Oct 302019
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (October 27, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 30, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Because they play on Monday, the New York Giants were not required to issue an injury report today. That said, everyone on the 53-man roster practiced. Although he is still in the concussion protocol, wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) fully practiced.

Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring), who is currently on Injured Reserve, continues to practice and is eligible to be added to the 53-man roster. “He’s making good progress,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We have until next Wednesday to make a final decision on him, and so we’ll just see, again, what the next week brings.”

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
With the trade for defensive end Leonard Williams official, the New York Giants have waived linebacker Tae Davis, who was claimed by the Cleveland Browns today. The Giants signed Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. Davis not only made the team, but he played in 14 games with four starts in 2018, accruing 33 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defense. This year, Davis played in four games with one start, accruing six tackles.

The Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of linebacker Jake Carlock. The Giants originally signed Carlock as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

GIANTS RESTRUCTURE RHETT ELLISON’S CONTRACT…
According to ESPN, the Giants have restructured the contract of tight Rhett Ellison in order to create more cap space for defensive end Leonard Williams. They did so by converting $1,876,765 of Ellison’s base salary into a signing bonus, creating $938,382 in cap space against the team’s 2019 salary cap.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday.

Aug 032019
 
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Michael Thomas, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Michael Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 3, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their ninth full-team summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker Mark McLaurin on Injured Reserve with a broken foot and waived defensive end Alex Jenkins. To fill these roster spots, the Giants signed defensive end/linebacker Terrence Fede and claimed linebacker Joey Alfieri off of waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants signed McLaurin, a collegiate safety, as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Jenkins after he impressed as a tryout player during the 2019 rookie mini-camp. Born in England, Jenkins was part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Practice Squad of the New Orleans Saints.

The 27-year old, 6’4”, 267-pound Fede was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In four seasons with the Dolphins, Fede played in 51 regular-season games with no starts, accruing 55 tackles and one sack. Fede signed with the Buffalo Bills in April 2018 but was waived before the season started.

The 6’3”, 239-pound Alfieri was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Eagles after the 2019 NFL Draft.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (unknown), defensive lineman John Jenkins (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Saturday.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With CB Grant Haley out, Julian Love was the first-team nickel corner.
  • In red zone drills, CB Corey Ballentine closed quickly to knock away a pass from QB Daniel Jones. Then Ballentine made a heck of a play with a leaping interception of a Jones fade pass to WR Al0nzo Russell. Ballentine later had another pass break-up.
  • QB Alex Tanney threw a touchdown pass to WR Amba Etta-Tawo, beating LB Nate Stupar.
  • In one five-wide formation, the Giants had both RB Saquon Barkley and TE Evan Engram line up outside.
  • QB Daniel Jones overthrew WR Alonzo Russell deep.
  • CB/S Julian Love broke up a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Reggie White, Jr.
  • CB Deandre Baker closed very fast on broke up a QB Kyle Lauletta pass over the middle intended for WR Da’Mari Scott.
  • WR Bennie Fowler dropped one pass, but caught three others in 11-on-11 drills.
  • CB Henre’ Tolliver broke up a pass.
  • QB Eli Manning finished 8-of-11; QB Daniel Jones was 5-of-13.

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:

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:

ARTICLES…

Jul 052019
 
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Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (December 9, 2018)

Lorenzo Carter – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp 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.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

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).

Jul 042019
 
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New York Giants Helmets October 27 2013

JARED LORENZEN PASSES AWAY…
Former New York Giants back-up quarterback Jared Lorenzen passed away on July 3rd due to heart and kidney issues. Lorenzen was 38 years old. The Giants signed Lorenzen as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2004 NFL Draft. He served as a reserve quarterback for four years, from 2004-2007, first as a third-string quarterback and later as the primary back-up to Eli Manning.

“Jared was a special person, and a beloved Giant,” said Manning. “He was an important member of our 2007 team, one that created its own destiny. Our thoughts are with Jared’s family and friends who loved and appreciated him so much. Just as our organization and our fans did. Jared was a great teammate and friend. We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together in 2004. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.”

“I’m shocked to learn of Jared’s passing,” said former New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Jared had a fun-loving, yet serious attitude. He was a good athlete, he had touch and versatility, and he was serious about trying to get his weight under control. Jared got along well with his teammates, and he contributed a lot in his hometown. He worked with young kids in teaching them the game of football. My thoughts are with Jared’s family and the Giants family. It’s sad to lose a kid who tried so hard to play again.”

