GIANTS CLAIM THREE PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed the following players off of waivers:
WR Damion Ratley (from Cleveland Browns)
OT Jackson Barton (from Kansas City Chiefs)
S/CB Adrian Colbert (from Kansas City Chiefs)
The 25-year old, 6’2”, 200-pound Ratley was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Browns. In 2018-2019, Ratley played in 26 regular-season games with six starts, accruing 25 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown.
The 25-year old, 6’7”, 302-pound Barton was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs signed him off of the Colts’ Practice Squad in 2019. Barton has not played in an NFL game.
The 26-year old, 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Chiefs (2020). He has played in 27 regular-season games with 17 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams.
To make room for these three players, the Giants released wide receiver Corey Coleman and offensive lineman Chad Slade, and waived safety Sean Chandler.
The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury. The team signed Slade to a reserve/futures contract in January 2019. The Giants originally signed Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.
GIANTS PLACE XAVIER McKINNEY AND DAVID MAYO ON INJURED RESERVE…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed safety Xavier McKinney (fractured left foot) and inside linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in his left knee) on Injured Reserve. Both players recently underwent surgery. Both are also eligible to return to the 53-man roster this year once healthy.
To fill their roster spots, the Giants re-signed tight end Eric Tomlinson and cornerback Brandon Williams. Both were with the Giants in training camp this summer and both were cut by the team on Saturday. The Giants signed Tomlinson as an unrestricted free agent from the Las Vegas Raiders in March 2020. The team signed Williams in late August 2020.
GIANTS SIGN 14 PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s Practice Squad:
QB Cooper Rush
RB Sandro Platzgummer
WR Johnny Holton
WR Alex Bachman
WR Derrick Dillon
WR Austin Mack
WR Binjimen Victor
OL Tyler Haycraft
OL Kyle Murphy
DL Niko Lalos
CB Jarren Williams
S/CB Chris Williamson
P/PK Ryan Santoso
LS Carson Tinker
All of the players except for Santoso were with the team in training camp.
The 25-year old, 6’5”, 258-pound Santoso was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Tennessee Titans (2019), and Montreal Alouettes (2019 and 2020). He has not punted or kicked in NFL games other than being used as a kickoff specialist with Titans in 2019.
The Giants receive an exemption for Platzgummer because they were one of four teams chosen to carry an additional overseas player on their Practice Squad in 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. However, Platzgummer is ineligible to join the active roster this season.
The Giants have three open slots remaining on their Practice Squad. Although not officially signed, according to media reports, the Giants also intend to sign cornerback Ryan Lewis to the Practice Squad.
The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.
Linebacker Ryan Connelly, who the Giants cut on Saturday, was claimed off of waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, defensive lineman Chris Slayton was signed to the Buffalo Bills’ Practice Squad while offensive lineman Eric Smith was signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ Practice Squad.
HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Sunday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on Giants.com.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Monday.
AUGUST 23, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:
Light practice today in helmets and shorts. It was more of a fast-paced walk-through.
The Giants provided a 20-minute video on today’s practice on YouTube.
Fullback Eli Penny (unknown), linebacker Ryan Connelly (unknown), and cornerback Prince Smith (unknown) did not practice.
Head Coach Joe Judge was asked about Connelly missing Friday’s scrimmage and today’s light practice. “You know what, first off, I’m not going to go into any specific injuries really at any time,” replied Judge. “But I’ll say this, we had several players that we kind of managed a little bit different today. We came off a long, hard week, a hard scrimmage the other day. We gave them a day off yesterday. Today was really a day to mentally take a step forward, physically get our bodies right, then we’re going to hit the field again tomorrow. We’ll see where everyone’s at tonight after a couple days off. We’ll approach practice tomorrow accordingly for everyone individually.”
THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:
With New York Giants training camp hopefully beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.
2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: If we go back in time one year, many believed that while the defensive line and secondary would improve, it was the linebacking unit that still seemed very much unsettled. After all, the 3-4 defense relies on the linebackers to be the play-makers. The Giants had traded away their best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon. Markus Golden was signed in free agency, but he had yet to return to his pre-injury form from 2016 (12.5 sacks). There was a desperate hope and need for second-year player Lorenzo Carter to beat out disappointing free agent Kareem Martin, relegating the latter to reserve duty. The Giants had also drafted Oshane Ximines in the 3rd round.
Inside linebacker was also a bit confused. The Giants were hoping that Alec Ogletree would become more consistent. It wasn’t clear if B.J. Goodson or Tae Davis would start alongside him. Much wasn’t expected immediately of 5th rounder Ryan Connelly.
So what happened? Golden actually ended up being a good signing, starting all 16 games and accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks. On the other hand, Carter disappointed. Despite starting 12 games, he finished the year with just 45 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Martin was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2019 with a knee injury that he suffered in the regular-season opener. He was activated back to the active roster in December and finished the year with only three tackles in five games, with no starts. Ximines had a mixed performance as a rookie, receiving significant playing time (45 percent of all defensive snaps). While he flashed at times as a pass rusher (4.5 sacks), he struggled against the run. The Giants also added some in-season pick-ups who saw limited playing time such Devante Downs, Chris Peace, and Tuzar Skipper.
Inside, it was worse. Goodson was traded to the Packers before the season started. Davis was cut during the season in October. Ogletree missed three games and his overall play noticeably declined. At times, he simply appeared to be going through the motions. The brief bright spot was rookie Connelly, but he tore his ACL in Week 4. The Giants signed David Mayo in September after he was cut by the 49ers and surprisingly ended up starting 13 games. He played just OK. Special teams player Nate Stupar was waived, re-signed, and waived again. Undrafted rookie free agent Josiah Tauaefa made the team but saw most of his action on special teams. Deone Bucannon was signed in October after he was cut by the Buccaneers, starting one game, but playing mostly in a reserve role.
Overall, except for Golden and a brief couple of games from Connelly, the linebacking corps once again was a disappointment in all phases: run defense, rushing the passer, and coverage. The Giants finished 20th in run defense. The team generated 36 sacks with 23.5 coming from the linebackers (10 of those from Golden alone). Coverage on opposing tight ends and running backs remained abysmal.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The revolving door at this position continues. The team’s best linebacker in 2019, Markus Golden, remains in limbo as an unsigned unrestricted free agent. Joe Judge says the team would like him back. Expensive David Gettleman mistakes Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin were let go in February. Deone Bucannon signed with the Falcons in May. The Steelers re-signed Skipper from the Giants’ Practice Squad in November.
Devante Downs and David Mayo were re-signed. The Giants signed free agents inside linebacker Blake Martinez ($31 million) and outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell ($4.6 million). An influx of rookies arrived in April, including Cam Brown (6th round), Carter Coughlin (7th round), T.J. Brunson (7th round), Tae Crowder (7th round), Dominique Ross (UDFA), Dana Levine (UDFA), and Oluwole Betiku (UDFA).
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: There are a lot of bodies (17), but how many are good players? The team’s most productive pass rusher, Golden, remains unsigned. As of now, the Giants are relying on Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and a late draft pick/rookie free agent to supply the outside pass rush. While the first three players have flashed at times, that’s asking a lot. The belief by many is that new Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham will have to scheme the pass rush.
Inside, much depends on the performance of Blake Martinez and how well Ryan Connelly comes back from a serious knee injury. Opinions on Martinez vary wildly. And Connelly has to prove he hasn’t lost speed/agility. Mayo provides depth and insurance.
Did the Giants find gold with any of the late four draft picks or three undrafted rookie free agents?
ON THE BUBBLE:When you have 17 players at one position, a lot of people are on the bubble. Barring injury, one would think that Fackrell, Carter, and Ximines are safe outside and Martinez and Connelly will make it inside. Mayo has an experience advantage, but he faces competition from at least two rookies (Brunson and Crowder). Will the Giants re-sign Golden? All five rookie outside linebackers have intriguing characteristics, but they all can’t make it. Special teams play probably will be a significant factor.
PREDICTIONS: Stating the obvious, the Giants don’t have an edge rusher who scares the heck out of the opposition and demands potential double-team attention. Even if the team re-signs Golden, he’s more of a complimentary piece than headliner. Fackrell could surprise as he did have a double-digit sack season in 2018 under Patrick Graham. So much depends on whether or not new outside linebacker coach Bret Bielema can develop Carter and Ximines. (Incidentally, a nice addition for Carter was that he former college coach is now coaching the inside linebackers). The pass rush could be aided if the inside linebackers and safeties can improve their coverage against tight ends. The longer a QB has to hold the football, the more time the pass rushers will have to get to the QB. Barring an unlikely breakout season by someone, the Giants are not likely to be a strong pass rushing team in 2020.
