Apr 282018
 
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Kyle Lauletta, Richmond Spiders (March 3, 2018)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

With their 4th and 5th round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’2”, 222-pound quarterback Kyle Lauletta from the University of Richmond and 6’4”, 286-pound defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh from the University of Miami.

KYLE LAULETTA SCOUTING REPORT: Lauletta was a three-year starter who led his conference in passing each of those seasons. Lauletta lacks ideal height, but he’s a well-built quarterback. Lauletta knows how to run an offense, makes smart decisions, is poised, has a quick release, and is an accurate thrower. A good short- to intermediate-passer, Lauletta’s lack of arm strength limits his game outside the hashmarks and down the field. Most pundits see him more as a career back-up than potential NFL starter. MVP of the Senior Bowl.

SY’56’s Take:

Strong Points:

-Quick release, holds it high and has no wasted motion on short throws
-Excellent foot speed and balance, keeps him under control
-Advanced eye-work, can move and manipulate the defense

Weak Points:

-Arm strength is a problem on intermediate throws where the ball needs to be placed into small window
-Too quick to tuck and run
-Deep ball has too much loft

Summary:

Fifth year senior that started for four years. Lauletta wasn’t really on the radar until Senior Bowl week. I thought he did a favor for someone by even getting on to one of the rosters. As the week progressed he was consistently proving to be a really effective short to intermediate passer. The release stood out to me. It was so quick and repeatable and the ball was almost always put on the money. I went back and was able to get 4 of his games in from 2017, 2 from 2016. There is a hole in his power game, as he just can’t put the ball on the rope and his throws outside the hash marks lack zip. But in a system that can hide those issues somewhat, Lauletta does a lot of other things at a high level. I think he is a career backup, but a dependable one that can stay under control and keep things sane.

R.J. MCINTOSH SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. McIntosh is a tall, athletic defensive tackle who could project to defensive end in the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He has a very quick first step, is agile, and will chase in lateral pursuit. Active, hustling play-maker who is able to penetrate into the backfield. McIntosh can have issues at the point-of-attack against the double team. He flashes as a pass rusher.

SY’56’s Take:

Strong Points:

-Active after the snap when needed, can change his style on the fly
-Powerful when engaged with run blockers, will hold his ground
-Very ball-aware, knows where to be and what to do, instinctive

Weak Points:

-Inconsistent use of leverage, plays high when he tires
-Doesn’t handle the double team well, lack of block awareness
-Will get out of control and spend too much time recovering off balanced

Summary:

Junior entry that has been a steadily growing presence in the ACC for the past 2 seasons. Overlooked in the exciting, playmaking, talent-loaded defense at Miami. McIntosh is a versatile playmaker that has a natural sense in the trenches. He is very good at getting his hands up against the short passes, very active against the run, and will make his presence known at some point. He had one of the more impressive performances against Quenton Nelson in 2017.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)

Gettleman: Kyle Lauletta of Richmond. He was just too good of a value to pass up there. He’s got all the stuff – he’s tough, he’s not shy in the pocket, he’s got pocket presence, patience and feel, which, again, those are instinctive things that you can’t teach. He throws a really nice ball, he’s accurate, he’s got a sense of anticipation and timing and the other part is he’s a runner. He’s got legitimate escape dimensions and we’re really pleased about that. He was just too good of a value there for us. We’re really thrilled to get him there. I really expected him to be long gone.

Shurmur: With Kyle, I think Dave said it, we want to develop a good and a solid quarterback culture here. This is a guy that’s a winner. I think there are people that say he doesn’t have enough arm strength. I disagree. I think he’s got all the traits, all the things you’re looking for in a quarterback – he’s tall enough, he’s got good mobility and really arm strength is about fourth on the list. You have to be a good decision-maker, you have to have a sense of timing and you have to throw an accurate ball, which he does. He does all those three things well and he uses his feet to get the ball where he needs to get it and that’s really what I was impressed by – he’s got a good set of legs, he’s tall enough, he’s a winner, he’s got moxie, he’s very competitive and so we’re glad to add him to the group and he’s one of those guys that’s going to come in and compete and be as good as he can be. If at some point he is not the starter, then he is going to do what he can to help the starter be good and that’s what I’m talking about when I say we want a great quarterback room. I’m really thrilled that we could bring him in and try to develop him and see how good he can be.