ARTICLES…

Feb 262019
 
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Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin; New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

There are two positions on the team that management simply has not been able to “fix” for years: offensive line and linebackers. And it is not for want of effort. While the Giants have not spent a great deal of draft assets on linebackers (3rd-round pick on Lorenzo Carter, 4th-round pick on B.J. Goodson), the team certainly has spent free agent and even indirect draft (i.e. trade) assets. Three of the four Giants’ starting linebackers in 2018 were:

  • Olivier Vernon ($17 million 2018 cap hit)
  • Alec Ogletree ($4.75 million 2018 cap hit, plus 4th- and 6th-round draft picks in trade)
  • Kareem Martin (3-year, $15 million contract)

The Giants also gave Connor Barwin a 2-year, $5 million deal as a reserve.

To be blunt, the return on the investment was quite poor. The 3-4 defense relies on the linebackers to be the the play-makers and the pass rushers. They didn’t do that. 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 startling, Giants linebackers only forced ONE fumble all year.

Ask a Giants’ fan about their linebacker memories for the 2018 season and they’ll probably mention Ogletree picking off five passes and returning two of those for touchdowns. Or Goodson picking off two passes in a game. They may say that the injury-prone Vernon flashed as a pass rusher as he got healthier. And that Carter showed some good things as a rookie. But mostly it was just blah. Barwin was invisible. Martin was one-dimensional. The positives from Vernon were overshadowed by a frustrating lack of impact and bonehead mistakes such a penalties or losing contain responsibility.

Overall, the run defense wasn’t good, 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 (despite the five picks, there was a stretch of games where Ogletree was regularly abused in coverage).

THE EDGE RUSHERS

Olivier Vernon’s first three seasons with the Giants have been sabotaged due to nagging injuries, including a high ankle sprain in 2018 that caused him to miss the first five games of the season. Vernon started the remaining 11 games, accruing 30 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Despite the missed time and subpar tackle production, Vernon played in the Pro Bowl as a first alternate. Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Although Vernon played in all 16 regular-season games in 2016, a serious left hand/wrist injury affected his play. In 2017, he missed four games with an ankle injury that also continued to be a factor in other games. An undersized but athletic defensive end, the Giants shifted him to linebacker in 2018 to fit their new 3-4 scheme. Vernon teases with his big-play ability but he simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy and be consistently productive and reliable.

The Giants signed Kareem Martin as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018. Though not a standout, Martin has his most productive season as a pro, playing in a 16 games with seven starts, and finishing with 48 tackles (twice as much as his previous high), 1.5 sacks, and 2 pass defenses. The 6’6”, 272-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cardinals as a defensive end. The Cardinals moved him to linebacker after his rookie season. Martin is a ‘tweener who does his best work moving forward rather than moving backwards in space. He is a sold run defender, but he only has six career sacks in five seasons.

The Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Carter played in 15 games as a rookie with two starts, finishing the season with 43 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 pass defenses. He is a tall, athletic, disruptive forward mover. Carter causes problems with his quickness and closing burst but can get hung up on blocks at times. Carter flashes as a pass rusher, and he can rush the passer from the defensive end spot in certain packages.

The Giants signed Connor Barwin as an unrestricted free agent from the Los Angeles Rams in July 2018. Despite playing in 15 games with three starts, Barwin finished the year with just 12 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 pass defenses. Barwin was originally selected in the 2nd-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Before joining the Giants, he spent time with the Texans (2009-2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2016), and Rams (2017).

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

The Giants traded with the Rams for Alec Ogletree in March 2018, giving the Rams 4th- and 6th-round draft picks. In his first season with the Giants, Ogletree started all 13 regular-season games he played in, missing three games due to hamstring and concussion issues. He finished the year with 93 tackles, 1 sack, 8 pass defenses, and 5 interceptions (2 of which were returned for touchdowns). Ogletree was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Rams. He made the All-Rookie team in 2013 and was named second-team All-Pro in 2016. The 6’2”, 235-pound Ogletree lacks classic size. He’s more of a run-and-hit linebacker than take-on-and-shed guy. Team leader who was voted team captain on both the Rams and Giants. In his six NFL seasons, Olgetree has averaged almost 100 tackles per year. Despite his five interceptions in 2018, he can be exposed in man coverage by athletic pass catchers.

