone on your radar, seemed like a guy that fit with your needs?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, he’s a guy we spent time on, good football player. It was Minnesota that took him. But yeah, we are happy with who we got in Wan’Dale?

    Q. When you do trade down, you got a bunch of guys circled, you know you’re going to miss this guy, this guy and that’s just the way it is, do you have four or five guys that you say, we’re good with all these guys?

    JOE SCHOEN: We had a bunch of guys circled. Some needs that we need to address, so we’re working on that and we’ll continue to work on that through tonight and tomorrow.

    Q. Were you were shopping those picks —

    JOE SCHOEN: Shopping, yes, that’s something I was shopping.

    Q. Were you surprised that there weren’t many teams coming up for the quarterbacks?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, when teams call you and they want to make moves, you don’t really know what — you can speculate but you don’t really know what they are coming up for. We did get some calls from teams from further back today, and we speculated that that may be what it was. But you never really know what they are coming up for.

    So you just have to be, hey, these are the players, this is how many picks I’m moving back and there’s a chance you’re going to lose a couple of these players, is there still going to be somebody there that you’re happy with. So that’s kind what have we take into account when we do consider moving back, who may or may not be there.

    Q. Did you give any thought to taking a quarterback in the second round given the value?

    JOE SCHOEN: No, we didn’t.

    Q. Have teams been unwilling to trade picks in next year’s draft?

    JOE SCHOEN: It’s come up in a couple conversations, but it was moves that really didn’t make sense for us. Wasn’t a win for us by any means in those conversations that we had.

    Q. You guys both saw McKenzie when he grew up in Buffalo. Is Wan’Dale somebody like that? Do you see similarities to what you guys were able to do with McKenzie?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I hate to compare guys from one system to the next. I understand the question relative to their size and some of their abilities. I’m just anxious to get him in here. He had good production on his college tape and a guy we thought we could utilize. Some of it will probably be like Isaiah, I would assume, but I don’t want to say that’s for certain until we get him in the building. But he was excited. It was a good call.

    Q. Is this kid Robinson a slot or is he slot and outside too or what?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think he can do both. You know, I think he can play inside, and I think he’s strong enough and fast enough, even though he’s a smaller, shorter guy, that he can contribute outside, too.

    Again, what we’re trying to do is put as many generating pieces out there to create pace and stretch the field, whether it be vertical or horizontally, and this is another good guy that has ability to run after catch, which is an important aspect of it.

    Again, receivers, and I understand the questions, they come in all different shapes. You know, there’s big, tall guys that can make unbelievable contested catches. There’s shorter quicker guys that give them five yards and they are going to create separation, and ultimately our job is to figure out what we have here between KG and KT and Shep. We have to figure out our pieces and put them in the right spot. Slayton.

    Q. He had a bunch of drops. Do you see something in his hands or something you can fix?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I think he’s got good hands, yeah.

    Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll after 3rd round (Video):

    Q. So Josh Ezeudu out of North Carolina?

    JOE SCHOEN: So Josh Ezeudu out of North Carolina, a player we liked obviously. History of playing multiple spots on the offensive line. He’s got guard-tackle flex. Again, we’ll bring him in, I’m not sure, not going to say exactly where we’re going to start him, but we like the versatility that he can play guard, he can play tackle, compete to start probably inside, with outside flex.

    And then Cor’Dale Flott is a guy we liked out of LSU, athletic kid, versatility, play inside, outside. Both kids we spent a lot of time with throughout the spring, and we’re happy to have them.

    Q. How do you view your cornerback position? Can Aaron Robinson play 80, 60 snaps a game?

    JOE SCHOEN: We are excited about him, just getting to know him, getting to see him move around the last couple weeks. That group, the coaching staff is back, so we’re excited about him. I’m not going to make any predictions or anything in terms of play time or any of that. We’ve still got a long way to go, but he’s definitely going to be competing for a starting job.

    Q. Josh, in games, would switch spots.

    JOE SCHOEN: Impressive. He’s impressive. It’s rare. I was fortunate enough to see him play live twice this year, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. He’s a big man, and it’s impressive. Again, he could play multiple spots not only on a week-to-week basis but within a game, within drives. So it’s very impressive, and he’s an outstanding kid. You guys will like getting to know him.

    Q. Flott, he’s not the biggest guy, but do you see him as a guy who can play outside, or do you see him primarily as a guy who is better suited in the slot?

    JOE SCHOEN: I think position one, ideally, he’s inside, but he can play inside and outside. He has height, and he does have length. And again, the kid is 20 years old. I believe he turns 21 in August or September. I think it’s August.

    So still young, still developing. Three-year guy at LSU that played in a really talented backfield and a good conference.

    We’re excited. He’s got really good movement skills to play inside, but with the size and length, can play outside as well.

    Q. Seems like you were prepared for every possible situation. Did you see the quarterbacks slipping like they have so far? I think there was one in the first 73 picks. How has that affected the Draft for teams like you that are not picking a quarterback?

    JOE SCHOEN: I’m a little surprised that there are a couple guys still on the board, at least they are when I walked down here. With all the pre-Draft chatter, I assumed a couple of those guys would already be gone.

    Q. Does that push guys that you had lower, does that push them up?

    JOE SCHOEN: Guys that were lower, push them up? Not really. The quarterback position, again, the amount of quarterbacks that are taken, it’s not like a different position group where there’s high volume. I wouldn’t say that’s the case there.

