DAVE GETTLEMAN FIRES MARC ROSS, CUTS BOBBY HART, BENCHES ERECK FLOWERS…
Dave Gettleman, the new general manager of the New York Giants, isn’t fooling around. On Friday, he said, “My plan is to come in here every day and kick ass.” On Saturday, the ass-kicking commenced. The Giants have fired Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross, who was in charge of the team’s college scouting process. The Giants also waived/injured starting right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle).
The 44-year old Ross had been with the Giants since 2007 and officially served as the director of college scouting for six years before his promotion to vice president of player evaluation in 2013. Ross was also one of the four candidates to interview for the general manager vacancy that was given to Gettleman.
“I worked with Marc when I was with the organization before,” said Gettleman. “I have great respect for him and high regard for his work. Clearly, we’re going in a different direction, but that doesn’t make these kinds of decisions any easier.”
Hart was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. In three seasons, Hart played in 33 regular-season games with 21 starts at right tackle, including seven starts this past season. According to various media reports, Hart had mentally checked out, refused to practice this week, and had told the Giants he would not play this Sunday against the Redskins.
More troubling is that left tackle Ereck Flowers, who is officially “questionable” with a groin injury, has reportedly also checked out and told coaches he will not play this Sunday. Newsday is reporting that Gettleman came close to cutting Flowers and may do so at some point in coming months. According to press reports, rookie Chad Wheeler will now start at left tackle against the Redskins and rookie Adam Bisnowaty will start at right tackle.
The Giants placed wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion) on Injured Reserve and signed offensive linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Nick Becton and tight end Ryan O’Malley to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The other roster vacancy came from cornerback Eli Apple being suspended from the team.
The Giants drafted Bisnowaty in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6’6”, 307-pound Bisnowaty played left tackle at the collegiate level but the Giants moved him to right tackle as a rookie. He has spent the entire season on the Practice Squad.
The 6’6”, 322-pound Becton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He has spent time with the Chargers (2013), Giants (2014), New Orleans Saints (2014), Chicago Bears (2015-2016), Detroit Lions (2017), and Kansas City Chiefs (2017). Becton has played in six regular-season games with no starts. The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in November 2017.
O’Malley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent time on both the Practice Squad and 53-man roster of the Raiders in 2016. The Raiders cut him in September 2017 and he spent a few weeks on the Practice Squad of the Bills. The Giants signed the 6’6”, 260-pound O’Malley to the Practice Squad in December 2017.
GIANTS INTERVIEW MARC ROSS FOR GM POSITION…
The New York Giants announced on Monday that they have interviewed Marc Ross for the general manager position that is currently held by Interim General Manager Kevin Abrams. The Giants stated in the team’s press release that Ross is the first person to interview for the position. General Manger Jerry Reese was fired two weeks ago.
Ross interviewed with Giants’ President/CEO John Mara and former Giants’ General Manager Ernie Accorsi, who is consulting with the team on the selection process.
The 44-year old Ross currently is the Giants’ Vice President of Player Evaluation, a position he has held for five years. Before that, he was the team’s Director of College Scouting for six years.
INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no scheduled media availability the New York Giants on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Arizona Cardinals.
On the third and final day of the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected running back Wayne Gallman (Clemson) in the 4th round, defensive end Avery Moss (Youngstown State) in the 5th round, and traded up in the 6th round for offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh). The Giants gave up their 7th round pick (241th overall) to move up seven spots in the 6th round to draft Bisnowaty.
WAYNE GALLMAN SCOUTING REPORT: Fourth-year junior. Gallman is a well-rounded running back with good size (6’1”, 215lbs), vision, and decent elusiveness and speed. He is a slashing, cutback runner. Gallman lacks explosiveness, but he is very competitive and runs hard. Gallman can pass protect and catch the football.
SY’56’s Take: “Gallman is a pro ready back but I don’t think he is ever going to be a feature guy, which is fine. His ability to plant his foot and burst combined with his toughness can make him a dangerous player. He became a much better blocker and receiver this season as well. I wish he could hold on to more weight and protect the ball better, but you could do much worse than having him as your number two back.”
AVERY MOSS SCOUTING REPORT: Moss began his collegiate career at Nebraska where he was dismissed for an off-the-field incident. Moss has good size (6’3, 264lbs) with long arms and is a good athlete. Moss flashes as a disruptive run defender and pass rusher, but he needs to get stronger at the point-of-attack. He is a competitor who plays hard. Needs technique work.
ADAM BISNOWATY SCOUTING REPORT: Fifth-year senior. Bisnowaty played left tackle at the collegiate level but could project to right tackle or either guard spot in the pros. Bisnowaty looks the part with a good frame (6’6”, 304lbs) with long arms and huge hands. He lacks ideal agility in pass protection and mauling power as a run blocker, but he is a scrappy player with good intangibles. Smart, tough, and aggressive. Bisnowaty works to finish his blocks and has a mean streak. Somewhat injury prone.
SY’56’s Take: “Early in the 2016 season, scouts were talking about Bisnowaty as being the top guy in this class. Potential top 10 overall type. It’s easy to see why because of his easy movement out of his stance and ability to mirror a defender with excellent lower half balance and quickness. He did suffer an injury somewhere around the midpoint of the season that made his tape look weak in the second half, but even at full strength I never quite saw it from him. He didn’t move guys. More of an absorber rather than an attacker. Too easily thrown around. Those things bother me as much as a guy with really slow feet. I think he may be best suited for backup swing duty.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: The fourth round pick we took, Wayne Gallman from Clemson, running back. Wayne’s a versatile back and is very productive. Three years of production there. High level of competition. I think he ended up with 36 touchdowns. We think he can create a lot of competition in that running back group. Very versatile, played on special teams as well. Actually, I think he was a linebacker in high school, so that helps him as a special teamer when those guys play different positions in high school. We thought he was a nice addition to our running back group.
Avery Moss, defensive end from Youngstown. Avery is really a true defensive end. You don’t see a lot of those guys these days but he’s a true defensive end that can play the run, rush the passer. Big guy, has a lot of upside. We think he is just now scratching the surface of where we think he can be. We really like his skill set and really think he can come in and help us in that d-line group and at that defensive end position.
Bisnowaty, a tackle from Pittsburgh. He played a lot of football for them. A big guy that is tough and rugged. He’ll get into our offensive line group and challenge for a spot there as well.
Q: Do you see Bisnowaty as a tackle or a guard?
A: We think he’s a tackle. We’ll start him out at tackle. That’s the coaches. They can do whatever they want to do with him. I think he’s a tackle.
Q: You traded up seven spots and gave up a draft pick to get him. Why?
A: We thought that there wasn’t a lot left on the board in respect to offensive line. He could’ve easily been there but we had a little huddle and said let’s go get this guy if we can. We gave up our seventh round pick to get him.
Q: How important was it to get an offensive lineman in this draft?
A: We wanted to help the offensive line but we didn’t want to reach for anyone and we did that. We always want to help every position and offensive line is a position that we tried to help, but again, we’re not going to reach for anyone.
Q: How difficult was taking Moss as far as character and background?
A: Yes, he has had some issues. I think you have talked to him some already but he has had some issues and we think he’s well past those things. We’ll definitely keep an eye on that and if he needs any help in respect to that, we’ll definitely be there to help him. He’s a really well spoken young man that has been through some things. We think he has everything together now.
Q: How much did you evaluate that type of situation?
A: I can’t talk about some of the personal stuff that we talked about in respect to him, but we had a lot of conversations about it and we feel good at this point. We think he’s gotten past those things.
Q: Does Gallman preclude you picking up a veteran running back in the next couple weeks?
A: No, we keep all our options open in respect to that. We keep all our options open as we move forward. There’s a long way to go before we play. We will keep all our options open.
Q: Did you have Joe Mixon on your board?
A: I’m not going to talk about who we had on our board.
Q: How do you come away from this draft feeling about it overall?
A: We always try to get players that can help us now and obviously players that can help us down the road. I think we have a good combination of both of that. I always tell you guys, our first three picks we think should come in and be contributors right away. Hopefully the guys on the back side of your picks can help you as well.
Q: What’s next for these guys?
A: Not a lot to do until they get here (in two weeks).
Q: When you look at your roster that you have at this point, where do you see the team most improved at this point?
A: We tried to improve every part of the team. I don’t know what part is the most improved position. As we move forward, we have plenty of things we would like to do before we get to preseason. Obviously, after preseason there will be cuts. We will be tinkering with the roster all the way until we play Dallas.
Q: Is there one thing that you focused on this offseason that you feel you got accomplished?
A: No, we just focus on trying to get good players added to the roster.
Q: Is the placekicking situation something that needs to be addressed?
A: We’ll continue to look at that. We have a young kid (Aldrick Rosas) on the roster with a big leg that we want to take a look at and see how he looks in the spring. There’s always going to be veteran kickers out there available. We will see where that goes. There will be free agency after the draft here and we will see what’s left out there after that as well.
Q: Do you expect to add one as a priority?
A: We’ll see. We’ll keep our options open but that’s a possibility.
Q: How do you think Gallman works with Perkins?
A: That’s up to the coaches. We just try and pick a good football player right there. We think he’s that. He’s a three-year producer there. Young kid, tough, kind of linear for a running back. Tall for a running back. I think he’s a little bit over six foot, maybe just six foot. He looks taller when you think about running backs.
Q: You have 13 roster spots open. Do you plan on being aggressive and filling 13 spots?
A: Yes, we’ll go hard and look and see what’s left on the board. We’ll see if there is a position that we want to fill moving into training camp. We’ll go hard in free agency. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do right here right now.
Q: Were there any trends that you noticed in this draft that were different?
A: I really haven’t thought about that much but I try not to be surprised by anything that happens in the draft.
Q: What was Ben’s involvement like and was it greater, less than or different than last year in any way?
A: He was very involved like all of our coaches are and all of our personnel people are. We pick players together. We come to a consensus to who we like and we live with the consequences after we take them.
Q: Have you talked to Eli?
A: We did communicate with him, yes.
Q: Were you happy with what you were able to do?
A: We’re always happy with the draft. It’s a long process and a big project. A lot of time, work and effort goes into it. Our scouts, who again probably no one in here knows or most don’t know who they are, just happy for them. We feel like we got some good players for the labor that they put into being on the road for probably close to 200 days a year and really digging these guys out to put them in front of myself and all of our personnel people. Happy for them that we feel like we got some good players.
Q: Does the extra week from now to the start of rookie minicamp change how you approach the undrafted process?
A: No, not really.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: How do you evaluate how this draft looks?
A: It feels good when it’s over, but it’s not over because we have all these undrafted free agents. Got to start attacking and this is really the fun part right now. Everything else was structured and easy, this process is very hectic.
Q: Those phone calls already started?
A: No, that’s not legal.
Q: Jerry Reese mentioned that you traded your 7th round pick because no one at the top of your board was left, is this true?
A: Yes. We felt really good about Adam Bisnowaty and we didn’t want to miss out on him, compared to some other people that you may have to wait on in the sixth, and then wait on in the seventh round. We felt that he was worth packaging those two picks to get.
Q: Can you take us through the process on Avery Moss and his checkered past?
A: Just like any player, our scouts do an excellent job with digging into the background with the coaches, with his former coaches, off the field. We have tests that we give, a psychological test; obviously, with a person like Avery, who has something that was known, you do extra. That’s what we’ve done throughout the whole process and we felt good about taking him right now, based on his last two years of maturity and the help that he’s received. So we felt good about him as a person.
Q: Did you count on Coach Pelini’s recommendation?
A: Without a doubt. One of our scouts, Steve Devine, has a very close relationship with him. You have to rely on your scouts and trust the people that they talk to and trust throughout the process.
Q: How much is that talked about before you draft a guy?
A: We have draft meetings, extensive draft meetings, where we thoroughly vet every single player. Those things are talked about and the way we do our process, which is maybe different than other teams, we kind of go through a mini-meeting about each player as we are approaching our time on the clock.
Q: Waiting until the sixth round to get an offensive lineman, is it safe to say that you guys thought this offensive line class was bad?
A: We stuck to our board from the first round until the sixth. We’re not going to reach. If we feel like there is a player of value and need at the right place and the right time, we are going to take him. We’re just not going to jump over players that we feel are better players who can contribute to reach for a perceived position of need.
Q: You drafted three guys within an hour of each other in Georgia. Has that ever happened before?
A: Yeah, we wanted to save on flights. Get to Atlanta, Delta and all get on the same flight and come on up.
Q: Is that abnormal?
A: I guess, I don’t know. Check it out, do the research. There might be a lot of guys from Florida, Miami that might have got picked. I don’t know, I never even thought about that.
Q: The offensive line is perceived as a position of need. Do you look at it like you really need an offensive lineman?
A: We look at it as we need good players at every position, at every position.
Q: It was a perceived position of need with others and you got one. Why so late for a tackle?
A: We took six players. How many positions are there on the field? Ten. So you can kind of check, oh man we could’ve got four, maybe if we had four more picks we could have got those. We’ll see when we get in free agency.
Q: Is it fair to say that inside this building you feel better about your offensive line than outsiders?
A: Probably inside this building we feel better about a lot of things than most outsiders feel. We say left, you guys say right. We say up, you say down. It’s just the nature of what we do. We trust the people that we have here from the coaches to the scouts and that’s what we have to rely on.
Q: Are we right sometimes?
A: I don’t know, are you?
Q: Ereck Flowers just turned 23, and I believe that the lineman you picked today is 23. Is it fair that you guys believe, heading into his third season, Flowers has room to grow and that he’ll show that?
A: We still have high hopes for Ereck. He’s young. The guy started two years in the NFL and the guy is still young. He really should be coming out in this draft. So to say that you are going to throw a guy away for having inconsistencies his first two years in the NFL, I don’t think that is very fair to Ereck. We think he’s going to get better; he’s going to take a big jump. He does everything possible to get better; he’s in here every day working his butt off, so we have high hopes for him.
Q: Did Gallman and Tomlinson have any one-on-one interactions in the championship game?
A: I don’t remember a certain play where he tackled him or what not. But I have to check the tape on that one.
Q: You took 11 players from the Senior Bowl the last five years. How does that week factor into your evaluation?
A: It wasn’t something that was intentional. It’s just another venue. You want them to be good in the fall, you want them to be good at the Senior Bowl, you want them to be good at the combine, the pro day. You just want at each step of the way for them to have positive results. At the Senior Bowl, you get to see the best go against the best, especially for small school guys. Like a guy like Moss, he was at the East-West and really stood out there, so those are the types of players that you really like to see in those venues.
Q: What goes into the process of picking someone that you’ve not shown interest in?
A: Our scouts do an excellent job throughout the fall, and we have three scouts that look at them. I watch them, Jerry, the coaches watch them. We see them at the all-star games, the combine, so we’ve had plenty of exposure to a guy like that.
Q: Andrew Adams said last year that because Coach Merritt called him during the undrafted free agency period, it made a difference to him. Do you have a philosophy on that, or how you go about that?
A: We try to make those guys feel special throughout the process. We host players here, we try to stay in contact with them, almost as if it’s college recruiting. So we want those guys to feel special so when the time comes and we’re calling them, it’s not just a coach going down a list and checking off who is next. It’s that they actually feel like the New York Giants want them to be a part of this organization.
Q: Does it vary from the coaches and scouts who call guys?
A: We try to hit them with everything that we’ve got.
Q: You guys always talk about the importance of the first three picks coming in and making an impact. With this draft, I don’t think you’re expecting your third round pick to be contributing right away. So what are your expectations for Davis Webb?
A: Well, the thing is the instant gratification. But as long as he shows progress and the coaches are happy with him, and he’s doing the things that we think he can do, on and off the field, then you’re happy about the pick.
Q: Did you as an organization view it as a positive or a negative when Webb transferred after he lost his job at Texas Tech?
A: It was a positive. He wanted to play, he didn’t want to sit behind a guy. He wanted to show that he was worth being an NFL draft pick.
McAdoo: All right, Wayne Gallman, productive third-year player out of Clemson. (He has) upside in the pass game, comes from a winning program, glad we have him. Avery Moss is a physical football player; he has good length, plays with an edge to him. Adam Bisnowaty is a tackle or guard from Pitt. He has played a lot of football for them, has been a productive player, he is a physical player and we are glad that we have him. With that, let’s open it up.
Q: Where will Bisnowaty play?
A: It is still early. We are going to bring him in, see how he can play on both sides, both right and left, move him around a little bit and we think he has some flexibility inside as well.
Q: Will he play tackle initially though?
A: We will start him at tackle and see how he does.