On the other hand, contrary to many, I’m a bit more bullish on the inside guys as long as Ryan Connelly can fully recover from his ACL injury. Martinez and Connelly are two smart, heady, better-athletes-than-advertised players who could form a very respectable duo inside.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly, David Mayo, T.J. Brunson
I’m throwing darts at a dartboard when it comes to predicting rookies at this point. For example, who knows if Brunson or Crowder will show more? The heart of any special teams unit are the reserve linebackers and defensive backs so a lot of these guys could make it. I would not be shocked to see one or even two of the undrafted rookie free agents really push for a roster spot. Don’t sleep on guys like Ross, Levine, and Betiku.
RYAN CONNELLY DONE FOR YEAR WITH TORN ACL…
The New York Giants officially confirmed on Monday that rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly tore his right ACL in the game against the Washington Redskins. The Giants have placed Connelly on Injured Reserve, ending his season.
“It has been confirmed he’s got an ACL,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We can assume that needs to get fixed here, so that’ll probably finish up his year for him unfortunately. It’s unfortunate, but he’s got a real bright future and he’ll come back from this. He was doing a lot of really good things for us. He’s a young player. Part of being a pro sometimes is coming back from injury. If he approaches this the way he has approached playing in the game, he’ll be back to full strength here soon.”
The Giants drafted Connelly in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was elevated to starter after the first game of the season, starting three games, and accruing 20 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions.
GOLDEN TATE RETURNS…
The 4-game suspension for wide receiver Golden Tate for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances is over. He is now on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission List for up to a week until the Giants activate him. In the meantime, he can fully participate in all Giants activities.
“I think it’s going to be great he’s back,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He should be fresh and ready to go. I have already spoken to him this morning. He’s in the building, and he’s looking forward to getting back at it.”
GIANTS CLAIM CHRIS PEACE OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed defensive end/linebacker Chris Peace off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. The 23-year old, 6’2”, 250-pound Peace was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Peace accrued two sacks in the preseason for the Chargers.
MONDAY PAT SHURMUR PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 24-3 win over the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Statement: I don’t really have much to add in terms of my comments from the game. I think I kind of covered most of it last night. From an injury standpoint, Ryan Connelly, it has been confirmed he’s got an ACL (injury). We can assume that needs to get fixed here, so that’ll probably finish up his year for him unfortunately. It’s unfortunate, but he’s got a real bright future and he’ll come back from this. He was doing a lot of really good things for us. He’s a young player. Part of being a pro sometimes is coming back from injury. If he approaches this the way he has approached playing in the game, he’ll be back to full strength here soon. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.
Q: How close are (Alec) Ogletree and Tae Davis to being back? Obviously, you are pretty shorthanded there with (Ryan) Connelly being down.
A: They are much closer than they were last week. I think there’s a chance we could get both back, but we’ll just have to see what the week brings.
Q: Could you see (David) Mayo starting if they are not ready?
A: Yeah, he’d have to. If you just do the math. He played quite a bit yesterday.
Q: What did you think of how he played?
A: I thought he played well.
Q: Lorenzo Carter?
A: Yeah, it’s a neck deal. We’re going to kind of count it as game soreness at this point, so we’re hopeful he’ll be back.
Q: How significant is it to get back (Golden) Tate for your offense?
A: Well, I think it’s going to be great he’s back. He should be fresh and ready to go. I have already spoken to him this morning. He’s in the building, and he’s looking forward to getting back at it.
Q: Is Sterling (Shepard) okay? It looked like his hamstring was bothering him and we didn’t see him after the game.
A: That was a cramp. He was cramped up. That episode on the field?
A: Cramps, he’s fine.
Q: Will you guys look for a roster exemption for (Golden) Tate?
A: I think we have one. We have one, so that’ll give us a week. I don’t know the details other than that’ll give us 54 bodies out here for a week, more or less.
Q: I just figured in terms of you may be looking to injuries and everything else you’re looking at, you could be looking to make multiple moves.
A: Well, we’re going to have to make a move just obviously with Golden coming back. That’ll give us a couple more days to have to make that decision, if we choose to.
Q: You or maybe it was (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) T-Mac sat down TJ Jones for one punt after he dropped the two and then he went back to it. What was that?
A: Just settled him down. We trust our players, so we just take them out, settle them down, and put them back in. That’s what went into it.
Q: What kind of explanation did you get on (Cody) Latimer’s offensive pass interference? Was that one you thought of challenging?
A: Yeah, in hindsight…He was in bump and run, it was physical, and it was deemed to be OPI. That’s one of those in hindsight that I might have challenged. But, the explanation that I was given is that he pushed off. I’m not going to go there. Stay tuned. At some point, I’ll go there. I’m not going there.
Q: What will your emotions be like facing your former team, Minnesota? Does the game have extra meaning? You obviously have some memories with that team.
A: Yeah, it was a very meaningful part of my career being there for two years. I am very fortunate to be a part of a 13-3 season. In fact, Case Keenum and I reminisced about that a little bit after the game yesterday. There are a lot of people there that I worked with intimately, a lot of people there that I care about, but after a few handshakes we get to the business of playing the game. I think they would probably answer the question the same way. We’ll just see what happens.
Q: You have two tough games coming up, in 10 days I guess, both with really good defenses. What kind of challenge is that for a young quarterback?
A: Well, I think we’ve had four tough games already. The next one is going to be really tough, certainly, against the Vikings. Then we’ll keep a short horizon here and then we’ll talk about the Patriots when it happens. But we’ve played against four really tough defenses already. The Cowboys were tough. We saw again what Buffalo did yesterday against New England, they’ve got a really outstanding defense. Tampa Bay was a tough defense, and then this front that we played against yesterday – that was a really physical group. We talked all week about (Washington Redskins Linebacker Ryan) Kerrigan and all that. That’s what NFL football is all about, is playing against tough defenses. Certainly, when we play the Vikings this week, I know all too well what they can do to an offense.
Q: Would you prefer that Daniel (Jones) slide on some of those scrambles? I’m thinking of the third down one where he sort of lunged forward.
A: Yeah, I mean those are acceptable slides now if you go head first. If you give yourself up, they are not supposed to be able to hit you. Those are sort of…it’s like baseball now. You can slide head first or you can slide feet first. That’s kind of an acceptable body language to not get whacked. You always want to protect yourself if you can.
Q: How much, particularly on game days, does Daniel provide with his ability to make something when nothing seems to be there, and at times make the exceptional play? How much do you think he gives hope to your team?
A: Oh, I don’t know about hope. Hope is not a strategy. I’ve always said that.
Q: Confidence might be a better word.
A: Yeah, I think possibly. I do think it’s important for the quarterback to use his legs. Daniel has displayed in his last two outings the ability to either convert a third down or get out of trouble and make a throw. Typically, if you have a long scoring drive, we can watch this as we go, it’ll be a fun little project for all of us, but I know this is the case. Typically, if you have a long scoring drive, the quarterback, somewhere in there, has to do something with his feet to help keep it alive. It may be a scramble and throw the ball away, scramble to get some yards, maybe scramble and throw what I call a 60-yard check down. Guys have the ability to do that. But typically, and that’s what you see around the league. Now the important thing is when all of that happens, you’re smart about it and you use good judgement, just like you would if you were in the pocket.
Q: You’ve now won two games with him though where there have been turnovers and in some cases, enough turnovers that perhaps percentages would indicate you’d lose a game like that. To what do you attribute the idea that he has won in improbable moments already in his career?
A: I don’t know. He’s helped lead us to two victories. That’s good. That’s what you want from your quarterback. But there are a lot of other things that happened around him. We had four turnovers yesterday, but we created a bunch of turnovers. It’s a team thing. You’d like to think that every player out there is doing his job but adding value in other areas. We’ll just watch it as we go.
Q: Does that ability to run enable you to go with an empty backfield on that fourth down because he’s still a threat?
A: No. That empty was… I’ve called that pass before with Eli (Manning) in there. That had nothing to do with it. We emptied it out with the idea we were going to throw it. He made a good throw and in that case, Sterling (Shepard) made a good catch.
Q: Saquon (Barkley) sent a photo out to the world of him without a walking boot yesterday. What’s the latest on him? Is he totally out of that? Anymore of a timetable (on his recovery)?
A: Yeah, I think he’s out of the boot. When I see him moving around here…He’s into his rehab. He’s eager and chomping at the bit to get back. But obviously, that’s what I would expect from any of our players. Try to get back as quickly as possible, and then we’ll just make those decisions on a week-to-week basis whether he’s ready to play or not.
Q: Jabrill (Peppers) trash talked a little bit after the game to Washington. What do you think of that? Do you like that kind of emotion after a big game?
A: I really don’t know what happened in that scenario. I think I mentioned it yesterday. I was talking to Jay (Gruden) and he was like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a fight going on.’ I still don’t know a lot of the details. Listen, Jabrill is a very competitive guy. Who knows what… There’s a lot that gets said by a lot of people during games. You certainly don’t want confrontations like that. But I don’t know exactly what happened. I guess since you guys are curious about it, I better find out the details.