Gettleman: As far as RJ McIntosh is concerned, he’s an inside player, an inside defensive tackle. You can never have too much power in there. The kid has good power, he’s a good athlete and the other thing is – I talk about pass rush and everybody rolls their eyeballs at me upstairs. He’s got inside pass rush potential and there is stuff going around that he is 285, 290 – he really played at 300 pounds and had some kind of thyroid condition and got a little out of whack, so by the time they put him on the scale he was light. I’m not concerned about that at all. He’s young and he’s got upside, I know you guys hear it all the time, but this kid is athletic, he’s got power and he has the ability to develop into an inside pass rusher.

Shurmur: Not much more to add. I think he can play a three-technique, he can play the critical five-technique for us. He’s developmental in some ways with his body, we feel like he can be a really, really big man and that’s what you’re looking for. He’s got a really good skillset and good traits in terms of movement and he was productive and played well on a really good team, not to mention he’s a high character guy as well. We finished the draft with six guys we all really liked as players, so we feel really good about him being our sixth.

Q: You talked last week about the balance of long-term and short-term. Is Lauletta a good example of that?

Gettleman: Where we had him on the board, we couldn’t pass up the value. Very honestly and very frankly. I always am. I had a GM send me a text – they wanted to pull the trigger in the second round, but they got into team needs or whatever. At the end of the day, like Pat said, you want a good quarterback culture in the room and I think it’s going to be really healthy. This kid is driven just like Davis is driven and just like Eli is driven and you can’t put a price tag on that. Were we thinking long-term? Yeah, you have to because if you’re not thinking long-term, you always give into that situation where a guy retires or you cut him and you have nobody in line to replace him. You’ve put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.

Q: Was it always your intention to have three quarterbacks and what does this say about Davis Webb?

Shurmur: Yeah, I think once again to your point, I think it’s good to have three quarterbacks. I think this league and our game is about good quarterback play and I think it’s about development of the quarterbacks. So the longer they’re around you, the longer they can develop in your system. We wanted to go to camp with three and we’ll probably add another one – four quarterbacks — and go through camp that way and then just see where it goes. For a very long time, I was on teams where we would just keep three quarterbacks active. Another model is to have two and one on the practice squad, so we’ll see where it goes. Picking Kyle has less to do about Eli and Davis and more to do about Kyle. We liked the player and we wanted to add him to our team and then just let them compete. The one good thing about quarterbacks is I’ve watched it with my son, they’re always drafting, or in the case of college, they’re always recruiting the guy to replace you, so they’re used to competition. I don’t think you’re going to be a very good quarterback if you don’t look forward to it, so there is competition in the room – Kyle is going to be smart enough to learn everything he can from Eli and Davis and they’ll all try to be as good as they can be and then whoever becomes the starter, the other two guys can help him during the week, so that they can perform at a high level. So that’s a long answer to your question.

Q: But neither Webb nor Lauletta of those guys have taken any regular season snaps. Does that worry you?

Shurmur: No. We put the best guy in there and you can only go with the information that you have. We’ll try to get them as good as they can be within our practice format and then in the preseason and then just see where it takes us. There’s a reason why not all first round draft pick quarterbacks make it and all late round quarterbacks don’t make it. You just put them out there, let them play and see what happens.

Q: How much did the uncertainty of Davis not playing at all last year play into taking Lauletta?

Shurmur: Not at all. Like I said, it was all about Kyle and less about Davis and Eli.

Q: Did his Senior Bowl do something to shoot him up the board for you?

Gettleman: It’s interesting. There is a rule of thumb about All Star games – they can’t hurt you, they can only help you and watching him during the week and watching him play in the game, the cliff note answer is yes. He was impressive and he made some strong throws into tight windows, anticipated things and for me, that’s what really peaked my curiosity. I heard all the stuff about him from the scouts, but after watching that Senior Bowl, I said, ‘We’ve got to dig into him. You guys have to dig into him. There is something here. We just have to figure out what it is.’

Q: Did you see him in a private workout?

Shurmur: Yeah, we had a private with him. The one thing I would add to what Dave would say about his performance is when you see a Senior Bowl setting for a guy that played a lower level of competition, it’s the first time you can see ? competition and see how they perform and he did an excellent job. Again, being a coach, that’s our real first exposure to the players is at the Senior Bowl, so guys that perform well there, as Dave said, a good performance there then all of sudden we dig deeper. We found out there was a lot there that we liked.

