DAVE GETTLEMAN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in lymphatic cells that are part of the body’s immune system.
“Recently, I underwent an annual physical, during which it was discovered I have lymphoma,” said Gettleman in a prepared statement. “Over the past week, I have undergone more testing to determine the course of treatment, which is scheduled to start in the very near future. The doctor’s outlook for the treatment and the prognosis is positive, and so am I.
“I will continue to work as much as the treatment process will allow, and as they know, when I am not in the office, I will be in constant communication with (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur), (Assistant General Manager) Kevin (Abrams) and the rest of our staff.
“I am thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and our organization for their support and encouragement, and to Ronnie Barnes for his guidance and assistance. And, of course, to my wife Joanne and our children for their love and support.
“And I want to thank you in advance for respecting my privacy and that of my family as we work our way through this. I look forward to being back at full strength and devoting all my energy to helping make this 2018 New York Giants team the best it can be.”
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN PUNTER TAYLOR SYMMANK…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent punter Taylor Symmank. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 195-pound Symmank was not drafted in 2016. The Minnesota Vikings signed him in January 2017 and waived him in early September of that year. Symmank punted nine times during the 2017 preseason, averaging 42.9 yards per punt.
NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE #8…
The Giants held their eighth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practices on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
The practice was not open to the media, but Giants.com provided the following summaries of the action:
NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE FIVE PLAYERS…
The New York Giants have officially waived the following players:
RB Terrell Watson
WR Canaan Severin
OG Damien Mama
S Ryan Murphy
P Austin Rehkow
The Giants signed Watson to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Watson originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with Bengals (2015), Cleveland Browns (2016), Denver Broncos (2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2016), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2017).
The Giants signed Severin in August 2017 after he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, waived him before the season started in September, and then re-signed him to the Practice Squad in late December. Severin was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Giants signed Mama off of the Practice Squad of the Kansas City Chiefs in December 2017. He did not play in a regular-season game. Mama was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs waived him in their final round of cuts in early September and then signed him to the Practice Squad.
Murphy was signed to the Practice Squad in September and the 53-man roster in December 2017. He played in the last three games of the season as a back-up and was credited with just one tackle. Murphy was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks waived him in their final round of cuts in September 2015. He spent time on the Practice Squad of the Denver Broncos in both 2015 and 2016. The Giants signed Murphy to the Practice Squad in late December 2016.
The Giants signed Rehkow to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Rehkow was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him in August that year.
DAVE GETTLEMAN AND PAT SHURMUR HIT THE AIRWAVES…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Pat Shurmur were interviewed by radio stations on Monday to discuss the team’s 2018 NFL Draft:
REPORTS – GIANTS TRIED TO TRADE FLOWERS, BUT NOW MAY GIVE ONE MORE CHANCE… ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants tried to trade offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the 2018 NFL draft for a “mid-round” draft pick, but found no takers. The disappointing ninth player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft has skipped all of the “voluntary” offseason program that began on April 9th despite changing positions from left to right tackle, a new coaching staff, and a new offensive playbook.
Meanwhile, The New York Post is reporting that the Giants now “will play this situation out and see what develops.” The voluntary program continues, including 10 Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices in May and June. There is a mandatory mini-camp in mid-June.
“He’s in Miami, and we’re here. He decided not to come. He’s an adult,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said during the draft. “He has the ability to make decisions on his own. This is a voluntary program and he’s decided to stay in Miami. If you want to know why he’s not here, call him.”
“This is a difficult time to talk about those kinds of things because it’s voluntary, I get that,’’ Head Coach Pat Shurmur said during a WFAN interview on Monday. “There’s enough on tape — things didn’t go very well last year for the Giants, but he played through the year and there’s enough on tape for me to see there’s talent there. So whenever he decides to come in, we’re looking forward to working with him. Hey, that’s just what it is.”
UNOFFICIAL UNDRAFTED ROOKIE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS…
The New York Giants have not yet officially announced which undrafted rookie free agents they have signed after the 2018 NFL Draft. There are unofficial media, school, player, and Twitter reports that the following players have been “signed.” Please keep in mind that these reports are often wrong. Many others will be invited to the May 11-12 rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. When we have a complete list, we will post it.
QB Thomas Sirk, 6’4”, 234lbs, 4.91, ECU
WR Davon Grayson, 6’1”, 199lbs, 4.52, ECU
WR Jawill Davis, 6’1”, 191lbs, 4.43, Bethune-Cookman University
TE Stephen Baggett, 6’5”, 244lbs, 4.90, ECU
OC Evan Brown, 6’2”, 314lbs, 4.97, SMU
OG/OT Nick Gates, 6’5”, 307lbs, 5.48, University of Nebraska
OT Tyler Howell, 6’8”, 328lbs, 5.32, University of Missouri
DT Tyrell Chavis, 6’3”, 305lbs, 5.33, Penn State University
LB Tae Davis, 6’1”, 220lbs, 4.78, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
CB Aaron Davis, 6’1”, 189lbs, 4.54, University Georgia
CB Grant Haley, 5’9”, 190lbs, 4.43, Penn State University
CB Bryon Fields, 5’10”, 190lbs, 4.51, Duke University
S Sean Chandler, 5’10”, 205lbs, 4.66, Temple University
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.
-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
-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
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.
-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
-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
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.
With the 2nd and 5th picks in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’5”, 250-pound linebacker Lorenzo Carter from the University of Georgia and 6’3”, 311-pound defensive tackle B.J. Hill from North Carolina State University.
LORENZO CARTER SCOUTING REPORT: Lorenzo is tall, athletic 3-4 linebacker who moves very well for his size. He is a disruptive forward mover who flies around the field and has a knack for creating turnovers. Lorenzo causes problems with his quickness and closing burst but can get hung up on blocks at times. He flashes as a pass rusher. Lorenzo will need work in coverage but he is a good athlete. Improving player with a big upside.
-Physically gifted with a rare combination of speed, height, length, and speed
-Progressed throughout the 2017 season as much as any defender in the class
-Versatile skill set that can be used in multiple roles, in space and in the trenches
-Still a step behind mentally when it comes to reading defenses and reacting
-Hesitant when taking on blocks
-High hipped, too much of a straight line athlete
A former 5 star recruit that earned the newcomer of the year award for UGA in 2014, Carter simply took awhile to blossom. He has always been packed with talent and ability, but the football sense wasn’t quite clicking for him until 2017. He was a situational guy, a good edge rusher with burst and long strides that would eat up a 5-10 yard window in a blink. But his role expanded in 2017 and he showed the kind of versatility and overall progress that could end up getting his name called in the 1st round. The NFL loves tools paired with a good attitude, and that he has. Carter is a little to manufactured for me, meaning he is only a top tier player when the role is simple and he can burst in to a straight line. He comes back down to earth when the game is quickly changing directions and quality reads need to be made. I love the upside here, but he is a 3rd round-only option for NYG in my book.
B.J. HILL SCOUTING REPORT: Hill is an average-sized defensive tackle who could project to defense end in the Giants’ 3-4 scheme. He is a quick, athletic player for his size. Hill plays with good leverage and is a tough, disruptive run defender although he can have issues at the point-of-attack. To date, he has not proven to be much of a pass rusher.
-Derives more than enough power from his lower body
-Can play low and quick
-Versatile skill set, can shoot the gap and create a new line of scrimmage
-Block awareness is lacking, fails to see down blocks and gets washed out
-Doesn’t deliver a quality bull rush, eyes get lost
-Production vs the double team was lacking, too much movement
3+ year starter. Really solid player that has been quietly productive and even somewhat overlooked in that dominant NC State line. Hill has the body of a run stuffer but the movement of a pass rusher. He is a disruptor that would be at his best in a penetrating role. He shows potential as a space eater when the situation calls for it, as his quick twitch power and aggressive hands can make life difficult for a run blocker. I suspect NYG will be very interested in him if they are leaning to a true 3-4 as a DE.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: I’ll talk about the two kids first. Lorenzo Carter, who by the way went to Georgia, not Clemson. I can’t wait to kill (Chris) Canty.
Q: It was wrong on the card. The card said Clemson. I think it was the card that the league provides.
Gettleman: Oh, so the league had it wrong. You just gave Canty an out. Okay, Lorenzo is an edge pass rusher, he’s a solid run player, he’s big, he can run – he has been a very good special teams player at Georgia and he’s going to give us flexibility. He’s going to be an outside player obviously and he’ll give us pass rush in addition to like I said, he’s a pretty darn good run player and he has really good special teams ability. B.J. Hill is an inside powerbroker, defensive tackle. Just like Lorenzo, he’s instinctive, he’s smart. B.J. is a powerful, tough son of a gun and sometimes as a defensive lineman at the college level, you’ll see them in these three-point stances and then you’ll see them in the four- point frog stance, and in the four-point frog stance they’re not going to get any pass rush. But when his hand is in the dirt in the three-point, he showed the ability to get up field, flip his hips and track the guy down, so we’re really pretty pleased. Again, both those guys had second round value for us, so we’re really pleased for that.
Shurmur: Yeah, I don’t have much to add. With Lorenzo, he can really run, he’s got length. As Dave mentioned, he’s a pass rusher, but yet he did a great job of setting the edge. He played his best football in his biggest games and that’s really what showed up and he’s a special teams player, so he’ll have an immediate impact there. But just a big, long guy that’s going to be an edge – you want a couple or three pressure-type players from the edge and he’ll compete for that spot for us. B.J. Hill, he’s tough to block. He’s good against the run, he’s kind of a little bit sneaky getting his pass rush, so we’ll get a little pass rush out of him as well and he played on a really good defensive line. He was a very, very productive guy and I’ll tell you what, when I had him on the phone, I could barely hear him – the people in the background were going absolutely crazy and he was probably as excited as anyone to get up here and get going. So that’s what you’re getting in those guys – two really good defensive players that we’re going to add to the mix, get them out there going and trained up and playing on Sunday.
Q: Getting back to what was said earlier, was getting these two guys about value or need?