Q: Coaches always talk about the next game. You’ve put together a couple of wins in a row now. Is there a carryover from that?
A: Well, I think confidence is something that you’re looking for. I mentioned it yesterday with regard to our defense. That was a pretty darn good outing. But the catalyst for that outing was the week of practice we had here. You develop the confidence to play in the game by the work you do during the week. That’s the important thing to remember. As you go along here, football is a game you have to practice. You have to do it in a way where it points toward the team you’re playing. Then when you go out, even after a good week of practice, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to play well. All of that plays into it, but once you’ve done something a few times and had a little bit of success, I think it does help you.
Q: What’s been the difference with (DeAndre) Baker the last two games?
A: He’s a young player. When he played against the Cowboys, that was the first time he had done it on the NFL level. The next week against Buffalo was the second time, and now he did it yesterday for the fourth time. I think he’s getting to be more and more comfortable. For rookies…it seems like we talk about rookies playing a lot here a lot, especially in the last two years. There’s a lot running parallel that’s new out there. When you’re a corner, that’s the bright, hot spotlight when teams throw the ball to really good players. He’s like any young player. He’s getting better with each outing.
Q: After four games, what have you learned about this team?
A: I guess we’ve finished the first quarter. The one thing about this team is I think we have a bunch of tough guys that are willing to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we have a chance to improve. With some of the improvements that we’ve made, we’ve found a way to win games the last two weeks. That’s really what this is about. As we go through this journey, which involves 12 more regular season games, we have to continue to improve and point that toward getting wins. I think this group has shown me that they’re capable of winning, and they’re willing to work.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
NEW YORK GIANTS 32 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 31… In his first NFL start, quarterback Daniel Jones led his team in a dramatic, 32-31 come-from-behind victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. However, the win came at a significant price as running back Saquon Barkley was forced to leave the game with what is believed to be a high-ankle sprain. Barkley spent the second half of the game on the sidelines wearing a walking boot and crutches. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.
The Giants are now 1-2 on the year.
Aside from the play of Jones, the first half was mostly a disaster for the Giants. Not only did the team lose Barkley, but the New York defense allowed scoring drives on ALL SIX Tampa Bay first-half possessions:
10 plays, 75 yards, touchdown (extra point missed)
9 plays, 75 yards, touchdown (extra point blocked by DL Dexter Lawrence)
5 plays, 46 yards, field goal
6 plays, 62 yards, field goal
3 play, 41 yards, touchdown
6 plays 46 yards field goal
The Giants scored 10 points on their first two drives of the game, but the offense simply could not keep pace with the opposing team’s scoring avalanche. The three other first-half drives by New York resulted in two three-and-outs and a fumble by Jones after he was sacked. At the half, the Giants trailed by 18 points, 28-10.
Momentum quickly shifted in the 3rd quarter. The Giants scored touchdowns (and one 2-point conversion) on their first two drives of the second half. On the very first offensive snap of the 3re quarter, Jones connected with tight end Evan Engram on a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown, followed by the 2-point conversion to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. After forcing Tampa Bay’s first punt of the game, the Giants followed that up with an 8-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended with a pin-point, 7-yard touchdown pass by Jones to Shepard on 3rd-and-goal. The big play on this drive was a 46-yard completion to rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton.
The Giants had cut the score to 28-25. However, the comeback began to falter despite the New York defense now forcing three punts in a row and their first turnover of the year (an interception by rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly). The Giants were forced to punt twice themselves and after the Connelly interception, Jones fumbled the ball away again after being sacked. Eight plays later, the Buccaneers kicked a 23-yard field goal that gave the them a 31-25 lead with exactly six minutes to play.
Both teams went three-and-out, with safety Michael Thomas making a game-saving tackle on 3rd-and-2. Jones and the Giants had one more chance with 3:16 left on the clock. Jones connected on passes to Shepard for five yards, Slayton for 21 yards, Engram for one yard, Shepard for 36 yards, and Fowler for five yards down to the Tampa Bay 7-yard line. After his first two incompletions of the drive, Jones faced a 4th-and-5 from the 7-yard line. Jones scrambled up the middle for the touchdown, giving the Giants their first lead of the game, 32-31.
However, the game was not over. Tampa Bay got the ball back with 1:16 left on the clock. Passes of 20 and 44 yards placed the ball on the Giants’ 9-yard line with 13 seconds left to play. However, the Giants were saved from a heart-breaking defeat when Tampa Bay place kicker Matt Gay missed what would have been a game-winning 34-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.
Jones finished the game 23-of-36 for 336 yards, two touchdown passes, and no interceptions (112.7 quarterback rating). Jones was also the team’s leading rusher with 28 yards on four carries, scoring twice. He did fumble the ball away twice on five of his sacks. Jones’ leading receivers were Shepard (seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown) and Engram (six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown).
The defense allowed 499 total net yards (144 yards rushing, 355 yards passing) with 311 of those yards coming in the first half when the Buccaneers scored on six straight drives. The Giants did accrue four sacks: linebacker Markus Golden (2), linebacker Oshane Ximines, and defensive end Dexter Lawrence (1). Linebacker Ryan Connelly had the team’s only turnover with his interception.
JULY 30, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), wide receiver Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), linebacker Nate Stupar (load management), linebacker Mark McLaurin (broken foot), and cornerback Henre’ Toliver (ankle) did not practice on Tuesday.
Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring/groin) participated in individual drills, but not team drills.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) participated, but was limited, in full-team drills wearing a yellow “non-contact” jersey and catching some passes with his good hand.
Some snippets from various media sources:
QB Kyle Lauletta hit WR Amba Etta-Tawo up the seam with Etta-Tawo out-running the secondary. He also threw a red-zone touchdown on a slant pass to WR T.J. Jones.
QB Eli Manning found TE Evan Engram, who made a one-handed touchdown catch down the seam. Manning also hit WR Bennie Fowler for a touchdown, finishing 3-of-4 with two touchdowns in red-zone drills. Fowler beat CB Deandre Baker on the play.
CB Corey Ballentine picked off QB Daniel Jones in the end zone. Jones was 1-of-4 in the redzone with one touchdown and one interception.
Fielding punts were WR Sterling Shepard, WR T.J. Jones, and S Jabrill Peppers.
LB Ryan Connelly dropped a interception from QB Daniel Jones.
Spencer Pulley continues to see some reps at first-team center.
CB Corey Ballentine broke up a slightly underthrown deep pass from QB Kyle Lauletta to WR Bennie Fowler.
RB Saquon Barkley broke off a big run up the gut after making a jump cut.
LB Oshane Ximines batted down a QB Daniel Jones pass at the line of scrimmage. Ximines also had a “sack”, beating LT Nate Solder.
CB Antonio Hamilton stripped WR Russell Shepard of the ball and CB/S Julian Love recovered.
WR Bennie Fowler made a circus catch, keeping his feet in-bounds as he fell backwards near the sideline.
DE Olsen Pierre received some first-team reps with the pass-rush package.
S Michael Thomas knocked away a pass intended for TE Scott Simonson.
The Giants worked a bunch on the screen game during practice.
QB Eli Manning finished practice 12-of-15 with two touchdowns. Manning hooked up a number of times with WR Golden Tate and TE Evan Engram.
QB Daniel Jones was 5-of-14 with one touchdown and one interception.
THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s both ironic and tragic that the team so closely associated with a great linebacking legacy has become so incompetent at addressing the position. Worse, with the shift to the 3-4 defense, the importance of the position was elevated in the overall scheme of the defense. In the 3-4, the linebackers are the play-makers, the pass rushers, and the active run defenders. Despite spending assets on the position: $17 million for Olivier Vernon, $15 million for Kareem Martin, $5 million for Connor Barwin, two draft picks for Alec Olgretree, a 3rd rounder for Lorenzo Carter, and a 4th rounder for B.J. Goodson, the returns were not good. As a team, the Giants had 30 sacks, tied for 30th in the league. Only the Raiders had fewer. And of those 30 sacks, 17 came from the linebackers. Only two linebackers on the team picked off a pass. Most startlingly, Giants linebackers only forced ONE fumble all year. Overall, the run defense wasn’t good (20th), with players often being out-of-position or being successfully blocked out of position. And pass coverage against tight ends and backs remained a sore spot for yet another year.
In terms of specific players. Vernon was an injured tease (again). Barwin was invisible. Martin was one-dimensional. Ogletree alternated between being beaten like a drum in coverage to making some spectacular interceptions. Carter flashed some potential as a pass rusher. Goodson flashed as a run defender, but wasn’t consistent. Rookie free agent Tae Davis had some rough moments both against the run and the pass. Nate Stupar was a core player on an improving special teams unit.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants traded Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns. Connor Barwin was cut in February and Ukeme Eligwe was cut in May. The Giants did not re-sign Jordan Williams, who spent the year on Injured Reserve. Nate Stupar was re-signed, as was Avery Moss, the team’s 2017 5th rounder who spent the year on the Practice Squad.