Gettleman: When I was in Denver, John Mobley was at Kutztown and he just dominated that level of competition. I saw him play a game and in the second quarter he knocked the kid out, he just whacked him and I said, ‘Okay, I can go home now.’ So he got invited to the Blue-Gray game and played well, handled himself well and then he goes to the Senior Bowl and he steps up again, and that’s what convinced me that he was a first round pick and he had a nice eight, nine-year career.

Q: Did you guys talk to Davis Webb so that he doesn’t get a perception of it being a lack of confidence in him?

Shurmur: No. There is no lack of confidence. He doesn’t need to hear that from me.

Q: This morning Saquon Barkley was talking about being a leader as a young player. Have you ever seen that happen on teams that you have been a part of?

Gettleman: It’s very possible. Again, it’s like when I talk to these young kids and they’re 20, they’re 21-years-old and I tell them that they’re walking into a locker room with 28 and 29-year-old men who have families and mouths to feed. He’s smart and he’ll figure it out. I’m sure he’ll understand when he needs to assert himself, so to speak, and he’s a very self aware guy. It’s doable. There is no reason he can’t be. Leaders are leaders.

Shurmur: I would certainly agree with that – the whole leadership thing and new players, old players. Really good older players tend to watch rookies because there are certain things that they may know that they don’t know, so I think a guy that can come in and be genuine and be his best can – young players can be good leaders. In my opinion and I’ve said this before, you don’t have to be extraordinary in any way to lead. You just have to have the courage to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and not really worry about the consequences — there’s no reason to say that a young player can’t do it as well as an old player — then you start to lead. What we have to do and what Dave has done is we want to put a locker room of more of those guys together and then they lead one another – then the culture of your team starts and ends in that locker room.

Q: What’s your overall feeling on the draft?

Gettleman: Has any GM ever sat in this presser and said we just drafted crap? No. I’m thrilled. I felt like we did really well. Again, you’re talking about a first rounder in the second round, two-second rounders you draft in the third round, we had Kyle where we had him rated and we had RJ where we had him rated. I’m thrilled with this draft. We got big butts, we got power, we got speed. Sorry if that was inappropriate. And we got a quarterback that we really liked, so I’m not angry.

Q: When you look at the roster, how much do you look at it and think that there are still spots to fill?

Gettleman: Part of this, part of the exercise, is creating competition – bringing in players to create competition. Listen, the roster process isn’t over. It’s not over and you build your roster. Roster building is a 12-month period. So am I happy with where we are right now? Yes. Do we have some needs? Yes. Do I want us to be better? Yes. It takes time. Folks, you have to understand, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is a brick-by-brick deal and at the end of the day we’re going to keep making moves, shake up the back end of the roster until we get it right.

Q: Any chance of trading back into the last two rounds of the draft?

Gettleman: If I was going to do that, would I be sitting here talking to you?

Q: Did anything surprise you about how the draft board fell for you guys?

Gettleman: No, it didn’t. It’s really funny, it was a whole different process than we’ve done in the past and I think that there were some anxious moments when we were a little concerned, but we sat and we stayed patient and we stayed poised and where the board fell for us, we’re just thrilled how it worked out. The other part of it is that other teams are looking for different stuff. There were a couple of nerve-wracking moments, I won’t lie, but it fell to us.

Q: How did you balance ranking best player against need?

Gettleman: You put a value on the player. You can’t overvalue players. I don’t know if I ever told you this story, but when I pulled the franchise tag on Josh Norman, down in Carolina, anybody in any English-speaking nation knew we needed corners, okay? But when we got into the draft room, I told everybody, ‘We are not going to overvalue any corners and go for need.’ Let me tell you something: every time you go for need, you’re going to be angry with yourself. You’re going to be angry because you’re reaching. And if you’re in the second round, you’ve got two guys with second round values, and you’re reaching into the fourth round for need, I promise you it’s going to bite you. So, you don’t do it.

Q: A few months ago, you may have not imagined sitting in that chair. How much did you enjoy this weekend?