In his third year with the Giants, B.J. Goodson had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with 13 starts, and finishing with 61 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in 15 regular-season games with no starts. In 2017, Goodson started all seven games he played in, but missed most of the season with shin and ankle issues. Goodson is a big, strong, physical linebacker who lacks ideal speed and quickness. He plays the run better than the pass.

The Giants signed Tae Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. Davis not only made the team, but he played in 14 games with four starts, accruing 33 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defense. The 6’0”, 222-pound Davis lacks size, but he is a good athlete with fine speed. While aggressive, Davis is not a physical player against the run and he missed too many tackles in 2018. He also needs to improve in coverage.

The Giants claimed Nate Stupar off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints in September 2018. He played in all 16 games, finishing the year with just 14 tackles. In his one start, Stupar missed three tackles. The 6’2”, 240-pound Stupar was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Stupar has spent time with the Raiders (2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2012), San Francisco 49ers (2012–2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014–2015), and Saints (2016–2017). He has played in 79 regular-season games with ten starts, six of which came in 2016 when he accrued 58 tackles. Stupar missed 11 games in 2017 with a torn ACL. He is a good special teams player.

Ukeme Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants signed him to the 53-man roster in October 2018. Eligwe ended up playing in 10 games with no starts, accruing just seven tackles and one pass defense. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs.

STILL HANGING AROUND

Avery Moss was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018. Moss was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, he played in 11 games with two starts. He finished with 14 tackles, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Moss has good size with long arms and is a good athlete. Moss flashes as a disruptive run defender and pass rusher, but he needs to become more consistent and get stronger at the point-of-attack.

Jordan Williams was waived/injured in September 2018 with hip and shoulder injuries, and then placed on Injured Reserve. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016) before being signed by the Giants to the Practice Squad in December 2016. He spent most of 2017 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, even though he played in one regular-season game.

Jul 092018
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp 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.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: As previously mentioned in our defensive line preview, one of the reasons why 2017 was such a huge disappointment was that a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team fell from 10th in yards allowed in 2016 to 31st. Scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th. New York’s run defense was 27th in the NFL, allowing over 120 yards per game on average. Pass defense was 31st, allowing over 250 yards per game on average.

The problems were across the board. The defensive line and secondary were supposed to very good. They weren’t. At best, the linebackers were supposed to be average. They weren’t even that. An entire generation of New York Giants fans has now grown up without witnessing a good linebacking corps on their team. Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce were anomalies during the last three decades.

One would be hard-pressed to remember ANY plays made by Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Calvin Munson, and Kelvin Sheppard in 2017. Injuries were a major issue as Casillas, Robinson, and Goodson missed a ton of games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: There was a much-needed house-cleaning. Of the 13 linebackers currently on the roster, only four played with the team at that position in 2017 (B.J. Goodson, Calvin Munson, Mark Herzlich, and Ray-Ray Armstrong). And re-signing Herzlich was somewhat surprising.

The Giants showed zero interest in re-signing former starters Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard. It’s quite telling that all three STILL remain unemployed. The Giants also did not attempt to re-sign Akeem Ayers, Curtis Grant, and Deontae Skinner, who remain unsigned as well. Devon Kennard signed with the Detroit Lions.

The Giants traded away 4th and 6th round picks to the Rams for Alec Ogletree. The team’s first major signing in free agency was Kareem Martin from the Cardinals. Lorenzo Carter was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team also signed street free agent Thurston Armbrister and rookie free agent Tae Davis.

And by transitioning to the 3-4 defense, the Giants have now shifted their best pass rusher – Olivier Vernon – from defensive end to linebacker. Defensive ends Avery Moss, Romeo Okwara, and Jordan Williams are also now at linebacker.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After a quarter of a century of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants are shifting back to the 3-4. There is now an emphasis on acquiring linebackers as well as a new type of linebacker. It is no coincidence that Dave Gettleman traded away two picks for a linebacker. Or that Kareem Martin was the first player signed in free agency. Or that the Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round (and tried to trade up into the 2nd round to draft him). In addition, the shift to the 3-4 led the Giants to trading away Jason Pierre-Paul and moving Oliver Vernon to outside linebacker. This defense is now predicated on the linebackers being the play makers. This is foreign territory for an entire generation of Giants fans. In 2018, the team’s leading sacker should be a linebacker. Linebackers are now expected to lead the team in tackles for losses and impact plays. Mark my words, it is only now a matter of time before the Giants draft a linebacker in the 1st round, something they haven’t done since 1984.