In free agency, the Giants added Markus Golden from the Cardinals and “street” free agents Jonathan Anderson and Keion Adams. The Giants drafted Oshane Ximines in the 3rd round, Ryan Connelly in the 5th round, and signed rookie free agent Josiah Tauaefa after the draft. The Giants also signed rookie free agent Nate Harvey after the draft, but he was placed on Injured Reserve in May with a season-ending knee injury.
The Giants have also been playing rookie free agent collegiate safety Mark McLaurin at their “money backer” position during Spring practices. Rookie free agent Jake Carlock is another hybrid linebacker/safety type, who can also long snap.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Perhaps the biggest question mark the entire team faces is the pass rush. The Giants were near dead last in the NFL rushing the passer in 2018 and traded away arguably their best pass rusher. Many wanted the team to select a pass rusher over Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in the draft. In the 3-4 defense, you need your outside linebackers to be good pass rushers. The Giants are hoping Markus Golden can rebound from his torn ACL and regain his 2016 form (12.5 sacks). Also, based on the pecking order during Spring practices, it appears the coaches are giving Lorenzo Carter (4 sacks as a reserve in 2018) every opportunity to supplant Kareem Martin as starter. Lurking in the wings is rookie Oshane Ximines. Most believe the Giants are screwed here as they lack the talent to get after the quarterback. It’s up to Golden, Carter, Martin, and Ximines to prove them wrong.
Inside, the problems remain the same. The team has been inconsistent stopping the run and atrocious covering tight ends for years. The Rams most likely traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants because of the same inconsistencies he demonstrated last season, both against the run and the pass. B.J. Goodson has to take the bull by the horns and prove to the coaches he’s an asset on the field. Tae Davis, a former collegiate safety, has been splitting time with Goodson with the first unit. Like Ximines outside, rookie Ryan Connelly is lurking in the wings.
ON THE BUBBLE:There are 13 linebackers on the roster (15 if you count Mark McLaurin and Jake Carlock) and the Giants are likely to keep eight, possibly nine. The obvious players on the bubble are Avery Moss, Keion Adams, Jonathan Anderson, Josiah Tauaefa, McLaurin, and Carlock. The tough decision will be Nate Stupar because of his special teams play.
FROM THE COACHES: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Lorenzo Carter: “He is rushing with a plan. When you see him rush, a year ago he was trying to get off the ball as quick as he could and use his hands when he could. Now, you see a guy that is aware of how he wants to rush, aware of techniques that he wants to rush with. Guys that get in there as pass rushers, I have been in there and have coached them before personally, you see their best growth in the two and three years. You start to figure out what they are as rushers. Whether you are Chandler Jones and a really bloody rusher or a speed counter guy. He is really starting to figure that out. He is building his pass rush toolbox right now. The second thing, he is practicing as hard as anyone on the field right now. He is running around and has been a great example that we have been able to show defensively of just straining and effort, finish.”
Bettcher on Marcus Golden: “Markus unfortunately somewhere around 18 months ago had a pretty significant knee injury. Don’t ever forget that before that he was one of the best pass rushers in this league. People had to plan for him. I know that because I was one of the guys calling the plays for him on defense. I saw what he was able to do when he was healthy and running around. I love how he is moving right now and I love his work. He is a guy that is going to play exceptionally hard. As I sat here a year ago and talked to you about one of the identifying qualities we needed our defense to look like was it took relentless, work relentless and play relentless. I think that is probably the epitome of Markus.”
Bettcher on Alec Ogletree: “This is his second year in the system. You get a guy like AB (Antoine Bethea) who has been in the system before who really can get in the conversations of how we are doing it and what we should expect in certain coverages, that is where Tree is at now. He is in his second year. He is really working on his core fundamentals, but the other side of it, how are we going to attack this coverage? Where is the soft spot in coverage and how can we defend it? I think that is really what happens when guys come into the second year.”
Bettcher on Oshane Ximines: “X-man coming off the tape, I loved the way he played. Saw a guy that could flip and had athleticism to move in space. If you are picking a prototypical outside linebacker, he has some of both of those skills. He has the rush skills and has skills in his hips to open, change in space and change who the rusher is.”
Bettcher on Ryan Connelly: “Connelly is really smart. It is funny because today I was showing a cut-up to the vets and you try not to do that. You try not to show a rookie to the vets too early, but I was showing the cut-up to the vets. This is a guy from the rookie mini-camp and it was a concept and a route and he played it exactly the right way. It was a great example. Smart and tough.”
Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern on Ryan Connelly: “A guy who is smart and intelligent. He plays fast and shows good instincts. We are excited to have him… We are excited that Ryan is a quick study and he has brought things to the practice field so we are excited about that.”
McGovern on Alec Ogletree: “I think you saw him develop as the year went along. As he was getting into the system, he has been in a few different systems. As the season went along, I think he got even better and started making even more and more plays. No matter where he has been, he is a productive player. We have been seeing the ball thrown a little bit more against us and he ended up showing up and making plays in the pass game. He has always been good against the run. He sells out on everything. Again, his leadership and everything else is something that we love having him out there for. We appreciate everything he does on the field.”
McGovern on B.J. Goodson: “Just keep improving. Get better. He has his package and has to work through it. In the run game, there are things that he can use to get better.”
PREDICTIONS: This is the one area of the defense that makes a lot of people nervous. Changes are being made. Olivier Vernon was traded. It appears Kareem Martin will now be more of a role player. The early favorites to start outside and rush the quarterback are Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter. It is possible to see these two combine for 20 sacks. It’s also possible to see both underwhelm and finish with a total of just 10. With Golden, it’s all about his knee. With Carter, he has to prove he is more than a straight-line athlete. Reading between the lines, the Giants also appear to be pleased with what they’ve seen so far from Oshane Ximines. But until the pads come on, we really won’t know a thing. Going out on a limb here, I’m going to predict that Golden, Lorenzo, Ximines, and Martin are more productive pass rushers than anticipated.
Inside, it appears the Giants are well aware of their issues covering the middle of the field. Hence you see linebacker/safety hybrids like Tae Davis, Mark McLaurin, and Jake Carlock being added to the roster. It’s also telling that Davis saw quite a bit of time with the first unit during Spring practices. I’m not sure what to make of Alec Ogletree yet. Just when I had written him off as a trade bust last year, he started making game-changing interceptions. The coaches seem to think he will be more consistent in his second year in the system, but we shall see. The Rams got rid of him for a reason. I expected more from Goodson last year. I think this is a critical training camp for him. The real wild card here is Ryan Connelly, a very smart player who is a better athlete than advertised.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Kareem Martin, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Tae Davis, and Ryan Connelly.
(The tough call here is Nate Stupar due to his special teams value. It’s also tough to predict if a guy like Mark McLaurin or Jake Carlock do enough to stick on the 53-man roster. Special teams play will be a huge factor in determining the final numbers).
NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN JOHN JENKINS…
The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent nose tackle John Jenkins. The Giants signed Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles.
The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN TWO MORE DRAFT PICKS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have signed two more players from their 2019 NFL Draft class: inside linebacker Ryan Connelly (5th round) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (5th round).
Cornerback Julian Love (4th round), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (7th round), and defensive lineman Chris Slayton (7th round) were signed earlier this month.
The Giants have five remaining unsigned draft picks: quarterback Daniel Jones (1st round), nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (1st round), cornerback Deandre Baker (1st round), outside linebacker Oshane Ximines (3rd round) and cornerback Corey Ballentine (6th round).
COREY BALLENTINE JOINS TEAMMATES…
Cornerback Corey Ballentine, who the Giants drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Washburn University, has joined his teammates in the offseason program. Ballentine was wounded in the butt during a shooting in Topeka, Kansas the day after he was drafted. Ballentine’s physical condition is not yet publicly known but he is participating in classroom activities.
On Saturday, the New York Giants made six more selections in the 2019 NFL Draft:
4th Round: CB Julian Love, 5’11, 195lbs, 4.54, University of Notre Dame
5th Round: LB Ryan Connelly, 6’2”, 242lbs, 4.68, University of Wisconsin
5th Round: WR Darius Slayton, 6’1”, 190lbs, 4.37, Auburn University
6th Round: CB Corey Ballentine, 5’11, 196lbs, 4.46, Washburn University
7th Round: OT George Asafo-Adjei, 6’5”, 306lbs, 5.03, University of Kentucky
7th Round: DT Chris Slayton, 6’4”, 307lbs, 5.09, Syracuse University
CB JULIAN LOVE SCOUTING REPORT: Love is a Junior entry who started three years in college. Love lacks ideal height and speed, but he is a quick, instinctive, dependable coverman. He sticks to his man in coverage and will make plays on the football. Love is not afraid to mix it up with a receiver and reacts well to double moves.
