It appears to be a throwback type of draft class for the New York Giants, the kind that harkens back to the four Super Bowl winning teams whose trophies currently line a shelf at the team’s facility.
They didn’t draft athletes who purely tested well. None of these six picks can be considered projects. No reaches. No one that the Giants fell in love with at the NFL Scouting Combine despite question marks in their college film. The Giants drafted gamers. They took football players, plain and simple.
Throwbacks, perhaps, to the types of players this team used to draft. The type of players who made up the core of so many successful teams under former head coaches Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin.
There is no denying now after this weekend’s minicamp that the Giants took some players who are in love with the game of football. For a team that was 3-13 a year ago, the Giants not only needed to get younger and better, they also were in desperate need of some heart and soul.
Some steel and a different kind of mettle. If this team was going to improve, it needed an infusion of talent of players who love this game. Too many of the past few draft classes have seen soft players pass this through this facility.
The initial return on this group seems different.
Consider Will Hernandez. The former UTEP guard, a second round pick of the Giants, brings a certain edge to the team. This isn’t a pick that is based on potential as one peak at Hernandez’s game film shows a player who has a nastiness on the field.
An attribute the Giants were lacking last year as they suffered through the most losses in franchise history.
“I think every player should be referred to as that – if you’re a football player you should be referred to as a nasty, on the edge player,” Hernandez said. “I think that’s how everyone should play. I think that’s the reason why this sport is so popular and yeah, I definitely consider myself that and I think that everybody should be exactly that.”
Nasty, yes, but also apparently gentlemen.
Pat Shurmur, in his first year as head coach of the Giants, has been working with the players on being professionals not just on the field but off it as well. This includes pushing in chairs when leaving the meeting room as well as politely acknowledging people around the team facility.
It is part and parcel of the classiness that has historically been a part of this organization for decades. Being cordial, though, stops on the field.
“Well, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, we don’t want to hear any of that out here. I’ve mentioned how this is man whipping man, I get all of that, and there’s the physical nature of this game and the reason they’re playing it is that they appreciate it and they look for it,” Shurmur said.
“But we all understand how it goes. We want to make sure that they’re good citizens, as well. Most of these guys, and really all of these guys, are good citizens. But part of teaching them the right way at the beginning is to remind them that those things are important and those are things that you want to live your life doing.”