Perhaps the biggest issue on defense is the successful transition of Oliver Vernon from defensive end to linebacker. For this defense to be effective, Vernon has to become the team’s best pass rusher from the outside linebacker spot. While he will mostly be moving forward, and at times will be shifted to defensive end in some pass-rush packages, he needs to be able handle playing in space or opposing teams will target him. Vernon has some experience in this role from his days with the Miami Dolphins, but this is a big adjustment. Vernon also has to stay healthy, something he hasn’t been able to do since joining the Giants in 2016.

There are some people who feel Alec Ogletree is best suited for outside linebacker, but he has already been designated as the defense’s leader from one of the inside linebacker spots. A mobile athlete, Ogletree will be complemented by the more physical thumper B.J. Goodson right next to him. Ogletree could thrive with 1,000 pounds of defensive linemen in front of him. Goodson needs to stay healthy and improve his pass coverage.

Flying under the radar is Kareem Martin, whose overall stats in Arizona were unimpressive. But James Bettcher loves the former defensive end and thinks he is just scratching the surface of his ability as a linebacker. Regardless, he could be pressed by Lorenzo Carter, who has rare athletic ability.

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

ON THE BUBBLE: There is a decent chance that the Giants will now carry as many as eight linebackers. Barring the unforeseen, Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter make the team, leaving probably two or three spots for Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Jordan Williams, Mark Herzlich, Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Thurston Armbrister, and Tae Davis.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the team’s defense: “I think each and every down we might look different on defense. But again, I’ll tell you what – I can’t tell you today who we’re going to be on defense and really what we’re going to look like until we get through training camp, until we get into meetings, until we actually get on the field, until we don’t just play some basketball on grass in the offseason program. Until we get to training camp and we have helmets and pads on and we’re striking and separating and playing off of blocks and what we’re really going to look like. But yeah, there are certainly some 3-4 principles if that’s a term we want to use. There are certainly some 4-3 principles if that’s a term you want to use. At the end of the day, it’s about playing hard with a relentless mindset, playing fast, playing physical and being a smart football team.”

Kareem Martin on the team’s defense: “We’re gonna have a lot of exotic schemes, a lot of guys coming, mixing up the fronts, just so guys won’t get a bead on where we’re coming from and it’s gonna I think cause for a lot of havoc in the backfield.”

Alec Ogletree on James Bettcher: “He’s definitely a linebackers coach, for sure. That’s what he started as. So, for us, he definitely puts it on us to lead the group, and we put it on ourselves as well to be that leader and be that dominant voice out there and get everybody ready and set to run the plays. We definitely take that responsibility.”

Bettcher on Oliver Vernon: “OV, we know is a dynamic guy. A guy that can rush from different angles, a guy that you can move around and put in different match-ups. And he’s embraced everything that we’ve done to this point. I’ve loved working with him and I think he’s making some great progress, not just in this scheme, but I think as I’ve looked at him as a player, he’s sharpening his tools right now.”

Kareem Martin on Olivier Vernon: “Real smooth football player. He’s just a natural, just really fluid player. He does some things I haven’t seen guys do before, one of the strongest linebackers I’ve played with, and just to see him be able to do some of the things and contort his body has just been amazing.”

Bettcher on Alec Ogletree: “You watch his play and I’m not just talking about his ability to make tackles or run down things on the sideline, I’m talking about his play, his mindset, his physicality at which he plays the game, how hard and passionate he plays the game. Those were some of the first things that jumped off the charts for me when we had a chance to get him here. Certainly excited about him as a leader and a guy that is going to bring a ton of energy to our room.”

Bettcher on Kareem Martin: “One of the most improved players that I’ve ever been around.”