SY’56’s Take on CB Julian Love: Junior entry who was an All American in both 2017 and 2018. Leaves Notre Dame as the all time leader in pass break ups and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award this past season. Love is a pro-ready corner that checks a lot of boxes when it comes to technique, reaction speed, and quickness. He is a weapon against the pass when covering the short and intermediate passing game. While his lack of size and strength can be exposed by certain match-ups, Love has the kind of game that can be moved inside-out. Safe and reliable corner that has starter written all over him.
*The thing that stood out to me about Love over and over was his safe, dependable play. He looked like a pro each week from an awareness and technique perspective respectively. Rarely did I ever find him out of position or lacking the control needed to make plays on the ball. I know I’m not getting a star here, but I am getting dependability and as I said earlier, that is what I want at the position.
LB RYAN CONNELLY SCOUTING REPORT: Connelly was a 2-year starter in college. Instinctive, smart, tough inside linebacker. He has a nice combination of size and overall athleticism. Connelly is a good, solid run defender who is at his best when moving forward. He needs to become a more consistent tackler. Connelly is better in zone coverage than man-to-man. He should do well on special teams.
SY’56’s Take on LB Ryan Connelly: Inside guy who fits the Giants’ scheme well. Two-year starter who was productive and consistent in both a good and bad way. Won’t reach the sidelines via speed but he showed good instincts, good reactions. Not a guy you want in coverage. I think he will be a good special teamer, has a nose for the ball and gets through traffic on the move.
WR DARIUS SLAYTON SCOUTING REPORT: Slayton is a junior entry who started two years in college. He combines good size with outstanding overall athletic ability and speed. Slayton stretches the field and can get deep. He is dangerous after the catch. Slayton needs to improve his route running and become more consistent catching the football.
SY’56’s Take on WR Darius Slayton: Fourth year junior entry. Slayton arrived at Auburn as an accomplished high school track athlete and enters the NFL with a very high ceiling. His speed and burst are functional and usable on the field, he is much more than a track athlete. He consistently averaged near-20 yards per catch over his career and displayed dominant stretches against SEC cornerbacks.. He is a deep threat who will make a defense account for him at all times. While there are limitations to his game underneath and at the point of attack, this kind of deep threat and ability to extend plays after the catch is worth the risk. Boom or bust.
*I am taking a chance on Slayton, I simply have too many plus game notes over the past two seasons to ignore it. The Auburn offense is difficult to scout as it could create numerous false opportunities but at the same time it may prevent a guy like Slayton from really showing everything he can do. I love the way he moves and his worst case may be a Ted Ginn caliber vertical threat.
CB COREY BALLENTINE SCOUTING REPORT: Ballentine was a 2-year starter at a Division-II college. He combines decent-size and excellent overall athletic ability, quickness, and speed. Raw, he will need a lot of technique work. Ballentine proved he can compete with the big boys at the Senior Bowl. He has experience returning kicks.
OT GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI SCOUTING REPORT: A two year starter at right tackle in college, Asafo-Adjei combines decent size and athleticism with good effort. He was a team captain.
DT CHRIS SLAYTON SCOUTING REPORT: Slayton was a 3-year starter in college. Versatile, he has experience at both tackle and end, and probably projects to the latter in the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He is strong with decent size, long arms, and first-step quickness. Slayton is a good run defender who plays with leverage. He can be disruptive and flashes at times, but he needs to do it more often. Team captain.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
DAVE GETTLEMAN: We got 10 guys, seven on defense, three on offense. You know, really we feel like we addressed everything we pretty much wanted to with this group. You know, today we had a lot of speed today. Notre Dame kid, Wisconsin, Auburn, Ballentine, all those guys can run. Julian Love, we see him competing for the nickel and he can play outside, as well. Ryan Connelly, we see him as a versatile Mike linebacker, very smart, instinctive kid. Darius Slayton is a take the top off the coverage guy. He’s a 4.3 guys who plays 4.3, so he’s got big time speed. Corey Ballentine, another height, weight speed guy and just played at a small school, and he’s got ball skills, he’s got ball production. He has played the nickel, as well. We’ve got the big tackle from Kentucky, George (Asafo-Adjei). I’m not going to try to pronounce his last name. I don’t want to embarrass myself. But we see him competing at right tackle, and then we’ve got the Chris Slayton kid from Syracuse who’s a big, violent, inside banger.
So we just — I stated previously in the postseason presser and a couple times since then that we needed to help this defense, and I feel we addressed that and we filled in some holes with the offense.
PAT SHURMUR: These are all guys that are going to — the first few guys certainly come in and we’re going to expect a lot from them, and everybody here has got a role on our team. Julian Love is a really, really good football player. He can play in the slot. He can play high. He’s kind of got that tweener kind of corner safety ability, which makes him a unique player for us. Ryan Connelly we add to the linebacker group, he’s one of those guys, he can run sideline to sideline, very physical, and he’s a very, very effective, very productive guy. Darius Slayton is an outside receiver that has some inside characteristics, but the 4.3 speed shows up on tape. He’s extremely fast. He can get behind the defense, and we all know the effect that can have for an offense. And then Corey Ballentine, he’s just a good solid football player, and he’s a guy that’s going to come in and compete. And the one thing to remember is all these guys as they fight for a spot on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, these guys all can run, so they’ll be contributing on 4th down, on special teams. And then the last two picks, the seventh-round picks, these were guys that we had targeted, so we picked an offensive and a defensive lineman to fill out the group The good thing about this, and as I watch the process, these are all players that we like for numerous reasons, and they were available and in the conversation when we were picking them, so we weren’t reaching around the board trying to find guys. In fact, we just kind of hit it right with these players, and so they’re medically fine, they’re great human beings, and they’re outstanding football players, so we’re glad to add them to our team.
Q. What’s the reason for three corners, not a safety or three corners before the offensive tackle?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, I think that, again, I’m not going to reach. I mean, they were there. These guys were graded and evaluated, and again, what happened was — with the tackles and the defensive linemen, really after we took Dexter, it feels like three weeks ago, after we took Dexter two days ago, the defensive tackle group fell off the face of the earth, and once we got down through the — once the fourth round was over, our offensive tackles, that value was pretty much wiped out The Kentucky kid we had in the fifth round, and the Slayton kid, they were both fifth-round values for us. You can never have too many corners, either. Let’s let them compete. We’ve got some really good-quality — some good returning guys. Really another draft pick for us is Sam Beal. He had the surgery. He’s coming along well. The way the league is, you guys are the ones that keep banging at us, pass rushers, corners, that’s what we did. We listened to you, you know.
Q. Did you know — you ended up taking 10 guys. Did you know — you have to see how it all manipulates and you can’t force it, but did you pretty much go into this on Thursday and say we’re going to get a lot of defensive players, it’s not going to be three or four, we have to build this defense and we’re going to do that, whether it’s five, six, seven, eight, it’s got to be a lot of defensive players?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think from my perspective, when we were getting ready to pick, there were some offensive players that ended up being in the conversation on the same line, and we just made some decisions that directed us towards the defense. We knew we were going to make some significant changes to the defense, and we already have, two safeties, Markus Golden. So we’ve done some significant things on defense prior to the draft. We just want to try to improve our football team and make moves that are going to improve the whole team, and I think it’s pretty obvious by the way the season played out, there was a pretty — it was pretty bright that we needed to make some significant changes in some areas, so we went into the draft trying to make our team better. Each individual pick you go through the process of deciding, is this the guy or the guy next to him, and it kind of fell to where we probably picked maybe a corner or two more just because the value of those players was good. So that’s how it kind of filled out.
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’ll give you an example. Corey Ballentine, he’s 5’10”, he’s 196 pounds, he runs 4.44 plays 4.44. He’s got ball skills, he’s played the nickel, he’s played outside. How do you pass him up?
Q. The natural reaction when you draft corners is, is Janoris still going to be on your roster. Is there any doubt in your mind that he won’t be here?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: No, Janoris has a bunch of puppies he’s got to train.
PAT SHURMUR: He’ll become a good teacher. I admire Janoris. He’s tough. He’s competitive. He always answers the bell, and I’ve gained a huge appreciation for him coaching him over the last year or so, and so just keep — put all these young guys in a room with him, and I think Janoris will be Janoris, and if these young guys are smart enough to listen, then they’re going to learn a lot of really good stuff.