    Q. Was there a point today where you started to maybe consider that because you didn’t expect these guys to fall to this point?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we discussed every position. Again, I think up top, you know, you weren’t really thinking about it, but again, if you follow your board, and we did do work on all position groups. It came up in discussions, as every position does. But again we followed our board, and we typically go with the guys that are on the same line at that value.

    Q. Does it bother you, when you’re talking about those kinds of guys that you guys maybe personally didn’t see a lot of them throughout?

    JOE SCHOEN: No, we saw them all through. We were at the pro days. I saw every quarterback play live this year. We did our homework.

    Q. You have five picks left tomorrow, right?

    JOE SCHOEN: Two fours, three fives and a six.

    Q. What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? You traded back and picked up those pieces.

    JOE SCHOEN: Continue to build depth. Depth is important, whether it’s a backup role, compete for a starting role or special teams. Fourth down is going to be important to us as well. Just continue to build depth and competition.

    Q. How realistic is it that you make all six of those picks, or do you feel like you have the ammo that you can trade up now and maybe go get somebody?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we could do either or. Again, Draft picks are currency, It allows you to move up, down, whatever you may do, into next year, something happens. It just gives you flexibility throughout the Draft. I can’t really predict it right now, but there are still guys on the board that we like.

    Q. Were you surprised a market for James Bradberry hasn’t materialized as much as you might have expected a couple months ago?

    JOE SCHOEN: No. We’ve had conversations about James. Teams have called. He’s still a good player and a good person. The market is what it is.

    Q. Have you received more interest during the Draft?


    Q. Why didn’t you exercise the option on Daniel?

    JOE SCHOEN: It was the best decision for the Giants. After our conversations, that’s what we came up with, the best decision for us right now.

    Q. Will you assess after today and tomorrow morning and say, all right, with these six picks, we kind of need these positions and we can look at these positions that we haven’t addressed?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, we have conversations after every day of the Draft relative to where we’ve set the board and needs. And if those two match, that’s a great thing. We’re going to try to acquire as many good players as we can to try to make us as competitive as we can.

    Q. How do you see the tight end role in your offense?

    BRIAN DABOLL: It just depends.

    Q. On what? The player?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, it depends on who we have, yeah. So again, if we have — there was times last year we played with five receivers. There’s been times where we’ve played with three tight ends, sometimes four tight ends.

    I think when you put together an offense, you try to build it around the strengths of the players that you have. And if that’s a bunch of receivers, it’s a bunch of receivers. If it’s one tight end, it’s one tight end. There were games last year where we went to the game with one active tight end. I think probably the last five or six weeks of the season.

    So based on who we have, and look, there’s a long time to build our roster, too. It’s not just the Draft. We have, you know, awhile here. There’s a lot of different things that can happen.

    Q. What do you look for in terms of traits out of a linebacker?

    JOE SCHOEN: Outside or inside? Inside, instincts, athleticism, range, speed. You know, again, leadership, communication.

    Q. Nakobe Dean is a guy, inside linebacker, a lot of people expected to be taken early in this Draft. Did you guys consider him? There’s been talks about him being flagged by a bunch of teams. What did you —

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, there’s a reason he’s drafting — I don’t know what’s all out there, what you have, but we can’t really talk much about that. But yeah, there’s a reason he’s fallen, I think. And, you know, he’s a great kid. He had a great career, and I’m sure he’ll go shortly.

    Media Q&A with WR Wan’Dale Robinson:

    Q. Were you surprised the Giants called you this early? Did you expect to go at this point in the draft?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I always felt like I was talented enough to be picked this early. I just felt like somebody just had to believe in me and not believe in the hype thing and just believe in the football player.

    Q. What kind of player are the Giants getting? Give us your self-scouting report.

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: A tough, elusive, exciting — just a playmaker.

    Q. How much contact did you have with the Giants during the pre-draft process?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I had talked to them at the Combine, and I talked to them through Zooms. Then I had a meeting a week or two right before with the GM and assistant GM.

    Q. Do you know (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney? You played in the same conference with him, right?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Well, I didn’t — I wasn’t in the SEC the years that he was there. So, I didn’t get to see him in person but I know who he is.

    Q. Do you think your game resembles his in any way?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean, I think we all have our separate ways and different types of games, and I think we probably do some of the things that are similar and can do things that are alike in the short game and intermediate game and things like that. But at the end of the day, we are just play-makers I think.

    Q. When you talked to Coach Daboll, did he give you a clear vision of what he thinks you can do in his offense?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Just come in and be a versatile piece and just do a lot of different things for the offense. At the end of the day, I just want to come in and help the team win.

    Q. How often have you heard over your career that you’re not big enough?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I’ve heard that my whole entire career, so it’s nothing new to me. At the end of the day just another obstacle you’ve got to overcome just with what people think. For myself, I don’t think it’s a challenge or anything.

    Q. Do you liken your game to anybody else out there that we would know?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I try to take pieces of everybody’s game, all the top receivers in the game, (Rams Wide Receiver) Cooper Kupp, just being in the same offense that he was last year I had to watch a lot of him. (Raiders Wide Receiver) Davante Adams, (Bills Wide Receiver) Stefon Diggs, there are a lot of guys that I like to take pieces of their game from to try to make it my own. Not try to be anybody.