Q: What did you like about Gallman?
A: Again, he comes from a winning program, had a tremendous interview and provides a spark and change of pace. He has a lot of upside.
Q: How does he compare or complement (Paul) Perkins?
A: Different type of player. He is a little longer type player. He has some speed and we feel like he has some upside in the pass game.
Q: He also has good ball security skills.
A: Yes, we like to maintain the ball. That is a big part of things and that is a big focus for us this year. He is a productive player.
Q: What about Gallman’s interview stood out?
A: He was well-prepared for the interview. You could see that he got football; it came clean to him. He did a nice job and was very ready, polished.
Q: How much did you put into the vetting process with (Avery) Moss?
A: We did our homework.
Q: Do you feel confident that he is not a risk?
A: We feel that he has turned the corner. If he needs any support or help when he is here, we will offer that support.
Q: With a player that has been through something like that, do you check that personally?
A: We do our homework.
Q: You personally?
A: We do our homework.
Q: Did you have a chance to catch up with Eli?
A: Yes, briefly.
Q: Can you share anything about that?
A: I am going to leave our personal conversations personal.
Q: Was it a positive discussion?
A: It was a personal conversation that I am going to leave personal.
Q: Bisnowaty said that he is a nasty football player. Is that something that you want in all of your linemen?
A: I don’t know that it is the most important quality, but it is nice to have someone that plays physical with that type of physicality and likes to finish plays and plays nasty and he is also from God’s country. That helps him. He is a good, physical football player. We are glad to have him. He fits our profile and has played a lot of football at a high level.
Q: How ready is Gallman in terms of pass blocking?
A: There will be a learning curve there. He has a lot that he has to learn about the pro game. It will be different systematically for him, but again, he did a nice job in the interview. He could really communicate what they were doing offensively and that is a good start.
Q: You told Webb last night that you can’t wait to get him the playbook. How does that process work?
A: We have to go through the CBA first. You have to look at the rules and when they say you can get a playbook in their hands, then you get a playbook in their hands.
Q: Do you think that the picks made today…?
A: Again, let’s get them here, let’s get them a helmet, let’s get them a playbook and we will see how they do.
Q: What are your expectations on the late round picks?
A: As long as they are here, they have a chance. Late round picks, undrafted free agents, we view them all the same. They are going to have an opportunity to go out and compete for a job and whether you get drafted high, drafted low or don’t get drafted at all, you are going to have an opportunity.
Q: After evaluating what you did last year, are you going to make any tweaks to the rookie minicamp?
A: We have made some adjustments, but again, the most important thing is that there are a lot of nerves involved early on in that process. So you want to make sure that you take them out early, give them a chance to walk through some things, jog through some things before you actually practice with them because there are a lot of nerves.
Q: Do you feel that your roster is better today than when you walked off the field in Green Bay?
Q: In what areas do you feel you are better at?
A: I feel that we have added a lot of competition to the roster. Whether it was through free agency, adding some pieces there, or through the draft, we have a competitive roster.
Q: Was there one part where you left Green Bay and thought that there was something you had to address?
A: No, I think it is important that you don’t reach for players. I think we did a nice job of that in this draft, I think we did a nice job last year. We added players who we feel can come in and compete, offer depth and possibly win jobs.
Q: What are your thoughts on the roster after this whole offseason?
A: Again, I think we still have some work to do. The roster is still not complete. There will be some undrafted free agents that will have an opportunity to come in here and compete for jobs as well.
Q: When does Quarterback School start?
A: Monday. I can’t wait.
Q: Will Davis (Webb) be here?
A: No, he will not be here Monday. They will have a few days. They won’t be here next weekend, but the weekend after. When the rookies get here, they will stay here.
Q: Is there any reason why it is a week later this year?
A: The schedule is different because of the two extra weeks that you had. You could bump things up two extra weeks last year.
Q: Did this draft feel different as opposed to last year?
A: Just going through the process, trusting the process. Nothing new for me.
Q: Did you look at last year and think of anything going into this year that you could improve on?
A: I may have budgeted my time a little differently in some different areas, but I am not going to get into that.
Q: Do you look at the personnel on your offensive line this year and say that they will play better this upcoming season?
A: Yeah, I am excited to see the offensive line develop this year. I think that we have added some guys that will build competition there. We just added Adam (Bisnowaty). Ereck (Flowers) and Bobby (Hart) are both working very hard at the tackle spots and I look forward to seeing the competition and see how things shake out.
Q: How much do you have a set unit in mind?
A: I don’t have a set unit in mind. I want to see how guys play, how they perform and how they work together. That is a big part of things.
MEDIA Q&A WITH WAYNE GALLMAN:
Q: How’d it feel to get the call from the Giants?
A: It was a shock. I’m just sitting here waiting and I heard that phone call. I just couldn’t wait to pick it up. I’m just glad to get that call.
Q: Why do you say shock?
A: I was hearing that I was supposed to go a little earlier than expected. Just this way, I’m relaxing to it and trusted wherever I was going to go through God. When that phone call came, I was just shocked. I didn’t know who it was. I’m glad it was the New York Giants.
Q: Just from seeing your tweet, it seems like you’re coming in with a chip on your shoulder it seems?
A: Of course, no doubt.
Q: How would you describe your running style?
A: I’m a hard, physical runner. I believe I have all the aspects in the running game that a running back is supposed to have. I have speed, power, whatever a team needs to get that extra yard.
Q: Are you familiar at all with Paul Perkins?
A: I watched him in college and watched a couple games from New York last year. I know a little bit about the running game.
Q: Do you think that you would compliment him well from what you’ve seen in his style?
A: Yes. I think I would be able to complement him and the offense well as well as any other thing that they would want me to do. I’m just ready to come in and work.
Q: Reuniting with fellow Clemson player B.J. Goodson?
A: Yeah, we have a relationship. I was just working out with him, these past couple of weeks, in Clemson.
Q: Will that continue when you arrive in the next couple of weeks?
A: Of course
Q: Did you have a lot of battles in practice with Goodson?
A: Yeah, a little bit here and there.
Q: Are you home right now? What is it like there?
A: It’s just me and my mom, my best friend, my dad, and my girlfriend. They are all excited.
Q: What is the feedback along this draft process for you? What did you take from what teams were telling you?
A: Pretty much, there was really no negative thing I’ve heard. That’s why I really didn’t know who I would get picked by. I knew everybody liked me, I don’t have a bad background at all, and I know my film is good, so it was a just a matter of seeing who was going to call.
Q: What was your contact with the Giants?
A: Actually, my first visit at the combine, either the first or second visit on Thursday or Tuesday, was with the Giants. I had a really good meeting with them. From then on, I really liked the Giants and Coach Johnson and everything.
Q: What made it a good meeting? Did you break down the plays, was it the conversation?
A: Conversation, breaking down the plays, and just the vibe that I came into the room with that I felt. I just liked them from then on.
Q: Did you have 100 less carries this season? What happened? Why did the number go down?
A: I did. We wanted to pass more this past year. It was all on my coach, Tony Elliot. That’s what the coaches wanted to do this past year. We ran the ball but it is what it is.
Q: The benefit of that was that you won a National Championship.
Q: Do you think that it hurt you personally though?
A: I am not trying to think about that, but I do know that throughout the year, those carries were ones that I wanted as a running back, of course. But I will do whatever it takes to win and if that means going out pass blocking and receiving, then I will do that.
Q: Who gave you the nickname “Train”?
A: Actually, my coach. (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach, Tony Elliot) and all the Clemson fans.
Q: What do you think of it?
A: At first I thought it was a little corny, but the more it was used – they ended up giving me a train sound whenever I scored or made a big run in Clemson Stadium, so I kind of just went along with it and accept it now.
Q: Did you do more pass protection this year with the offense?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How did that go?
A: Yes, I believe that I improved over the year. At the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t say that I was doing my best job as a pass protector, but throughout the year I got better with my technique and it got us a championship.
Q: What was it like working with Dabo Sweeney?
A: Man, working with Coach Sweeney is just like working with a father figure. Coach Sweeney is all about family and just going out there and working hard each and every day. His standard is to just be the best and that is what we did every single day.
Q: Did you ever get tackled by Landon Collins?
Q: Did you ever run him over?
A: No, I don’t think I played against Landon.
Q: How about Davlin Tomlinson?
A: No, I don’t really remember Davlin.
MEDIA Q&A WITH AVERY MOSS:
Q: How did it feel to get the call from the Giants?
A: Oh, man it felt so great. I am here at the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas with my grandma – she just had a stroke a couple days ago, so I was just with her and we were ecstatic to get the news.
Q: How is she doing?
A: She is doing good. She has shown mass recovery in the last week. She is moving faster than any normal patient really does and I wouldn’t expect nothing else from her. She is a fighter. We have been here with her day and night since about Tuesday. So everything has been going well on her end, to God be the glory, everything is good right now.
Q: Did this throw off your plans for this week?
A: Yeah, we didn’t have a lot planned, but this definitely changed everything. It changed our mood and everything because it is definitely a Lord’s blessing to even have this opportunity. But at the same time, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my grandmother, so it is just a precise thing of life – we had to be here and she was like the number one thing in my mind. It is a blessing that she is alright and it did change, but it was for the better. We are going to go family first on this one, but I am definitely glad that we were able to be here at the hospital and be able to watch the draft with her and celebrate with her, as she is getting better.
Q: Is she awake and alert now? Does she know that you have been drafted?
A: Yes, sir. She has a lot of her cognitive skills back, she is aware and everything like that and once I told her, she cried and I hugged her. She knows and she is excited. She said that she always knew I was going to go back to a cold state anyway.
Q: What do you think you can bring to the Giants?
A: From a defensive end, I know as everything I have had in my life, I have had a lot of adversity. Perseverance is a normal language for me, that is something I am used to and I just keep going through and keep doing. I am relentless when it comes to effort. I never want to give up on a play just because it is never done until the whistle is blown and I think I can definitely try to assist and learn from the D-ends that are already there and then just try to add on in terms of a pass rush standpoint, try to make some noise and help New York get to something big.
Q: Can you explain what happened in your dismissal of Nebraska?
A: My true freshman year, I came in off 17. I got charged with indecent exposure but that wasn’t what led to me actually getting dismissed. I got dismissed for going into a dormitory hall that I was banned from for a year. It is what it is. I waited to try and get back into the University of Nebraska. They dismissed me and I went to the FCS and coach Bo. I definitely learned from everything. I attended counseling from that incident and am two years graduated from that. It was a blessing not only to have this chance to be a New York Giant and play for the National Football League, but it’s a blessing just to get a second chance to play the game at another university. I felt like I was at my lowest in 2014 when I was dismissed. I was going through a crisis and didn’t know what was going on. I really found my faith with my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Everything came to balance once I added Him into my life. From there, everything has been good, so to God be the glory. I’m thankful for this opportunity and the road that came with it because it taught me a lot.
Q: How much of an impact did coach Pelini leave on your life because you followed him to Youngstown?
A: He’s a real life father figure. He may be one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, I’ve had. Another man I would want to have impact my life like he did. He came in from high school and told me, there was a lot of guys that were recruiting me and were telling me that I was going to be a starter and that they could make me an NFL player this and that. He came in and he was genuine and real. He said I may not be a starter there but that he could offer me opportunities. He said he needed me to work hard and this and this could happen. Everyone always sees the yelling coach Bo and all that, but he’s really a good dude. A fun dude. He’s really just the father that you have in the stadium. He cares for his players dearly. He just shows it and he’s a wonderful, good teacher also. He’s taught me a lot about the game of football. I’m sad to be leaving him but ecstatic about the opportunity and blessed that he was in my life.
Q: Was there a chance to go back to Nebraska if the coach stayed?
A: I was originally supposed to go back. The suspension that I had was only a year suspension. So after that year suspension, I was thinking I was going to come back. They had certain rules and protocols that I had to follow during that year that I was off to get re-admitted back into the university. So I went and did that; was expecting a call saying that I was going to be able to come back. After the end of the year after Coach Pelini was fired, they told me to find another school. That’s when I looked into other schools to go to, and I was going to go to another big D-1, but if I did that, I would have to sit another year out for transferring, so I’d only be able to play my senior year. So I decided to go to the FCS and it made perfect sense.
Q: What did you do for that year when you were out of school?
A: I worked at a car dealership called Sid Dillon in Lincoln, Nebraska. For a year, I would put in 45-hour weeks, and all that good stuff. That was my occupation for that entire time, from January to January.
Q: At that point did you think you would be in this position someday?
A: No, sir. I definitely was in a weird space, where I was trying to find myself.
MEDIA Q&A WITH ADAM BISNOWATY:
Q: How did it feel to get the call from the Giants?
A: It was awesome. Just sitting here and watching, it is an unbelievable experience and opportunity I have in front of me and I am excited to get started and to get there and get rolling. Like I said, it was awesome.
Q: The Giants traded up to get you. How does that make you feel?
A: I think it says a lot about how they feel about me, which is great. I am ready to come in and get going and start hitting the field and just get out there and help the team to win that Super Bowl. I think it says a lot about how they feel about me and I am pretty excited about that.
Q: Are you a tackle or a guard?
A: I think it is whatever they feel like they want me to do. I played a lot of tackle at Pitt and a little bit of guard, but I am willing to play either one, so wherever the best fit is for me and the team and however we are going to win the most games is going to depend on where I play. I am excited to play either one.
Q: How would you describe your game?
A: I am a nasty football player. I get after people. That is something that I am very proud of – I am out there and I am physical every play, making sure that the guy across from me wants to quit. Everything I do on the field is nasty and physical and I take myself off the field with the preparation and I take that to the next level, so that when I get out there it is all football.
Q: What do you think you have to work on the most?
A: I think just continuing to work on the details of my fundamentals. I think it all comes back to that offensive line play and fundamentals are huge. If you continue to work on those every day and I think just continue to learn, keep learning, keep perfecting my game and skills every day and that will help me to become a better player and to succeed.
Q: Do you know much about the Giants offensive line situation right now?
A: Yeah, I know a little bit. A few years back they drafted a few guys and they have a few guys starting right now and there are some opportunities and right now I am just excited to come in there and get out there and do the best I can and help contribute to this team. I think that is my main thing coming out there.
With the 23rd pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’5”, 229-pound quarterback Davis Webb from the University of California.
SCOUTING REPORT: Webb has the tools. He has ideal size and a very strong arm. He can move around the pocket, but he is not a scrambler. Webb throws a nice deep ball and can wing it through tight windows. But he is a project who needs a lot of technique work and more experience in reading defenses given that he comes from collegiate spread offense. He can be streaky with his accuracy and his decision-making has been questioned despite his intelligence. Webb is a very smart, hard working quarterback who loves the game and who is dedicated to getting better.
SY’56’s Take: “His size and easy throwing motion can get you excited, but he has a ways to go in terms of progression and learning. Webb is a couple years away and will have to spend a lot of time correcting elements such as a footwork, lower body mechanics, and reading a defense, among other things. Possible starter down the road, but more likely a backup… Webb is a hot name with some of the people I get to talk with…and others think he won’t ever be a starter. Nobody denies the talent, but he has a ways to go. I’ve watched every game of his from 2016 and he does the same things week in and week out that bother me. He has to completely change his game and while I think it is possible, it’s simply unlikely.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Davis Webb, quarterback, Cal. A third round selection. He was very productive in that offense, like a lot of quarterbacks are. We thought that he had the best arm in the draft this year, really a gifted arm, thrower. For a tall guy, he is a good athlete. He can be off schedule and buy some time with his legs, so there are a lot of things that we liked about him. We think that he will have time – like we said earlier, Eli has however much time that he has left, two or three years left in his contract or however long he plays. We think that this guy has a high ceiling that can come in here and develop behind him and learn the pro game and challenge and compete and create competition at the quarterback position. I will take any questions.
Q: What are the challenges of using a high draft pick on a player that is probably not going to play for a couple of years?
A: Well, you never know when a quarterback is going to help. Obviously, we would like for him to have a couple years to be the caddie and learn the pro game and all the nuances of playing quarterback in these league, but he has all of the tools to play the quarterback, and we think that he has a high ceiling and hopefully he can sit on the sideline, hold a clipboard and learn the game.
Q: When you drafted Ryan Nassib, I think you said that you hope he never plays. Is it different with (Webb)?
A: We hope that Eli continues to play at a high level and this guy can develop. That is what we hope for. You never know what is going to happen, but that is what we hope for.
Q: Did you have a first round grade on Davis Webb?
A: We had a good grade on him. I am not going to talk about which round we had him. We had a good grade on him.