PREDICTIONS: While this is going to be more of a hybrid defense than pure, old-fashioned 3-4, this is still going to be a bit of a culture shock for any fan under 40 years old. Linebackers setting the edge, getting into the backfield, creating turnovers, sacking the quarterback. Linebackers actually making plays! If everyone can stay healthy (ahem Vernon and Goodson), on paper, this looks like a potentially strong group. The two inside linebackers complement each other well. Olivier Vernon is no LT, but he will be expected to take on that type of pass-rush role while Kareem Martin does more of the dirty work (à la Carl Banks). Both will also be employed from the down position quite a bit. The wild card is Lorenzo Carter who I am willing to bet will press for pass rush snaps fairly early, either from a standup or down position.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter are the obvious ones to make it. Avery Moss looks the part of a 3-4 pass-rush linebacker, but missed the spring rehabbing an injury. Word has it that Romeo Okwara looked pretty good in the spring workouts. Is there room for both? Finding depth inside could be a challenge. The leading candidates are Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, and possibly even Mark Herzlich. A waiver-wire pick-up here might be in the cards. Special teams ability will be key for anyone looking to make the final 53.

May 112018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

MAY 11, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 2-day rookie mini-camp was held on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Sixty-one (61) players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance.

“Rookie mini camp – this is an exciting weekend for 61 guys,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “They are getting a chance to live out their dream of playing pro football. I think when we look at it, we have a mixture of drafted players, college undrafted players, tryout guys and so we’re going to put them through the paces for three days here and try and teach them.

“I think what’s important is and I’ve talked to the staff, I’ve talked to our current players, we want to teach our rookies the right way from the very beginning – here is your iPad, here is your locker, here is where you need to be, here is how you need to dress, here are the fields, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ work, push in your chair. We want to really train these guys in the New York Giants’ way and I think it’s every facet of their life and then, certainly what is most obvious, football. So that’s running parallel with them learning some of the scheme before they get kind of incorporated with our veterans on Monday. That’s where we’re at.

“We had a walk through – I think the way we do it and this is the way we’ll do it with our veterans. We meet in the morning and then we walk through and then we meet again and then we practice. We try to describe it, then we detail it, then we drill it, then we do it. Then we kind of decompress, debrief it and we do it over and over and over.”

PARTICIPANTS…

2018 NFL Draft Picks (6):

  • RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
  • OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
  • LB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
  • DL B.J. Hill, North Carolina State
  • QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
  • DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami*

*McIntosh did not participate in today’s practice due to a “mild medical condition.” He watched from the sidelines.

2018 Signed Rookie Free Agents (11):

  • WR Jawill Davis, Bethune-Cookman
  • TE Stephen Baggett, East Carolina
  • OC Evan Brown, SMU
  • OG Nick Gates, Nebraska
  • OT Tyler Howell, Missouri
  • DT Tyrell Chavis, Penn State
  • LB Tae Davis, Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • CB Aaron Davis, Georgia
  • CB Bryon Fields, Duke
  • CB Grant Haley, Penn State
  • S Sean Chandler, Temple

    New York Giants First-Year Players (8):

    • RB Jalen Simmons
    • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
    • OC Ethan Cooper
    • OL Adam Bisnowaty
    • LB Derrick Mathews
    • CB Tim Scott
    • S Orion Stewart
    • PK Marshall Koehn

    There were also 36 rookie and veteran tryout players in attendance.

    PRACTICE NOTES…
    Some snippets from various media sources:

    • WR Jawill Davis made a one-handed reception. Davis latter caught two more passes down the field.
    • CB Grant Haley broke a couple of passes from QB Kyle Lauletta.
    • QB Kyle Lauletta showed some nice zip on his passes and completed a couple of deep throws down field. He was a bit up-and-down on the day however.
    • Will Hernandez worked at both left and right guard.
    • RB Saquon Barkley impressed with a “nasty” cutback before reversing course on a gain of 10 yards. Barkley was also comfortable catching the football.
    • S Sean Chandler picked off a pass.
    • S Orion Stewart intercepted a deflected pass from QB Kyle Lauletta.