    Q. How much do you think you went under the radar? I think you caught a hundred plus passes but when people were talking about the receivers in this Draft, your name was not coming up that often with the top guys.

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean, at the end of the day, I just felt like everybody has their own opinion. I wasn’t trying to get caught up in that. I just felt like at the end of the day I was going to end up where I was supposed to. I just needed one team to take that chance on me and I was going it give them all I’ve got.

    Q. Do you know anything about New York or New Jersey?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Not too much, no actually. I was just there a couple weeks for “Good Morning Football” and that was the first time I had ever been to New York. I’m ready.

    Q. What did you think?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: It was big. A lot of people (laughs).

    Q. Who are you with? What was it like getting the call? Can you paint the picture for us?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I’m at this hotel here in Lexington. I’ve got a lot of family and friends, quite a bit of people. Really my entire family on both sides, my mom and dad, and a lot of my friends and teammates. It’s a full house.

    Q. What do you like about lining up all over the field? I know you’ve played slot and you’ve even lined up at running back and you’ve done all this stuff. How much do you like your ability to do all that?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I mean that’s what I pride myself on. I like being a guy that can do all the things equally well, not just doing one thing, stand out well. Just being able to do everything on the field so that way the defense doesn’t know what I’m going to do whenever I’m in the game.

    Q. How many times did (Kentucky Quarterback) Will (Levis) throw the ball in a game last season?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: I can’t tell you exactly a number. There were games that we were more throw-heavy, just depending on the team. Then there were games that – our offensive line was very good – so if there were games we were able to run it the whole game, we were doing that.

    Q. Capital D in your name after the apostrophe, right?

    WAN’DALE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes, Mom will get mad if she sees that (laughs).

    Media Q&A with OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu:

    Q. Congratulations, Josh.

    JOSH EZEUDU: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

    Q. What position would you say you play?

    JOSH EZEUDU: I will play anything the team needs me to play. I’m a team player. I just can’t wait to get there and get to work.

    Q. What was your reaction when you heard you were being selected and that it was going to be to New York and the Giants?

    JOSH EZEUDU: It was very surreal. Like you think about it so much, but until it actually happens, it kind of shocks you. I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotions I had, then as soon as I heard my name being called, I let it all out. It was surreal. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but the hard work is still not done though.

    Q. Are you with family or friends? Where are you?

    JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, I’m with my family right now.

    Q. In Georgia?

    JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, in Georgia.

    Q. Was it a surprise to you that it was the Giants and here in the third round?

    JOSH EZEUDU: I mean, I would say for your name to be called is always a surprise. Everybody expects it to happen, but until it actually happens, it actually kind of shocks you. So, yes, it was a big surprise, but at the end of the day, I just thank God for everything.

    Q. Did you have a hunch the Giants were interested throughout the process? What was your connection to them?

    JOSH EZEUDU: I just met with (Offensive Line) Coach (Bobby) Johnson before my pro day, and he was also at my pro day too. So that was the only interaction I had with them.

    Q. You played multiple positions in the same drive? How does that work?

    JOSH EZEUDU: Yes, sir.

    Q. Is that by design?

    JOSH EZEUDU: That’s just what happened based on whatever our team needed. If our team needed a left guard, then I would move to left guard. If we were struggling at tackle, I would move out to tackle.

    Media Q&A with CB Cor’Dale Flott:

    Q. How confident are you that you can play both inside and outside corner at the pro level?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: I’m very confident. That’s one thing I feel as far as versatility-wise, coming to this program, this organization, I focus more on what’s going to be needed and what areas I’m going to be able to improve and help contribute to the team.

    Q. Did you look at it as an opportunity this year when some of your outside guys got banged up and couldn’t play, that you getting more and more time on the outside, kind of showed part of your game that people weren’t anticipating?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Yeah, for sure. When that incident happened, I hate that for those players, but as far as me, it just gave me another opportunity to show more of what I can do and help contribute to the team – like I said I was going to do for this organization.

    Q. Maybe some of the analysts didn’t have you going at this point in the Draft, but did you expect to go in the third round?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Yes, I expected it, but not from the Giants, it definitely caught me surprised. I’m very excited.

    Q. Why? Why was it a surprise that it was the Giants?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: You know, I got along well with the coaches, and I just hear different things from coaches and teams when I was on visits. But I kind of low-key felt like the New York Giants, and the staff, and the cornerbacks coach kind of clicked. So, when I got their call, it was very surprising.

    Q. How many visits did you have?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: I had seven.

    Q. Do you know (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Yeah, he played for Blount (High School). He played in high school in my region.

    Q. What was that like? What was that rivalry like between those two teams?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: He’s a real human joystick for real. I’ve seen it with my own eyes – all throughout his career and when I played him before. I’ll definitely be able to have another chance to go against him again.

    Q. Who won that matchup?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: He did. He won, and that was the last time I’ve seen him. But we’re definitely going to play again, though.

    Q. Who is the toughest guy you had to cover this year?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Toughest guy I had to cover this year, I would say Wan’Dale Robinson from Kentucky.

    Q. Are you aware he’s joining you here? Are you just blowing smoke, or is that legit and conveniently you guys are both here?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: No, I’m for real. I’m not blowing smoke.