Q: How surprised were you that he was sitting there in the third round?
A: I am not surprised by anything in the draft anymore. It is hard to surprise me in the draft. But we liked him, we had him rated high and we think that he has a top skillset to play this position in the National Football League.
Q: Do you feel like you have an advantage in taking this guy and knowing that he has a chance to develop in the next couple of years?
A: Well, we hope so. That is what the whole premise is – that this guy can sit behind Eli for a couple of years, two or three years or however long it takes. Let me get this straight guys, we hope that Eli plays for a long time for us. Eli is our quarterback and we still think that he can play at a high level, but we do know that he is not going to play forever, so we are trying to make the best decision as we move forward for the rest of Eli’s career.
Q: What type of franchise quarterback qualities did you see in Davis Webb?
A: Here is the thing. First of all, he has a big arm. He has one of those wintertime arms, he can throw it in the wind, so again, we thought that he had the best arm talent in the draft this year and this guy is football all the time. You have to be that kind of guy in this league. You can’t half do it up here and play at a high level in the National Football League. This guy is a son of a coach, football all of the time and he has the quarterback profile that we like.
Q: What was the process like with him? Did you see him or meet him?
A: We didn’t bring him in here or anything like that, but we spent some time with him at the combine.
Q: Nobody went to work him out?
A: We did not.
Q: How does this work out for the rest of the roster? You have five quarterbacks now.
A: Well, again, we are just going to create as much competition at every position as we can and that will take care of itself as we move towards training camp and we will see where it goes.
Q: Did you sit with Eli at some point and let him know that you were thinking of bringing in a quarterback to develop?
A: Eli understands the process. Eli is a very smart guy and he understands the process. He knows that he is not going to play forever. He knows that it is our job to prepare for when he has finished his career here, so he understands that. It is nothing that we had to talk to him about.
Q: Did you talk to him after you drafted the quarterback?
A: We didn’t have any conversation with Eli before we drafted, but we draft a quarterback and we are going to let our quarterback know that we are drafting a quarterback, of course.
Q: Is there any concern that you are coming out of the draft without picking an offensive lineman?
A: Well, there are a lot of picks left and we will keep trying to fix the roster and add to the roster as we move through the rest of the draft. We have more picks to take.
Q: When you made the first few picks, did you have to talk about if you had to take Webb at that point?
A: You never know where guys are going to go. We stay true to our board. The big defensive tackle was there and we picked him and this guy was the next guy on our board and we picked him.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: What do you like about him?
A: He’s a big guy with a live arm. Son of the coach with the top intangibles. Went to Cal and took leadership of the whole group. He ran meetings. Really strong personality, a leader. A football junkie. He’s a surprisingly good athlete for his size. Just has a lot of upside to develop.
Q: What happened when he was at Texas Tech?
A: He was coming off of a couple injuries. He started there. Texas Tech had a lot of guys that transferred out of there. A kid went to Virginia Tech, a kid that is at Oklahoma now. Davis kind of beat them out. He was competing against Mahomes. Coming off an injury, Mahomes had a leg up. He just kind of beat him out at that point.
Q: Did you get to see him at his pro day?
A: Yes. Saw him at the Senior Bowl, saw him at the Combine. We’ve been tracking him all year. Our area scouts were really excited about him early in the year because of the transfer and guys that are out west. Really fired up about him from that point on.
Q: What does it say about his resiliency as a player that he could lose his job at a major program at Texas Tech and then go right to another one like Cal?
A: This guy is a football player. Son of a coach, tough guy. Obviously disappointed. I’m sure he’s disappointed right now that he wasn’t a higher pick. That’s what you love in a quarterback. Guys that can bounce back and have fortitude to persevere. That’s what you need. We think he has that.
Q: Is the process of picking a quarterback different than from other positions?
A: It’s more of a lightning rod type of pick as opposed to picking a DT or corner and stuff like that. A quarterback has all these innuendos and questions about why you’re taking him and what you’re going to do with him. It’s the most important position in sports, so of course it’s going to get the most attention.
Q: Did you have any contact besides the Senior Bowl and the Combine?
A: Yes, we met with him in the fall, our area scout met with him. Senior Bowl, we met with him. Combine, we met with him. We kind of kept an eye on him. I’m surprised he was still around at this point. I thought he would go higher.
Q: Why do you think he fell?
A: That’s a good question. I think it was the system that he played in, a little bit of the inaccuracy that he had. Each team evaluates quarterbacks in a different way.
Q: One of the scout criticisms was his deep ball can be a little inaccurate. Is that something that when you have a coach like McAdoo and a couple of years, you feel like you can work out?
A: We’re hoping this guy can develop his skills. You have a guy like this in the situation we have now, we’re hoping he doesn’t have to come in right away and be the guy and get thrown into the fire. He can work on his skills.
Q: Were some of those concerns on why he fell not as much of a concern to you guys?
A: Yes. Obviously, it gives you a little bit of a cushion and some breathing room. You saw what happened in the first round, teams trading up everything to get those guys. We feel we have a fairly equal talent at the bottom of the third compared to some of the guys that went pretty high.
Q: Ben McAdoo hasn’t even met Davis in person. You take that as he trusts the board and scouting. Does that speak to how this process played out?
A: You learn from Philly down there. The Sixers. Trust the process. No, I think we work hand in hand really well together. The coaching staff, scouting staff and ownership. Frankly, I try and put Ben in touch with guys that I think we really have a chance to get. Again, I did not think at this point Davis would be one of those players. I thought he would be gone at this point. He’s watched the tape, the quarterback coach has communicated with Davis, our scouts have been in touch with him and talked to him at various points throughout the year. He’s just one of the guys that wasn’t a priority to Ben to meet because there are only so many guys you can meet with.
Q: So the lack of contact wasn’t because you were playing coy, but that you didn’t think it was realistic?
A: I don’t know. No, a little bit of both. You try and mix it as a little bit of both. You want to do your research and dig but still not be too obvious about what you want to do.
Q: Were you going to take a quarterback in this draft no matter what?
A: No, not necessarily. If there was a guy at the right time and was the right guy, we were going to take him.
Davis Webb, big man with a chip on his shoulder. He’s a gym rat, coach’s son, excited to plug him into quarterback school and hit the ground running.
Q: Ben, where does he slide into your depth chart right now?
A: He’s a young guy, he needs to come in and see how he does, throw him into the mix and let him compete.
Q: What do you like about him? What stands out?
A: I think he’s a big man, he’s a fluid mover, he’s a pocket passer but he’s not necessarily a statue back there. He can move around and has some good rhythm in the body.
Q: Why does he have a chip on his shoulder?
A: He lost a job early in his career, sitting there probably a little bit too long in this draft.
Q: You thought he would be drafted earlier?
A: I thought he would drafted earlier, yes.
Q: 1st round?
A: We had him graded fairly high.
Q: Ben, Jerry said you guys called Eli and told him what you guys were doing. Obviously that’s not something you do with other positions. How closely will you monitor how the players react to this?
A: Not at all.
Q: What was Eli’s reaction?
A: I didn’t talk to Eli.
Q: Do you feel like the offense that you run might be a friendlier transition for someone coming out of an offense like Texas Tech or Cal?
A: I think every case is different. You take it on a case-by-case basis and we find out when we get them in the building.
Q: Was there a point where you were sold on him? [inaudible]
A: Again, we liked the way he works, we like the way he leads, he’s a positive player, did a nice job at the Senior Bowl, that helped his cause.
Q: Does his performances remind you of another quarterback?
A: There are a couple guys out there, but I don’t want to do that to him.
Q: For you personally, your only one-on-one time with him when you were in the room with him was at the combine?
A: My evaluation was based on film study.
Q: Does he fit into the offense in the way that Eli does? Obviously not experience wise, but is he a different kind of athlete?
A: Pocket passer. Again, he’s a fluid mover back there. He can move in the pocket and extend plays. He can do some creating. Like I said, he’s not a statue back there.
Q: You have not met him before?
A: I have not met him.
Q: Is there extra gravity brought on by taking a quarterback, especially given the importance of the position?
A: That’s a dramatic question, I’m not sure what you’re asking.
Q: This is an important decision, I would assume, as a head coach and a franchise, potentially bringing in the quarterback of the future.
A: He was the highest player on our board, we had a high grade on him, we felt that there was good value for the pick, and we’re confident that he’s going to come in and develop.
Q: Usually when you take a guy in the 3rd round, you expect him to play somewhere, special teams, start, rotation, you don’t expect this guy to play at all.
A: He’s not going to be covering kicks for us.
Q: How do you weigh that? You get a guy in the third round and say look he might sit for two years.
A: Well, you have to trust. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, whether it’s scouts, Marc Ross, the coaches evaluate, the coordinators evaluate, Jerry and I evaluate. You have to trust the process.
Q: This is a guy you said you thought would be gone at this point. As the Draft is unfolding, are you thinking in the back of your mind, hoping that he’s going to last?
A: Hoping doesn’t work, I tried it. It doesn’t work real well, so you just let it play out, take it pick by pick and when you have someone sitting up there that you graded up there and they’re the highest guy on the board, you’re confident that you did your homework and it’s going to pay off.
Q: What character traits have you been able to identify with him that make him the potential franchise quarterback?
A: You can see he’s a persistent guy, he’s a hard worker, the game is important to him. Like I said off the bat, he’s a gym rat, he’s a coach’s son and grew up in the game and that helps. He’s going to have to have thick skin like they all do. Let’s get him here and let’s get him a playbook and a helmet.
Q: He was the highest player on your board in the 3rd round?
A: When we made our pick he was the highest player.
Q: Was he close to being the highest rated player in the second round?
A: That’s a long way back.
Q: Did you have a set idea as to what milestones you want him to reach at a certain point or do you let him develop organically?
A: Reps are tough to come by, that’s a big part of the offseason and the way things are with the new CBA. Reps are tough to come by, but they call it development for a reason. It takes different guys different speeds to get you to where you want him to go. We just need to get him in and throw as much at him as quickly as possible and see how he handles it.
Q: You said you haven’t met him in person, was that by design?
A: No, there’s only so much ground you can cover.
Q: How big a benefit do you think it is for a quarterback to come into the league and sit for a couple years?
A: I think it’s huge. I think it’s tough to come into the league and be a number two. I don’t think there are very many guys, even in this draft, that can come in and be a number two quarterback. I think it’s challenging, it’s asking an awful lot. It’s a different game and it’s a challenge. It’s a benefit to be able to sit behind especially a veteran quarterback and learn. It goes a long way.
Q: You think for developmental purposes it’s better for a quarterback to get in the game right away or sit?
A: Case by case, it’s different. Every guy is different, but I do think it helps.
Q: You say you never met him, but did you talk to him tonight?
Q: What was that conversation like?
A: He’s pretty excited.
A: Pretty excited.
Q: Do you have to strike a balance? I mean people are going to want to see this guy play at some point and you still have Eli. Is that going to be [inaudible]
A: Doesn’t matter.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DAVIS WEBB:
Q: What was your reaction when you got the call that you were coming to the Giants?
A: I was ecstatic. I was very fortunate to be selected by such a great organization and great coaches and Coach McAdoo and I am just very thankful for the Giants organization picking me up today and I am ready to get to work.
Q: Ben (McAdoo) said that he was surprised that you were on the board this late. Were you surprised by that, too?
A: Yeah, the NFL Draft is a little weird. You really can’t predict it, so anything can happen, but I am just glad that I ended up at such a great organization and so many great players on the Giants team and obviously great coaches. I am just looking forward to being a great teammate and being a prepared quarterback.
Q: They have obviously made it clear that Eli Manning is the starter here. They view you as someone who can potentially take the reins. Is that a role that you are comfortable with?
A: I don’t know what my role is on the team yet. Obviously Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, so he is one of the best and a Hall of Fame quarterback. So I am just excited to be in the same quarterback room as him and we will see what happens. I am just trying to be a great teammate first, be prepared from a week-to-week standpoint as a quarterback because I have a long way to go.
Q: What was this process like for you in the last two days?
A: It was all over the place. My emotions were very high and very low, but again, I have had so many great people help me out the past couple days and past 22 years of my life to always stay even-keeled and control what you can control and commit to those controllables and that is what I did tonight and yesterday. It was out of my control and I was just looking forward to seeing who would pick me up and obviously the great organization New York Giants and there are so many good players of the team, so I am just excited and looking forward to heading up to New York very soon.
Q: What is your relationship like with Patrick Mahomes?
A: Yeah, Patrick Mahomes and I are very close friends. Obviously we were together at Texas Tech and we have kind of stayed in touch ever since then. So it was cool to go through the draft process with him and I am looking forward to seeing how he does in Kansas City with the Chiefs organization and obviously I will be rooting for him.
Q: Do you come into this process setting milestones for yourself or do you plan to develop organically?
A: I am not sure. I am a very goal oriented type person, but at the same time, I don’t know what my role is yet. I am just a third round draft pick tonight and I am looking forward to being a great teammate first and being a hard worker because those are the two things that I can control and I look forward to doing those two things first.
Q: You mentioned there are a lot of things you can get better on. Is there anything particular that you identified as something you want to work on right away?
A: Yeah, I have brand new coaches so I am excited to see what we can continue to develop and get better at. Obviously I think that one thing I need to work on is being more efficient mechanically. Coming from a spread type system in college and going to the NFL, obviously every college quarterback needs to develop into an NFL type quarterback, so I am just looking forward to that development and working hard at it.
Q: Is there any disappointment that you are not coming to a team where you are going to compete for a starting job right away?
A: Not at all. I am just excited to be a part of a great organization. I commit to the controllables, and the Giants thought enough of me to pick me tonight and I am just very thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to meeting teammates and getting in the playbook and being in the weight room and just develop relationships and be a great quarterback.
Q: When was the last time you were in New York?
A: It was a couple weeks ago. I visited the Jets, so that was the last time that I was in the area.
Q: What do you see as your greatest strengths as a quarterback?
A: I am not sure. I think that I have a couple things that I do a good job at, but at the same time there are so many rooms for improvement in my game. I think that I am a great leader – I was voted a captain at two different schools, so I would say that my leadership qualities are strong. I was a coach’s kid and the only two things that I focus on are being a great teammate and being a hard worker and I think everything else will play itself out.
Q: Was your father a quarterbacks coach?
A: Yes, he was. He is a head coach at Frisco Centennial down in Dallas.
Q: Are you home in Texas right now?
A: Yes, I was home for draft night in Prosper, Texas and I had my family over and a few close friends and we were all very excited when the New York Giants called my name tonight.
Q: You are going to have the luxury of time with the Giants. Do you view that as beneficial to you?
A: I don’t really know what that question entails. Again, I am very happy right now just to be selected to the NFL. I think that every kid wants this dream to happen, so right now I am thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to getting to work and being a good teammate.
Q: When did you get a sense tonight that the Giants were going to take you?
A: Again, I didn’t know which team would take me because there are 32 good ones out there. The New York Giants happened to select me tonight and I am very fired up for them and I am excited to be up there in New York very soon and get to work and learn the new playbook and try to develop into the quarterback that I think I can be.
Q: How much did the Giants come onto your radar during this process?
A: They were definitely on the radar. There were a lot of teams out there, but I am just very happy that the Giants selected me tonight and I am looking forward to getting up there.
Q: Did you talk to Coach McAdoo earlier and if so, what did he have to say?
A: Just welcomed me to the team and the organization. I am very blessed by that. I am very thankful to Coach McAdoo and the entire staff and I am looking forward to getting up there.
With the 23rd pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’3”, 310-pound defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from the University of Alabama.
SCOUTING REPORT: Fifth-year senior. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He can hold the point-of-attack against the double-team block. He is an outstanding run defender who plays with with leverage. Can stack and shed and he is a sure tackler. Tomlinson is not a top-notch pass rusher, but he has good quickness and can push the pocket. Tomlinson is very smart and a high-character player who plays hard all of the time. Tore one ACL in 2011 and the other in 2013.
SY’56’s Take: “One of the more interesting and impressive kids in the class when it comes to the off the field story (both parents died before he was 18 years old). Tomlinson doesn’t have standout physical traits but you know you are getting a guy that will get the job done. While he is a different sized player than Linval Joseph, I feel he will have a similar impact early in his career. Just a reliable presence inside that makes guys around him better with the potential to blossom in to more. Really watch some Alabama tape and you’ll see him do things you didn’t think he could do. 2nd round is where I strongly consider him.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Dalvin Tomlinson, defensive tackle, University of Alabama. Big guy that we think can come in and compete for a starting job for us. Create a lot of competition at that position. He’s a two-gap type player. He can hold the point of attack, has that NFL toughness that we like and the profile that we like. We thought he was a terrific pick right here right now at this point in the draft.