    GIANTS SIGN THREE OF THEIR DRAFT PICKS
    The New York Giants have announced they have signed the following three of their 2018 NFL Draft class:

    • OG Will Hernandez (2nd round)
    • LB Lorenzo Carter (3rd round)
    • QB Kyle Lauletta (4th round)

    GIANTS CUT OFFENSIVE LINEMAN…
    The New York Giants have waived offensive lineman Laurence Gibson. The Giants signed Gibson to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Gibson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He has spent time with the Cowboys (2015), Chiefs (2015), Falcons (2016), Bears (2016), Giants (2016), Texans (2016-2017), and Browns (2017). The Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in September 2016 and cut him a few months later in December.

    HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
    The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

    THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    May 012018
     
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    Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (April 28, 2018)

    Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

    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

    ARTICLES…

    Apr 262018
     
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    New York Giants 2018 NFL Draft Review

    Draft Pick Scouting Reports
    Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
    Eric’s Take on the 2018 Draft

    Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
    1 2 2 RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
    2 2 34 OG Will Hernandez (Video)
    3 2 66 LB Lorenzo Carter (Video)
    3 5 69 DT B.J. Hill (Video)
    4 8 108 QB Kyle Lauletta (Video)
    5 2 139 DT R.J. McIntosh (Video)

    2018 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

    1st Round – RB Saquon Barkley, 6’0”, 233lbs, 4.41, Penn State University

    SCOUTING REPORTJunior 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.

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

    -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

    Weak Points:

    -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

    Summary:

    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.

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    2nd Round – OG Will Hernandez, 6’2”, 327lbs, 5.19, UTEP

    SCOUTING REPORTFour-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.

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

    -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

    Weak Points:

    -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

    Summary:

    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.

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    3rd Round – LB Lorenzo Carter, 6’5”, 250lbs, 4.53, University of Georgia

    SCOUTING REPORTLorenzo 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.

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

    -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

    Weak Points:

    -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

    Summary:

    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.

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

    Gettleman: 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: 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.

    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.

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    3rd Round – DT B.J. Hill, 6’3”, 311lbs, 4.99, North Carolina State University

    SCOUTING REPORTHill 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.

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

    -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

    Weak Points:

    -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

    Summary:

    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: 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: 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.

    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.

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    4th Round – QB Kyle Lauletta, 6’2”, 222lbs, 4.83, University of Richmond

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

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

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

    Weak Points:

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

    Summary:

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

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    5th Round – DT R.J. McIntosh, 6’4”, 286lbs, 5.03, University of Miami

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

    SY’56’s Take:

    Strong Points:

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

    Weak Points:

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

    Summary:

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

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

    Gettleman: 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: 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.

    MEDIA Q&A WITH MCINTOSH:

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

    A: I wish I could [laughs].

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

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

    Q: How would you describe your game?

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

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

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

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

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

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    Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

    RB Robert Martin, 5’11”, 207lbs, 4.67, Rutgers University

    WR Jawill Davis, 6’0”, 191lbs, 4.43, Bethune-Cookman University
    Davis is an average-sized receiver. He is a very good athlete with excellent speed.

    H-Back Garrett Dickerson, 6’2”, 244lbs, 4.79, Northwestern University
    Dickerson is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions including tight end, fullback, and H-Back.

    TE Stephen Baggett, 6’5”, 251lbs, 4.90, ECU
    Baggett started just 17 games in college with 23 career receptions.

    OC Evan Brown, 6’2”, 302lbs, 4.97, SMU
    Brown is a versatile player with experience at guard and center. He lacks ideal size and athleticism, but Brown is an aggressive, fundamentally sound and consistent player. Better in-line, he is not adept blocking on the move.

    OG/OT Nick Gates, 6’5”, 295lbs, 5.48, University of Nebraska
    Gates played tackle in college but could project to guard in the NFL. Gates is a tough, durable lineman with decent overall athleticism. He plays with good fundamentals and a bit of a nasty attitude. Gates is a better pass protecter than run blocker. He can have issues anchoring against power and needs to get stronger.

    OT Tyler Howell, 6’8”, 300lbs, 5.32, University of Missouri
    Howell is a huge lineman with good quickness for his size. He has had issues with his leverage and balance.

    DT Tyrell Chavis, 6’3”, 305lbs, 5.33, Penn State University

    LB Tae Davis, 6’1”, 220lbs, 4.78, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    Davis is a special teams standout who has experience at both safety and outside linebacker.

    CB Aaron Davis, 5’11”, 194lbs, 4.54, University Georgia
    Davis is a decent-sized corner who lacks ideal speed. Smart player and team leader.