    Q. What makes him so hard to cover?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: He’s just quick and elite, one of those guys in the slot you’re not really going to be able to get your hands on right away. You’ve got to be able to create speed on top of the route. He’s a good receiver.

    Q. Were you on him most of the game?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Yes, I was.

    Q. The expectation I think is going to play a lot of man coverage in this defense. How comfortable are you in that type of scheme?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: I’m very comfortable in that scheme. Coming to LSU, that’s one of the main things we’re known for and that’s one of the things you know you’re going to do when you first commit to come and play DB there. I’m very comfortable with man-to-man coverage, so I’m excited.

    Q: What do you know about New York/New Jersey?

    COR’DALE FLOTT: Man, I’m excited. I’ve only been to Jersey once, when I was on a visit, so I’ve definitely got a lot to experience and a lot to learn from as soon as I step my foot in the door.

    Q. How do you spell your first name? I’ve seen it a couple of ways.

    COR’DALE FLOTT: It’s apostrophe, capital D.

    Apr 282022
    Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (April 28, 2022)

    Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

    With the 5th pick and 7th picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (University of Oregon) and offensive tackle Evan Neal (University of Alabama), respectively.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on Kayvon Thibodeaux: Junior entry from South Central Los Angeles. Three-year starter that came out of school as a topflight, 5-star recruit and delivered. Earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors all three years, won the 2020 Morris Trophy, and landed on both the 2020 and 2021 All American squads. Thibodeaux has a long, explosive frame that can bend in and out of small creases with tremendous power and strength. His lockout game combined with a strong initial burst consistently gives him initial positional advantages on blockers. Sometimes, that alone is good enough as he can work through the shoulder of a blocker with consistent ease whether he is rushing the passer or defending the run. He is equally productive against both. Where Thibodeaux struggles, however, is when he is matched up against pro-caliber size and power when it comes to secondary rush moves. He needs to show more technique refinement and continue to try and strengthen his base, which plays small and gets too narrow at times. His lack of body control will cause issues as well when it comes to reaction-based action. His tool set is top shelf, but he is far from a finished product and will need to fix a lot prior to being labeled a dependable player.

    *I am going to try and not make this too long because the Thibodeaux fans get really offended, really easily. First off: I have 800+ grades on my master sheet along with another 400+ “training camp body” labels. Thibdodeaux is in the top 15. So yes, I do like him, and I do project him to be a very good football player in the NFL. A starter with high, sky-high, upside. There is some Harold Landry in his game. That said, I do not see him being the All-Pro or even perennial Pro Bowl type. When it comes to the “effort” shortcomings, this is NOT a guy that walks up and down the field. He does NOT play with the “I don’t care” label. There is more to effort than sheer hustle, however.

    My issues with Thibodeaux revolve around what he did against his best competition. If he lost initially, if he got locked onto, I did not see the secondary moves. I didn’t see the secondary wiggle to try and re-gain a position. The contrast between him and the other top 5 edge guys in the class in that department is obvious. He also had too many dumb penalties. When it isn’t easy for him (he matched up against some awful OTs), he got frustrated and immature. He didn’t pin his ears back and elevate his game. To me, that is effort and mental toughness that just isn’t there. It is a crucial, borderline vital trait to playing the edge.

    That is where I left it with him. And then hearing how he talks about himself and a contract. I have a saying “…he works at his craft like he is above it all already…” simply rubs me the wrong way. Enough that I would be too nervous to use #5 or #7 on him with the other guys available. That is all.

    Sy’56’s Scouting Report on Evan Neal: Junior entry from Okeechobee, Florida. Three-year starter at three different positions (LG, RT, LT). A 2019 Freshman All American that ended his career as a 2nd Team All American and 1st Team All SEC honoree. Neal, a team captain, is lauded by both the on-field coaches and support staff inside the walls. His attention to detail, intelligence, and work ethic have helped him deliver on his 5-star recruit profile out of high school. The fact he started right away as a true freshman for Nick Saban along the offensive line, a rarity, and progressed each season of his 3-year career while playing 3 different positions speaks volumes about his mental game. The obvious with Neal is the elite physical tools. His size is second to none, his power comes easy and natural, and the explosion within his blocking can put him in a rare tier of offensive line prospects. He did struggle with consistency throughout his career, as he showed low body awareness in several situations. He often oversets, leading to balance and control issues. Defenders were able to shake him off too many times. Neal’s upside is as high as it gets but the constant new-position he dealt with every year may have thrown off some important development. That versatility may help his outlook to some teams but once he is drafted, his true value will come when he settles into a position. Neal can eventually be one of the best linemen in the game.

    *Prior to the start of the year, I had nearly no-doubt Neal was going to finish in the 90+ tier. But this is where you have to toss pre-conceived notions out the window when watching the tape. The truth is, Neal did not take a step forward. There are shortcomings within his skill set that arose weekly. The positive? These are all very correctable issues, and we see them corrected all the time. He has some of the same issues that Tristan Wirfs did coming out of Iowa in 2020. Wirfs was my OT1 in that class with a similar grade and is now an All-Pro. Neal can get on that path just as quickly, but I think he needs to settle into a position and remain there for a couple years. That hasn’t been the case since he was a high schooler. NYG would be an ideal destination for him. Insert him into the RT spot week 1 and they could have a top tier OT pair within a year or two. I would be excited to get this kid in blue.