Q. We only talked to these guys for a couple minutes after you drafted them, but a lot of them seemed like extremely high-character guys, team captains, very grateful, very — what you’re looking for, right, as far as culture. Is it tough when you’re scouting these players to — because you don’t want to reach, right, to find a guy who has the value and talent and also has that character along with it, especially in a class that you assembled here with a lot of them who seem to have both?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: You know, it’s part of the evaluation process, and I bang on our scouts big time, you’ve got to vet these guys out. Very honestly, these are the kinds of kids we want to bring in here, smart, intelligent kids who hate to lose, and that’s what we’re looking for. This was an especially unique group. But we put blues on these kinds of guys, and we had a draft that was almost completely blue because that’s what you want to build around.
Q. What about George (Asafo-Adjei) specifically impressed you? On the phone he told us a little bit about his adversity, his background, single mom, all that, and obvious that he’s not a guy who’s on a lot of mock drafts, so something must have clicked, right?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, it’s the length. It was the toughness. You know, he’s played in the SEC — he’s going to see good pass rushers every week. He’s kind of getting a little taste of what’s ahead of him. Like I said, the length, the toughness, and the ability to fight through, lining up in the SEC every Saturday.
Q. We know Remmers came in for a visit a month ago. Any update on where that stands?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, he’s still rehabbing, and we’re continuing to talk with him, so we’ll see.
Q. Are you optimistic that that could happen?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Time will tell. Got to rehab. Going to bring him in and take another look eventually.
Q. That’s essentially the plan then, bring him in another time?
PAT SHURMUR: We had a good visit when he was in.
Q. Did you feel like only taking one offensive lineman, it seems like you’re leaving yourself a little light, that’s why Remmers —
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Right, no, it makes sense.
Q. Do you have guys that you like now and in the drafting period that maybe you didn’t have grades to draft them but you like them coming —
DAVE GETTLEMAN: That’s what’s going on upstairs right now. There are a couple guys specifically, and we’re hoping to land them.
Q. Your son Kyle apparently is signing with Kansas City…
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah.
Q. How was that for you today, having to balance your draft and what was happening with your son?
PAT SHURMUR: No, I think it’s terrific. I think certainly my history with Andy (Reid) runs deep, and so as we’re watching the picks come off, certainly that was running parallel, hoping he was going to end up in a really good place, and I think regardless of whether he was picked or not, he’s ending up in a really good place, so he’ll go there and compete, and I think he’s going to be with a terrific team, and what I consider to be an outstanding quarterback culture, and that’s what you want for a young player that’s going to learn how to play the position at this level, so I’m happy for him.
Q. I know that you drafted a quarterback, but was that ever going to be an option here, or did you want that to be separate?
PAT SHURMUR: He and I talked about it, and I think that’s got to run separate. That’s the way we always parented, as well – listen, we’re here to support you, but go make your way in the world. We’re going to try to help you in every way possible, and as we all know, sometimes this is not very kind. And so he’s always known that, and he’s always known that he had to go out and do it and compete, and this is just the next step in that, next phase actually.
Q. You’re lined up to have a lot of cap space the next off-season?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Right.
Q. Is that a big part of your plan, are you looking ahead knowing that that’s a deliberate thing, it didn’t just kind of happen that way?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: It was kind of both. You know, it’s funny, if you have confidence in your drafting skills, you know that two, three years with the — you’re going to be able to start extending, and you always want to be in a position to extend. It was like when I was in Carolina this — I’m holding on to cap space, and they’re screaming about why aren’t you doing this, why aren’t you doing that. I said, I don’t know, call me crazy, there’s this guy Luke Kuechly we’re going to have to extend and some guy named Cam Newton you’re going to have to extend, and these things are going to happen. It’s one of those deals where there’s obviously different theories on how to manage that cap, but at some point in time, shame on you if you can’t keep your good young players home. In Carolina there were a couple times where I just couldn’t do it. Financially we had to pick between Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, had to pick between Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell. They’re both going to cost a fortune, so you had to make decisions and keep moving and take the comp picks. But to answer your question here, no, it’s part of it, because you can’t — you don’t want to get in a position where you’re kicking cans down the road and you’re restructuring and you’re adding cap issues down the road. In an ideal world you clear it and then you can do what you call — you can get the long-term contracts with flat paragraph 5s and back loading and doing all that kind of crazy stuff. So to answer your question, the short answer is, yes, it’s part of the plan.
Q. Going back to day one, when you come into a draft off two tough seasons where you’ve won eight games, is it tough to make a pick for a future quarterback? You’re using a 6 and you know he’s probably not going to play until next year so there’s no immediate benefit?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: That’s a great question, and that’s why I always say, I’m on a tightrope. I’ve got to think short-term, and I’ve got to think long-term. That’s the box I’m in. That’s the position I’m in. Coaches have to win now, and I ask myself — I’ve told you guys a million times, I ask myself that question, am I giving Pat and the guys enough players to win with, okay. And really, you know, it’s tough. But I can say this to you guys right now. When we got in here Thursday night, the question was posed, why didn’t you wait until 17. Well, I know for a fact there were two teams that would have taken him in front of 17. I know that for a fact. So it’s tough, it really is. It wasn’t easy for me to pass up Josh Allen. For me, my background, that was very, very difficult. But I think that much of Daniel Jones and his future as an NFL quarterback.
Q. How much did you try and move up with that 17 pick, maybe get ahead of those two teams so you had two first-round picks, let’s say in the top 10?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: After we picked Daniel?
Q. Or did you contemplate it beforehand?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: No, I didn’t — no, did not contemplate beforehand. We were going to make the pick at 6 and then go from there. I had no intention of moving up. None.
Q. You guys both said Thursday night that you talked to Eli and he was okay, then there was a report on the radio yesterday that he was upset. Anything you guys — do you guys still believe he’s okay? And did you talk to Lauletta?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Oh, gosh.
PAT SHURMUR: We saw Lauletta in the training room the next day.
Q. So you talked to him?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, our people talked to him.
Q. And he was okay?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, as far as we know.
Q. Do you want to comment on the radio?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’m not going to respond to that. Come on, now.
Q. How much better do you feel about walking the tightrope and having the long-term and short-term crunch, how much clearer is that long-term vision? How much better do you feel about it now after this draft?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I feel much better. I thought we had a very — a real quality draft. And time will tell. We’re going to know how good this draft was in three years. That’s when we’ll know. We’ll know how good last year’s draft was in two more years.
Q. Without being flippant, but do you ever sit here after a draft and look at the things and say to yourself, this didn’t work out for us this year, I don’t have a good feeling about this?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: You mean like tonight I’m going to look at these tonight and have that feeling?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’m telling you right now, no.
Q. I don’t mean this year, I mean in any year would you ever think that? Or do you always think I picked these guys that are good players?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Of course. You know, as far as I’m concerned, we had a hell of a weekend, you know? I mean, gosh. They’re good players here.
Q. Is there — with Oshane Ximines, you’ve got interior pressure on the D-line too, is there more you’d still like to add to the pass rush from the outside?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: We’ll see. You know, we’ll see. Again, you guys are forgetting, Markus Golden two years ago before the ACL had 14 sacks. He’s coming back, whatever he had, five last year. We added him. Lorenzo (Carter) is going to be better. He had the five last year. They get better. The young kids do improve, you know? And really at the end of the day — listen, my first year at Carolina, we had 60 sacks. It was nuts, okay. Do I want to have 60 sacks every year? Who doesn’t? I know Pat wouldn’t be upset. But at the end of the day, it’s about moving guys off their spots. It’s about all the other stuff. So you know, it’s a game within a game.
Q. Pat, what do you need to see from Daniel when he gets here on Thursday, Friday or Saturday?
PAT SHURMUR: We’re just going to get him started, put him through the paces, and I think every time they go on the field, you want them to execute what we’ve given him to do that day, and so we’ll start at square one with him and get him up and running and see how far he can take it and how quickly he can learn it. Our anticipation is he’s going to learn quickly, and we’ve seen that he can perform at a high level. It’s just got to look like good football, and I think that’s make good decisions, throw on time, be accurate, execute well, be smart with the football, all the things you’re looking for on Sunday you want to see it in practice, and you give him a little bit at a time, as time goes on, it builds up, and you just hope he builds on that.
Q. Is there a number of slots for the UDFA’s that you’re looking for?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, we started with 67, 67 plus 10 is 77. I’m counting in my head, I’m not making fun. So basically got 13 — we may sign just half a dozen guys. I’m not in a rush — I think I told you guys yesterday, I’m not in a rush to get to 90. In an ideal world you want 90 guys that belong in a camp. So we’re — upstairs those guys know, if he doesn’t belong in a camp, we’ll wait. We’ve got rookie mini-camp coming in, we’ll have tryout guys, rookie mini-camp next weekend. There will be guys there on tryouts. The first team to 90 doesn’t win the Super Bowl, so we’ll just kind of do that.
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB JULIAN LOVE:
Q: What do you think you demonstrated at Notre Dame to show that you can be a starter at this level?