Gettleman: Again, the perfect setup is when value meets need and I’ll be honest, we made an attempt to trade up but we couldn’t get anything and we couldn’t get it done. Sometimes patience is a virtue and obviously pass rush can come from a lot of different places, but in the ideal world you don’t need to blitz to get inside pressure. We feel strongly that B.J. Hill has the ability – he’s got things to learn, we’re talking the third round here. He’s got things to learn, but again, I like the way that he’s strong up field and the ability to flip his hips. If a guy can’t flip his hips, he can’t rush the passer unless the guy in front of him falls down.
Q: Did you say you tried to trade up for Carter?
Gettleman: Yes. We tried and thank God we didn’t have to.
Q: What changed? An hour ago you said you weren’t going to trade up.
Gettleman: That’s right, you caught me. He’s an outside edge pass rusher. We need pass rushers, every team needs pass rushers – c’mon.
Q: You mentioned a couple of times that you need to run the ball, stop the run and rush the passer. That is what you did with your first four picks. Is that a coincidence?
Gettleman: Again, I really believe in those three truths, I really do. Running the ball makes your defense better and there is that old saying that I told you guys, a good team runs when they want to and they run when they have to. If you don’t stop the run, you can take your pass rushers and tell them to go home because they’re not going to be able to rush the passer on 2nd-and-3 and 3rd-and-1, it just doesn’t work.
Q: As a former coordinator, did you sense excitement from James Bettcher when you took two defensive guys with these picks?
Shurmur: There was definitely excitement in the room because we had a consensus between the scouts and the coaches of what we thought of these guys and we liked them a great deal, so they were excited that they were available for us to pick. Yeah, we addressed a couple issues. (Hill) is probably the counterpart to Will Hernandez, kind of a gritty, tough guy on the other side of the line and he’s got youth, he’s got health on his side, plays extremely hard and we’re excited to have him.
Gettleman: That game inside between those hog mollies, that is a violent, violent workplace. If those guys aren’t tough, you’ve got no chance, you’ve got no chance and that’s what B.J. – he’s a tough kid just like Hernandez is a tough kid. Lack of toughness inside, it’s going to catch up to you somewhere along the line. At some point in your season, lack of toughness will catch up.
Q: How do you get him on the field with having Snacks at that spot?
Shurmur: Ideally, there will be a rotation there, so they’ll roll through it. I think that’s what you’re seeing now. Whether you play a five-on-the-line front or a lot of the time you’re in a four-man front, you see a rotation and that’s the best way to play our guys. So hopefully when we have good candidates to play those positions we can get a little rotation there that will keep them all fresher throughout the game and then limit their reps throughout the season, so that they can play longer, hopefully into the playoffs.
Gettleman: When I was in Carolina, we had eight guys, just roll them in and out, and the ability to keep those guys fresh is really a terrific thing. It’s one of those deals where you’d like to keep your starters in around 75 percent. You’d like your backups to be good enough to be 35, take away the three, 25 percent instead of 35. That’s the ideal world. You look at what Philly did last year and they were rolling them in and out. What that does and the other thing that is the kind of unseen part of it is that if you’re playing Philadelphia and you’re an offensive lineman, you might see seven different guys in a pass rush situation – those guys better study for those seven different guys or else they’re going to get their fannies beat. Back in the day, you know if we played Dallas, Larry Allen was the left guard and Keith Hamilton was the right tackle and they were going to bang away on each other all day long every game. It’s different now – they’re rolling them in and out and you’re seeing defensive ends playing inside. Look at what we did with Justin (Tuck) in the Super Bowl and what Brandon Graham did for the Eagles this past Super Bowl. You’ve got to understand the rotation and the ability because the other thing that you have to think about and John Fox had a statement, which was kind of interesting – he said, the biggest mismatch in the world is the smaller, quicker defensive tackles against the offensive guard and that’s true, but I’m going tell you right now, if I’m 285 and I’ve got this 325-pounder banging on me all day long and I can’t get a breath, the fourth quarter is going to be owned by the offense.
Q: You guys did a lot of work on Bradley Chubb. When you looked at it the tape, did you notice B.J. Hill?
Shurmur: We go through it four times and watch each guy specifically. I think the important thing is that you want an outstanding front liner at all positions, but you have to develop big body depth on both sides of the line. This is one of those picks, talking about B.J. specifically. Then, you need edge and you need pressure. Edge-type guys. That plays into that third component of getting pressure on the quarterback. Really, look at the Super Bowl. There was, what, 2,000 yards of offense? It came down to one pass rush, knocking the ball out of Brady’s hands. Graham on the guard. That is where the pass rush comes in.
Q: Does a guy like Lorenzo Carter being 6-5, 250 and running a 4.5 and only having 15 career sacks worry you?
Shurmur: He was involved on a team that got a lot of pressure. Although he didn’t get sacks, there was a time where he did get pressure. There are some really dynamic rushes that he put on the quarterback where he was able to step up, move around and do something. He has got it in him. I think what you see on tape most of the time, you can tell he can set the edge and turn the run back in. We were joking that it looked to me like they were going to pull his scholarship if he didn’t set the edge. He set the edge pretty well. You can see the pass rush ability in a handful of rushes that were pretty dynamic.
Gettleman: Who doesn’t want to draft a kid that has 58,000 sacks? What you have to appreciate is his unseen production. If he is flying off the edge, he is creating pressure. Sometimes you are looking at guys that create plays for others. You have to look at that. That is part of it. At the end of the day, he does not have ginormous sack numbers, not a lot of these guys do. A lot of these kids don’t have pass rush plans or pass rush variety. Our job is to teach them that. Lorenzo has great speed off the edge. He is explosive. We really believe he is going to help be part of that pressure.
Q: I know you were asked about Ereck Flowers on the radio today. Do you have anything to add?
Gettleman: He’s in Miami and we are here. He decided not to come. He’s an adult and he has the ability to make decisions on his own. This is a voluntary program and he has decided to stay in Miami. If you want to know why he is not here, call him.
Q: Have you individually called each prospect?
Shurmur: The process is that as we are picking them, we will give them a phone call. I’ll start the conversations and then it passes onto Dave and ownership.
Gettleman: Many years ago, a team picked a kid that had unfortunately been killed the night before. Since that day, everyone calls you. Just let me hear you breathe, kid. Once the caller gets in touch with the kid, we send the pick in.
Q: Two days and four picks in, how do you think you’ve done?
Shurmur: I’m thrilled. Dave and I were talking leading up to the draft and I really believe that we were going to get a lot better. With four picks, we have gotten a lot better. That is where we are at trying to build a team, trying to build a great team. We have added four young players that will be part of that equation. I’m excited.
Gettleman: I’m thrilled. Really. Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, you talk about running the ball, I think we got a little better at that. Then, Lorenzo and B.J. Hill, you talk about defending the run and rush the passer. We got better at that. Very pleased.
Q: Do you leave here tonight looking at your board and hoping that there are some guys that are available tomorrow?
Gettleman: We will hang around until it’s over and then we will discuss. We will look at the board and see where we are at. We are at 108. I don’t know how many picks down that is. You go through the same process. When you are so far away, you start bringing everyone in and look at your army and all the guys that should be in the conversation. When someone gets picked, you ask who the next guy is that is going to come into the conversation. To this point, first round in the second round, two second rounds in the third round, so I’m not mad.
Q: You talked about the offensive line and defensive line and referenced Philly. How do you feel about the improvement of both of your lines?
Shurmur: We are two picks better. That is true. We have added youth and depth to both of our lines. Initially, it becomes competition in the building and it puts the better group of guys on the field to compete against Philly.
Gettleman: Exactly. Two picks better in the D-line, one pick better in the O-line, two picks better in the O-line in free agency. We are getting better, boys and girls.
MEDIA Q&A WITH LORENZO CARTER:
Q: What is your reaction to getting drafted by the Giants?
A: I’m honored, first of all. It’s a blessing, I’m ready to get in with my family. It was a long couple of nights, but I’m honored. Thankful, very thankful to be in New York. I’m excited.
Q: Was it difficult waiting this long to get drafted?
A: A little bit, but I just knew God had everything planned out. This has been God’s plan a long time before me or you even thought about this. But I’m just going to trust the process and look forward to getting up there and getting to work.
Q: Do you know linebacker Alec Ogletree at all?
A: Oh, yeah.
Q: How well do you know Ogletree?
A: I know him a little bit, not too much. He was a little bit before my time. But I know he’s a legend, at Georgia especially.
Q: So, now you get to play with Ogletree, right?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you visit with the Giants during the Draft process?
A: I didn’t get a chance to make a visit up there, I was a little bit busy. But I talked to the Giants, I had a chance to visit with them at the Combine and I enjoyed it. The combine is crazy, as you guys know. So, it was a fast, very fast visit.
Q: How much of a pass rusher are you?
A: I guess we’ll see. I feel like I’m an elite pass rusher, but have got to go out there and show it. Looking forward to doing that.
Q: Do you fit into a 3-4 defense better than a 4-3?
A: I feel like I can fit into a lot of systems, especially being at Georgia, doing the things I did. I did some of everything. It wasn’t comfortable at first, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, I wanted to pass rush. But being in that system, getting a chance to put my foot in the water, do a little bit of everything everywhere, I’m comfortable everywhere now. So, I’m comfortable in any defense. I’m just looking forward to getting there and getting a playbook.
MEDIA Q&A WITH B.J. HILL:
Q: What do you think you bring to the Giants?
A: I think I bring a smart player and a physical [player] who loves to compete with the best of the best. That’s what my dream is, play with the best of the best and compete against them. And I bring hard work. I bring everything to the table. My leadership, just going down the line, I bring it all.
Q: How do you think you fit in a 3-4 defense?
A: I think I fit well in it. I played a little bit of it in college and I think I’ll be fine in the next level as well. So, I don’t think it will bother me at all.
Q: When you played in a 3-4 system in college, were on the nose or in a gap?