Q: Did this position become more of a need when Johnathan Hankins left in free agency?
A: Well, we’re just trying to pick good players. Obviously Hank left, so that created a little bit of a void. We’re just trying to pick good players. We stayed true to our board and he was the next man in line.
Q: Does the way that Landon Collins has worked out so far make you even more comfortable taking a guy from Alabama?
A: Well, Alabama has notoriously put out good players and Landon is a terrific player for us. We’re just trying to pick good players from wherever. Alabama has obviously been a top program. This guy is, like I said, NFL ready. He’s a big, tough guy. Big guy on the inside.
Q: How much have you interacted with him?
A: We interviewed him at the combine. He was one of the best interviews we thought out of the entire combine. He was one of the best guys we interviewed. He’s a New York Giant kind of player.
Q: What was so impressive about that?
A: I can’t remember everything because we interview so many guys. I just remember that he was impressive. When he left the room, everyone was like, ‘wow, that was pretty impressive.’
Q: Is he a guy that can bounce outside to defensive end as well?
A: No. He’s an inside player. He’s a two-gapper and can push the pocket inside. He’s an inside player.
Q: Was he close to being a first round pick?
A: I think some guys probably would’ve considered him as a first round pick. I think that, yes.
Q: You seem very comfortable with this format. Every three or four years you take a defensive lineman and get what you can out of him. Is that just the way it’s worked out?
A: That’s just the way it’s worked out. We would love to keep the player. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. With the last two big guys we’ve had inside (Linval Joseph and Johnathan Hankins), we weren’t able to keep them. They moved on to a better situation for them. We’ve been able to draft some guys that have been able to come in and fill the gap for us.
Q: With an undergrad degree in finance, Dalvin is going for a second degree in financial planning in May. How proud does it make you that you guys have brought in someone smart both on the field and off the field?
A: We want him to play football. We don’t want him to do our taxes or anything like that. We want him to come in, stop that run and push that pocket so our defensive ends can get to the quarterback.
Q: You’re comfortable having two mainly run-stopping guys in the middle of the line?
A: Well, we think he can push the pocket inside. He’s violent with his hands inside. He’s got that NFL toughness that we like. He has the grown man strength inside. We think he can push the pocket for us inside.
Q: You like that though? The two guys that are run stuffers in the middle. Is that fair to say?
A: You have to stop the run up here. You have to rush the passer and you have to stop the run. I think he gives us a two-way guy.
Q: The one thing that sticks out in his bio is the two ACL’s. How much did you have to push him just to make sure?
A: Yes, that came into consideration for us. He’s played on those things for three years now. Our trainers and doctors were okay with him and didn’t think it would be an issue.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Is this a guy that you guys feel can step right in and contribute?
A: For sure. It kind of reminded us – we kind of talked about the situation where when we had Linval (Joseph), the year we took him we kind of talked about him early and then he was there in the second for us and filled a void. Linval goes and then (Jonathan Hankins), we were really high on Hank and we talked about him early and he was there in the second round and we took Hank and he filled in. Both of those guys became pretty good players for us, so this was kind of a similar situation.
Q: So in four years you will be looking to replace him?
A: I hope not.
Q: Is there a guy that you can compare him to that is in the pros now?
A: No, he is himself. I don’t know. I am not that smart to kind of go off the top of my head. No, nobody jumps off right now.
Q: What about Hank? How similar or different is he to Tomlinson?
A: They are different players. I will just talk about Dalvin. Dalvin is strong, he is country strong, he has jolt, he has walk-back power, he is stout at the point of attack, he has sneaky athleticism and every down he plays hard. Every down.
Q: Was the knee injury a concern?
A: No, he has been three years and played and we have a great medical staff here that makes sure that we don’t take anybody that is a risk and they were good with him.
Q: What do you remember about the combine interview with him?
A: Man, Dalvin was one of the best definitely this year, but he will be a guy that you talk about for a long time. He was one of the more memorable ones that we have had. He was just smart, mature, poised, confident, just a man. He walked in the room and he had a commanding presence and as they say at Alabama, he is a man’s man. He was an ultimate leader there, guy you want in the foxhole and just really a leader for those guys. We hope that he brings some of those same attributes for us.
Q: Did all of that come through in the interview?
A: Yeah, well you knew about it coming in because all of our scouts do a great job throughout the year getting the information, and everything from Bama right from the start was, ‘Watch out for this guy, he is underrated. They have all these stars on the defense, but watch out for this guy.’ Sure enough, the guy is kind of the lynch pin of their defense and they are underrated, so you knew all of the positive things that they say and then when he comes in the room and talks – you will see when he gets here. The guy is pretty impressive.
Q: Was there one thing that he said that really stuck with you guys?
A: No, just the whole interview and the way he carried it to just talking about his life and then all the football things that we talked about.
Q: When you walk out of an interview like that, do you kind of think that you would love to make that pick at some point?
A: Yeah, you want all the boxes to check positive. I would say convergent validity from your scouts, from your interview, from the combine, from the fall and everything to kind of come together and he was one of the few guys that when we talked about him, it was all positive, from the area scouts, to the coaches, to myself, to Jerry (Reese), to Ben (McAdoo) and Chris Mara. Everyone said positive things. Now, did that mean he was the first pick in the draft? No. But I just mean that everything that we talked about Dalvin was positive with his profile. It was just one of the more impressive profiles on and off the field that you will see. It is what we like to call a clean profile.
Q: His NFL.com profile stated that he never played more than 45 percent of snaps in the season. Is that something that you look at?
A: I never knew that stat. I just know that at Alabama they rotate all of their guys in and out and they play. We just know that when he is in there and he is playing whatever role for us, but for them when he was in there he was doing the dirty work, getting the hidden production and just a grunt, tough guy in there.
Q: How important was it to bring in someone from Alabama who has that championship experience and was working under one of the best college coaches of all-time?
A: That is always a positive. Bama puts out good players. You are looking at 15 guys every year at Bama and you know that they get big-time recruits and that they have the pedigree and the profile, so when you are going there you have an expectation of what you are getting from players from that program.
Q: He has a pretty substantial wrestling background. Is that something that you look for in a defensive lineman?
A: If he can wrestle the offensive lineman down and make a tackle, yeah. But no, that just adds to his impressive profile, that the guy was a three-time state champion in wrestling.
Q: You mentioned last night that Engram was a clean profile guy. Does that factor into where you place players on your board?
A: Sure. Experience, positive off the field profile, those are the things that help out a player’s value on our draft board.
Q: Dalvin’s parents passed away. Was he raised by relatives?
A: Yeah, he had a group of people that kind of raised him. The things that he has been through in his life – he had to grow up fast and it shows in the way that he carries himself.
Q: You have been at Alabama every year. Is Tomlinson the kind of kid that you had an eye on the last couple of years?
A: No, he is a fifth year senior and kind of had to work his way up into the system there, so he wasn’t one of those ‘jump off the screen’ kind of guys when he was a young guy. They rotate so many guys in and out of there that you don’t know who is going to be the next one. But he earned his time on the field and he made the most of it.
Q: How important is it that he has that dirty production aspect?
A: I think that is a big thing that the coaches were looking for with whoever that fourth guy was in there because we have three studs on the defensive line, I think. So the next guy – he can kind of come in there and learn from those guys and play his role, there are not a lot of big expectations and just go play.
McAdoo: Very good profile, pro ready, excited. I’ll open it up.
Q: Jerry said it was a pretty memorable interview at the combine.
A: Yes, he did a nice job in the interview. He knew the football very well, great personality, he’ll fit in well in the room.
Q: Is that a thing where you test him on plays or something like that?
A: Yes, we have some different things we like to take them through, different exercises and he did a nice job.
Q: When you consider bringing guys into the defensive line room, do you think about the big personalities, big players when you look at that defensive line with a guy who can really fit in with a OV (Olivier Vernon), JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul)?
A: I think the interview just kind of confirms some things. You see him on tape, (he) plays at a high level, he’s pro-ready, plays with a good pace, uses his hands very well, which is something you don’t get with a lot of guys coming out of college and do it very well. He’s not just a run stopper, he has some transition rush skills, which is nice on first and second down. He has some versatility there to.
Q: Not everybody does, but how much do you like having the two 300-plus pounders together in the middle that can both stop the run and how beneficial do you view that combo together?
A: I like third and long. That’s a good place to start, with your defensive tackles.
Q: Do you draft a guy like Tomlinson thinking about the fact that you play a team like Dallas in your division twice a year that’s going to be running the ball for a while?
A: Just value in big guys. It’s where he was on the board, but you have to stop the run. That’s the foundation in this game. One of the core parts of this game is stopping the run, getting teams into third down and long so you can rush the passer and disrupt the quarterback.
Q: How do you view this move as the Johnathan Hankins replacement?
A: We lost a good player, Hank moved on. Dalvin was at the top of the board, so we picked him.
Q: Is it difficult to evaluate a guy like him when he has so many good players around him?
A: You just watch his fundamentals; grade him off of his fundamentals. They produce some good players down there at Alabama, but they play good players as well. You see good players throughout the SEC, so he’s battle-tested.
Q: How similar or different is his skill-set from a guy like Hankins?
A: They’re two different players. He has some versatility, he can play a little nose, a little three (technique), possibly some five technique or some four technique based on the scheme.
Q: Coach, two picks so far, two players from the SEC, what does it say about that conference that you guys have gone there twice now?
A: They must have some good players because they were at the top of the board twice.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DALVIN TOMLINSON:
Q: What was your reaction when you got the call from the Giants?
A: I was excited. My family was excited with me. Everyone was happy for the most part.
Q: Was this about where you thought you would go for the most part?
A: I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was just waiting and being patient, to be honest.
Q: What do you remember most from your interview with the Giants at the combine?
A: I remember just critiquing myself a lot. I told them about my life story and everything. I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my career at Alabama and also in high school. I always fought through it and just wanted to become one of the best competitors on the team.
Q: Do you feel that you’re NFL ready?
A: Yes, I feel like I’m ready for the NFL.
Q: Dalvin, are you particularly excited to play with Landon Collins after the year he had and with a defense that led the Giants back to the playoffs last season?
A: Yes, I’m super excited to see Landon again. The Giants defense is an amazing defense. I love the play calls and the scheme they run. I feel like I’m going to be a perfect fit for their defense.
Q: Has Landon reached out to you?
A: I’ve been getting a lot of texts and calls. I haven’t seen anything from Landon yet, but I’m pretty sure he has.
Q: Can you just get us up to speed on your background?
A: I grew up in Georgia. I was a three tournament wrestler. State championship in high school. Just have been through a lot of adversity. My mom passed going into my senior year. I pushed through it and it motivated me to become a better football player and person. I used that at Alabama and try to continue to get better each and every day. It paid off for me.
Q: Your father had previously died?
A: Yes, he passed when I was five years old.
Q: Who are you gathered with right now that is closest to you?
A: My brother, my aunts, uncles and cousins. Family friends and all the coaches from high school and even park ball that have been coaching me through my whole life.
Q: Is part of that adversity going through two ACL surgeries?
A: Yes, it is. Coming into college with a torn ACL and then also having a second one and still being able to get back onto the field. Most defensive linemen probably wouldn’t have been able to come back from it the way I did. Also, to fight through it each and every day was tough on me at first. I just kept fighting through it each and every day and it ended up working out in the long run. I’m grateful for it because everything happens for a reason.
Q: How would you characterize your pass rushing skills?
A: I feel like I’m a great pass rusher. I haven’t been in the position to show it off a lot. I feel like I’m an even greater run stopper but I have a very good pass rush game.
Q: I think I read that you could’ve gone to Harvard. Was that right and a serious consideration?
A: Yes, that’s right. I was pretty much considered a nerd coming out of high school. Harvard was in consideration for me because academics was a big thing in my life.
Q: Were you a soccer goalie?
A: I was a goalie and I played striker, also.
A: I know, right.
Q: How many red cards did you pick up?
A: I didn’t pick up any in a few years. I’m surprised just like you are. I thought I was going to get a lot more red cards.
Q: You played soccer in high school?
A: Yes, I played up to my senior year, right before I got to Alabama.
Q: Soccer and football are in different seasons in Georgia, right?
A: Yes. Soccer is in the spring and football is in the fall in Georgia.
Q: At Alabama you wrestled teammates in the locker room all the time right?
A: Yes, for the most part.
Q: How much are you looking forward to joining this defensive line here? They have a couple good players.
A: I’m pretty excited. They can teach me a lot of things from the defensive line standpoint. I’m blessed to have people like that at the program already.
Q: How familiar are you with that defensive line already and the fact that you’re the replacement of Hankins?
A: I haven’t gotten to meet them personally but I’m pretty sure when we get there we’re going to have a pretty good relationship and build an even stronger brotherhood. They’re going to mentor me and become a better defensive line.
With the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’3”, 234-pound tight end Evan Engram of the University of Mississippi.
SCOUTING REPORT: Engram was a four-year starter at the University of Mississippi. He’s not built like a traditional tight end, more like an H-Back/wide receiver ‘tweener. The strength of Engram’s game is catching the football. He creates mismatches because of his combination of size and athletic ability. Engram is quick and fast. He runs good routes and is a natural pass receiver with a good catch radius. Engram is a vertical threat down the seam of a defense. He also runs well after the catch. Engram is committed to the game and a hard worker. While Engram works hard at his blocking, he lacks the frame to ever be a significant factor as an in-line blocking tight end.
SY’56’s Take: “During the grading process, I thought there was a legit shot Engram would finish atop (the tight end) list. He was close and to be honest, these two (David Njoku and Engram) may be back to back on the overall big board. If Njoku is gone and Engram ends up being the pick, I wouldn’t be disappointed one bit. Engram is essentially a top tier speed WR that weighs 234 pounds. While he is a notch or two below as a blocker from most of these guys, he still got the job done in the SEC against linebackers consistently. In terms of what his role would be long term, think of how the Redskins use Jordan Reed. He has that kind of ability, if not more.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Evan Engram, tight end, H-back, Ole Miss. We think that this guy can be a dynamic weapon in our offense. Obviously he has great speed for the position – we think that he can be a matchup nightmare for teams trying to cover him with linebackers and safeties, so he was a guy that we liked a lot. Our coaches liked him a lot and it seems like they can use him in our offense in a lot of different ways and we think that with this addition as a fast receiver down the middle along with some of the other receivers we have, that we can help the offense out some. I will take any questions.
Q: Did you try and trade up for O.J. Howard?
Q: Did you try and trade up for anybody?
A: I am not going to talk about – do you want to talk about our pick or not? We are not talking about who we tried to trade up for.
Q: Did you value his big play ability over a tight end that was maybe more well-rounded as a blocker?
A: I don’t think that any of the tight ends block that great in this draft. Most tight ends in these receiving offenses in college these days are not true to what we call, wide, wide type receivers, end of the line guys. Most of these guys are H-back types and we think that he is a tough, hardnosed, H-back type blocker, yeah.
Q: What is his comparison to a Reed or Gronkowski
A: Well, we see him as a weapon. You guys can talk to our coaches. I think Ben will come in here and see you guys a little bit later, but we see him as a weapon and we will take all of the weapons that we can get.
Q: How do you make sense of his skillset when he doesn’t have the blocking aspect?
A: Like I just said, I think that the tight ends that come out of the offenses nowadays, these college offenses, these guys are more H-back type players. He is not a traditional end of the line tight end, but we think that he can do things in the blocking game. He is big, he is fast, he has big hands, he is smart, he will help you on special teams – he is a well-rounded, versatile football player.
Q: You added Brandon Marshall. This guy is similar in size, right?
A: I don’t think Brandon is – what does Brandon weigh? Brandon is a big man, I can tell you that. But this guy, we are calling him a tight end. You guys can call him an H-back, call him whatever you want to call him.
Q: Do you see him as a guy that is going to be in the slot?
A: You guys can talk to Ben about that. We see him as a guy that can line up anywhere at any of the receiver positions, tight end, in the slot, outside – he can line up anywhere.
Q: How do you think the first round played out?
A: Well, it played out just like most first rounds. This draft was a little different because we thought that guys would come off of the board all over the place and it did that. There were a lot of uncertainties about a lot of players with respect to some off the field issues, some injury issues, different issues like most drafts have, but I don’t think that anyone was surprised about anything that happened.
Q: In the media and mock drafts, Engram was a guy that people saw as a second rounder or late first. What do you think was the difference between what you guys saw in him compared to the mock drafts?
