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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.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO: (Video)
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.
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