Gettleman: I had a ball. It was fun. It’s no different than you guys. Do you like your jobs? Please say yes. Someone that I knew owned a restaurant and said to me, ‘You’ve got a lot of pressure.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘And you do, too. You’ve got 8,000 people waiting in line, you’ve got to get the food out and it’s got to be quality food and you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. I’d crack under that. You don’t.’ It’s what you do. I said it when I was talking to somebody before when somebody asked the same question, you guys have deadlines. You guys have deadlines and the editor’s screaming at you, ‘I want 15 articles on ‘bupkis.’ And you’re going to provide the 15 articles on ‘bupkis’. So, you’ve got to get it done. You can’t sit there and scratch your head and claw your eyes out. You’ve got to get down and sit at the computer and get it done. And you guys do it. I do it.

Q: You have a lot of time now before the end of the draft. How do you guys plan on attacking the undrafted free agents?

Gettleman: [Assistant General Manager] Kevin Abrams runs that. He’s already spoken to everybody. First of all, as Pat likes to say, you don’t win a toaster for being the first team to get to 90 players. Our goal is not to get to 90; our goal is to get to the right players. If we only get to 85, then we get to 85. If we get to 80, we get to 80. I’m not stressed out about it. We will target certain players that we want and we’re going to do our best to go get them. I told you the Andrew Norwell story, the Philly Brown story, we’ll do that. And that means – you guys understand you’ve got an undrafted rookie salary cap. You only get x amount of dollars that you can spend. So, we will use that as wisely as we can. So we will target guys, if that was your question.

Q: Pat, can you clarify the toaster comment?

Shurmur: I said that before about other things. Whatever it is, you win a toaster if you do something a lot, or too much. There’s really no context [laughs].

Q: Can you explain where all the defensive tackles will fit?

Gettleman: Let me tell you something, okay? You can never have too many good players at a position. You don’t reach for need. There was one year in Carolina and we came out and we had 11 defensive linemen on the active [roster]. I don’t sit there and say, ‘I’ve got to have two of these, three of these, five of these.’ When we cut to 53, they will be the 53 best players on our football team regardless of position. Regardless. And the reason you want – first of all, you want competition. The fewer guys that you have – guys have got to understand that they’re not on scholarship anymore. You’ve got to earn your spot. And you don’t want anybody to feel like all they’ve got to do is show up, breathe, get their cleats on properly and not fall down getting out of the tunnel. The more competition, the better. You cannot have too many good players at a position. Whether it’s defensive tackle, quarterback, o-line, I don’t care. And the other thing you’ve got to understand is, the problem you get into, and I’ve seen it a number of times, you have a really good 11 or 12 guys and you don’t have quality depth behind them. What happens is the coaches, and rightly so, don’t want to put in the backups that aren’t very good. Okay? So, what happens is, guys end up playing 95-98 percent. In the fourth quarter, their tongues are hanging out. They are gassed. Let me tell you something right now, you see teams that consistently blow fourth quarter leads. Obviously that’s on the defense. I promise you they’ve got no depth. They’ve got no depth. You have to have quality depth. This is not about here or here, here, here. And I’ll tell you this: you’ve got a powerful defensive line and you can get pressure with four, you and I can play back there.

Q: So, is the bottom line that you can have a really good draft after you finish 3-13?

Gettleman: Hopefully, when we’re 13-3, we’re having just as good a draft.

MEDIA Q&A WITH KYLE LAULETTA:

Q: Did you see the Giants on your radar and what was your emotion when you got the call?

A: They were definitely on my radar. That was actually, the Giants were actually the very first team that I worked out for and Coach (Ryan) Roeder and I, I just feel like I hit it off with him and we connected really well and I was thrilled. Just the mix of emotions, getting that call, I’ve been dreaming about that for a long long time and just to have my whole family here, it was a dream come true.

Q: What are your thoughts on just walking into this quarterback situation?

A: Yeah, I mean obviously Eli has had a heck of a career and Davis, too, and honestly I just want to get in there and just get to know the guys and I believe it’s so important in the NFL to have a strong quarterback room and have a strong relationship with each other. There are so many times where you can help each other out and learn from each other, so first and foremost, I just want to get to know those guys and just get in front of the playbook and like I said, just get to know my teammates and just try to add value to that quarterback room.

Q: A lot of times when a team picks a quarterback, a team looks at you as the quarterback of the future. With Davis already here, is that a little strange for you to have to come in and compete with another guy that’s in a similar situation to you?