A: It was both. I played a lot of nose in college. I played head up on the center most of the time. So, that’s what I played.
Q: Have you talked with former teammate and Broncos first round pick Bradley Chubb the last two days?
A: I haven’t had a chance to call him yet. I’m going to call him in a little bit. We texted a little bit today, earlier today. I told him congratulations last night and he texted me not long ago congratulations. I haven’t had the time to respond to him yet, but we always keep in touch and I’m ready to see my other teammate defensive linemen come off the board too.
Q: Did you know that you sacked Head Coach Pat Shurmur’s son (Kyle) in college?
A: Who did he play for? I did not know that.
Q: Vanderbilt’s quarterback.
A: Oh, that is right, yup. I do remember that, we did talk about that. That did come up not too long ago.
Q: Did you take an official visit to the Giants facility?
A: I did not, I wish I did. But I’m planning on coming up there tomorrow and visiting and meeting the coaches and everybody.
Q: What was your interaction with the Giants in the Draft process?
A: They came down, the D-line coach, I don’t remember when it was, but I met with them at some point. I had so many visits, meeting with the teams and stuff like that. But yeah, I came in contact with them and met them.
With the 2nd pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’2”, 327-pound offensive guard Will Hernandez from UTEP.
SCOUTING REPORT: Four-year starter who lined up at left guard in college. Hernandez lacks ideal height, but he is a big, tough, strong, powerful guard who does his best work in-line and not on the move. Hernandez is a mauler who plays with leverage and gets movement as a run blocker. He plays with an attitude and looks to finish his blocks and punish opponents. Hernandez lacks ideal foot quickness which hampers his game in space as a puller and at the second level. He is a very good pass protector who won’t be bull-rushed and can mirror and slide with pass rushers.
-A bull when he is moving downhill off the snap
-Excellent leverage and initial punch, almost always wins the contact battle
-Quick feet as a side shuffle pass blocker
-Slow out of his stance as a lateral mover
-Struggles to maintain separation from defenders
-Gets top heavy, shows his numbers to the dirt, doesn’t keep his head up
Fifth year senior. Hernandez will be ready for NFL right away when it comes to the power game. He won’t be pushed back by anyone and he will excel as a straight ahead run blocker. I get nervous with him elsewhere, however. If he is up against speed and quickness inside on passing downs, a growing trend, I can see him having a hard time. He doesn’t lock guys up and there are some adjustment issues. He can be a stud in the right scheme, but a major liability in the wrong scheme. He is not a one size fits all lineman.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: One of the great gifts you can get in the draft is when value meets need and we had a solid first round grade on Willie, so we’re thrilled to get him. He’s exactly what we’re looking for. He’s a power blocker, he’s tough, he finishes strong. He played for an 0-13 team last year and if you look at him in game 13, you know the kid has pride, he has a tremendous amount of pride because he played as hard in that game as he played in game one. You know I love the hog mollies and this guy really has a lot of talent. He is a very athletic kid for his size. He can run, he can pull and he plays very smart. I’m thrilled we got him.
Shurmur: Yeah, likewise. We had him graded in the first round, so we were excited and a little anxious at the end of the round last night. We were hopeful that he would be there and certainly being second today, we just had to wait out what Cleveland was going to do. We had a decent idea that they were going to go O-line, so we were kind of waiting to see and fortunately they didn’t pick our guy. But Will is going to give us strength in the middle, he’s good in the run game as well as the pass game. I think it’s very important to anchor the inside of the pocket and the passing game, which he can certainly do. He can do all the things that you need to see from a guard and he’s been very productive. He had an outstanding Senior Bowl. What’s lost in some of the scouting – the Senior Bowl is one of the first real events or exposures that we as coaches have with players and it’s a great way for us to get a kick start as coaches on what you’re going to see from the players because it’s good against good in kind of a pro setting and he had a really, really good week. Every exposure, we just continued to warm up to him as a guy that was going to fit our New York Giants culture, so we were pleased that he was there and we picked him.
Q: Did you have any thoughts of moving up back into the first round to get Will?
Gettleman: No. Right now, the bottom line is we’ve only got six picks, so if you’re moving up, you’re going to drop a pick and we just can’t do that. If you had a full complement of picks, we might have, but sometimes patience is rewarded.
Q: You were here when the Giants drafted Chris Snee. Do you remember how you felt about him and does Hernandez correspond there?
Gettleman: Will is bigger obviously. Will is a natural 320-pound guy. What made Chris unique is he had great quickness and he was strong as an ox and he was a very good athlete. Comparing Will to him, he is just a bigger guy but, again, strong as an ox and a really good athlete. I vividly remember that day.
Q: Is he a similar prospect in your mind?
Gettleman: Yeah, you don’t want to anoint him. This kid has a chance to be really, really good.
Q: In Carolina, you took a lot of big, long offensive linemen. Do you have a general theory on offensive linemen?
Gettleman: Body range is always great. It is always great to have the body range. In Carolina, you know (Panther G) Trai Turner is only 6-2 and change, but he’s a long armed guy and he’s athletic and powerful. It’s about watching film really and there are plenty of guys that are weight room strong that aren’t game strong and there are guys that you look at and you kind of scratch your head when you put the film on and they play with great power. My point is there are 320-pound guys that can play like they are 290 and there are 300-pound guys that can play 350. To me, the biggest thing is you obviously want them to be as athletic as they can be so that they can make all the blocks – you can reasonably expect and you want them to be smart because especially inside, people have this, there’s this thing in scouting, ‘Well, we’ll try him at tackle if he doesn’t work out inside.’ That’s a fallacy. It’s a different game inside, Pat (Shurmur) will tell you, he played there in his career. It’s a different game, it’s happening twice as fast. Basically a tackle or in some schemes, you tell the tackle, ‘You see that guy over there, the defensive end. Just block him all day long and I don’t care what number it is, but you block that defensive end.’ Inside, it is completely different because of the speed, so you’re looking for athletic ability, you’re looking for power, you’re looking for intelligence and instincts because the stuff happens so fast in there that if the kid is not instinctive, he’s going to fail. I’ve seen guys go inside and fail miserably because it was just too fast.
Q: When you talk about Hernandez playing as hard in his 13th game as he did in his first, does it say that this kid’s character matches his talent?
Gettleman: Just think about it. Just imagine you guys playing any sport and you’ve got an X game season and you haven’t won a game and you’re playing the last game. Fifty percent of the population is going to say, ‘Forget about it, I’m done.’ The toughness and the character of this kid in the 13th game was very, very impressive.
Q: How much debate went into other players at this pick?
Gettleman: When we took him, he was the guy on the board that was ranked the highest.
Q: You were part of a recent offensive line rebuild. Does what the Giants have done so far this offseason remind you of something that can be successful?
Shurmur: Eerily similar to a year ago actually. Dave and I were just talking about it and this really wasn’t planned, but it was part of the equation. But, a year ago in Minnesota we went out and got two free agents and then we drafted Pat Elflein, who played center for us and played at a level way above what a rookie would play. This year we went out and got two free agents and now we’ve drafted another offensive lineman and a year ago we brought in Dalvin Cook and we brought in Saquon Barkley. I don’t think it was planned that way, but it sort of worked out that way and we’ve got two more picks tonight, so we’ll see what happens. But I do know this, whether you coach offense, you coach defense, it doesn’t matter what position you coach – if you can’t block them, nothing works and so we’ve made obviously an effort here to improve ourselves up front, so all those guys that do the fancy stuff can do their thing.
Q: How much better did your running game get in the last two days?
Shurmur: A lot better. We’re all saying that with a smile. I think when you bring in a dynamic runner and then you bring in a guy that can block, certainly those are two pieces to the equation.
Q: Patrick Omameh has played left guard and so does Will. What are your initial thoughtd about that?
Shurmur: Will is going to play both sides to see where he fits in. He is going to get the same speech that I gave Saquon earlier. I gave him that ‘here is your locker, here is your helmet, here is the field’ speech. He is going to get the same speech.
Gettleman: Just so you know, Patrick started games at right guard early in his career.
Q: How is Hernandez pulling out on screens and stuff like that?
Gettleman: He is a really good athlete. For a guy at his size, he really is a good athlete. He can bend, he can change direction. Part of being a power blocker is the ability to pull your hips on contact. He can do that.
Q: Some of the clips you see, he looks a little nasty.
Gettleman: He’s a little cranky. He is cranky.
Shurmur: It is kind of a good thing in our sport. A lot of parts in our culture, that is not admired. Certainly in our sport it is something that we value. Cranky is good.
Q: Could he be ahead of the game because in his first four years at UTEP, he had a guy that was an NFL offensive line coach?
Shurmur: Yes, and I think that shows up in his play. You can see that he has been coached pretty well and that certainly starts the process. We talk about guys that can come in and play right away and there are other guys that are developmental. This is a guy that has a really good chance to come in, compete and play very early in his career.
Q: What kind of advantage is it for you to have two more picks tonight that are close together?
Gettleman: The advantage is that they are both at the top of the third. The board is holding up the way I believed it would. I think we are going to have a shot at two pretty good, young and talented players.
Q: How important is it to fill some defensive gaps with these next two picks?
Gettleman: I’m going to go with the board. You just can’t reach. Obviously we would like to balance it out and give the defense some help. They call me crazy, but it is the value of the pick. It is not about numbers. For example, I was with a team back in the past and we cut a wide receiver because the numbers said we needed X amount of receivers. This was when the cut was to 65, back in the day. We cut this kid who was having a damn good camp. We keep this fullback that was slipping, falling and just was not very good. I went into the GM’s office and asked, ‘What are we doing? We sent a better player out of here than the one we are keeping, this makes no sense.’ We talked about it some more and we ended up getting the kid as soon as he got off the plane, we told him to just stay at the gate and get back on the one coming back. The end of the day, the kid got cut and played nine more years in the league.
Q: What was Saquon’s reaction to the pick?
Gettleman: Didn’t you hear that loud scream?
Q: What about Eli Manning’s?