    Media Q&A with General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video):

    JOE SCHOEN: First start off, we’re ecstatic with the two players we got, obviously getting Kayvon Thibodeaux, a really good pass rusher at five, we are excited about that. Thought of getting him there with Azeez on the other side and the pass rush is important to us, so two young pass rushers on the team now that we are definitely excited about.

    Evan Neal, again, I’m sure it will come up, but starting off we’ll be putting him at right tackle. Obviously, we really like his versatility, 40 career starts in three different spots in the SEC, only missed one game in his career with COVID. So both 21 years old, young players, both still have upside to develop.

    But, you know, it worked out great. We are happy with both of the players that we were able to procure tonight.

    So open up for questions.

    Q. Joe, what was it like sitting at five, three tackles, you obviously love Kayvon, how much decision-making, not just the players but the order?

    JOE SCHOEN: We have been through these scenarios a million times. We had seven or eight cards, and we just kept switching them back and forth based on different scenarios, and this is a scenario we went over. And if there were tackles on board and the pass rusher, we were going pass rusher knowing we could get a tackle at 7. We were ecstatic when that scenario came up.

    Q. Did you say Neal would be starting at right tackle?

    JOE SCHOEN: I’m not saying starting. Yeah, we are going to — we are going to work him at right tackle, yes, knowing he has versatility to play left or play guard, which was attractive to us.

    Q. Kayvon at the Combine said you gave him a hard time in interviews to see if he could handle it. What has been your impression of him?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, we spent a lot of time with him. We met with him at the Combine, I flew out there for his pro day along with a couple other individuals, and we had him in here for a visit.

    He’s a very outgoing individual. He’s got a lot of personality. I’m sure you guys will enjoy your time with him meeting him, but a really good kid, likeable kid, works hard.

    We had a good — Brian and I had several conversations with some of his coaches the last couple of days. We FaceTimed him last weekend and we got to know the kid maybe more than any player in this draft. Liked the personality and liked the player.

    Q. You say you got to know him more than any other player in the draft. Is that because there was more you needed to know about him and how that personality would fit here?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, and it worked out that way, too, that I was able to get to his pro day and go to dinner with him. You can only do with so many players during that time, he was one of the players I was able to go to dinner with at a pro day, plus spend time with him here, plus at a Combine. There’s a lot of players and only so much amount of time.

    Evan Neal is the same way. Had dinner with him here. I wasn’t able to go to pro day because of the owners meetings, but we had him in the room at the Combine too. A lot of very good interactions with both prospects.

    Q. The physical traits that stood out to you about Kayvon and about Evan, what stood out?

    BRIAN DABOLL: They both have good size, good length. Kayvon is quick off the ball. I think he has a wide variety of pass rush moves, but he can also set an edge for us on our defense, and it’s no secret we play multiple schemes with Wink as our defensive coordinator, and we envision Kayvon being able to do a lot of different things for us. He’s going to have to come in here and earn it, but a productive player the time he’s been at Oregon.

    Evan has played multiple positions. He’s long — it takes a guy the long route to go to the quarterback. He’s got long arms. He’s a big, massive man, played multiple positions, had a lot of people down at Alabama that I trust and had a lot confidence in him and had a lot of good things to say about him and along with Bobby Johnson and Tony Sparano, the guys that have looked at him, we thought very highly of him.

    Again, this situation that came up, Joe and I, we’ve been meeting the last three or four nights going through as many different scenarios as we can. He carries these magnets in his pockets and pulls them out. He had them in the draft room and moving them around and all that, and we did as many different scenarios as we could. I thought we were well-prepared for tonight, and when it fell the way it fell, we already had that in the plan.

    Q. Brian, people think that the Giants stepped into pretty much the best-case scenario. How would you describe how the top of the Draft went?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I credit Joe and his staff, along with the coaches, everyone putting so much time and effort. Even till last week, we were watching some guys in my office, Joe and myself and about eight other people for seemed like 12 hours a day, we just watched three guys.

    We’re excited about what we have. Again, a lot of work to do with these guys. There always is when you draft young guys and come into your program, but certainly excited with their talent and also the type of people that they are.

    Q. Joe, how many conversations did you have today about possibly making a trade back, and at what point did you realize you weren’t going to do that?

    JOE SCHOEN: We had probably three teams that had talked about potentially moving up, and it was more to seven — there weren’t a lot of calls — actually, there weren’t any calls on anybody coming up to five. We had some conversations in a scenario where it was really six guys we coveted, and if one of them weren’t there, if all six went, then we would have probably considered moving back. But any scenario where two of the six guys we liked were there, we were going to stay. That would have been really the only chance we would have moved back in that scenario.

    Q. In general, were teams low balling and reluctant to pay too much to move up just in this draft just in general talking to people?

    JOE SCHOEN: I wouldn’t say that. You know, the two trades I had in place, it was like, hey let’s prepare, so if we’re on the clock, it’s already done, no haggling. With the two teams I talked to, it was fair. We both agreed it was fair. One of the teams actually called me and said, hey, we are out because a certain position was depleted that they were going to come up for.

    We also had a contingency plan if our six guys that we liked were gone, we had a seventh, and if we had to make a pick and we couldn’t move back, we were prepared for that.

    Brian is not kidding around. We had every possible scenario based on how the top of the Draft went, and it was really a unique draft. Typically you have an idea of who is going to be first and second, and there were rumors of it and rumors of who was going to go third, but you didn’t really know. Everybody was kind of speculating on that. So we were prepared for a lot of different scenarios.