A: Well, we liked him because, again, we feel like he is a weapon in the offense. We think that this guy can be a weapon and he is versatile and you can use him in a lot of different ways and our coaches are extremely excited about getting a guy like this in our offense.
Q: Reuben Foster was on the board. Is that a guy that you didn’t target because of his off the field issues?
A: Well, we had (Engram) in a good spot and we picked him and I am not at liberty to talk about what we have working right now. (Foster) is still on the board.
Q: With the receivers that you have, does that help your offensive linemen because you have quick guys that can get open faster?
A: We hope so. We hope that everyone we pick can help our offense in some kind of way, so we feel that this guy can come in and again, you play two-high safety in this league and if you have a guy who can stretch the defense down the middle, we think that is a tremendous weapon for the offense.
Q: You struggled to score points last year. How important was it to get an offensive weapon in this draft early on?
A: Yeah, we are just trying to help the offense any way we can and help our team anyway we can, so that is important for us, just to get a good football player and we think that we got a tremendous football player.
Q: Was this just not a year that you felt an offensive lineman in the first round was going to work?
A: There are some offensive linemen that we think are good football players, but we stay true to our board and we picked the best player that was up there.
Q: How do you think that Evan Engram fits in with your current set of tight ends?
A: That is a good question for Coach McAdoo. We think that he is just a dynamic football player who will help our team. You guys can talk to Coach McAdoo about how they plan on using him, but he has a skillset that you can use him in a lot of different ways and I am sure that coaches will be creative in using him that way.
Q: Do you think he is a guy that will open up the red zone?
A: I think that he opens up a lot of things. We just feel like – Jordan Reed is a good example of a tight end that is hard to handle, one of those undersized tight ends that is hard to handle for linebackers and safeties and this guy is probably cut in that same kind of cloth and this guy is really fast. This is a fast, receiving tight end.
Q: You mentioned the two-high safety look as something that you struggled against last year. Is this pick kind of a response to that?
A: Again, we think he will help us. That is for sure. We think that if you can stretch that two-high safety look with speed down the middle and you have speed on the outside, I think that helps us.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Was he your top tight end on your board?
Q: The way you guys viewed him, was it a situation where you walked in this morning and you thought there would be a pretty good chance that Engram would end up being your guy?
A: We talk about a lot of different scenarios, a lot of different players being in position to take at 23 and he was one of those guys.
Q: Very few tight ends combine blocking and receiving, how do you differentiate between guys who are primarily pass catchers at that position? What separates one ahead of another?
A: Well you have to see their skillset, their speed, their hands, their body control, their routes, their feel for the game, so those are the things you look for in a receiving tight end. Evan lines up a bunch of different places; they used him a lot of different ways, so he just seems to have a natural feel as a receiving tight end.
Q: The size and speed of tight ends these days is a lot different from what it used to be, does this go along with what the Giants’ plan for what the offense will be?
A: You have to ask [Head Coach] Ben [McAdoo] about if he’s a part of the plan, but from a scouting prospective he was a playmaker. He was a versatile playmaker, very athletic guy, clean off the field, and checked all the boxes as far as things we look for in a quality player.
Q: If you look at his numbers, he had a big jump last season. Anything happen?
A: I think they just used him more in the offense. He was a senior, you rarely see seniors anymore, he just grew as a player, he got better, they used him more and I think they both benefited, Ole Miss and Evan.
Q: David Njoku was another tight end that was on the board at the same time, what differentiated the two in your opinion?
A: I won’t talk about Njoku versus what we liked about Evan. What we liked about Evan was his versatility, his feel for the game, his polish, his hands, his route running and his experience. Those were the things that we really liked about him.
Q: Was part of it adding another game breaker, home run hitter type to compliment Odell [Beckham Jr.] and to just give you more explosiveness that way?
A: Anytime you can get somebody who can make first downs and score touchdowns, that helps out the offense. It helps everybody out. The coaches are really excited to add a guy like this. The more weapons you have, the harder you are to defend, and hopefully it will come to fruition like that.
Q: He’s called a tight end. The way football is played now, is he more of a weapon than tight end?
A: He’s not going to line up on the line and just try to drive block people all the time. He’s going to be in the backfield, he’s going to be in the slot, he’s going to be detached. He will be down at the traditional tight end position sometimes as well, but the way Ole Miss used him he could line up at four or five different positions. He has that versatility, he has the smarts to do that, so I would envision that we would use him in a similar fashion because that’s a benefit that he has.
Q: Do you see any Jordan Reed in him, [SVP & GM] Jerry [Reese] mentioned him.
A: You can see the similarities, he’s [Evan] an inch taller, Jordan was 10 pounds heavier, this guy ran a lot faster, but the way they were used, yes, very similar.
Q: Did you time him yourself?
A: Evan? No, I let my scouts do it. I just write it down and chart it. I’m too old for that.
Q: Is his speed comparable to some receivers?
A: Yes, besides John Ross, he was one of the fastest guys as far as a receiver or tight end. He might have been the second fastest guy. The receivers that were taken in the top ten, one [Corey Davis] didn’t work out and he ran faster than the other one [Mike Williams]. He was about the second fastest guy as far as the skill positions on offense.
Q: [Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] Spags calls it basketball on grass sometimes, do you guys in the personnel department look at the tight end position maybe a little bit differently now? Do you have to do that because of the way the game is played?
A: Yeah, you just don’t see it anymore, traditional tight ends in college. It’s rare to actually see a guy line up and do that. The way the game is played in college, it’s spread out and they’re catching the ball and just chucking it around sometimes. I think we’ll see more and more of these guys if they have the athletic ability, the feel, the smarts, all that stuff that you do.
Q: Do you find is unusual to see two or three tight ends taken in the 1st round?
A: No, nothing surprises me. Going through the process, you knew who the good players were and you had a good idea of where they were going to go, so it didn’t surprise me.
Q: You signed Rhett Ellison before this, is that a good complement? First a guy who can block and now this a guy…?
A: Seems to be. In theory, yes, it looks like that. Hopefully it plays out that way.
Q: Did his 40 time open your eyes even more than they had been with him?
A: Yeah, he was fast, but nobody expects the guy to run 4.42 at that size. You just never would’ve thought that. You think the guy would run a 4.5, 4.6, or something like that, but for a guy to jump out there and run a 4.42, it was shocking. It didn’t push him up on the board anymore, it didn’t change the perspective, the reports were in with what he could do with his skillset and that just added another positive value to his profile.
Q: Can he line up on the edge and drive guys, like a traditional tight end?
A: We’ll see.
Q: What was your impression with the way the first round played out in general?
A: You go in the draft and you always expect the unexpected and right from the start, there were some unexpected things that happened and you don’t know what it is but you just wait for it to happen and it did. 32 draft boards, 32 teams, they got it all different.
Q: The offensive line crop was historically shallow based on the number of players picked in the first round, did that kind of match up with your evaluation of that class coming into the draft?
A: We had some guys we liked, we had some guys we didn’t like and we’ll see.
Q: Not to hammer home the Jordan Reed thing, but when you have a player and you go against a player and you see how difficult it is to defend against that profile, does that add…?
A: You always draw comparisons when you play a guy. DeSean Jackson leaves Philadelphia and goes to Washington, aww man, come on. So, of course, when you play against a guy twice a year, it’s more on your mind, but you don’t look and say we need to get that kind of guy. It’s just when you’re talking about the process, you bring up the comparison.
McAdoo: Excited to add Evan Engram to the mix. Talented player out of Ole Miss. Length, speed, playmaker, special teams contributor. We’re excited to add him to the mix and hit the ground running with him.
Q: He has drawn comparisons to Jordan Reed, a big tight end/receiver type. Do you envision him to be that kind of player that can play multiple positions within the offense?
A: Yes. He played multiple positions at Ole Miss. I think we can bring him up and move him around a little bit. He needs to play special teams out of the gate and move him into our offense to see what he can handle. Push him that way.
Q: Where do you think he is as a blocker?
A: I think he’s a willing striker. We need to refine his fundamentals. He does what he’s asked to do in their offense and does it well at a high level. We have some things that we’re going to have to work on with him.
Q: Does he have that competitive nature?
A: Yes, he’s a competitor.
Q: Is he more of a slot weapon to you as opposed to a guy that’s going to be in line with bodies?
A: Again, we’ll get him here and play with him in a variety of ways but he’ll play with his hand on the ground.
Q: Because of that flexibility, what does that do for you as a play caller?
A: The fastest way to the end zone is down the middle of the field. Anytime you can add someone to your offense that can run down the middle of the field with that type of speed and length, it stresses the defense.
Q: The consensus was that the top TE in the draft went a few picks before you. Was there any thought in your mind to try and push to go get him?
A: I’m not going to talk about any of those strategies.
Q: Do you feel that Engram can make an impact in the run game?
Q: How much contact, if any, did you have with him during the pre-draft process?
Q: How surprised were you entering today that this is the way it turned out?
A: Nothing surprises you. You just go in and take it one pick at a time. See who’s on the board, a top guy on the board. You have to be confident. It’s all about doing the work going into the process. Trusting what you do, trusting your work, trusting the group, trusting the room.
Q: Did you like that Foster was there? Were there two or three guys you were looking at that were still available.
A: I think there were a lot of good players still left on the board.
Q: Does Engram have good yards after catch ability?
A: I think he’s a threat after the catch, yes.
Q: Did you see him as the best player available there or was he the best player for the need?
A: I saw him as the best available player.
Q: How much did you look at him before the draft?
A: I spent a lot of time on him. Just like a lot of scouts, other coaches and personnel people. I spent a lot of time.
Q: What was it that stuck out to you when watching him?
A: I think he’s a guy that’s played multiple positions. He has special teams versatility. He has some snap to him, snap to his body as a blocker. He’s willing as a blocker. Again, the speed just jumps off the tape. The yards after a catch just jumps off the tape at you.
Q: How does he fit in with the current set of tight ends you have now?
A: We’re going to put him in the room, teach him the offense and get on down the road. Again, we’re just adding another player to the mix. A good player that has a lot of potential.
Q: In going to Ole Miss, does he know Eli?
A: That’s a better question for Eli.
Q: With the addition of him, Marshall and Ellison, how much versatility does that give you going into next season?
A: We’re very happy with the players we’ve added to the tight end room and very happy with the players we have in the tight end room. It does give us some versatility and some flexibility. We need to get them all together. We haven’t hit the field yet; we need to hit the field.
MEDIA Q&A WITH EVAN ENGRAM:
Q: How does it feel?
A: I can’t put it into words. Honestly, I dreamed of playing for a couple of teams. I had it in my mind and New York was at the top. This is an amazing feeling. I’m so blessed. I can’t even find the words to describe it. I’m just very thankful and blessed to be a part of just this night. I have my family and friends. It’s a real blessing. I feel really blessed.
Q: Were you surprised when you got the call from the Giants?
A: I sat here and I saw it was Miami the pick before and New York just a little bit above it. I was just like, alright let’s see, Miami could call and New York could call. As soon as the Miami pick went in, I got the call. I saw the city under the number and I knew it. I wasn’t expecting it. I felt that it was coming but it was just, I was kind of surprised by it but I felt it in my dreams.
Q: Do you feel you are ready to come in and make an immediate impact?
A: I know I’m ready to come in and make an immediate impact. I know for a fact. I’ve been watching the Giants, they’re on TV all the time. I sit down and watch them, especially this past year. I’ve been really analyzing teams and certain offenses. The Giants have been missing a piece like me. They have a great quarterback and I think Tye, 45, was great for them. I felt that I could be another more dynamic piece at that role. I just always felt that they would look at a guy like me to come in and contribute. I know my skillset. I’m confident in my game and how hard I work. Just the weapons around me, I can’t wait to come in and contribute. Learn from all those guys and take advantage of the opportunity to be a great player for this team.
Q: Being a fellow Ole Miss alum, has Eli Manning reached out to you before or after this process?
A: No, I haven’t talked to him before. He texted me after they announced it and everything. He told me to enjoy the moment and that he’s looking forward to getting to work with me. I just told him thank you. He said he’ll be in contact to catch up in a couple of days. He hit me up after the pick went in.
Q: Have you ever met him?
A: Yes. He’s always around Ole Miss in the offseason. There’s been a couple of times I’ve caught a couple of balls for him. Just servicing him and running some routes that he needed. It kind of manifested in those moments I guess, this moment right here. I can’t wait to play with him, learn from him and just be a great player for this team.
Q: All along did you expect to be a first-round pick?
A: I knew I deserved to be and I knew I should be. It’s just what I bring to the table. I’m so dynamic and so confident in myself. I’m not trying to be cocky or anything because that’s 100 percent not it. I’m just really confident in what I can bring to a team. I definitely believe that I should’ve gotten a call in the first round and that someone was getting one of the most dynamic players and best players in the draft. I knew that I should be and I was just praying that I was. I came back for my senior year and that was one of my goals to solidify a first round pick. God has led me through all of this and to hear that tonight with the New York Giants, I knew that it was going to happen, I knew it should happen and I’m blessed that it did.
Q: Do you feel you can be effective in the slot or at wide receiver?
A: Yes. I feel like I can be a threat anywhere. I definitely have a lot to learn. Being out wide, I didn’t do it as much in college so I’m definitely ready to learn more about that, but in the slot, attached, in the backfield I feel like I can be a threat anywhere. I can’t wait to just get in there, learn, work and earn my way up into the offense and into making plays. Yes, I know I think I can be a threat anywhere around the ball.
Q: Do you create mismatch problems for the defense?
A: Yes, I guess from a coach’s standpoint, they love to move me around to make those mismatches. I know that my coaches at Ole Miss did and I kind of get excited when I see some big linebacker that is trying to man me up or some big safeties with bad hips – I just get excited when I see those guys trying to man me up. I do feel like I am a mismatch problem and I guess I am a huge plus for an offensive coordinator to have.
Q: You played in the SEC, which is regarded by many as the best conference in the country. How do you think playing in the conference prepared you for the NFL?
A: Man, look at the numbers that the SEC puts into the league. We are playing the best players in the country every week and just game planning for that, practicing for that and competing with that, it definitely helps us translate to the NFL. Just look at the numbers and it proves it. So just playing the likes of LSU and the Bama’s and the Arkansas’ and Auburn’s and Georgia’s and there are just so many athletes and so many talents make their way to the league from those schools – it definitely gives me an advantage going into the league and playing some more against some of the best athletes in the world.
Q: Where are you right now and who are you watching the draft with?
A: I am in my hometown, Powder Springs, Georgia, with all of my best friends, my family, people who have helped me get to this point, and it was tough because I got invited to the draft and I was torn because I wasn’t sure if I was going first round and that was the only way I wanted to go, so I decided to stay home. I couldn’t be more excited just being around my people and where everything started, it is just a huge moment. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change one thing.
Q: You have gotten some comparisons to Jordan Reed of Washington. How does that make you feel?
A: I have been looking up to him for so long. He was such a huge talent at Florida that I didn’t think got used enough, so when he got to Washington and got used to his abilities, he has been doing such great things in the league. So just watching him and studying him and I would love to work with him some day because he is such a threat, so savvy with his routes and so precise and he gets physical after the catch. Being compared to that is what I want. I want to be better than him, but that is going to be a tough task. But being compared to him and being able to bring to the table what he does for a team like the Giants is a blessing.
Q: How much contact did you have with the Giants during the pre-draft process?
A: Honestly, not that much. I talked to them at the Senior Bowl briefly; I talked with them at the Combine. I didn’t have any visits with them; no workouts and it just really came out of nowhere. I kind of felt myself being a threat there and being a possibility there, but it really came out of nowhere. I didn’t talk to them as much, but I kind of felt that they had their eye on me, so I guess it worked out.
NEW YORK GIANTS COACHING STAFF CHANGES…
The New York Giants officially announced on Friday that they have promoted Rob Leonard to assistant defensive line coach. That position had been held by Jeff Zgonina, who was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as their new defensive line coach last month. Leonard has served as a defensive assistant with the Giants since 2013.
To fill Leonard’s old coaching position, the Giants hired Bobby Blick to be the team’s new defensive assistant. The Giants also have hired Pratik Patel as Director of Performance Nutrition/Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. Blick served as Army’s director of player personnel in 2016. Patel was the University of Oregon’s sports nutrition coach since October 2014. Fuller information on their bios is available in the Coaching Staff section of the website.
GIANTS INSIDER WITH MARC ROSS…
The video of a Giants Insider Q&A with Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross is available at Giants.com.