Gettleman: I’m waiting for the text.
MEDIA Q&A WITH WILL HERNANDEZ:
Q: How excited are you to join a Giants team that is showing a focus to the running game, after the selection of Saquon Barkley in the first round?
A: I’m beyond excited. The fact that I get to work with guys like that, it’s like, wow. The Giants all around is just a great, great team. The fan base is amazing. The coaching staff, when I met them on my private visit, was amazing. They were all real cool guys. I’m just excited to be a part of that team.
Q: What was last night like for you, were you expecting to go in the first round?
A: You know what, I always thought to prepare for the worst and expect the best. But honestly, I knew my range was one or two. Honestly, one through seven, I would’ve been fine. As long as I get the opportunity at the end to get picked up by a team, that’s really all that mattered to me.
Q: How hard was going through an 0-13 season last year in college?
A: Oh, it was one of the worst seasons I’ve ever experienced in my life. It taught me a lot, it made me so much stronger. The only thing I want to do is just make sure that never happens to me again because I just want to win. I just want to win games.
Q: Can you talk about your personality on the field?
A: On the field, I’m a completely different person than I am off the field. I take football very seriously. It’s more than a game to me, it’s who I am. So, whenever I get on that field, I take it with all seriousness. Of course, I have fun with it, but with a serious, controlled attitude. And I love playing the game, I love the feeling that it gives me before, during and after, especially after a win. And that’s just me on the field. I take it very seriously, I have fun with it, but that’s me.
Q: What stood out to you during your visit to the Giants facility?
A: The coaching staff. The coaching staff, I think, really got me excited. I got to meet everybody there. Everybody there was just really, really cool and you can tell that everybody there has one common goal, and that’s to win. I love surrounding myself with people like that and I’m just really excited I get to work with them.
Q: Are you more comfortable on the left or the right side?
A: Wherever they decide to put me, that’s where I’ll be. I’m comfortable on both sides. I’ve always practiced it, I always try to do what’s best for the team. I don’t really worry about what’s comfortable and what’s not. I do what my team needs me to do and that’s it.
Q: How ready do you think you will be to play right away?
A: You know what, that’s up to the coaches themselves. Like I said, they’re great coaches, I trust them 100 percent, but if you ask me, I feel like I can play right now. I’m fully confident in myself, but it’s just not up to me, it’s up to everybody. So, whenever the coaches call my name, I’ll be ready.
Q: Was quarterback Eli Manning at the facility when you visited?
A: Yes, he was.
Q: What was your conversation with Manning like?
A: I saw him from afar, didn’t get to meet him personally, but it was crazy to see him in person. He’s an awesome player. Obviously, I know so much about him. I see him all the time and it was just crazy that I was in the same room with him.
Q: Is it also a little crazy that now one of your jobs is to protect Manning?
A: Of course. It’s so much responsibility and ready to go, though. I got him, I got him 100 percent.
Q: Can you reflect on how far you have come from some of the adversity that you faced during high school?
A: Yeah, if you look at my life then and now, it’s completely night and day. I did go through a lot. A lot of it, I can’t complain too much about it because it shaped me into the player I am today and the person I am today. And honestly, I think if I wouldn’t have gone through all that, I don’t know if I’d be here. I’m telling you, it changed me. It changed my mindset, it changed my mentality, it completely made me the player I am. I took all of that and took it out on the field. I don’t wish it on anybody, but I’m thankful that it happened.
With the 2nd pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’0”, 233-pound running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State University.
SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Barkley is a complete three-down back who can make an impact running and catching the football. He has an outstanding combination of size, quickness, and speed. Home-run threat every time he touches the football. Barkley has great vision, instincts, and balance. He makes defenders miss and can accelerate to full speed in a heartbeat. Not limited, he is tough enough to run between the tackles and fast enough to turn the corner. In addition, Barkley is big enough to run through and athletic enough to leap over tackle attempts. Barkley is a very good pass receiver who can hurt a defense down the field in the passing game. Outstanding kick returner. His biggest negatives are that he isn’t a particularly powerful short-yardage back and he will sometimes try to do too much and dance around instead of taking what the defense gives him. Excellent intangibles. Team leader with a good work ethic.
-Top tier movement when it comes to agility, explosion, speed
-Able to see diagnose and adjust on the fly, balance and control are at a rare level
-A big time factor as a pass catcher
-Doesn’t take what the defense gives, too often looking for the home run
-Too much dancing as he approaches the inside running lanes
-Doesn’t impact pass rushers the way he can
Junior entry. The top player in this draft, something I have been saying since early October. Barkley is a generational talent that does almost everything at the top level. He is built to carry a load when he has to and has the versatility to impact the game in several ways. He can be a focal point of an offense much like what Elliot and Gurley have provided for DAL and LAR, respectively.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: Obviously, we felt Saquon was the best player in the draft. In baseball, they call it a five-tool player. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pick five tools, but I have not seen a guy like this in a long time and I have been around a long time. I have been doing this for 30-plus years. The kid is so unique because of his size and his speed. He has the ability to string together multiple moves. He has the ability to step on the gas. He can do what we call cross the formation. There are a lot of good backs in this league, but they don’t have the speed to go across the formation. We all know he can catch the heck out of the rock. He is smart in blitz pickup, he sees it. That is probably the biggest issue with all these young rushers now. He is powerful, he runs through tackles and he runs through hits. When we were in here before, we were talking about quarterbacks and if they make everyone better. If you think about it, this kid makes our quarterback better, he makes our receivers better, he makes our O-line better. He makes our defense better because he has the much stronger ability to hold the ball. He is a great kid and he will be great for our culture. He was the unanimous best player in our draft.
Q: What about the positional value argument?
Gettleman: You know what I say about that. It is a crock. At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. He is a touchdown maker. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball. I think a lot of that stuff is nonsense. I think it is someone who had decided to get into the analytics of it and went through whatever. Jonathan Stewart is in his tenth year and he has not lost anything. I don’t believe in that. I don’t care who you take, they can all get hurt.
Q: Was this an easy pick for you?
Gettleman: At the end of the day? Do I have to tell the truth? Yes. Nothing changed. You can overthink it, it’s a running back this and that, you can make yourself crazy about it and you can overthink things. You have to go with your instincts and understand what it takes to put together a winning football team.
Q: You know who your starting quarterback is, but with the addition of Saquon, do you think this is a vote of confidence in Davis Webb?
Shurmur: I don’t know that. I think Dave said it, we thought that this was the best player in the draft. We know the value he brings to our team. He is a three-down running back. He can run it, catch it and pass protect. He can be on the field as long as he can handle it. Certainly, we are going to sub him at times. I don’t know if it is a vote of confidence in Davis. We loved what we saw this week. He got better every day. We certainly all know what Eli brings to the table. This is one pick. He is a tremendous player and he is going to do a lot for our offense and our organization. If everyone gets to know him as well as we got to know him, everyone is going to see how special this young man is.
Q: How much interest was there in the No. 2 pick?
Gettleman: We had such a strong conviction on Saquon. I was talking to people. Not a lot, but we all had such a conviction on this kid. At the end of the day, very frankly, today, Baker Mayfield goes. The only reason that pick wasn’t in at 9:58 was because we had to wait till the five-minute mark.
Q: Did you have any significant enough offers that made you consider a trade?
Gettleman: The short answer is no, not really. People call you and they want the second pick of the draft for a bag of donuts, a hot pretzel and a hot dog. Leave me alone. I don’t have time to screw around.
Q: Did Sam Darnold falling to No. 2 affect the trade talks?
Gettleman: They went Mayfield, we were taking Saquon. It’s that simple.
Q: How long have you been thinking about Saquon and where he can fit? Have you drawn anything up with him in mind?
Shurmur: In my spare time, certainly. I think every guy that we thought we would take, in my mind, we had a role for. The running back is an easy guy to fit in an offense. You have to turn around and hand it to him. It doesn’t take a genius to do that. Then, a lot of times when you try and throw the ball downfield and they cover them all, you can dump him off the ball, or you can feature him in the pass game. I have seen the effects of a really, really good running back not only on the offense, but on the team. You have to run the football not just for your offense, but for your team. I have seen the effect that a great running back can have on teams. I was excited about the fact that he was the best player in the draft and I was excited about the fact that we were able to draft him.
Q: Who does he remind you of?
Shurmur: He is unique for me because he has quickness and he has speed. He can score touchdowns from any part of the field and he has a couple of things I am looking for. Number one, he can catch the football. That is first and foremost. He has great vision and then he has what we call in coaching ‘collision balance’. When he goes through the hole and someone tries to tackle him, he can keep his balance, but also when he is stepping up to try and block someone, he has a good set of lowers to drop his weight on him. We are going to nitpick him, I’m sure, at some point, but this is a guy that can do everything.
Q: You were very clear that Saquon Barkley was the right pick? What was your second option?
Gettleman: I don’t think it is fair to the kid to answer that question.
Q: How much discussion was there about having to fall in love with one of the quarterbacks because you might need one soon?
Gettleman: That tells you your answer right there. If you have to try to make yourself fall in love with a player, it is wrong. You will never be happy with the pick. You have to go through the process. As Theo Epstein said, you don’t cheat the process. You get all the information and give everyone their say at the right time. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to talk yourself into a guy. If you talk yourself into a guy, you are making a mistake. There was a player on our board as recently as three days ago. We couldn’t figure him out. We didn’t know where he fit. Coaches weren’t sure if he was a fit and we as evaluators weren’t sure if he was a fit. You know what, at the end of the day, if you can’t picture it, don’t take him. That’s really what it is. If you have to make yourself fall in love with a guy, you are going to make a mistake.
Q: And that’s what it would have been with the quarterbacks?
Gettleman: If you have to make yourself fall in love with a guy… You’re not getting a quote.
Q: Eli is 37. What is the long-term plan at quarterback?