    Q. What would you say were differentiator when you had your choice of a couple tackles? And also, at some point, a hip injury or something, some people had mentioned that with regards to Neal — did you guys have a look at that, and would that factor in at all?

    JOE SCHOEN: What he’s talking about, us sitting in an office and watching multiple players, multiple times. And I think if you asked around the league how everybody saw those tackles, you’d get a bunch of different opinions.

    We did a lot of work on those guys, but after the pass rusher, after Thibodeaux, there was quite a drop. We like the tackles very similarly, so we thought it was best to let it play out and get the pass rusher first.

    On the medical, a lot of times teams share medical grades, and, you know, I think it was 52 percent of the league, there was only 8 percent that had issues with anything with Evan. And circling up with that, I think that was a rumor that was out there, but the majority of the teams in the league, again, he started 40 career games; he missed one game because of COVID.

    Q. Did you have to look into that again?

    JOE SCHOEN: Our medical staff did a great job. They were on it. Before any of that came out, we went through all that and they mentioned what some teams had concerns with, and our doctors looked at it and they were fine with everything. His play history backs that up.

    Q. How does not getting a corner impact James Bradberry?

    JOE SCHOEN: That doesn’t affect James at all. I’ve said it all along, there are contingency plans. We still have three picks tomorrow night, a fourth, two fifths and a sixth. There are plenty of picks to be had.

    Q. Joe, would you say even though the tackles were very close, would you say Neal was your No. 1 tackle?

    JOE SCHOEN: They were very close, yeah. We had them side-by-side.

    Q. So why did you pick him?

    JOE SCHOEN: Because Ickey was gone at six.

    Q. In terms of the other tackles —

    JOE SCHOEN: We thought there was a drop off in pass rushers, and those two were still there, so it played itself out.

    Q. There was a report earlier today that you guys were not going to pick up the fifth year on Daniel Jones. Is that true?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yes, we exercised Dexter’s fifth-year option, and then we did not do Daniels.

    Q. How does that affect the Draft? Are you looking for a quarterback now?

    JOE SCHOEN: We are always open to all positions, but that doesn’t really affect our draft status. We met on it today, and it really doesn’t affect what we think about Daniel. We really like Daniel and the work he’s been putting in. And we are excited where he is, and we are excited to work with him. It was a decision we thought was best for the New York Giants at this time.

    Q. What did Wink say? Have you spoken to him yet?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, he gave me a fist pound back. Yeah, look, the Draft is an inexact deal, and you go through as many scenarios as you can and you prepare yourself. I’m not going to say it’s like preparing yourself for a game as a play caller.

    We felt very comfortable yesterday. The defensive guys went out golfing today, and the offensive staff went out and did another thing. We felt comfortable. Credit to Joe and the scouting staff. They put the time in, along with the coaches. It was a team effort. Feel like we have two good players to help us, and now it’s going to be their job to come in here, work hard, learn how we do things, and help them develop.

    JOE SCHOEN: Can I ask a question? I haven’t seen Wink, what is he wearing?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Not a hat surprisingly. He’s got like a golf shirt on. Business casual for coaches tonight. First time I’ve seen them in normal clothes since I’ve been here.

    Q. Your first time in the hot seat, what was the experience like for you in the war room?

    JOE SCHOEN: Daboll was talking about it before. It was like when you go call a game, you’re at ease because you have all your third and five calls. If it’s third and plus 10, here are my calls we practiced all week, and we got it.

    So when you’re up there, you’re calling a game. We had been through so many scenarios, the exact scenario that played out, we’ve been through it probably 15 times this week. We would stay in my office and move stuff around, what do we do here, what do we could here. We had a couple rhymes in place for different scenarios. It was very seamless. It was easy because where we were at five and seven, it was easy to plan for that and narrow your focus.

    Tomorrow and Saturday may be a little bit different. You’ve got to look at our picks further down in the third round. Tomorrow might be easy for the first pick because we know if there’s four players that we like, and we are going to get one of those four if we stay where we are.

    So overall it was good. Again, preparation, we have been through the draft process together, Dabs and I. Their taff did a phenomenal job like he said. They were very helpful and put in a lot of time and effort not just watching the film but Zooms. These guys were on Zooms with these prospects for like an hour, and we had a process in place and a test in place at each position that the coaches were given of these kids.

    We took that into account when we talked about how they did on the football test they were giving them, how they learn, how they pick up information, how they communicate that information. It was a pretty extensive process, from the medical to the coaches to the psychological on all these guys, and I think our process will lead us to the best decisions ultimately.

    Q. Do you think that the offensive line is finally fixed?

    JOE SCHOEN: We haven’t been in pads yet. I hope so, but again, there’s going to be competition across all positions, and I feel like we’ve upgraded it from where I was here and we had four or five offensive linemen when you got here, and we’ve added some veteran guys we like, Jamil Douglas, Garcia, Feliciano, Glowinski. We are happy with those guys, Gono. And then now adding Evan Neal, I think it’s an interesting group and there’s some interior depth. And Matt Peart, when he comes back, all of a sudden, I think we could potentially be operating from a position of strength at that position.