    CB Grant Haley, 5’9”, 185lbs, 4.43, Penn State University
    Haley is a short, but well-built corner with good speed and agility. He has experience playing both outside and the slot nickel positions. So-so ball skills.

    CB Bryon Fields, 5’11”, 180lbs, 4.51, Duke University
    Fields played in 52 games with 39 starts in college, where he also was a team captain.

    CB Mike Jones, 5’9”, 18lbs, 4.72, Temple University

    S Sean Chandler, 5’11”, 195lbs, 4.66, Temple University
    Chandler is a short, but well-built safety who has experience at slot cornerback. He is tough, physical, and aggressive against the run. Chandler lacks speed which hurts his range and ability to stick with receivers down the field. Better covering underneath routes. Good special teams player.

    S Mike Basile, 6’0”, 200lbs, 4.67, Monmouth University
    The 6’1”, 200-pound Basile lacks ideal speed, but he is a hard-working, tough, smart, and instinctive football player with good foot quickness.

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    Eric’s Take on the 2018 Draft

    For better or worse, the 2018 NFL Draft will likely go down as one of the most important in franchise history. The last time the Giants had a top four pick was 2004 (Eli Manning trade) and the last time the team had a top two pick was 1981 (Lawrence Taylor). We’re talking about two New York Giants legends who changed the course of the team’s direction.

    Hamstrung by a series of dreadful drafts since 2011 that culminated in one of the worst seasons in team history, new general manager Dave Gettleman was in position to make another rare franchise-altering decision. The options appeared obvious: (1) select the widely-regarded best and safest pick (Saquon Barkley), (2) use a rare opportunity to select a “franchise” quarterback in the twilight of Eli’s career, or (3) trade down and accumulate much-needed draft picks to address the talent issues all over the roster.

    Gettleman chose Barkley. It will likely be the biggest decision of Gettleman’s long professional career and the one he will be ultimately judged on. In some ways, it was the safe pick in that Barkley is the least likely to be a bust and most likely to be a star. In other ways, it was incredibly risky. Gettleman could have easily defended a decision to select Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. While he would have taken more flak for doing so, he could have also rationally defended trading down to accumulate more picks. Gettleman admitted on ESPN Radio that he has one very reasonable offer to trade down. We obviously have the benefit of hindsight, but with Rosen falling to the 10th spot, the Giants probably surrendered an opportunity to draft Rosen AND accumulate picks. (In other words, a super-attractive combination of options #2 and #3).

    The NFL is a passing league. To many, drafting a running back with the #2 pick when your current starting quarterback appears to be nearing the end is short-sighted and a luxury a 3-13 team can’t afford. From here on out, the careers of Barkley, Darnold, and Rosen will be compared… especially with Darnold playing in the same stadium. Gettleman knew this and didn’t care. I give him credit for sticking with his conviction that Barkley was simply the better player. I personally would have traded down. I wanted to fall in love with one of the quarterbacks at #2, but I just couldn’t. It would have been more tolerable to trade down and draft Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, or then take a chance on Rosen or one of the other quarterbacks – and get some more premium picks.

    That all said, I’m thrilled Saquon Barkley is a New York Giant. Even back in February when I was advocating for the Giants to take a quarterback, I posted how amazing it would be to have Barkley on the field together with Odell Beckham. I took some criticism when I said I had never seen a running back with Barkley’s skill set. He doesn’t remind me of any other back I’ve ever seen. Right or wrong, Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur said the same thing immediately after Barkley was selected on Thursday. Barkley has ideal size and speed. We’re talking perfect. Moreover, his vision, elusiveness, and balance are all first rate. And many fans failed to take into account how much of a factor Barkley will be in the passing game. Barkley has natural hands and can used on routes DOWN THE FIELD, not just short passes out of the backfield. Barkley is a threat to score EVERY TIME he touches the football. Period. There are not too many people in the NFL you can say that about. Beyond all of this, Barkley appears to be the poster boy of the type of character you want in your locker room. He’s polite, well-spoken, confident, humble, team-oriented. He’s good and he knows it. But he doesn’t need to advertise it. Old school.