On the third and final day of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected linebacker B.J. Goodson (Clemson University) in the 4th round, running back Paul Perkins (UCLA) in the 5th round, and tight end Jerell Adams (University of South Carolina) in the 6th round.
LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’1”, 242-pound Goodson has a nice combination of size and strength with just enough overall athleticism. Goodson is a stout, physical run defender who can stack and shed at the point-of-attack. He is also adept at avoiding blockers and getting to the ball carrier. Goodson will hit you and is a strong, reliable tackler. He lacks ideal range, recovery quickness, and closing burst. Though not a strong suite, Goodson is better in coverage than advertised, showing good awareness. He also flashes as a blitzer. Goodson is a smart, tough, consistent player and team leader. Versatile, Goodson can play all three linebacker spots.
RUNNING BACK PAUL PERKINS SCOUTING REPORT: Fourth-year junior. The 5’10”, 208-pound Perkins lacks ideal size and speed but he is a super-productive and competitive play-maker with excellent vision, balance, patience, and instincts. He can make something out of nothing in tight quarters and bursts through the hole. Perkins is very quick and elusive with superb change-of-direction ability. Perkins is a tough runner who plays bigger than his size, but he lacks power. Perkins is also very productive catching the ball out of the backfield. Team leader.
TIGHT END JERELL ADAMS SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’5”, 247-pound Adams is a tall tight end with long arms who needs to add more strength and bulk. Adams has the tools and temperament to develop into a good blocker. He plays with toughness and works to finish his blocks. Adams has good speed for the position and can threaten a defense down the field. He adjusts well to the football, has good hands, and runs well after the catch. Adams is a bit of a developmental project as he does need to work on his route running and overall technique. His work ethic has been questioned. Big upside.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: B.J. Goodson. Middle linebacker from Clemson. He can actually play all three positions. The thing we like about him is that he’s a football player. He’s a tackling machine, lots of tackles. I think he had 5.5 sacks and a couple of interceptions. He was a really productive player. I think he’ll create some competition in the linebacker level.
Running back Paul Perkins from UCLA. All-around player. He can run it. He can catch it. He can block. He’ll play on all of the core teams, just like Goodson will, as well. Solid football player. People say he doesn’t have homerun speed, but I saw him on an 82-yard touchdown against Colorado. Really good, solid football player. I like him a lot. He’s a three-down player.
Tight end Jerell Adams from South Carolina. Big kid. Really good down the seam. He can stretch the seam; can stretch the defense down the seam. He’s a better blocker right now than a receiver, but our coaches really liked him. Our scouts liked him. They think he has a nice upside and can work in that tight end group.
Q: Did you accomplish everything you wanted to do in this draft?
A: We got the best six players that we could get. We accomplished that.
Q: Does it change anything for you moving forward that you didn’t get any offensive linemen?
A: We’re always trying to upgrade our roster every day.
Q: This is the first time in Giants history that you didn’t add a lineman. If I told you that three days ago, would you say that’s interesting?
A: I’m saying that now. Hmm. Interesting. We drafted the best players available for us. We have some offensive linemen and we have some defensive linemen. We’ll continue to try to improve everywhere on the roster, including the offensive and defensive line.
Q: Where do you stand at running back?
A: We have some good players in there, there’s some good competition and we’ll see where that goes.
Q: Some have likened Paul Perkins to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.
A: I’m not sure about that. We just think he’s a really good football player. We like that he’s going to create some competition in the running back room. That’s a big key on your roster when you can create competition and he’ll help do that.
Q: There are rumors floating around that Anthony Davis may be on the horizon for the Giants. Is there any truth to that?
A: I’m not talking about anybody else’s player.
Q: Do you feel you have to add an offensive lineman in your mind at some point?
A: We’re going to continue to upgrade our roster every day. Everyday we’ll continue to upgrade every position – offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs to receiver. Every position.
Q: You have a lot of roster spots. What’s realistic in terms of undrafted free agents and how many guys you’ll add?
A: We’re in the room and we’re working on that right now. We don’t have as many as some teams, but we’ve got enough to try to fill the roster with different positions and we’ll do that.
Q: It doesn’t appear that any of these players have injury or character issues. Was that a goal going into the draft?
A: We always try to do that. We don’t go out and say, ‘let’s draft some hurt guys or some guys with some character issues.’ We try to get clean guys all of the time. It’s been like that ever since I’ve been with the New York Giants. That’s nothing new.
Q: The three positions you addressed are positions where you seem to have volume, but not necessarily all set starters. Is that a coincidence?
A: We’re just looking to add good players on the roster and we thought those three players were three good players that create some competition and we think those guys will do that.
Q: All of the players you selected were from major programs, major conferences. Was that intentional?
A: No. We try to get the best players up there. They could have been from Tennessee-Martin or they could have been from UCLA. We just tried to get the best player available.
Q: Anybody from Tennessee-Martin come off the board yet?
A: Not yet. We’re still working on it.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Can we get a summary of each guy?
A: B.J. (Goodson) is, I am sure you heard, competitive, tough guy, plays the game the right way, has played multiple positions there, probably best as a middle backer going forward for us. You know, thick, strong body. [He has a special] teams temperament. We had him in on a visit and he did an excellent job. He handled himself very well and just a pro there at Clemson. Paul Perkins, another guy [who is] productive, obviously great pedigree football player, hardest working guy on the team, really good skill set as far as catching the ball out of the backfield. He blocks, makes big plays for them and just another good football player. Jerell Adams, big, tall, long guy. Fastest tight end in the draft. [It is] rare to see a guy that gives block effort like this guy. You don’t see these guys actually give effort. He does it, he uses his length to get on people, fast down the seam, a little raw on his route running and hands but in the sixth round of the draft a big, fast, competitive guy who is a good person off the field, we thought, was worth a chance.
Q: Were you surprised an offensive or defensive lineman didn’t fall your way?
A: Yeah, not surprised. You are never surprised by anything. We weren’t going to force anything. You always want big bodies, but you want the right big bodies. You can’t just go into it saying we want an offensive lineman and they throw somebody up there or we want a D-lineman. We spent a lot in the offseason on the D-line. We’ve got some high draft picks on the O-line, so we have some good players there right now and we weren’t going to force the issue at either one of those positions.
Q: Did you get close at any point or did the board just not fall your way?
A: There were discussions here and there, but nobody who was at the time the highest ranked on the board or close to that, but we discussed some guys.
Q: It is the first time in franchise history that the team did not draft a lineman.
A: Alright, historic.
Q: What did you think of the draft overall?
A: It was good. It was good. [We are] really excited about the type of players we got, on and off the field. Some playmakers, some football players as far as hard working guys who are going to come in here and be what we are all about here with the Giants.
Q: I don’t know if you want to characterize it this way but you took a lot of guys who played at big schools, who played a lot and were productive. Was that an effort that went into this year?
A: No, we never have a theme going into a draft or the scouting season. It materializes itself through our draft process and meetings and then especially when you get to draft day where we talk about our players and where we stack them. It just so happened that all these guys sort of have the same qualities. Like you said, big school guys that have been productive and have played a lot.
Q: When the draft ends and you are trying to get these undrafted free agents, do you still focus on your board or is it just a mad dash?
A: Well, we kind of set it now. It is funny you said that because we set it all now where we target people, but of course, “Well, this guy just got drafted, so let’s re-shuffle.” We still try to move the high priority players into position for free agents but it is such chaos between now and the next few hours that it is tough to. Draft day is calm and easy almost, but this free agent process is very hectic.
Q: At that point there when a guy comes down to a certain position, do you kind of look at a guy at that position to try and fill out your roster?
A: Yeah, this is the time where you prioritize the positions you think have to be filled in, positions of need and higher priority type players.
Q: Do you have a long list of free agents you would like to sign now?
A: Yeah, sure. Stack them up and our scouts and coaches go at them.
Q: You have a good amount of roster spots. What is a realistic number of undrafted free agents you bring in?
A: Probably like 12 or 15. Somewhere around there.
Q: Is that a big number for you?
A: Yeah, the last few years have been 10 or under so this has been the highest in the last few years.
Q: Will some of those just be invited to the rookie mini camp next week?
A: We will hit it hard tonight with priority guys and then kind of the guys that fall through the cracks and we have to fill it out for camp, we will call those guys the next couple of days but tonight, we will go after the guys we really want.
Q: But it is possible that if you do get all the guys you want with the 12 or 15, you may have to make some roster adjustments?
Q: With B.J. Goodson, does he remind you of anybody? Maybe a Jon Goff?
A: Goff wouldn’t have come to mind, but not really, no, not really.
Q: When you are talking about him, he really only started one year. Is he a guy that you think can come in and play immediately?
A: Well, it is interesting at Clemson. Shaq Lawson was a one-year starter; Kevin Dodd was a one-year starter, Vic Beasley. For some reason, even their better players only start one year. Some guys are late developers, so what he did this year, the production, the leadership on and off the field, he has the mindset and the temperament to come in here and compete. The guy wants it and so is he going to start? I don’t know, but he is going to push people and he is going to work his butt off to get on to the field.
Q: You don’t think the gap of being NFL-ready is large for him?
A: No. Temperament, mindset, football intelligence, competitiveness, he is NFL-ready in those aspects. He is not raw by any stretch of the imagination. The guy plays the game the right way and knows how to play the game.
Q: The thing that was missing last year seemed to be the ability to cover underneath in passing routes. With what you took, did you address that?
A: Well, you can’t answer every problem with one pick or two picks. So is he that guy? He has the smarts. Do we have other people that can do that? Sure. Do we have other additions that can help out? Yeah. We will see how Spags draws it up and see what players he puts on the field and we will go from there.
Q: When you are going through the process, you get some positions like safety and running back where there is a crowd on the roster. Is there ever a hesitancy where you look at it as we see this guy on the top of our board but there is too much of a crowd?
A: Yeah, that comes into play certain times where we have five receivers and we don’t need a sixth but, again, if the player is just too good to pass up at that moment, you don’t want to give up a good player because you think you have depth. We have thought we’ve had depth certain times at other positions throughout the years and number one guy gets hurt, number two guy gets hurt and the number three guy gets hurt, and where is your depth? It is gone, so you always want to just keep putting good players on your football team.
Q: On that topic, you have a lot of running backs. What does [Perkins] bring, trait-wise, that you didn’t think you already had?
A: I don’t think it is anything different. I don’t want to say that, but his qualities are: he is a complete back, he has great vision, he has got one-cut quickness, excellent hands, competitive in the blocking game and outstanding off the field, so those were his traits we were attracted by.
Q: It seemed like this was a deep running back draft. How much did that factor into that decision today?
A: It definitely was a deep draft. Maybe not at the top but then later rounds and a lot of successful backs in the league, as you guys know, have been later round picks and he just was there at the time. We felt comfortable taking a guy, the highest rated guy at the time, we felt could help us.
Q: Did you guys look at that because it’s a position where more successful guys are available in later rounds?
A: Yeah, once you start talking about it, that is it but then also it is what players are available. If you have a stud in the first round and he is available and part of the conversation, you take him there, but it just so happened that where we were picking and the players that were available, this is where we like him and where we took him.
Q: Does not having a 7th rounder help you with the undrafted guys?
A: I hope so. I hope so. Usually you are just focusing on drafting, but now we can just focus on the free agents and get the plan going even quicker.
McAdoo: B.J. Goodson. Talented linebacker. Made a move from outside to inside, he can play all three spots if you need him to. Very productive, sound football player. Paul Perkins, running back from UCLA. He’s a complete back—can carry it, can protect the quarterback and can protect ball, and is good in the passing game. Jerell Adams. Explosive in-line type tight end. Can run down the middle of the field and stress the defense out in that matter, and can block in-line.
Q: What’s Goodson’s ideal position in your mind? What’s his ideal role?
A: I think middle of the three.
Q: What is it about him that makes him a middle linebacker to you?
A: I think he’s smart, I think he has good instincts, good wrap tackler, can be physical between the tackles.
Q: You talked about the different skills and the different traits your running backs have now. You describe Perkins as a complete back…is that something you felt like you needed to bring in, somebody who can do all the jobs?
A: The two most important things for a running back: number one, protect the ball; number two, protect the quarterback. He certainly fits that role.
Q: You have a crowded group there now. What’s the plan going forward there?
A: We have a lot of competition in the room. We like all those guys, they all have distinct things they do well, and there will be a lot of competition. It will be exciting to watch and see how it unfolds.
Q: Are you surprised the board fell is such a way that you didn’t get an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman?
A: That’s probably pretty unique. The last thing you want to do is reach down and reach for a guy. That’s how it went this year.
Q: The tight ends’ blocking was an issue after Daniel Fells went down last season. Do you think Jerell is someone who can hit the ground running as a blocker?
A: There’s always a learning curve coming into this league. Hitting the ground running, that’s tough to say at this point. But getting him in the building next week will obviously help—see where he is and see how he can handle the terminology that we’re going to throw at him. But we certainly feel that he has traits that we can develop into a good in-line player. He also has good speed down the middle of the field, he’s a big target. He has a unique skillset for the position that we like.
Q: Is the running back more of a classic third down back or do you see him as an every down back?
A: No, he can play first, second and third down.
Q: This was your first draft in the role of head coach. Overall, what’d you think of it? How’d you think it went for you?
A: A lot of work went into it. I think we did a nice job of not having any kneejerk reactions and just trusting the board and trusting the work that everyone puts into it. The scouts put a ton of work into it, the coaches evaluate a lot of players, and you put all the input up, get it on the board and just trust the process.
Q: For you personally, in these three days, how much more were you involved and did you do maybe more than as the offensive coordinator?
A: I was in the room the whole time. Had a chance to bounce some things off of Jerry, but at the end of the day, we both sat there and trusted the board and trusted the whole body of work. It’s been a long time coming when you get to this process and you just have to trust everything that you put into it.
Q: As the offensive coordinator, you’re not in the room the whole time?
A: As the offensive coordinator, I was a major part of the process, yes.
Q: When you look at this draft, the first round you got a defensive back that will probably be on the field maybe 60 percent of the time; second round, maybe a slot player. Did you make your team deeper, because it doesn’t seem like there’s one guy you got who is a superstar? It just seems like you got six guys who can help.
A: Well, we may have zero starters out of the mix, we may have six starters in the mix…no one knows at this point, it’s too early to tell. But we know we have high character guys, good football players who play the game the way we want them to play the game. And depth is just as important as anything else in this league, and we feel like we have six good players to work with.
Q: Are you okay with the right side of your offensive line as it is right now or are you going to look to upgrade with a free agent or something like that?
A: The right side of the offensive line, the story is yet to be written on the right side of the offensive line. We’re just starting the 2016 offseason. We’re going to look at every possible combination, give guys a chance to compete, and see where it goes from there. It’s still early.
Q: Would you like to add somebody though to that right side to even add more competition to it? Do you feel like you need to?
A: If the right somebody shows up.
Q: During the course of the draft, did things happen elsewhere that really surprised you? A player you thought wouldn’t be that high or a player you thought would and he slipped down?
A: I guess when it comes to the draft, all it takes is one team or one general manager, one head coach, to fall in love with a guy. They don’t want to lose that guy or miss out on the player, so I guess that doesn’t surprise me.
Q: Are you guilty of that?
Q: Just looking ahead to the minicamp, do you have a set of objectives that you want to see, want to accomplish with these guys as well as the undrafted free agents?
A: The rookie minicamp? Yeah, the rookie minicamp is more of an orientation. We want to bring them in, introduce them to the first install with normal down and distance install, teach them how we’re going to practice, let them know where the restrooms are, and just get their feet wet a little bit. We’re not going to be out there for three hours practicing, we’re just going to introduce them to things. It’s more of an orientation than anything…to see the building for the first time so when they get a chance to come in here with the vets and mix it up with the older guys, there’s not much young bull going on and they at least know where they’re going.
Q: Just going to be looking at retention of information? I imagine you’re probably going to throw a lot at them as far as the install and the playbook?
A: Absolutely. Their hair will be fire once they hit the building until they leave. A lot of the vets have had the installs for a couple seasons…defense, for one year now. They’ve gone through a couple installs already with the minicamp and with the phase one work, so we are going to throw a lot at them and we’ll see how fast they can catch up. But we’ll have a chance to spend more time—you can spend more time in the afternoons with these rookies when the vets are out of here. That’s really their time to grow and digest the information.
Q: You’ve gone through the two big phases where you add players to this team in free agency and the draft. Do you like what you have so far?