Gettleman: What’s the long-term plan with the quarterback? He’s going to play. What do you want me to tell you? He’s our quarterback, we believe in him, he threw the hell out of the ball for three days, he has not lost one bit of arm strength and I’m coming back five years later, watching a quarterback in his prime, and now he’s 37. You have to stop worrying about age. Oh, by the way, Julius Peppers played last year at 38, Mike Davis played at 37. There are some guys that are just freaks. Brady is 41. I mean c’mon. He is our quarterback.
Q: Eli Manning only has two years left on his deal. Do you think he can play past that contract?
Gettleman: We’re going to find out. We’re going to find out.
Q: The guy you passed on was drafted by the team across town right after you. They’re going to be compared to each other. Did you recognize that and what do you have to say about that?
Gettleman: Slow down. We passed on about 230,000 players. You guys have got to understand me, I don’t care. All I care about is the New York Football Giants and every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I don’t care about that stuff. It doesn’t bother me. I know you’re looking at me like I’m crazy. I don’t care. Every decision that we are going to make is going to be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. It is going to be in the best interest of this iconic franchise.
Q: Who does Saquon remind you of?
Gettleman: You guys are going to have to called Ernie (Accorsi). The thing that makes him different is he has the feet and speed of a little guy, with the power and strength of a big guy. That’s what makes him so darn unique. He’s different. It’s like he was touched by the hand of God, frankly. I can’t give you a name. I wish I could. Call Ernesto, that’s what you’ve got to do.
Q: You’ve been pretty honest in your gold jacket test. Do you see Saquon Barkley as a potential Hall of Famer and how do you expect him to handle those kinds of expectations?
Gettleman: Listen, he’s a wonderful kid and there is going to be a load on him. He just had a kid, second pick in the draft, biggest media market in the country, coming to a 3-13 team. The advice I’m going to give Saquon when I see him tomorrow, I’m going to tell him to be Saquon. That is it. That’s all that I want you to be. I don’t want you to be everything to everybody. Just understand that you take care of your football, the world will be at your feet.
Q: He’s a great return guy. Do you risk him at that position?
Shurmur: We’re going to use him. We’re going to get him in the mix, we’re going to get him going as soon as we can get him here and then we’re going to train him as a running back. He’ll perform return duties – typically, not normally your first returner. You can give him the ball enough times. I think when it comes down to touches and whatnot, we can give him the ball other ways.
Q: For as complete of a player as Barkley is, what can he still learn and work on when he gets here and starts to work with the coaches?
Shurmur: There is a lot to learn. Even though he is extremely talented, he’s still a rookie. He’s got to get in here and learn our culture. Our offense is much more diverse than the one that he was just playing in. We’re going to ask him to do more things and colleges just run a whole bunch of plays sometimes. We don’t run quite that many and you have to be really good on the ones that you’re involved in. It’s everything from here is your locker to here is your helmet, here is where the field is and let’s play ball. He’s going to get indoctrinated like any rookie and we’re going to treat him like any rookie coming to our organization. Now with that being said, if he’s the best Saquon he can be, then he will find his way into the lineup if he does what he’s supposed to be doing and he will find a way to help lead this team and I think that’s the challenge for him. But, first and foremost, we’re going to treat him like a rookie when he comes in here.
Q: You mentioned Ernie Accorsi several times. We know all the stories about the conviction he had in 2004. Do you see any similarities about the conviction Ernie had with Eli compared to the conviction you had with Saquon?
Gettleman: Yes, I do. When you take a guy this high when you know you’ve got that pick. I got hired and four days later, I know we have the second pick in the draft. I’ve been thinking about it since then. I’ve got to evaluate our team, then go through all the draft processes. Again, like I told you guys last time – when I watched a player on the defensive side playing Penn State, I was like a 3-year-old, I was watching Saquon.
Q: Were you thinking that any other team had a conviction like that about Saquon?
Gettleman: We thought about it.
Q: You’re such a film guy, what was the one play that you saw when you said, ‘That’s our guy’?
Gettleman: Well, I don’t know who it was against, but he breaks into the second level and he’s got two linebackers there and the safety coming here and he strung together three moves and – he just took it to the house. I had to run it back a couple times and say to myself, ‘I know I wasn’t drinking.’ So when you get to that, you just watched it and you’ve seen all the other stuff and it’s like, ‘Okay, put the clicker down and go to the other guy.’
Q: Was it the Iowa run?
Shurmur: That’s one of them. There was one against USC that was tremendous. There are a handful of them that you guys can vote on. They were all pretty good.
Q: At what point was that when you were watching tape on Saquon?
Gettleman: I did Saquon probably in March when I finally started to look at the film because everybody around here kept telling me, ‘You have to watch Saquon. You have to watch Saquon.’ So I said, ‘All right, I’ll watch him.’ He’s just so gifted.
Q: Did you think that you were being too complimentary about Saquon during this process that you were giving too much away?
Shurmur: I didn’t do much talking at all. He is a terrific player.
Q: Do you see him as a Le’Veon Bell-type back that can handle 25-27 touches a game?
Shurmur: He could be. He could handle that type of a load if need be. We’ll just have to see as we go and put this thing together. He’s one of a bunch of guys that we’re going to get in the mix – Eli, him, Odell, Evan and ideally if we can spread the ball around and block him well, Shep. I mean we’ve got a lot of really good players and he’s going to be one of them.
MEDIA Q&A WITH SAQUON BARKLEY:
Q: What is it like to come to an offense that includes wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram?
A: Yeah, it’s exciting. The players you just named are very talented and you’ve got that offense led with Eli Manning, a proven quarterback in the NFL with Super Bowl rings. OBJ at wide receiver, probably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Being able to surround yourself with that talent, you’ve got a standard to hold, you’ve got a standard to come into and you’ve got to raise your level of competition and raise your level of talent to compete with those guys and to be able to help that offense out at a young age.
Q: What is your relationship like with Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: Odell and I started our relationship kind of in the offseason, I guess you could say, training for the NFL Draft. After the Combine, I went out to LA to train and that’s where he’s at and we kind of just hit it off. Built a great relationship and welcomed me in with open arms and gave me great advice, the good things and the bad things. I feel like it’s important to learn from people’s mistakes and he’s the guy at the top of the game right now and everyone’s looking at him. So, I’d be dumb not to try to learn from the lessons he has taught me and told me.
Q: How early in this process did you get a feeling that the Giants loved you and were going to take you?
A: You see all the reports and you hear all the reports, but I got a feeling after the visit, when I got to formally meet all of the coaches and GM and everybody in the building. Leaving there, I just felt like that’s home. That’s the place where I wanted to be. Obviously in the Draft, you don’t decide where you want to go, but if I had to pick, that would be the place that I would pick. Walking into that facility and you see the four Super Bowl rings just hanging in a trophy case, that right there just shows you the mindset and the standard of that place. And that’s where you want to be and that’s a place you want to be a part of.
Q: How nerve-wracking were the last few days for you, not knowing where you were going to end up?
A: Yeah, but the way I handled that is something that I learned in college, is to control what you can control and that’s how I came into this whole thing. If the Giants wanted to draft me and they draft me, I was going to be super proud and super happy to come to this organization and try to come off hot and ready at a young age and try to help the offense out as early as I can. But if they traded or if they did other things with the pick, I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is how I handle myself and my approach. But like I said, I’m just truly thankful and truly honored to be a part of the Giants.
Q: Was being caught in photos wearing Giants gear recently intentional?
A: I know you guys would love for me to say that it was intentional, but in all honesty, it was a sweatshirt that I got actually from the visit [to the facility]. You get that from other teams when you visit and I had to go get a haircut and I went to the barber shop and I was running late and I just got out of the shower, so I just grabbed it and went. And I put it on, not even thinking about anything, but someone snapped a picture of me and I guess it got to TMZ. But, hey, I guess it all worked out for the best.
Q: What kind of high are you on right now, having your baby daughter born two days ago and now getting drafted second overall?
A: Yeah, it’s honestly incredible, it’s amazing. First and foremost, you’re blessed for the opportunity of fatherhood and being able to have a daughter, a beautiful daughter, and being able to raise her and try to set an example and a standard for her of how she should be treated by a man and how she should follow her life. But then the icing on top and the cherry on top, to be able to get drafted to New York, the New York Giants. Like I said, how well known this franchise is and known for the four Super Bowl rings and championships and being able to come home. This is the place I was born. I was born in New York, I was born in the Bronx and I’m not far from home anyway. I’m only like an hour and 45 minutes from the Lehigh Valley and I’m just happy I’m able to stay close and be able to play for such a prestigious franchise.
Q: What is your mindset coming in with an expectation to wear a gold jacket one day?
A: Yeah, hearing that, you love that. That shows that this franchise believes in you and you’ve got to believe in them. And that’s a mindset I have for myself. Obviously, everyone in this Draft will tell you that they want a gold jacket one day. But it’s easier said than done and I’m aware of that, I’m strongly aware of that. And I know that I have to work my butt off every single day to get to where I want to go. And it’s not going to happen in one day. It’s going to take baby steps and it’s going to take a long trip up that mountain, but every single day I’m willing to work.
Q: Do you come in expecting to start?
A: No, sir. I want to earn everything. I want to earn everything. If I’m not doing what’s needed to be done to get that starting job, than I don’t want it. I’m a big believer in competition and I know there’s a lot of great backs there already. I believe Jonathan Stewart is there and I’m looking forward to being able to pick his brain and learn from him. He’s been in the NFL for a long time and I know there’s a lot of things that I can learn. But no, I don’t expect to start. I expect to come in and work and earn my job.
Q: Have you heard from any Giants players yet?
A: Yeah, actually I just got off of Facetime with Odell and Eli texted me right away, saying congratulations and if I ever need anything, let him know and let’s get ready to work.
Q: If there is one thing that you think you will have to polish up on as you become an NFL rookie, what is it that you would like to work on in the next several months?