    Everyone expected the Giants to draft an offensive lineman in the second round given the Giants needs and the available talent in this particular draft. Many Giants fans were pining for Will Hernandez and the Giants did not disappoint them. Gettleman said the team had a 1st-round grade on Hernandez and I believe him. Hernandez is the type of guard the Giants have missed since Chris Snee was in his prime. He’s a road grader with an attitude. And his pass protection may be vastly underrated. At the Senior Bowl practices, Hernandez simply stonewalled pass rushers. Hernandez was the obvious choice with the #2 pick. He will be a very important part of the attempt to rebuild an offensive line that has been in disarray since 2011.

    After the first two rounds, the Giants spent three of their last four picks addressing the front seven of the defense. Gettleman said the Giants had 2nd-round grades on both 3rd-round picks: linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive tackle/end B.J. Hill. In fact, Gettleman said the Giants tried to trade up for Carter and was glad he didn’t have to. Carter is further proof the Giants appear to moving more to a 3-4 defense as his skill set seems better suited for that system. Carter has the tools and flashes big-time ability, but the consistent production wasn’t there in college. That’s a bit of a red flag as the NFL graveyard is littered with players with tremendous potential who simply couldn’t make enough plays. Carter is probably the boom-or-bust pick of this Giants’ draft.

    Some fans asked why the team drafted two defensive tackles. While the Giants are not going to play a traditional 2-gap 3-4 defense, athletic 4-3 defensive tackles can convert to defensive end in a one-gap 3-4 defense. My guess is that the Giants see Hill as flexible enough to play some nose tackle (in a 3-man front), some defensive tackle (in a 4-man front), and some defensive end (in a 3-man front). I think they see R.J. McIntosh as a defensive tackle (in a 4-man front) and a defensive end (in a 3-man front). Beyond all of this, look at the Giants depth chart. Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson were the only givens. Everyone else is a question mark. And depth was non-existent. If you don’t have the horses up front on both offense and defense, you can’t be a tough and physical football team. Hill is a run-stuffing plugger in the Linval Joseph/Jonathan Hankins/Dalvin Tomlinson mold. A front with him, Harrison, and Tomlinson should be very difficult to run against. McIntosh is more of play-making penetrator. I would expect to see him used more situationally. Regardless, it is good to see the Giants address the front seven. Trenches…trenches…trenches.

    Lastly, we come to Kyle Lauletta. At least at first, most Giants fans didn’t like this pick. Those arguing for a quarterback in round one should not have a problem with the Giants taking a quarterback later in the draft. The team need was still there. And while the likelihood is much higher for a 1st-round quarterback to out-perform a 4th-round quarterback, it’s not a given. And the selection had nothing to do with Davis Webb. Best case scenario for the Giants is that Eli Manning rebounds in a big way and plays a few more years at a very high level for the team. Worst case scenario is that Eli continues his 2-year decline and it becomes increasingly apparent that he is a liability rather than an asset. In either case, the Giants need to groom someone behind him. It might be Davis. It might be Lauletta. It might be someone not on the roster yet. But the grooming process has officially begun and the Giants now have two options, instead of one. Reading between the lines, Shurmur really liked what he saw of Lauletta at the Senior Bowl, where he was MVP. Shurmur said he doesn’t consider arm strength as important as most others do. Only time will tell whether Lauletta is an NFL starter or just a career back-up.

    I always tend to be optimistic after the draft. If you can’t be happy after the NFL’s version of Christmas, I’m not sure why you follow football. On the surface, this looks like a strong draft with a focus on the trenches. Barring injury, Barkley is likely to be a superstar and perhaps even surpass Odell Beckham as the face of the franchise. Hernandez was a no brainer. Carter is the boom-or-bust pick. But he and the two defensive tackles are pretty much universally regarded as value picks where the Giants drafted them. All three will be important in reshaping the defense to the hybrid 3-4/4-3. Lauletta? What an amazing draft this could be if he ends up being a legitimate NFL starter! We’ll see. If he’s just back-up material, taking him high in the 4th round was a mistake.

    Ultimately, Barkley will be compared with Darnold and Rosen. And many eyes will also be on Webb and Lauletta given Eli’s age and recent play. For those who are still fuming over not taking a quarterback, the following comment by Gettleman was very telling. To me – right or wrong – it means that the Giants simply did not think the quarterbacks were as good as other people did.

    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… 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.

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