A: You certainly would rather add them than take them away, that’s the worst part of the job. But absolutely, the free agency process and the draft process have been fairly clean and straight forward. You have a plan in place and you trust the plan, you stick with the plan, and have no knee-jerk reactions to anything…stay the course and that’s what we’ve done.
Q: It doesn’t appear that any of the players you took have character red flags or injury red flags. We talked to you a couple days ago about a couple of high profile guys you passed on early maybe because of that. Was it important for you to have clean players where you didn’t have to necessarily sweat out a doctor’s report or other issues?
A: The medical question and the character question, I think, are two different questions. I think it’s important that when you bring in young players, you bring young players who can be potential pros, not just potential NFL players. I think we did that with all six of these guys.
Q: Will there be any overlap with the veterans and the rookies coming in for the minicamp this week or is that not going to be until the following week?
A: They may run into each other a little bit on Thursday afternoon, but we’ll get the vets out of here and then bring the rookies—have everything be a little bit separate, but nothing formal.
Q: Once the rookies get here, they’re here?
A: The following Monday, they’ll be intermixed, yes.
MEDIA Q&A WITH LINEBACKER B.J. GOODSON:
Q: Where were you when you learned the news that you were going to be a New York Giant?
A: I’m home right in Lamar, South Carolina. I’m just excited, man…excited and ready to go to work.
Q: You visited the Giants—pre-draft visit, correct?
A: Yes sir, yes sir.
Q: What was your takeaway, your feeling after you left the facility?
A: Definitely wanted to be there. Definitely a legendary place…a place where football is very, very important. They talk about the New York Football Giants, man, and finding out how much that means to the city and the community…it’s really, really big.
Q: You talk about going to a place where a city is beloved…you come from a college where football is almost like a religion down there. What was it like playing at Clemson? What was it like helping Clemson rise on the national stage and getting them eventually to the national title game?
A: It was destined to happen. It was empowering, as far as my leadership and helping those guys win all of the games that we won and having the phenomenal year that we had. Definitely just a blessing. I really, really enjoyed the ride. I’m ready to see where this journey will take me in New York. I’m ready.
Q: The draft list had you listed as an outside linebacker. Is that what you would classify yourself as or you think you’re a guy who can play inside as well?
A: Inside as well, can play inside as well. Great help on special teams. I’m ready to get with the veterans and get up under their wings and learn as much as I can and get ready to help that team get ready to win another Super Bowl.
Q: When you visited, did the Giants mention to you what they kind of envisioned you as?
A: Definitely a great linebacker. They saw me helping out on special teams. The special teams coach really likes me a lot. I really, really enjoyed the relationship with the linebackers coach. I really, really just fell in love with everything on my visit.
Q: Can you cover in the pass?
A: Yes sir, definitely. At Clemson I played as a three-down linebacker. It’s normal, it’s natural to me. To me, it’s not a question, just something I want to work on every day and just something to get better at, perfecting my craft. You can never be too satisfied or never not be hungry, there’s always room for improvement.
Q: What was behind the move to MIKE linebacker? Was that because there was an opening there? Is that where they thought you were a better fit for this past year?
A: No sir, that was home for me. I actually moved out to outside linebacker my junior year because Coach saw a fit. He saw how dedicated I was, he saw the talent in me, and he wanted to get me on the field. With having Stephone and Tony Steward, having those guys out there, just being able to get me out there with those guys. So I learned the SAM linebacker position, and then once Stephone left, I went back home to the MIKE position and it played out from there.
Q: What was it like working with a personality like Dabo Swinney?
A: Oh man, brings great, great energy. Fun, fun, fun coach to play for. That guy, he’s phenomenal, he’s about the right things. I don’t have nothing but great things to say about Coach Swinney. He’s a great guy off the field, I love Coach Swinney.
Q: What does B.J. stand for?
A: B.J. is a name that was given to me from my mother. My first name is Billy, my middle name is Javaris. My mother, she just wanted to call me B.J. It was something that just stuck with me from a kid.
MEDIA Q&A WITH RUNNING BACK PAUL PERKINS:
Perkins: I’m just honored to be here and going to New York. This is awesome. I can’t even put this into words right now.
Q: Did you have any sense it would be the Giants and it would be now?
A: I had no idea. I can’t even really put this into words right now. Sorry if I’m speechless.
Q: What do you think you bring to an NFL team?
A: I think I can bring it all. I can definitely come in there with hard work and definitely come in there with the mentality to improve the team.
Q: How has UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. prepared you for the NFL?
A: Our whole coaching staff was NFL-ready and they prepared us very well. All the way from coach Mora to the running backs coach to our (graduate assistants), they all did a tremendous job. I’m thankful for them.
Q: What has your interaction been with the Giants during this process?
A: I only talked to them one time. I think it was last week and they were just checking if this was the right number.
Q: Was that sort of the norm?
A: It was the norm. I was getting a lot of calls from a lot of teams with the same type of questioning. I’m glad I got this one. This is the best one so far.
Q: Someone compared you to a poor man’s Tiki Barber.
A: Tiki Barber is not a bad person to get compared to. He’s been a great running back for a long time. I idolized him growing up and to be compared in the same breath as him is an honor.
Q: Do you see the skill set similarities?
A: We’re similar. I’m not sure how tall or big he was, but I feel like we’re about the same height and we have the same type of abilities.
Q: How much did UCLA use you catching the ball out of the backfield and how much is that a part of your game?
A: I think I can be utilized in the passing game. I just need a team to utilize me like that and I feel like the Giants will use me to my full capabilities.
Q: Are you going to give Owa Odighizuwa a call after you’re done with us?
A: I was actually talking to Owa not too long ago. I FaceTimed him. Now I just can’t wait to go up there.
Q: Did he tell you anything about the Giants?
A: No. He said he would call me back because he had to do something. He’s going to call me back in a little while after I get off the phone with you guys. We’ll chat it up.
Q: You FaceTimed him after you got picked here?
A: I did, right afterwards.
Q: I assume you’re pretty close with him?
A: All of the NFL players do a good job of coming back and talking to the younger players and Owa just happened to be one of the players that helped me and mentored me.
Q: How does it feel to be selected immediately after one of the guys who blocked for you in Caleb Benenoch?
A: It was awesome. I’m honestly speechless right now. I’m feeling great right now.
Q: Do you think you can be an every down, between the tackles runner, as well?
A: Yes sir. I think I can do it all. There’s a lot of great running backs. I feel like I can do it all.
MEDIA Q&A WITH TIGHT END JERELL ADAMS:
Q: Did you meet with the Giants at the Senior Bowl or was it later in the process?
A: The last time I met with the Giants was at the combine.
Q: Did you have a good amount of contact with them?
A: I had a formal interview with them and it went great and they said they liked me and they drafted me.
Q: Do you consider yourself an all-around tight end or more of a pass catcher?
A: I feel like I am more of an all-around tight end. I feel like I can block very well and catch very well.
Q: What was your expectation coming into the draft and what was it like having to sit there and wait until this point today?
A: My expectations coming into the draft were just to get drafted. I was blessed to go through the process and I am just happy to have gone through it and to get drafted by the Giants.
Q: Where were you when you found out you were going to become a New York Giant?
A: I was at home, at my mama’s house.
Q: What was the raw feeling you felt when you picked up that phone?
A: It was the best feeling ever. It was a phone call I was waiting for forever. It was a dream come true.
Q: When you look on the surface at your numbers, people don’t see huge numbers. What do you attribute that to?
A: Honestly, I didn’t have the progress yet that I wanted at South Carolina because of the quarterback situation but I felt like I made the best out of it and did what I could do.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: I feel like I can block very well and catch very well. My weakness, I would say is me coming out of my breaks out of my routes. I can use some improvement on that but there is always work to be done, no matter how good you may think you are.
Q: You really did well at the combine athletically. Was that one of your goals for this process? To kind of show that your numbers were not indicative of your ability.
A: Yes, sir, that was my goal for the Senior Bowl and the combine, to just show how athletic and how good I felt I was. At the Senior Bowl and combine, I just felt like I had a chance to show them how good I am.
Q: Do you feel like you accomplished what you had to get done?
A: Yes, sir. I felt like I accomplished everything I needed to.
With the eighth pick in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected safety Darian Thompson from Boise State University.
SCOUTING REPORT: The 6’2”, 208-pound Thompson is a big, physical safety who lacks ideal overall athleticism and speed. Big hitter and aggressive in run support. He is an intelligent, disciplined, instinctive center-fielder against the pass who makes plays on the football (19 career interceptions). Plays faster than he times – smooth with no wasted motion. Hard working and competitive. Team leader.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Darian Thompson, free safety, Boise State. Big kid, center fielder, checks a lot of boxes for us. We really like how he makes plays on the football. We think he’s a solid tackler back there. Makes the calls. Captain. High test score. A lot of things to like about him. Any questions?
Q: Was Darian once again at the top of your board?
A: There were a couple of guys we talked about right here with this pick…a couple guys.
Q: Did you like him because how he would team up with Landon Collins?
A: Well, we think he’s a free safety. He makes the calls back there for his team, he’s a ball hawk back there. We think he’s going to create a lot of competition in the secondary at that safety position. Looking forward to getting him in here.
Q: Does he free up Landon though to come down to the box?
A: Well, that’s up to the coaches…that’s up to Ben (McAdoo) and Steve (Spagnuolo), whatever they want to do with him. I think his skillset is a free safety skillset. I do think he’s a tough tackler, can come down in the box. I think he’s interchangeable. I think he’s one of those safeties that can do both.
Q: You don’t seem like you have a lot of guys on the roster with that kind of productivity as far as the interceptions, the guy gets the ball. Do you see that translating to the next level?
A: Well, we sure hope so. Never translate until you get them out there and they have to do it. But we sure think he has a skillset to do that. Again, he checks a lot of boxes for us.
Q: You said there were a couple guys in this one…what was it about him that sort of pushed him over the top?
A: It was just the guys we have there…we thought where we are right now and the skillset we’re looking for, we thought he had the best skillset at this point.
Q: Now that this round is done and your top three players are in the books, will you go into tomorrow—I hate to say it—just looking for the best available player?
A: We’re always looking for value and need…we’re always trying to couple those two things together. We try our best to get that.
Q: Does “need” mean you’ll be looking for an offensive lineman?
A: We’re going to look for the best player. We’re going to try to couple value with need.
Q: Do you feel like you have to get an offensive lineman with one of those last three picks, maybe not in one specific one, but you’d like one of those three picks to come away with that position?
A: No, we just feel like we can try to get a value pick and a need pick as well. Whatever we think the value is and what we think the need is, we can try to couple those things together.
Q: What are the chances of you guys making some sort of trade to earn yourselves another pick tonight?
A: We’ll keep all our options open.
Q: Have you had many phone calls tonight?
A: We’ve made phone calls, we’ve taken phone calls, yeah.
Q: Were you close to a trade before the second round pick?
A: I don’t think we were close to a trade. I can’t remember that far back.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: Did you see Darian Thompson in person?
A: I saw him in practice in the Senior Bowl and in the Combine.
Q: What makes him different from the other guys you have that are going to compete for that free safety spot.
A: We have a nice mix of guys who all have something different. Nat’s a box guy and real competitive. Mykkele’s a free range guy. This guy’s a free safety who can also play strong. He plays that way there. He has good ball skills, feel for the game, competitiveness and size. So they all give you something different.
Q: Do you project how he will play and how he will play off of Landon?
A: Sure. What we like is that this guy has played strong safety and the linebacker position, so they move him all around. His versatility definitely was intriguing.
Q: When it comes down to final two guys at the end, for you, what was the determining factor?
A: When you talk them through, you try to highlight the positives. And it comes down to who has the most positives in their profile on and off the field.
Q: I’m not sure of the history of all the other safeties, but this guy has more interceptions than any of them.
A: Yes, he has a ton of them, more than a lot of guys who have played.
Q: You talked yesterday about interceptions being a random statistic. What makes this guy different?
A: This guy’s a ball hawk. His instincts are what separates. He can anticipate where a route is, where a ball is going and he jumps on it. And that’s what distinguishes him with making interceptions.
Q: How is he in coverage in general?
A: You don’t want him covering quick slot guys. He’s better in zone using the field. He’s got some range, so that’s the optimal way to use him.
Q: Is it hard to rate him because she’s not a big conference guy?
A: Boise State is a big time program. They’re a different mid-major. They’re big time, so they’ve had players, first round picks, the whole deal. They’re up there with all of the other upper echelon teams.
Q: Was there anything that was different about how these two days unfolded, compared to the past?
A: No. Get up there, stack em up, talk about em and pick em. There’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Q: He was used as a linebacker in college?
A: Well, not a real linebacker, but nowadays because so many teams play spread, they’ll put their safeties down in maybe a rover or a spur – every team calls it something different, so they used him in that kind of role. It’s not a true linebacker position. It’s just a hybrid safety/linebacker role.
McAdoo: Darian Thompson, another good, smart player from a winning program, fortunate to have him, excited for him to get here.
Q: When you see 19 career interceptions, that must make your eyes light up a little?
A: Yeah, he is very instinctive. He has tremendous ball skills, but the instincts and the twitch make it happen for him.
Q: Is there a flip side to that? Sometimes a ball-hawking safety can be a gambling safety. Does he gamble sometimes?
A: I think it is more of instincts. He may have a little bit of a gambler in him, but I think it is more off of instincts.
Q: What is your role here with guys in the middle rounds? How much have you conversed with them?
A: It is more off of film study with Darian. I studied Darian on a couple different occasions with some film off of a point of attack tape and off of game film and he is someone that jumped out at me. High character guy, good ball skills, he can tackle in the open field and he plays in a variety of roles. He can play back in the post, he can play back in split safety looks and he can play down in the slot — he did that a lot in their fire zones.
Q: Jerry talked about there being a couple guys there with this pick. What differentiated Darian from those other picks?
A: Well, we had a cluster of guys there we were looking at. To me, the instincts, the twitch, very smart player, high character guy, fits what we are looking for that way and the ability to get the ball back to the offense and change the game that way. The game is about the ball and he can get the offense the ball.
Q: Are you hoping that if his skillset translates quickly enough that you can move Landon Collins more to strong safety?
A: We need to get them both in here and look at them. I think Landon had a nice camp this week. [He] did some nice things back deep and we feel that he is growing and doing a nice job there improving and I don’t think you can say always and never in this business.
Q: Is this any type of statement about the other guys you have at safety?
A: Oh, we have a lot of young guys in the safety mix and quite frankly, we haven’t seen them. They have been nicked up. They basically had a medical redshirt type year last year and it is good to get them back out there, they are working to get back out and get back out 100% so we are chomping at the bit to look at those guys and Darian is a guy we are going to throw into the mix and let them all compete.
Q: When you say he has a twitch, what do you mean?
A: He can stick his foot in the ground and go zero to sixty real quick.
Q: We saw Mykkele Thompson playing in the slot the other day. How much of that is planned for him and how much of that is because you guys are short on corners?
A: Probably a combination of both. We are going to look at guys in a variety of different roles. Mykklele is a guy who has played corner and has played safety and it is always nice to have some flexibility and versatility there.
Q: Is Darian as big as you are going to want him?
A: I think he is a pretty good size right now but I think that when they get here and they obviously have training table where they are coming from at Boise, but when they have a chance to get a little bit of money in their pocket and eat properly, their body composition usually changes a little bit.
Q: Can you use him perhaps as a surprise pass rusher?
A: We are going look at him in a variety of roles right there. I am not going to give you the keys to the kingdom as far as how he is going to show up on game day, but yeah, he is a versatile guy.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DARIAN THOMPSON:
Q: Darian, congratulations.
A: I appreciate that, thank you very much. I’m extremely blessed and excited to get out there and get to work.
Q: Are you at home right now?
A: I am, I’m in California—a little ways away, but I’m ready…I’m ready to make that trip.
Q: Where were you when you found out that you had been selected?
A: I’m back at home in Lancaster, California in the backyard at my girlfriend’s just wondering when the phone call was going to come through, and it happened. It’s truly a blessing and I’m extremely excited about it.
Q: How often did you meet with the Giants prior to tonight?
A: A couple of times, not too often. Not too often, but a couple of times. When I did, it went well. I’m excited that they pulled the trigger on me. I’m sure that they’re excited as well.
Q: If you had to summarize your skillset, what makes you unique from other candidates?
A: First of all, I’m an extremely smart football player. I know how to study film and diagnose plays and put myself in the right spot in order to make plays and make turnovers. I think that’s what I do best. I have a knack for the football, and I feel like an interception is just as much as a touchdown, so that’s what I’m going after.
Q: They used you in a lot of different ways when you were in college. Did you have a specific niche, if you will, out of all the things they asked you to do that you really liked?