A: In the next several months, just obviously getting into the playbook. The mindset and the mental part of the game is where I would like to improve. A guy that I want to (model) my game after is a guy like Marshall Faulk. I heard a lot of great things about him and just try to be like another quarterback out there. And obviously I know it’s not going to happen tomorrow and it’s not going to happen in one year. Continue to work and obviously continue to pick Eli’s brain and try to be as well prepared as I possibly can because the more you know the game and the more knowledge you have of the game, the better player you are. That’s something that I look forward to.
NEW YORK GIANTS CUT BRANDON MARSHALL…
The New York Giants released wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday after he failed his physical. Marshall was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2017 after suffering an ankle injury in Week 5 that required stabilization surgery to repair torn ligaments. Marshall finished his disappointing debut season with the Giants with only 18 catches for 154 yards (8.6 yards per catch).
Marshall was entering the final year on a 2-year, $11 million contract and was set to count $6,156,250 against the 2018 salary cap. By cutting him, the Giants “saved” $5,156,250 with $1 million lost in dead money. The Washington Post is reporting that Marshall had agreed to take a pay cut in March. No formal re-structuring had taken place however.
Marshall was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has played with the Broncos (2006-2009), Miami Dolphins (2010-2011), Chicago Bears (2012-2014), and Jets (2015-2016). Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015) and two-time All-Pro (2012 and 2015). Marshall is the only player in NFL history with six seasons of 100 or more receptions. In 2016, he started 15 regular-season games despite battling knee and foot injuries that he suffered in Week 2. Marshall caught 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers were down dramatically from his 109-catch, 1,502-yard, 14-touchdown 2015 season. The Giants signed Marshall in March 2017 after he was cut by the New York Jets.
DAVE GETTLEMAN’S 2018 PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman held the team’s annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):
Opening Statement: Just before we begin, I’d like to thank Pat Shurmur, Chris Mara, Chris Pettit, Kevin Abrams, the scouts, the coaches and all of the support staff that we have that are just doing a terrific job helping us put the whole board together. Everybody has done a great job adjusting to the different philosophy and methodology. We have gotten meaningful dialogue and collaboration, we’ve watched a ton of film together and the ensuing dialogue is going to be very insightful and meaningful and my hat is off to all of them. They just did a great job and with that being said, let the games begin.
Q: You mentioned the different philosophies. Can you explain the changes that you brought in?
A: Well, the college football game is so different from ours it is not even close. It is a very, very different game and in the old days we would grade, you would have critical factors and you have position specifics. In the old days you had kids that were on scholarship, a lot of them were five-year guys, there was no such thing as the 20-hour rule and when those guys were coming out, all you had to do was put a little polish on them and you had a player. The guys that are coming out now and I’m not criticizing anybody, they’re not as fundamentally and technically as sound as those guys used to be. So, to grade them position specific and plus since the game has changed, the college game is different, it’s hard for us to really decipher what each player is being asked to do, it’s different. So, what I’ve tried to get everyone to understand is you have to grade the critical factors. You have to grade instincts, competitiveness, strength, explosion, athletic ability, and you’ve got to grade their play. I don’t care what a guy runs on the watch in his underwear, I don’t care. It’s how fast can he play on the field, how does he carry his pads, that’s what’s important, so with this 20-hour rule and everything, you can’t really knock it if we’re going to take a linebacker. You have to be careful if you knock his grade down because he doesn’t shed well. You don’t know what he’s being taught, you don’t know what he’s being told, you don’t know how much time is being spent on that skill and it is a skill, but that is a skill that can be coached, that’s something that we can improve, so that’s why I don’t grade on (?) I’m not as concerned much with the position specifics as I am with the critical factors, so that’s a different way of looking at it. And then just the whole methodology of setting the board up. I learned a really unique way of looking at it when I went to Carolina. I had never seen it before and when I looked at it — of course, I’m a little anxious because these guys got to understand that they are teaching me to a certain degree and they were very gentle (laughs). At the end of the day, it is a great way of looking at it and it really brings clarity to what you do and the other thing is the detail work, really knowing the player, digging deep – what kind of a guy is he? Is he trained? How important is football to him? I think in my opening presser I said I don’t want guys that like to play football, I want guys that hate to lose, that’s what I want. There isn’t anybody in this room that would say, who likes to win and everybody raise their hand, we have gone through this exercise before, it’s just the way it is. It’s that detail work that’s really important and everybody is getting it and it was really neat sitting around and watching film as a group. It’s great from looking at a guy that’s played in the Southeast Conference and it’s great for the scouts that didn’t get an opportunity to see them play. It’s vice versa as you’re looking at players around the country, so I thought it was a great exercise, it was a great teaching moment, we can all learn from each other and I thought that was very good. The scouts were excellent in terms of chiming in and telling me what they thought. I told them at our opening, the first time we all sat down, I said, ‘Listen, you’re getting paid for your opinion. You leave this room wishing you had said something but didn’t, shame on you because you’re not doing your job, you’re thinking about it.’ So it was great. We had a great time to prep, the scouts are home right now, we all got tired of looking at each other and it was time for them to see their families, so they’re home. They will be back Sunday night, we’ll take a good, hard look at the board again on Monday and Tuesday morning and then we’ll be ready to roll.
Q: How close are you to making a final decision at this point or how close are you at narrowing it down to a couple guys?
A: How close? You can’t close your mind. You can’t close your mind. You don’t know what is going to happen.
Q: Well it’s a little easier at No. 2 isn’t it?
A: Sure. Listen, we’ll know when we know. I’m not making any decisions before that.
Q: How important is this pick to the future of this franchise?
A: Well, when you’re picking this high, if you make a mistake, you’re done. We talk that when you miss on a quarterback, you really hurt the franchise for probably five years. It’s a five-year mistake. Yeah, it’s a big decision, but as long as you’ve done your homework and turned all the rocks over, you will come to the right answer. You ask the right questions and you will get the right answers.
Q: The last year or two it seemed like this quarterback class was very anticipated. Now that you have done all of your pre-draft homework, how do you think this group stacks up against other groups of quarterbacks in previous drafts?
A: It’s funny, it’s a really a neat group to evaluate because they are all different players. With the second pick, I’m sitting at Ben and Jerry’s and I’ve got a lot of flavors to look at and they’re all different. I can’t compare it to the ‘83 draft if that’s what you’re asking. The ‘83 draft you had (John) Elway, (Jim) Kelly, (Dan) Marino. C’mon Steve, help me. (Ken) O’Brien, (Tony) Eason at that time on my Patriots.
Q: What about 2004?
A: That was a heck of a group, too. Everything is different and, again, we’re in a different time with college football being just different. It’s funny, when I went to Carolina, at the opening presser they say, (?). I said listen, ‘At the end of the day, I don’t care what kind of quarterback you are, I don’t care who you play for, if you can’t make plays from the pocket, then you can’t win. You can’t win. You’ve got to be able to make plays from the pocket.’ So they take that and they run with it and I am going to trade Cam. The bottom line is all of these guys are interesting, they’re unique, there is depth there for sure and it’s a heck of a group to watch. It’s fun.
Q: When you talk about the quarterbacks in this class and the importance of the position, do you still apply your gold jacket standard?
A: I’m going to turn the question on you. My mother told me that it was never polite to answer a question with a question, but I’m going to do it anyway. If you think about all the quarterbacks that you’ve seen, who of them have made everybody better? That’s what you’re looking for. Does he make everybody around him better? That’s what you’re looking for.
Q: Is it naïve to think that the three days next week where you will see Davis Webb can change your board?
A: Nothing is going to totally change the top of the board. Seeing Davis next week is going to be fun for us because he’s a great kid, he works his fanny off, he has been following Eli (Manning) around like a little puppy dog since he walked in the door and it will be a neat opportunity to see him play. Yeah, sure, everything affects the board. I’d be lying if I said no, but at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Do you like the fact that there are so many opinions about what you’re going to do at No. 2?
A: Like it? I love it. Are you kidding me? By the way, when you were on Sirius the other day, it was Saturday and I was in here holed up watching film, I was listening to you and it was hysterical what you were saying. I loved it. Yeah, I do.
Q: Was I correct?
A: Yeah, you were in the response that you made that Dave Gettleman doesn’t care about what the media says. It’s true.
Q: When people bring up smokescreens and information has leaked…
A: Let me tell you something – when I was a little kid, every time I lied, I got caught and when I was seven years old, my father kicked my butt and I haven’t lied since then. To me it’s silly, but that’s me.
Q: So who are you picking?
A: I’m taking you, Steve.
Q: That’s a five-year mistake.
A: (Laughs) What else have you got, kids?
Q: Is (Penn State RB) Saquon Barkley a generational talent?
A: I’m not going to lie. He’s a tremendous talent. You put the film on of a defensive guy and if they’re playing Penn State, then I’m watching Saquon. He’s one of those guys that my mother could have scouted. She could have figured that one out.
Q: If a certain group is considered deep in the draft, do you stay away from that position due to the depth in the later rounds?
A: You’ve got to stay with the value. You have to stay with the value because you guys have heard a million stories, I’ve heard a million and one and you’ve probably heard half a million where a guy says, ‘Don’t worry, he’ll be there in the next round.’ Then the next round comes around and he ain’t there. You have to stay with your board, you have to stay with value. You can’t get too cute. Guys have kind of laughed around the league when we’d be on the clock in Carolina and I’d have my pick in in 28 seconds. If you know what you want, then go do it. Don’t be shy. If you get too cute, you’re going to lose. You’re going to come up on the wrong end and it’s about value. You can never have too many good players at one position.
Q: Along those lines how do you weigh the running back value in the NFL with the talent of a guy like Saquon also taking into account the value of the quarterback in the NFL?
A: I think that the devaluing of the running back is really a myth. If you have a great running back, he immediately makes your quarterback better, your offensive line better and your passing game. So I don’t believe in it. It’s how you evaluate the players, how we value them, how we rate them and then you go on from there.
Q: How much does shelf life come into consideration?
A: That’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to look at it that way. Anthony Munoz failed everybody’s physical and he only played 15 years and went to the Hall of Fame. Thurman Thomas had no ACL – I think he had a pretty long career. You make yourself crazy. You just can’t get into that. It’s the value, it’s the player – does he fit your scheme? If he fits your scheme and the value is there, pull the trigger and keep moving.