    Q. Did you recruit Evan and did the guys at Alabama help you in the process?

    BRIAN DABOLL: No, didn’t recruit them, but certainly you have relationships in this business, whether it’s from team to team in the NFL or in this case, college teams. Obviously I know a lot of people down there. So they were very helpful. They are big proponents of Evan, rightfully so. He’s a good player, but you’re also trying to get to know the person and how does he treat the GAs and how is he in the cafeteria and the type of people that we want to build our program with, and he fit it to a T. And on top of that, you have to be a good football player and have some talent and love the game and love to compete.

    We are happy he’s in our program, but now he’s got a lot of work to do.

    Q. When you were on the clock, was there any conversation in the room about where to go?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I’ll jump ahead of Joe. No, I told you he was prepared. There was not a lot of talking at all. It was calm, composed. And I think you can be that way when you’re prepared, when you put the time in and you have the conversations before they happen.

    Again, I can’t tell you how many different scenarios we went through the past week, so we felt however it was going to unfold, that, you know, we would be ready for whatever decisions we had to make.

    Q. Kayvon said on the TV when they were interviewing him on stage that before he got on the plane to go to Vegas, someone from the Giants FaceTimed him. Was it you?

    BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, Joe and I talked to him, again, just to say hello and wish him the best of luck in the draft process. We had good meetings with him. Good player. Just wanted to wish him luck.

    Q. Can you talk about work ethic, his motivation, affinity for his brand, some people were concerned about that. Was there anything that eased your mind, something that you felt the need to look into or saw anything like that?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I think you look into everything, but we sat down with the young man. He came up here on a visit, at the Combine. Joe did a Zoom. Did another Zoom with him. We felt very comfortable with him, his approach, both as a young football player and as a young man.

    Q. Do you like coaching guys with big personalities, and how do you handle that?

    BRIAN DABOLL: I like coaching good guys. Everybody has a different personality. When you’re coaching in the National Football League for 22 years, you come across a lot of different characters, and as long as they love football and they are a pro on and off the field. I have six kids, and they all have different personalities. And that’s the job of a coach, too, to learn your players, what makes them tick, how to push them when they need pushed, how to hug them when they need a hug. Felt very comfortable with him.

    JOE SCHOEN: And these athletes are changing. The NIL stuff, these kids are making a lot of money in college. Freshmen in college, some are making $100,000, $200,000. It’s a different athlete and a different experience as a college football player, and we have to evolve and understand that kids are going to evolve, and what they have been exposed to when they were in college is going to be a little bit different.

    Also with Kayvon, he had a serious ankle injury. And a lot of people, with his draft status and draft stock, could have hung it up and said, we’ll call it a season and I’m not going to play anymore. He fought back. And we talked to several people at the school, and he worked his way back and practiced, and a lot of people — he didn’t necessarily need to do that.

    Q. Of the top tackles, Evan is the only one who played extensively at right tackle, how much did that come into play knowing you wanted to put him at right tackle?

    JOE SCHOEN: It helps when you’re going to draft a player at number 7 and you get to see him do what you’re going to ask him to do. That makes you feel good. We definitely went back, we studied his tape from last season when he was at right tackle and even watched some of the stuff at guard. His versatility is important. One guy goes down in a game, it helps the eight guys you take on game day. If a guy can move around like that and help you out, that’s an added plus, too.

    Q. Joe, you went to dinner with Kayvon. Before his pro day?

    JOE SCHOEN: Yeah, Korean barbecue place. You have to ask him about it. I had never been to a Korean barbecue place before. It was a lot of fun.

    Q. We see one side, one personality. Is he the same personality-wise in a different setting with you, or did you see a different side of him that appealed to you?

    JOE SCHOEN: One-on-one, when Dabs and I just met with him on his visit, yeah, he’s very calm, cool, collect. And when I had one-on-one experiences with him, and when he’s out and about in front of you guys, you might see a little bit more personality on him. But all in all, a really good kid and got to like him throughout the process.

    Re: Sam Prince announcing the selection at No. 5

    SCHOEN: How about my man Sam?

    DABOLL: We gotta mention Sam. You talk about juice.

    SCHOEN: That’s the type of juice we’re looking for.

    Media Q&A with Kayvon Thibodeaux:

    Q. Congratulations.

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Thank you, it’s been a blessing.

    Q. You had said on stage that you were getting on a plane and you got a FaceTime from the Giants, what was that like and was that kind of the sign for you that something was happening?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They were surprised that I answered. But you know me I’m always authentic with it, so just being able to have that last minute conversation gave me that idea that yeah, they really care.

    Q. Why are you made for New York? Why is New York the perfect landing spot for you?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Because I’m hungry. I’m really competitive and hungry and I feel like New York is the pinnacle of a dog-eat-dog world.

    Q. Did you spend more time with the Giants than other teams or did you spend a lot of time with a lot of teams?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I spent the most time with the Giants, definitely.

    Q. What did you think about getting to know (General Manager) Joe Schoen, (Head Coach) Brian Daboll and (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and the other guys here?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It was really dope because we really got to build a foundation, I don’t want to say relationship, but we built a foundation, and now I have a real understanding because when I get there, I can go to them for anything.

    Q. What did you think you had to prove to them or were there any questions you felt like they needed answered when you kept going through the process and meeting them at different points?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I don’t necessarily know if there was anything specific that they needed answers, but I answered all of the questions without them asking. I was able to lay it all out on the line and I think they respected my delivery.