A: No, not specific things that I liked. I honestly just like being out there on the field, being able to compete and have fun with the game that I love. So there’s no one thing that I liked over another, just being out there is perfectly fine with me.
Q: A lot of times when somebody gets picked, there’s maybe a veteran starter or somebody who’s already entrenched in that job. It seems like at this point it’s pretty wide open for you. What are your thoughts coming into this season and into camp once you get here?
A: Like I said, I’m extremely blessed to be there. When I get in there, have my best foot forward and just continue to work. I believe I have a great work ethic and nothing’s going to change from that, so whatever happens when I get there, it just happens. I’m excited; I’m going to give it all I have and see what happens when I get out there.
Q: Was that depth chart something that you noticed when the Giants called or when you were thinking about one of 32 landing spots?
A: It kind of didn’t really matter…because I know the type of player that I am. I know that I’m going to come in there and I’m going to work, regardless of whether there’s a veteran in front of me or not. I know I’ll be able to contribute to the team in multiple ways, so I was happy with that.
Q: Have you had a chance to watch the Giants in recent years?
A: I have had a chance to watch the Giants, and they’re always a good football team. To be able to get out there and play with some of those guys that we see all the time on TV and commercials and things like that, and to be a part of the team and to help them achieve their goal of winning the Super Bowl, is just awesome to me.
Q: You were at what is arguably the most renowned mid-major team in the country at Boise State. Can you talk about what it was like being with that team with the national spotlight on you guys? Can you talk about what is probably the biggest lesson you learned in your years with the Broncos?
A: Yeah, Boise State is a great program. Everybody on that team has a chip on their shoulder because they weren’t picked or chosen to go to a bigger school, so everybody has an attitude and everybody has a chip on their shoulder like I was talking about. I still have that chip. Regardless of where I would have gone tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever it would have been, I would have that chip. I’m just excited to bring it to New York. I’m excited to bring it to the Giants and to see what happens from there.
Q: How surprised were you that this ended up being the landing spot?
A: I was pretty surprised. Pretty surprised…and I’m happy. This is the one place I thought before the draft that I could end up, and I’m happy that it happened to be there.
Q: Why’d you think that?
A: Just agent talk and things of that sort. They say, “Maybe this, maybe that.” Nothing’s ever set in stone, and as we see, the draft can go in all different types of ways. I’m happy where I am now, I couldn’t be more excited. Like I said earlier, I’m just ready to get to work.
With the ninth pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected wide receiver Sterling Shepard from the University of Oklahoma.
SCOUTING REPORT: The 5’10”, 194-pound Shepard may lack ideal size, but he was arguably the best slot wide receiver available in the draft. Shepard is a very strong, extremely quick, and super-productive receiver with good speed. He plays bigger than his size due to his strength and excellent leaping ability. Shepard is an excellent route runner who knows how to get open. Sudden and creates separation. He is tough, fearless, and super-competitive. He attacks the football and has excellent hands. Runs well after the catch. Shepard has an outstanding work ethic and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He has experience returning punts.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)
Reese: Sterling Shepard, wide receiver, Oklahoma. Slot receiver. Has some return specialist to him. Terrific competitor. Just everything you want in a slot wide receiver. Our coaches believe he can play on the outside as well. The highest player on our board. I know you guys think I’m kidding when I say that, but highest player on our board, and an easy pick for us. Had a couple more names around that we liked as well, but it was too much value for us to pass this guy up. We think he’s going to come in and he’s NFL-ready —ready to play right now. He’ll be right in our receiver corps, and get a lot of competition in there, we hope. Any questions?
Q: Is he a little bit like a young Victor Cruz?
A: Yeah, some of scouts—that name came up when our scout group talked about him. That’s one of the names that came up, a young Victor Cruz. Very similar in some ways, body type. The one thing about this kid is he’s 5’10 and some change, but his strike zone—what we call a strike zone—is bigger than that. He’s got a 41-inch vertical jump, he’s got big hands…he’s a tenacious slot receiver, run after the catch. Get the ball to him quick and he does some nice things after that catch as well. Yeah, Victor Cruz was one of the names that came up.
Q: Does that worry you at all? Is that anything you guys even think about? Obviously Victor is a smaller guy, Odell plays bigger but under six foot, now a third guy under six foot.
A: You’d like to have all of them 6’5 that run 4.4 and all that, but it’s just not the way it is all the time. I think that there’s a lot of tall receivers in the Hall of Fame that probably never even played in a Super Bowl, if you look at that history. We think he’s plenty tall enough, and we think he’s a terrific young receiver.
Q: You said he’s NFL-ready…what are some of the things he has picked up to be able to play?
A: He plays in the slot…he’s just crafty and knows how to get open in his routes. He has the quickness, the explosion in his route, the run after the catch, and the toughness to go over the middle, those kinds of things. Good bloodline, too; he’s been around football all his life.
MEDIA Q&A WITH VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER EVALUATION MARC ROSS: (Video)
Q: What did you like about Sterling Shepard as a player that drew you to him?
A: He’s a guy that you go to Oklahoma, especially over the last few years – you go to certain schools and there are young guys, and you think ‘Who is that guy?’ He’s been that guy at Oklahoma because he’s always made plays. He’s quick, athletic, competitive and savvy. He’s has been a playmaker for them since the time he stepped on campus.
Q: Does his height matter to you and how much do you take that into consideration?
A: You like 6’5”, 200 pounds and run a 4.4 and all that, but this guy overcomes his lack of height with his other skills. He’s got a 41-inch vertical. He’s competitive to the ball. His catch radius is bigger – he plays bigger than his actual size. His catch radius is where he can go up and get the ball. So short receivers who play small are our concern. Short receivers who play big are not a concern.
Q: On tape he looks very tough, like he could break a tackle. Do you see that as well?
A: He’s very tough. That’s the knock on the little guys. They’re tough, but can they play big? He does both. He is very tough. He’ll go inside with no fear, catch the ball, take the hit, make guys miss and keep going.
Q: Do you think his lack of height kept him out of the first round?
A: Maybe, it might have been a factor.
Q: He’s not a skinny guy, right?
A: He’s rocked up. He’s not a frail, short guy. He’s thick and muscled up.
Q: Is he the type of guy to run the entire route tree?
A: Yes, he runs it all. The offense they run at Oklahoma, he runs all the routes, unlike some other college systems where they run up the field and turn around. This guy runs an NFL route tree.
Q: Everyone is saying he’s a young Victor Cruz, who wasn’t drafted. Do you see that?
A: It’s been thrown around. It’s been in our meetings. The comparison has come up. The stature, the quickness, the toughs, the ‘make you miss’ – those things are very similar. But I never like to say guys are the next somebody or compare them like that. But I can definitely see why the comparisons are made.
Q: You said that Shepard was the one you wanted. Were the first eight who went ahead of him not as important to you as he was?
A: All of the players are important. We stacked the board the way we like the guys and the way we think they’re going to fall. Obviously the first round is kind of predictable. The second round is predictable. But once you start getting into the third round, it just goes all over the place. But we stack our guys and say: first round, we like this group of guys, second round we like this guy. But coming into today, this was a guy we really liked to get.
Q: What does it say about how the league has changed, when your first two picks are nickel corner back and slot receiver?
A: It’s basketball on grass. Guys throw the ball. You need athletes getting in space. You still need to block. You’ve got to protect. But the more athletes you have out there, the better. It’s not ground and pound anymore. We throw the ball and a lot of teams do that.
Q: Was Shepard the top-rated receiver you had on your board since the start of the draft?
A: Probably not.
Q: Was this a guy you had your eye on prior to this year’s draft process?
A: Yes. He’s a senior, which is rare. You never see a top player stay for all four years. He had a nice body of work, as opposed to a junior who does one year and comes out of nowhere. This guy has done it for a few years. So when you go to Oklahoma, you always hear about Sterling Shepard – the guy who makes plays.
Q: Do you wait for positioning as you move along in the draft to get a specific position player?
A: We always try to match the need and the value, so hopefully we have a group of guys of equal value and need. We’ll take those guys.
Q: Did someone from the scouting department see all of Oklahoma’s games last season? Either in person or on film?
A: Yes, throughout our process, we had three scouts that go there. We break it down to early, middle and late, where our scouts go in and watch film that particular time of year. I immerse myself in the tape; Jerry, the receivers coach, as well. We’ve pretty much seen anything this guy has done.
Q: Was there any particular game that made him pop out?
A: The Tennessee game. That’s a quintessential game if you want to see what he’s all about. They were down and he’s making big touchdowns at the end to win the game.
Q: How instrumental was Ben McAdoo in the process given he’s an offensive coach?
A: No more than any other one. He was instrumental in that he liked him, which makes it good.
Q: Do you see Shepard augmenting or helping a guy like Odell Beckham Jr. go to another level?
A: I hope so. The more playmakers you have around a guy like Odell, the better. You want to double Odell, this guy will kill you. If he’s healthy, that’s a nice scenario for us.
Q: Is the goal of the draft to find a guy to complement Odell?
A: We definitely had our eye on the receiver position.
Q: Does it concern you that a guy you had your eye on has a big Senior Bowl week?
A: Without a doubt. That’s happened in the past, where we think we had a guy who wasn’t as highly rated as you think he is and then he blows up at the combine or the Senior Bowl. Then everyone jumps on him.
Q: Do you hope that doesn’t happen when you have a guy you like?
A: Yes, for sure, especially the combine. You like a guy, then he blows it out and becomes a combine superstar. Then it’s over with for you.
McAdoo: Hope is everyone is well tonight. We got a great pick tonight, Sterling Shepard, tremendous young man, high character, plays the game the right way, plays the game the way it should be played, feisty player, can separate both inside and outside, strong hands, he’ll block you and we’re fortunate to have him, fortunate that he was on the board when he was.
Q: Is there a little Victor Cruz in him?
A: There are times when you see him make some moves inside where you see that strength and that explosiveness that Victor has, yes, but they are different players.
Q: Is he a classic example of a player who plays bigger than his size?
A: Absolutely. He has a bigger catch radius than someone who is 5’10. He has big hands, so he is not afraid to reach out and pluck it away from his body and he is very confident after the catch.
Q: Does he remind you of anyone who has played or currently plays in the NFL?
A: There are some similarities between he and Victor [Cruz]. There are some similarities that I have seen with some of the guys I have coached in the past in Green Bay. He is a high character guy and when you take a look, there may be a little Randall Cobb in him, you see that. He will reach back and pluck the ball the way James Jones did a little bit in Green Bay in the past, so he has that in him; strong, confident hands as far as being a hands catcher but there are some guys out there that he reminds you of.
Q: Is he mostly a slot guy?
A: No, he is like the rest of the guys we have. You look at Odell, he can play inside and outside and Victor can play inside and outside, as well, and Sterling is no different that way. He has been productive in the past on the outside, this year he played more on the inside but they need to be flexible that way and they are definitely bright enough to do that and he certainly fits that role for us.
Q: Is it mandatory for him to contribute as a rookie being a 2nd round pick?
A: Well, he is going to get an opportunity to compete just like everybody else and the cream will rise to the top there.
Q: You obviously mentioned Cruz and Odell. Can you see those three on the field at the same time?
A: Yeah, absolutely. We play a lot of receivers and we like to use a lot of different guys there. Dwayne Harris factors there as well. He had a nice year. Geremy Davis is coming along, Myles [White] has done some good things for us and there are a lot of guys who are in the mix as far as that goes and the more the merrier, the better the competition.
Q: Does it make it harder for teams to match up when you have three guys who can play all of the positions?
A: It gives you more flexibility. Obviously, Odell is a difference-maker and Odell is a guy that is going to play inside and outside, he is going to be on the single side, he is going to be to the three-receiver side, he is going to be in the backfield, he is going to be a little bit of everywhere, so the other positions have to have flexibility.
Q: How important was it for you to get a compliment to Odell in this draft?
A: We had the minicamp last week. We have confidence in the guys that are already in the locker room and we expect that they will continue to push each other. They are certainly not going to make it easy on Sterling and that is how we want it, we want competition in that room.
Q: You would have been alright going at it with what you had if the draft had unfolded that way?
Q: What do you find are some of the toughest things receivers have to pick up and learn as they come into the NFL?
A: Well, I think the offenses are different from where they are coming from. He has been maybe in a little bit more of a pro style type offense than some that we see. There will certainly be a little bit of a learning curve for him so that is probably the number one adjustment. We are a little bit different than maybe most because we will spend a lot of time in the no-huddle, so that may help him with the learning curve a little bit. The defenses that he is going to see. He is going to see a lot of big, physical, gifted athletes playing the corner spot. That will be a big adjustment for any receiver coming into the league.
Q: Sterling had some experience at Oklahoma on punt return. Do you envision him fulfilling that role in New York?
A: We will certainly add him to the mix there. He will be a guy that is going to get some opportunities there, yes.
Q: What are you looking to get out of your final four selections?
A: The highest guy on the board.
Q: You said the no-huddle with help him a little bit?
A: Yeah, I think it streamlines things as far as the information that they get and how they get it. It is a little more visual than it is verbal and some guys learn a little easier that way.
Q: He made a big jump between 2014 and 2015. Is there anything that you saw on film with that? Maybe a better quarterback?
A: I think the natural maturation of a young player and their quarterback play was better this year. That is a good point.
Q: How is he as a blocker?
A: He gets after you. I like that. He is a complete player. He is not a finesse guy by any stretch of the imagination.
MEDIA Q&A WITH STERLING SHEPARD:
Q: When you found out you were drafted by the Giants, how much did you think about playing with Odell Beckham Jr?
A: I mean that’s one of the guys I look at. I look at (Beckham’s) game every week and I try to pattern my game after him. I was excited to be able to get drafted by the New York Giants and be able to play alongside him, as well as Victor Cruz—another guy that I look at, too. I’m excited.
Q: Odell Beckham recently tweeted out that the Giants got themselves a good receiver or something like that. How does that make you feel to get the Odell Beckham Jr seal of approval?
A: That’s always good. He’s now a teammate so I’m excited to be alongside of him, like I said. To have his approval is great, it’s a great feeling.
Q: How much contact did you have with the New York Giants coming into tonight? Did they talk to you at all at the Combine at all? Did you interview with them?
A: No, that’s the funny part. I hadn’t talked to them very much at all. I went to the Combine, I went to the Senior Bowl and I hadn’t talked to them at all. I think I may have filled out a questionnaire, but that was about it.
Q: You had some good times over at Oklahoma…you had one of college football’s best coaches, Bob Stoops, helping you out down there. How did it feel to play at such an elite program, a program that was nationally recognized and made the college football playoff? How did the experience at Oklahoma prepare you for the NFL?
A: It’s a huge program, and it comes along with a lot of history. A lot of the guys that came before you that made a name for that program, so it was an honor to play there. I got to play after my father and wear the same number as him. It was an honor to put that jersey on every week and go out and give them my all. I loved it, I loved my experience at Oklahoma.
Q: A lot of people here with the Giants know Victor Cruz very well and say you remind them a lot of him. Do you see some of that?
A: Yeah. Like I said, that’s one of the guys that I look at a lot. Victor Cruz is a great receiver…we’re kind of the same size, same stature. I definitely look up to that guy. I can see some similarities.
Q: Do you consider yourself a slot receiver or do you think you’re a guy who can play on the outside? What would you call yourself?
A: Honestly, I play so big, I don’t limit myself to just the inside. A lot of people think that that’s all I can do is play inside just because of my size, but I think guys like Odell and Victor have proven that that’s not the case. I’m definitely one of those guys that can be bounced around and move all around.
Q: Is that something that motivates you — that people look at your size and pigeon hole you as just a slot receiver?
A: Yeah, man. I listen to it and I take it in and move on because I know what I can do. Just gives me a little bit more fire.
Q: Do you know Odell? Do you have any relationship with him? Have you ever met him?
A: No…I mean we have some mutual friends—Kenny Stills—those guys know each other. But no, I’ve never met him or anything like that.
Q: What do you anticipate with that when you do get to meet him?
A: It’s going to be like we’re going straight to work. Everybody is ready to work. I feel like we’ll click when I get there.
Q: In what ways do you feel like you benefitted from going all the way through your senior year as a player and a student-athlete?
A: One, I got my degree…that’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish since I was a little kid, is graduating from Oklahoma, so I was able to accomplish that. Then I got to mature just as a young man. I got to accomplish those two things. As a player, I got to get bigger and stronger and faster. Coach Smitty does a great job with the weight program and the conditioning, so I just developed.