A: I had a pretty great three years at Notre Dame. I started a lot of games, played in all my games. I was healthy, I competed with the best at Notre Dame. So I know I can do a lot of things, so I think that’s what teams saw. I’m excited to showcase that going forward.
Q: What do you do best?
A: I think I’m a pretty physical player, I don’t shy away from contact at all. If anything, I show a lot of effort, I’m a smart player and I make plays. That’s what I’ve done my whole life and I’m excited to do that going forward. I’m just going to continue to be a playmaker.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder about how it ended, not being able to finish what you started in the Cotton Bowl?
A: I do, there’s a lot of pride with my friends from Notre Dame and the community. I did want to end this perfect season the right way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that and I’m carrying that with me. You can’t take anything for granted. You have to finish the job no matter what. That’s definitely on my mind, in the back of my head.
Q: Do you like being in the slot?
A: I do, I think my skillset allows me to be inside, which is great. I can play outside or inside. Wherever they need me, I am going to compete to the best of my abilities. I feel pretty good about playing inside.
Q: Did you have much contact with the Giants during this process?
A: Not fully, no. This process was a lot, I talked to a lot of teams, but I’m happy to be in New York. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
MEDIA Q&A WITH LB RYAN CONNELLY:
Q: Did you have any idea of where you might go? Were you surprised when you got the call?
A: “Yeah, I was a little surprised. I knew somewhere around this time was kind of when I was slotted to go. We were just kind of waiting for the call, and it came.”
Q: What do you think you can bring to the table for this team?
A: “I’m just really excited to see all my new teammates and get going on this defense, learning the defense. That’s probably going to be the first thing, is figure out everything I need to figure out, just so I can help the team in any way I can.”
Q: Can you talk about your journey from walk-on to today?
A: “It’s pretty surreal just coming from a high school quarterback, to walking on at Wisconsin, and now getting to play for the New York Football Giants. It’s pretty crazy, and it doesn’t even seem real to me yet.”
Q: You said you played high school quarterback. When did you make the switch to linebacker?
A: “Right when I got to Wisconsin.”
Q: Was it your choice? Or, was it a coaches’ decision?
A: “No, it was a coaches’ decision. I think they needed some people to fill up the inside linebacker room, and that’s just kind of where I ended up, and I’ve been there ever since.”
Q: What was your interaction with the Giants before today? Any meetings with coaches at Pro Day or bowl games?
A: “Yeah, I met with them at the Combine. I talked to the linebacker coach at Pro Day. Those went well, obviously. So, that was my interaction before today.”
Q: How much special teams did you play in college?
A: “I played a lot my first two years, and then my last two years, I was on punt and kickoff. That’s definitely something I’m willing to do.”
Q: Did I read something that your season was ended by a surgery?
A: “Yeah, I had a sports hernia at the end of last season that I had been playing through, and finally decided to get it fixed back in December, but I’m fully healed. That hasn’t affected me at all to this point.”
Q: Are you going to any Islanders playoff games?
A: I’m gonna try to now, for sure.”
Q: You played inside linebacker at Wisconsin, right?
Q: Is that where you see yourself suited for with the Giants in their 3-4 (defense)?
A: “Yeah, that’s where I’m definitely most comfortable, but like I said, I’ll play wherever they need me.”
Q: How would you evaluate yourself in the coverage game? How comfortable are you with covering tight ends and running backs?
A: “At Wisconsin, we did a little bit of everything – whether it features zone (coverage) or man (coverage), man (coverage) on the tight end, man (coverage) on the running back, we kind of switched it up a lot. Kind of experienced kind of doing all those different things there.”
Q: What did (Defensive Coordinator) James Bettcher just tell you when you talked to him on the phone when they picked you?
A: “Just welcome to the Giants, and that they’re happy to have me, and happy to get started. I don’t know, honestly, it’s just kind of all a blur at that point. I was just trying to pay attention as close as I could.”
Q: How’s your mom doing?
A: “She’s doing great, thanks for asking.”
Q: Yesterday was the big day, right?
A: “It actually got pushed back one week. Next Friday will be the next day.”
Q: What is he referring to Ryan?
A: “My mom’s cancer treatment will be ending next Friday, and then hopefully the checks will be all clear for lung cancer.”
Q: Were you a Vikings fan or a Packers fan?
A: “I grew up as a Packer fan.”
Q: Position wise, what did teams view you as? Where do you think you fit best in this defense?
A: “I’m more of an off the ball linebacker – a ‘WILL’ (weak side linebacker), a little ‘MIKE’ (middle linebacker). Those were kind of the main things they talked to me about.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH WR DARIUS SLAYTON:
Q: Do you think the way you ended your college career kind of sent you over the top?
A: “I definitely think it was a nice exclamation point to my career, for sure.”
Q: How would you describe your game? What have teams told you about what they like about you?
A: “I think my biggest strength is my speed. I’m able to push the field vertically, as well as catch the ball intermediately, and I have ability to go and score. That’s probably some of the biggest things I’ve heard from teams that I hope to be able to bring the Giants. Just help take the top off the defense and help us win games.”
Q: Where do you see your speed paying off the most? Long deep balls, or catch-and-run concepts?
A: “I can do either/or, but obviously the deep ball is probably the main area. I just want to go out there and show that I can do it all. I can do underneaths, I can do deep, I can do whatever they need me to do.”
Q: You don’t return kicks or punts, right?
A: “No sir, I didn’t in college.”
Q: You ran the entire route tree in college, didn’t you?
A: “For the most part, yes ma’am.”
Q: What’s it like playing in that Auburn offense, because it’s not exactly the same as playing in the Washington State office. Do you have to block a lot there?
A: “Yes, but that’s anywhere in the SEC. There’s big-time running backs, so you obviously have to do a little more blocking probably in the SEC as opposed to the Pac-12. I feel like on the pro level, especially somewhere like the Giants when they have a back like (RB) Saquon (Barkley), you got to do your part and block for him, as well when it comes time to run routes and catch the ball, then do your own job. I think it’s prepared me to come into this situation and be successful.”
Q: You seem pretty subdued. Is this later in the draft than you expected to go? Or, are you just a calm guy?
A: “No, I’ve had a couple of minutes to collect myself. If this had been five minutes ago, I couldn’t talk at all (laughter), but I’ve had a couple of minutes to collect myself. Just trying to manage my excitement. Everybody says first-round slip, or whatever you want to call it, but at the end of the day, getting drafted into the NFL is a really hard thing to do. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
Q: What was your initial thought of how you’re going to fit in the offense, and what your role can be here?
A: “The phone just went off, and it actually shows up as New Jersey. So, my brain didn’t register New York Giants at first until the coach on the phone said the New York Giants, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ I remember they took the quarterback in the first-round, and obviously have Eli Manning, who has been a really good vet. I feel like they’re going to have good quarterbacks and have had some good receivers over the past few years. Like I said, just hope I can get in there and do my part.”
Q: What do you want to show them that you don’t feel like you’ve shown the league yet?
A: “Just that I’m a complete player. I think through this process, I was fighting people putting me in a box as just a deep guy, or just a this guy, just a whatever guy. Just to have a complete game – that I can run the full route tree, I can get in and out of breaks, as well as beat you deep with my speed. I think that’s the biggest thing I have to show as soon as I get there.”
Q: How much were you personally limited by the offense this year?
A: “It was just one of those things where sometimes you just don’t always execute on all cylinders as a team, but at the end of the day, I had opportunities to make plays while I was there this year and last year. I did what I could with my opportunities.”
Q: Have you had a chance to study the Giants? Do you know much about the offense they run other than having Eli Manning here?
A: “When (Browns WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) was there, I watched a fair amount of Odell film, but I haven’t had the chance to dive deep into their scheme, personally. Honestly, just kind of on the surface. Looking at receivers like Odell, like (WR) Sterling (Shepard). I actually had a high school teammate of mine who signed on with the Giants as a free agent a couple of years ago. It’s been a team I’ve watched a little bit.”
Q: Who was that teammate?
A: “(Free agent WR) Kalif Raymond – played for the Giants a little while. I don’t think he’s on the team anymore.”
Q: What did you think of the Patriots drafting (Former Auburn QB) Jared (Stidham) behind (Patriots QB) Tom Brady?
A: “I’m happy for Jared. I think he’s really going to excel, especially in that offense where he’ll be able to – I think he can be Tom Brady-esque, because Jared is really smart, he throws very well from the pocket, he’s good at making quick decisions. So, I think that’s a great fit for him, and he loves Tom Brady to death. I’m sure that’s like getting drafted by God for him. I’m happy for him.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB COREY BALLENTINE:
Q: How did you end up at Washburn?
A: I wasn’t really highly recruited for football coming out of high school. I was a late bloomer, I was recruited more for track. Washburn was one of my few football offers that believed in me. They believed they could help me grow and get better as a player. I met with the coaches and I figured it being close to home and I was comfortable with my coaches and teammates, it would be the best option for me. That’s why I chose it over other schools. I had a couple other D2 offers but I figured Washburn was the best one out of the other offers.