Q: What about the value of having the No. 2 pick helps you now as opposed to picking a quarterback helping the franchise in the future?
A: It’s a consideration. It’s a consideration. You think about stuff.
Q: How many good years do you think Eli Manning has left?
A: Well, you know we’ve talked about it. There is no ability to predict that. Eli takes great care of his body, he’s very fit. We watched the film and he still has plenty of arm. Who knows? Did anybody know that, I’m drawing a blank on his name; he played quarterback at the age of 45. Who knows? I know the Oakland kicker Blanda played a game late, right Steve? You played a game late and there was another quarterback, he played for Atlanta. But anyhow, like I said, Eli takes great care of himself, he’s very fit and he still has plenty of arm.
Q: How much does he factor into the equation of what you’re going to do at No. 2?
A: Everybody factors in. Your team factors into the equation, everybody does. Here is the deal – as the G.M., I walk a tight line. I have to look at the short term and I have to look at the long term and that’s the tight rope that I walk and I have to take all that into consideration in making decisions, whether it’s the draft, whether it’s unrestricted free agency, whether it’s trading for an Alec Ogletree. Whatever it is, making claims – you have to think about it. So I’m on that tight rope doing the best I can with the information that I have and we move forward.
Q: What do you say to the idea of picking at No. 2 means you have to take a quarterback?
A: I say hogwash. How is that?
Q: You never traded back in the five drafts in Carolina? Is that philosophical?
A: No, I never did, did I? It just kind of never happened, I guess. I traded up a bunch, I know that. It just kind of never happened. There was nothing ever meaningful enough that would keep me from a player that we had that was there for us to take. I guess that’s what it is. Like I said, you can outsmart yourself and you can have a player there that you like, but someone wants to trade and you go, ‘Alright, I can get extra draft picks.’ Woo and you get into that. Nobody ever offered us – you know what, in Carolina I never got a meaningful enough offer to trade back.
Q: Are you open to it if a meaningful enough offer came your way?
A: Sure. It depends on what’s on the board and who is still on the board. I’m open to it. Listen, you have to be open to everything. You have to listen. You can’t be afraid of conversation. You have to be open.
Q: Do you get more offers and calls because of your position?
A: We’ve had calls. I’ll admit to that.
Q: What do you think the likelihood is of you making a move?
A: I’m not going to put a percentage on that. If I had the answer to that, I wouldn’t be sitting here and I would be in Vegas.
Q: Are you adamant that you have to get a great player in this draft?
A: Sometimes you have to look at it this way and I’m not saying this is the way I always look at it, but sometimes you have to look at it this way – we’re all in school, do I want to get an A and four C’s or do we want an A-, a couple of B+’s and a couple of B’s? Winning requires depth. If you don’t have depth – I’ve seen teams that had great defenses that folded in the fourth quarter because they had no depth and now you’ve got guys on the field for 95-98 percent playing time. You can’t win that way, guys wear down, so there is obviously different ways of looking at it depending upon what the A looks like. But, if you get a chance to accumulate quality, you put yourself in a position to potentially accumulate picks and have a lot of very solid players, there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with that.
Q: There is a report that you are releasing Brandon Marshall. Can you comment on that?
A: Really? Yes, we have.
Q: Why now?
A: We’re releasing him – failed physical.
Q: Does that mean that you guys have interest in Dez Bryant?
A: I have interest in everybody. We do our film work and you never know.
Q: Now that we’re closer to the draft, are you able to say for sure that Odell Beckham Jr. is not going to be traded?
A: I’m not going to say. He’s on our team, he’s a valued member of our football team.
Q: Is No. 2 too high to draft a lineman?
A: It was really funny, we did some background work and there has only been one interior guy taken with the second pick of the draft and it was in (1966) and it was (Tom Mack) of the Rams. Brandon Scherff was taken at No. 5. In the old days, people would shoot you in the head. You were considered brain dead and they’d drag you out by your toes. Is it ever too early to take a great player? You know my philosophy – big men allow you to compete and you have to build your lines. I’m going to build this team from the inside out. You look at the teams that go deep in the playoffs, you turn around and you take a look at how (Eagles General Manager) Howie (Roseman) has built Philly – both fronts, let’s go. Because again, those three truths don’t change, you’ve got to run the ball, you’ve got to defend the run and rush the passer. So, everyone else wants to talk about skill guys and I want to talk about hog mollies.
Q: You said that you’ve traded up a lot. Do you have enough assets to trade up in this draft and would you dip into future drafts to trade up?
A: I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you that right now. Right now, I have no intention of dipping into future drafts. None.
Q: Can you explain how you set up your draft board?
A: It’s a combination of vertical – by position, you set it up vertically and then once you’ve set your values on the players vertically, then you start working horizontally. So, let’s say that I’ve got Russ Salzberg at a 7.4 and I’ve got Art Stapleton at a 7.4 and I’ve got Paul Schwartz at a 7.4 and Russ is the running back, Art is the tackle and Paul is a pass rusher, I’ll give him something. What you’re going to do now is if they all have the same value, they’re all in the same conversation, so when the pick comes up and those three characters are all 7.4’s, you talk about what it is and if there is a need at one of those positions, then you take the need. If there is not a need, then you take the best guy, but that’s the conversation. We’re not talking about 25 guys, we’re talking about three guys. Does that make sense to you guys?
Q: I know you laid out the process. If you had to make the pick right now, in your mind and your heart, do you know who you want to take at No. 2?
A: No. I’m being honest.
Q: Is all the information that you got during the visits overkill?
A: It’s not overkill at all, it really isn’t because what is interesting is seeing a guy out of his own element because there is a little less comfort and you can’t know too much about a guy. Remember, you’re bringing him into your locker room, how is he going to handle that, do you want him in your locker room? Who is he coming here with? Is he living alone, does he know how to boil water? How is he going to handle New York City? It is all that stuff and we have to find that out because when you come into the National Football League and so many of these guys are 21, 20 years old when they get out there for the first time and there is some 28, 29 year-old man staring them in the face, they better be ready for that because it’s going to be a rude awakening, and if you don’t bring in the kinds of guys that you know are going to be able to stand up to that, then you’re making a mistake. The 30 visits are not overkill. The amount of contact that we have with these guys over the draft process, all star games, Indianapolis and then their Pro Days workouts and then the 30 guys we can bring in here, it’s very, very meaningful and it’s important.
Q: When you talk about the quarterbacks about being in Ben and Jerry’s and having a lot of different flavors, does that also translate to there is no one that has it all?
A: Not necessarily. They are four different, distinct personalities. But no, not necessarily.
Q: Do you know in your mind right now if you will take a quarterback?
A: Time will tell.
Q: By your own barometer of envisioning the player you take at No. 2 wearing a gold jacket some day, is there a chance that that player is out there, he can help you win now and it’s actually not that hard of a decision?
Q: You took Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 last year and you described the pick as a no brainer. Could you argue at No. 2 that Saquon is a no brainer to help this team?
A: You could argue that either way.
Q: One of the things that you need from a player is that they have to love football. There are reports that Josh Rosen maybe lacks a desire to play the game. You met with him. What was your impression of him?
A: He wants to play football. He came off as bright, insightful and he wants to play football.
AS OBJ TRADE RUMORS PERSIST, PAT SHURMUR AND DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESS MEDIA…
Conflicting media sources are reporting that the New York Giants are and are not fielding trade offers for Odell Beckham, Jr., the supremely-talented wide receiver who also has a knack for generating off-the-field controversy. Beckham is entering the last year of his rookie contract with $8,459,000 in salary. There have been unverified reports that Beckham intends to holdout until he receives an extremely lucrative contract extension.
The NFL Network is reporting that while the Giants are listening to offers from several teams, it is not clear that the Giants actually want to trade Beckham.
At the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Head Coach Pat Shurmur said he spoke with Beckham in California last week. “We just got an opportunity to sit down and talk,” Shurmur said. “I had a chance to share my thoughts on all topics Odell, other than football certainly, and it was a good visit. He showed me his favorite restaurants in town and we just got a chance to get to know one another. He’s a very charismatic guy, I think he really cares and I’m looking forward to working with him… We all understand this time of year (due to League rules) you can’t talk football, but there was a good meeting and I felt like I got to know him a little better. Again, the only way you get to know somebody is by visiting with them, and I got a good sense or a little better sense of who he is.
“I’ve got a good radar on people. I’ve got a good radar on what’s going on this morning here. I think that’s why it’s important as coaches and players and anybody that is working together that you get a chance to visit and get to know one another. I really don’t think you can know somebody by just seeing reports, reading reports, hearing what people think and say. I think it’s really important, especially in the player-coach relationship, that I get to know him.
“I think we always want weapons. Obviously, he’s been an outstanding player, especially the first three years. So certainly, we want really, really good players. We want guys that are passionate about playing the game, we want guys that understand the importance of relationships, which means they want to be coached, and we want guys that understand that it is important to be a good teammate. Those are the things that we are looking for in a player.”
The Giants’ offseason program begins on April 9th.
“It’s my understanding that he will be there,” Shurmur said. “We couldn’t talk about that, but I’m looking forward to seeing him when we get going.”
Beckham is coming off a serious ankle injury that he suffered last October and which required surgery.
“I think he is on track coming back from his injury,” said Shurmur. “All reports are he will be ready to go at some point here in the training… Ready to go as we get going, so there are steps he’s got to take, but all indications are he will be back healthy by the time we start playing in September.”
General Manager Dave Gettleman also addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
“I just want to make a couple comments and, please, I’m not talking down on anybody,” Gettleman said. “There are 53 guys on every active NFL roster. Football is the ultimate team game – 11 guys go out there, they blow the whistle, if you’re the defense and 10 guys do it right and one guy does it wrong, you’re looking at a touchdown. Same thing on the other side of the ball, and same thing on special teams. It is the ultimate team game.