    Q. There has been much said about Wink’s defense being multiple. How do you fit into that?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I’m a smart guy. I feel like his multiple defense is really going to give me the opportunity to be versatile and kind of just show everything I bring to the team.

    Q. What’s your relationship like with (Former New York Giants Defensive End) Michael Strahan?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: He literally is one of my mentors and he’s been talking to me throughout this process. He actually came to visit me when I was on my visit with the team, so seeing him out there that was really dope because he’s given me wisdom and he even was able to speak on my behalf because we have built a relationship over the year.

    Q. How valuable will it be to have that resource when you get here do you think?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s really dope because he has literally walked in my footsteps and can show me the ropes on the field and off the field.

    Q. What are the Giants getting as a player out of you?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: They are getting a leader, they are getting a competitor and they are getting a guy who wants to win at any means.

    Q. Did you think there were any misconceptions about you in this Draft process? Obviously, the Giants didn’t buy in to those, but did you think that you’re a little bit misunderstood as a player and a person and as a prospect?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I feel like anything that was said about me before this point is history, and now all we’re focused on is the future.

    Q. What do you remember about the dinner you went on with Joe? He was talking how you took him to Korean barbecue for the first time.

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: Exactly, I took him to my house and we were able to break bread and do everything that we needed and I let them know that I eat, right. It was really dope, we got to break bread and we really got to build that relationship.

    (celebratory noise) My bad, I’m sitting here with (Giants Tackle) Evan Neal and we’re sitting here – and it’s time.

    Q. What’s that like to be there with Evan and knowing you guys just got picked together? I would imagine in your mind, you guys will be together for a while?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: When you think about it, it’s a blessing when you have a complete competitor on the other side of the ball that you’re going to be able to go against every day knowing that you’re getting better because he’s getting better because we want to.

    Q. It’s been said you’re probably the best edge rusher in the Draft. How are you against the run?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: You’ve got to watch the tape.

    Q. What do you say to that notion that your motor did not always run hot, that you took plays off? What do you say to that?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: I say that the Giants believe in me, and me and Evan are going to go to work, and this is probably one of the greatest moments of my life.

    Q. Who is going to win the one-on-one reps in rookie minicamp?

    KAYVON THIBODEAUX: It’s going to be 50/50 every time. He’s going to hit me with an upper cut and I’m going to hit him with a right hook. He’ll hit me with a jab and I’m going to hit him with a stomach hit. We’re going to keep going back-to-back.

    Media Q&A with Evan Neal:

    Q. Did you talk to the Giants a lot through this process and did you have a feeling they were going to be a team that might take you tonight?

    EVAN NEAL: Yeah, they had the fifth and the seventh pick and so I knew there was a possibility I could end up at the Giants for sure, but I’m just thankful they gave me an opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.

    Q. What was your reaction when they were on clock at five and didn’t take you?

    EVAN NEAL: Hey, man, I was happy for Kayvon (Thibodeaux). I clapped for him. It’s a lot of uncertainty but I just controlling the things that I can control.

    Q. What do you think of, you played right tackle obviously before you played left tackle. They are going to start you out at right tackle. What do you think of that? Is that a good spot for you?

    EVAN NEAL: Yeah, I’m comfortable at all the tackle spots for sure.

    Q. Do you know Andrew Thomas?

    EVAN NEAL: I don’t think I’ve ever met him.

    Q. What would you say to Giants fans that you’re bringing to the table as an offensive lineman if you’re describing yourself?

    EVAN NEAL: The Giants are going to get a guy that is going to come in every day and work his hardest to be the best that he can be and just ultimately help the organization win.

    Q. What were your reactions when the health rumors were coming out the last couple days about you?

    EVAN NEAL: I was kind of shocked a little bit but at the end of the day I just control my controllables. I can’t control about the information that leaks out, but I played 41 games at Alabama, I didn’t miss a game, I didn’t miss a snap, I only missed one game due to COVID, so that’s your answer there.

    Q. When you were sitting there just now when Kayvon was on with us and you see his personality busting out all over the place, what’s your reaction?

    EVAN NEAL: He’s a funny guy, man. I’m just excited to continue to get to know him and spend time with him and compete against him.

    Q. Do you get a sense that he’s the kind of guy that’s going to be talking to you in practice snap to snap?

    EVAN NEAL: I really don’t care whether he does. I’m going to talk with my shoulder pads (Laughter).

    Q. How would you describe your personality?

    EVAN NEAL: Pretty much a laid-back guy. I’m kind of more of an introverted extrovert by nature, more reserved, quiet, but just talk to me. I’m a people person. I’m definitely a cool guy.

    Q. Are you a better pass blocker or run blocker?

    EVAN NEAL: Man, I feel like I’m good at both, honestly. I played well and I played at a high level at both, just turn on the film. That should give you your answer.

    Q. You’re a real country boy. How does it feel playing in New York?

    EVAN NEAL: A little bit of a culture shock, man, but I’m excited. I’m a country boy, but at the end of the day, I know how to fit in well with the city, so I’m just excited.

    Q. Got some Alabama guys up here. Have you heard from them yet?

    EVAN NEAL: Yeah, Xavier McKinney, when I was on my Top-30 visit, I got a chance to chop it up with him for a little bit. It’s going to be pretty cool being able to play with him.