Q: Is it satisfying you never had to transfer to get to this moment?
A: No, I never transferred. I was at Washburn for 5 years, I redshirted, and I was a three-year starter so I never went anywhere else.
Q: You only played 2 years in high school, right?
A: I played all four years but I wasn’t on varsity until my junior year. I played varsity for two years.
Q: Inside/outside, you do it all as far as what you can handle in the secondary?
A: I used to play free when I was in high school. I got recruited to Washburn as a corner. When I started playing, I started as a down safety in our defense, so kind of like nickel. I played nickel for two years then I played corner in 2017 and 2018. I’m comfortable playing both positions inside and outside. I don’t have a problem with either.
Q: How important was the Senior Bowl for a guy coming from a small school?
A: It was definitely very important for me. I’ve always felt like I could compete with that type of competition as far as being with those D1 guys. This was kind of like my first real opportunity and I think I went out there and I did well. My real goal was just to improve every day. I knew I wasn’t going to go out there and immediately just lock everyone down, but as long as I was growing mentally and growing physically and getting my technique better, I felt like that was more important. I ended up starting the game, so I felt like someone was seeing the improvements I was making as well. It was definitely important, kind of an eye opener for me because there is a lot of things I haven’t seen as far as routes, route combinations that I haven’t seen in Division II. When I got to the practices and one on ones and stuff, I saw that for the first time. It kind of opened my eyes and let me know I need to be more on my p’s and q’s. There are certain things I can get away with in Division II football that I can’t get away with there or in the NFL. I am definitely prepared for the challenge, but I’m glad I went there. I am definitely grateful for the opportunity.
Q: Did the Giants give you any sense of where they would like to start you off?
A: No, we never really talked about it too much yet. I’m happy to fill in wherever I need to, I’m not too worried about what position I’m going to be playing because I feel like I can learn and adjust. I feel like that’s what the game is about, adjustments and adjusting to adversity. I’ll take whatever (inaudible) we haven’t really talked about it. I’m assuming corner and maybe a little bit of nickel corner, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Q: Are you also a return guy?
A: I’ve been returning for a while. In 2017, I averaged 30 yards a return. They stopped kicking to me in 2018. I’m definitely a return guy, I didn’t do punt returns but I will do it, I don’t have a problem with it. I’m on every special team, so I will definitely be on special teams with the Giants as well.
Q: They put up a graphic that said you were born in Jamaica?
A: Yeah, that’s right, I was born in Montego Bay and moved to Kansas when I was about six years old around 2001, 2000.
Q: What was it like getting the call from the Giants?
A: It was surreal, I’m sure you have heard it a lot, but this is something I have always dreamed of. It took me back to the moment when I got recruited to college and I told my coaches this is something I wanted to do, I wanted to go to the NFL. We were all kind of giggling and here the moment is, I’m getting the call from the New York Giants. It’s just surreal because I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I know I wanted to do it, I just didn’t know how. Now that the moment is here, I’m trying to soak it in really. I worked so long to prepare for this moment, going to the combine and the Senior Bowl not knowing what my future was holding. Now I’m finally getting to figure out my destination. I’m really just trying to soak in the moment. I have already talked to the head coach and the defensive coordinator and my position coach. I’m definitely getting a feel for them already. I’m enjoying the ride already.
Q: In the Senior Bowl did you play against Daniel Jones?
A: I’m sure I did. They rotated the quarterbacks every quarter so I’m sure I was in there at some point. I’m not sure.
Q: What were your pre-draft meetings with the Giants like?
A: They had sent scouts out to my school during the season maybe three times. I met with them at the Senior Bowl as well. I met with the D-coordinator and I talked with him. I had at least a 30-minute, 40-minute conversation with him just going through schemes and things that we do at my school compared to things that they do and my strong suits and whatnot. I talked to him for a while and he kind of let me know enjoy the process and embrace the grind. That’s what I have been trying to do. I also had a conversation about a week ago about how I would adjust to living in New York being from a small city and whatnot. I think I’ll adjust fine. I haven’t really had any visits to or been to New York. Like I said, it’s an adjustment that I will have to get used to. I don’t think it will be a problem for me, I have no character issues, I have none of those issues, so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Have you ever been to New York?
A: I have never been to New York. This will be my first time. I’m definitely looking forward to the change of scenery. I’m in Kansas right now, so it is probably way different, but I’m definitely ready for it.
MEDIA Q&A WITH OT GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI:
Q: How exciting is it to get the call that you are coming to the Giants?
A: Oh my gosh, I feel like the luckiest man in the world. I’m blessed, truly blessed.
Q: Were you surprised it was the Giants?
A: Honestly, I was a bit surprised. I was not expecting that, I had been in contact with them before, but like I said it was a surprise honestly. God is good.
Q: What was your experience like building up to the draft, what were your expectations?
A: My expectations were just work hard in the off-season. I have had a passion for the game since I started playing. I haven’t played my whole life, I gained a love for it and I saw what it did taking me out of situations at home and all that kind of stuff. I’m just blessed, and I kept pursuing it because I believed this was my ticket. I worked hard in the off-season, did well in the pro day, got a lot of hype and I’m just blessed to be in this position right now.
Q: What was it like going up against a top ten pick in Josh Allen every day, how much better did he make you?
A: It was a great experience. We both sharpened each other honestly. He had troubles going against me, I’m a speed guy I’m good with the pass rush. He’s a great edge rusher, I gave him problems, we both helped each other. You saw it in the outcome of the season and the outcome of our play. It’s just a blessing to be on a team like that with multiple other players.
Q: You were born in the Bronx?
A: Yes, sir I was born in the Bronx.
Q: Did you grow up here, where did you grow up?
A: I moved from the Bronx when I was about 8 years old and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. I remember the Bronx. I have visited there almost every summer.
Q: Are you a Yankees fan?
A: No, I don’t follow baseball.
Q: You alluded earlier to what football did for your life, what kind of adversity did it help you through?
A: My mom works hard, she has worked hard since I was born. She has been working 3 jobs, literally 3 jobs every day. She probably gets 4 hours of sleep every day, we went through some rough patches in life, but we overcame thanks to God. He’s taken me out of that situation, and he has taken our family out of that situation. I’m happy for our blessings. I don’t have a father in my life, that’s been much harder as well. I thank God, God is good and he answers prayers.
Q: Do you have a lot of family in New York?
A: Yes, for sure I do.
Q: You went on a mission to Ethiopia?
A: Yes, we went to Ethiopia last year in May. I’m from Africa, I’m not from Ethiopia I’m from Ghana. It was still good to be back in the homeland of Africa. It was a blessing to be a blessing to others and help others and pray for people. It was a very beautiful thing and I loved that experience. It’s even shaped me to continue that in my life and I even opened a LLC. I want to give back to any poor countries and any poor communities around here. It’s eye opening to see those people don’t have anything, but they are the happiest people in the world. Anyone can take something from that, just seeing them struggle I want to give back to them so bad.
Q: When you said you didn’t have a father, was your mother a single mom?
A: Yes, she was a single mother. It’s been rough growing up, but by God’s grace she was able to provide. We went through rough patches between me and her. By God’s grace we were okay, and we’ve overcame. Forgiveness is a big part, I’m just happy to be in the situation I’m in right now. God is more than good.
Q: Is it just you and your mother or do you have brothers and sisters?
A: I have a sister, but I didn’t meet her until I was 14 because the process to bring people from Ghana is a long process. My mom had to work on it since I was born, and it took that many years just to accept her into the U.S. and get a visa. That’s a blessing too, I love my sister she has overcame a lot herself, so it’s just a blessing for us all to be together as a family.
Q: What was you Mom‘s reaction when you got drafted?
A: She was screaming, going crazy. I’m happy for her, she gets to see her boy make it. I’ve worked really hard for this. I’m going in there not to just goof around, but I’m going in there to take a job, I’m going in there to make a name for myself. I truly believe I’m a dog. I can’t wait for you guys to see that.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DT CHRIS SLAYTON:
Q: What was your reaction when you heard it was going to be the Giants who was taking you?
A: It was a great reaction man. I was excited. My mom called me as soon as it happened. They’re excited for me. All around, it’s a big moment for us.
Q: Who are you watching the draft with?
A: Right now, I’m alone at my apartment. I was going to meet my parents afterwards.
Q: What was your pre-draft interaction with the Giants? Did you meet with them at a bowl game or a Pro Day?
A: I first met them down at the East-West Shrine Game week, and at the Combine. I liked them a lot, and they liked me, so it all worked out.
Q: Are you a three-tech or a one-tech? Where do you play exactly on the defensive line?
A: Either or, both.
Q: What do you bring to this team?
A: Just a strong work ethic. I love to compete. I’m a high competitor.