“Every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I want you guys to understand something, I’m not going to discuss any aspects of contracts, I’m not going to talk timelines, I’m not going to talk progress. I’m not going there. I didn’t do it in Carolina and I ain’t doing it up here, plain and simple. One of the most important responsibilities that any GM has is to eliminate internal and external distractions. It’s my responsibility to create the atmosphere that allows players to play and coaches to coach. That is part of my job, and I really believe that. The other thing that I want you to understand is I’m not going to respond to hypotheticals, I’m telling you right now.
“So you’re sitting there saying, ‘Well, what is Dave doing? What is he talking about?’’ In the past two days there have been two reports about Odell that have been floated – that he won’t take the field without an extension, and the Rams are interested in trading for him. I understand the reports, people are going to print stuff, I get it. But, I want you to understand this – neither Odell nor his agent have contacted us regarding either report. So to be clear – I’m not going to respond to questions about either report, and as I stated earlier, every decision I make is going to be made in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. So, with that being said, let’s talk football.”
Gettleman was asked about a controversial video of Beckham that circulated recently on social media.
“What was your response to it?” Gettleman said. “It came out, it’s a video, I’m an old man and have bad eyes, I see this seven-second thing flashing in front of my face. All I saw was the pizza.”
Gettleman was then asked if he wants Beckham on his team.
“I’m not going there,” Gettleman responded and later added, “The bottom line is, Ernie (Accorsi) taught me this and I told you guys this, you don’t quit on talent. He’s on our team… The kid works his fanny off. His rehab is going terrific. He sends us pictures and video. He’ll send us a video of him running. He is an excellent worker.”
Some other issues addressed by Shurmur:
On if the Giants are rebuilding: “I don’t think that is the case. Dave and I have spoken about this and we really believe this, we want to make our team better one move at a time. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. I don’t believe that narrative that it’s a reboot, that it’s a rebuild. We’re trying to make this year’s New York Football Giants. I like saying that, New York Football Giants. The New York Football Giants (will be) as good as we can be going into September, and then we will continue to make moves as we go. This is not kind of a within boundaries-type deal when you shape the roster. It is constantly happening, and we’re going to constantly try to improve our roster. It is obviously on the front burner this time of year.”
On Eli Manning: “I’ve seen Eli in the building almost every day in the offseason. He’s the fittest, healthiest 37-year old I’ve been around, so I’m looking forward to working with him as well, as well as Davis Webb. I saw some good play (from Manning last year). I think, and we’ve spoken about this, there are some plays on there that can’t happen. But there is a lot of good quarterback play on there. And I think all things New York Football Giants, the guys that are going to be here that were here a year ago have got to play better, and we’re going to add some pieces that we think will help us. And I think Eli is no different. Certainly he is probably near the back part of his career than the front part, just because of age. I know that. But he has been very durable. We can all talk about quarterbacks or point to quarterbacks, even that I’ve worked with, that have had a hard time staying on the field. Eli has stayed on the field. Your availability is huge when you’re talking about a player. That just doesn’t happen. He takes very good care of himself, he lives a clean life, he works out, he stays fit throughout the season, and I’m sure that’s part of it.”
On drafting Eli’s potential replacement: “I think we are always looking for a young, generational quarterback and I think there are a couple examples of that out there playing, a couple in our division. So, yeah, that’s the urge.”
On Davis Webb and the team’s voluntary mini-camp (April 24-26) held right before the NFL Draft (April 26-28): “It’ll be a great way for Davis to showcase what he can do. He’s going to get a lot of reps, and he probably would anyway. I don’t want to make this sound like it’s a showcase for Davis Webb, but as a guy that we’re interested in seeing, he’s certainly going to get his fair share of the reps… I think we’re going to take in any information we can all the way up to the time we’re on the clock… I went back and watched his college film to compare him to the guys coming out this year. I went back and revisited my notes from a year ago and we had him rated highly. The unfortunate thing for me is that there’s just not a lot of him playing football in a Giants helmet, which would have been a good thing for me to see moving forward. That is what it is… There is no substitute for experience and even though he was here and didn’t play a bunch, he became experienced in ways that you can’t if you haven’t been there. I’ve got high hopes for him being a productive player in this league. It’s a little bit of an unknown. The advantage we will have though is we get that extra mini-camp right up to the draft.”
On Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: “He’s equally impressive like the quarterbacks we just talked about. When you watch his tape, you don’t see anything that he can’t do. As a running back, certainly he’s got to do the obvious, be able to run the ball and secure the ball and he’s done that and put the ball in the end zone, which he’s done. He’s really a pretty good pass protector in terms of protecting the quarterback; that’s an important piece, and then he can catch the football as well. He can do everything that you’re looking for in a running back, and he’s a terrific human being, as well. We got to spend some time at the combine, our people have been to see him and I’m certainly going to get to know more about him as we go, as well.”
On Notre Dame OG Quinton Nelson: “He is an outstanding player. They do a good job at Notre Dame developing their offensive linemen and he’s a local guy of sorts. That really shouldn’t matter, but the fact that he is local, we had a couple exposures with him and he’s wired the right way to play the position, and we certainly like him a great deal.”
On Ereck Flowers, who is being moved to right tackle: “I’ve actually had a couple (conversations with Flowers). The one that was reported was the one right after we signed Nate. It’s been good. I expressed to him that I knew he was a little bit hurt and he played all year. I think that’s an important piece. I kind of embraced him by saying I think he’s a tough guy, but I also told him that we brought in a guy that’s going to play left tackle and we want him to move over to right and compete to be a player there, and we’re hopeful that he is going to be one of our best five (linemen).”
On CB Eli Apple, who had both off-field and on-field issues in 2017: “We’re looking forward to working with Eli. It’s a clean slate. I think that’s safe to say. As we get to know everybody, it’s a clean slate. Again, we’re going to try to develop relationships with the players from the very beginning, or as soon as we can visit with them and try to work with them to be the best they can be. I think when you have sometimes younger players that are thrust into an NFL setting in a big town with a lot of attention, we’ve got to be willing to work with them in all areas of their game and their life, and Eli is a player that is no different than anybody else.”
Some other issues addressed by Gettleman:
On the team’s #2 pick: “Have we had calls (from teams seeking to trade for the pick)? Yes. But we haven’t set our board yet. It’s about when you’re drafting, when you’re signing unrestricted free agents, it’s all about value, it really, truly is… This is the second pick in the draft. We really have to picture this guy putting on a gold jacket because if we can’t picture that… I remember my very first year in the league when I was with the Bills, we had the third pick of the draft. Dick Roach, a hell of a DB coach, made the statement, ‘We’re not talking about, is this guy the third best player of this draft? Is this guy worthy of being the third pick of any draft?’ So that is the conversation that we are having. When we set the board and have our conversations, is that guy worthy of being the second pick in the draft? Can we picture him some day putting on a gold jacket?”
On if any quarterback taken with the #2 pick has to compare with with quarterbacks in other drafts: “You have to. It’s like when teams reach. (They say), ‘We need a defensive tackle.’ And they reach for a guy, and maybe he’s a really good two-down player, really good run player, and they’re hoping he’ll develop into a pass rusher. No, you can’t do that. You think about quarterbacks, the area code we’re picking in, does he make everybody else better? Is he the guy? Can he do what Eli did? Two minutes left in the Super Bowl and he takes that team down the field – boop. You’ve got to be able to picture that.”
On Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: “It’s unusual, I’m telling you. He can string together moves and get in and out of stuff. It’s funny, I (evaluated) him right before I came down. He’s unique. No doubt about it. He’s big, he’s powerful, he can step on the gas, he’s got different levels of speed and he catches the heck out of the ball, and he sees the blitz pick-up stuff.”
On if the Giants are rebuilding: “It’s about winning. Someone told one of the reporters that I’m going to tear down. Let’s spend $62.5 million on Nate Solder, spending the money on Patrick Omameh, we’re not trading for Alec Ogletree if we’re in tear down, we’re not going that. It’s about we’ve evaluated the roster, we’ve developed a plan moving forward, it’s about winning now. Who wants to lose? I don’t.”
GIANTS TRADE JASON PIERRE-PAUL TO BUCCANEERS…
The New York Giants have traded defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Giants received a 3rd round pick (69th overall) in 2018 NFL Draft. The teams also swapped 4th round picks with the Giants dropping from the 102nd spot to the 108th.
The Giants had signed Pierre-Paul to a new 4-year, $62 million contract last offseason. The trade will “save” the Giants only $2.5 million in cap space in 2018 with a huge $15 million hit in dead money. The good news is that it will clear the books of the final two years of Pierre-Paul’s onerous contract in 2019 ($19.5 million cap hit) and 2020 ($17.5 million cap hit).
After an impressive preseason, Pierre-Paul did not have the type of season expected of him in 2017. He started all 16 games and finished the year with a respectable 68 tackles, 8.5 sacks, five pass defenses, and two forced fumbles, but he did not make many impact plays and at times appeared to simply be going through the motions. Pierre-Paul was drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Giants. His best season came in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul did not miss a game in his first three seasons with the Giants, but he had injury issues in 2013 (herniated disc and shoulder injuries), 2015 (fireworks accident that permanently maimed his right hand), and 2016 (groin and sports hernia injuries that caused him to miss the last five games).
The Giants now no longer have any players on their roster from the 2008 to 2013 NFL Drafts.
REPORT – JOHN JERRY’S CONTRACT RE-STRUCTURED… TheAthleticNYC is reporting that the New York Giants have re-structured offensive guard John Jerry’s contract. His new contract now expires after the 2018 season (instead of 2019) and his 2018 base salary was reduced to $1.075 million from $3.05 million ($525,000 now guaranteed). This effectively reduced his cap number from $4.125 million to $3.6 million (and team would gain another $1.05 million if Jerry does not make the team). Jerry also apparently had a $400,000 roster bonus added (paid today) and his per-game roster bonus was increased from $15,525 per game to $31,250 per game.