A: No, I don’t think so at all. They only have two guys, so they needed a third guy one way or another, and I don’t really look at it like that. Obviously in the NFL, you’re always going to bring guys in and you’re always trying to improve your team and that’s what training camp is for. I’m not really thinking about any of that right now. First and foremost, you’ve just got to get to know the guys and work hard and gain the respect of your teammates, and I’m looking forward to meeting Davis and Eli and I’ve heard a lot of great things. It’s interesting, going to the University of Richmond, there have been quite a few players that have gone to the Giants and they all say great things. Like I said, I’m just excited to get to know the guys and I just couldn’t be happier. I think it’s a great fit and I can’t wait to get started.

Q: Do you come here feeling like you have something to prove?

A: I don’t know. It’s kind of been the story for me my whole career, being doubted and kind of being the underdog. In high school I didn’t have all those big time offers that some of the other guys had and even coming out of college after my senior season, the scouts had me rated lower than I ended up getting picked, but I don’t worry about that. I’ve always been a firm believer in just honestly controlling what you can control and God has a plan and God saw fit that I would land with the New York Giants and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not coming here with something to prove. Obviously I want to compete and give the organization my everything and do my best to improve and be the best version of myself and in the end, that’s really all you can do and I’m just excited. This offseason has been long and especially these past two weeks before the draft just seems to drag on, but once you get that call, it’s just a big sigh of relief and I’m just excited to move in and just get to work and start building those relationships, because in football it’s such a great team sport and that’s the most important thing, is having a unified team and I just want to be a great teammate and help the team out however I can.

Q: What do you think when you hear comparisons to San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz?

A: Well, that’s good company to be compared to. I think obviously the comparison because of the FCS connection. I don’t know, I think maybe my game resembles a little bit more of Garoppolo than Wentz, but two great young players, two smart guys, good people, too. That’s what I’ve heard around the league, is that they’re both great guys with great futures. So, if I’m mentioned in the same breath as those two, I’m thrilled. I’m just excited, like I said. I’m excited to be here and excited to get to work.

Q: Has it sunk in yet, being a teammate to Eli Manning after growing up a fan of his brother, Peyton?

A: You know, it has. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Eli and like I said, having the Richmond connection, a lot of players have over the years, I’ve kept in contact with those guys and they’ve told me about Eli and what a great guy he is and I can’t wait to meet him. Definitely Peyton Manning was one of my idols growing up and I admired his game, but I admired Eli’s game, too, and the fact that he won a Super Bowl and he has the pedigree that he has and the family that he has, I just can’t wait to learn from him and just kind of watch the way he goes about his business and kind of take away anything that I can to help my game out. But it’s awesome. I’ve watched so much NFL football and Eli has done it at a high level for a long time, so can’t wait to get in front of him and just hear what he has to say and just learn.

Q: How would you describe your game?

A: I think, first and foremost, I’m a very accurate passer. I think I understand the game well. I’ve had four offensive coordinators in four years at Richmond. I’ve been exposed to so many different offenses and I think I have good feet, I think I throw the ball on time and just have a good understanding of where to go with the football and throwing it on time and putting it on the money. And I think there’s a lot of hype about sometimes how big you are, or how big your arm is and those sort of things, but Eli’s a perfect example. He’s not the biggest physical specimen in the NFL, but he’s incredibly intelligent, he understands the game and he’s accurate. And if I can model my game around a guy like that, like I said, I’d be absolutely thrilled. So, just excited for the opportunity.

MEDIA Q&A WITH R.J. MCINTOSH:

Q: Are you going to bring University of Miami’s ‘turnover chain’ with you to the Giants?

A: I wish I could [laughs].

Q: Do you think the Giants are a good fit for you?

A: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a great fit. I think especially with the history of the D-line they have there and the players who are there. Definitely, a great fit.

Q: How would you describe your game?

A: I think I’m a good player, I’m a quick player off the ball. I’m a hard worker and I think the New York Giants just got a great player. I’m ready to work.

Q: You’ve played both 3-4 tackle and end at Miami, right?

A: Yes, my first year I played at end and my sophomore and junior years, I played D-tackle.

Q: Do you know defensive end Olivier Vernon at all?

A: Not much. I’m sure I will get to know him a little bit more.

 

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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