Rookies Dalvin Tomlinson and Wayne Gallman faced eachother in the past college football title games:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The last two college football seasons have ended with Alabama and Clemson squaring off in a pair of thrilling national championship games. The Crimson Tide won the first, 45-40, to win the 2015 title. On Jan. 9, the Tigers scored with one second remaining to win, 35-31, and claim the 2016 crown.
Two of the Giants' selections in the NFL Draft earlier this month played in both of those games: defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, the second-round selection from Alabama, and running back Wayne Gallman, the fourth-round choice from Clemson.
Today, they were on the field for the first time as teammates at the Giants' rookie minicamp. Not surprisingly, their first conversations covered those memorable games in which they were opponents.
"We were just talking about that yesterday, as a matter of fact," Tomlinson said. "It's pretty crazy, simply because of our run defense, and their offense, and things like that. We were talking about things that we both could've done differently both of those years."
The talk was friendly, but Gallman couldn't help but getting in a dig at his new teammate and friend.
"We talked about it once," he said. "He's not trying to talk about it because we just beat him. Dalvin is cool. He's a real down to earth guy. Our whole group has gotten really close. We stick together."
In the 2015 title games, Gallman had 14 carries for 45 yards, including a one-yard touchdown, and caught three passes for 61 yards, the longest a 39-yarder. Tomlinson, then a reserve, had one solo tackle.
Gallman helped fuel Clemson's victory four months ago with a team-leading 46 rushing yards on 18 attempts, one of them another one-yard score. He also had three receptions for 39 yards. Tomlinson started the game and had four tackles and he helped keep Gallman's stats from growing.
"I tackled him a couple of times," Tomlinson said.
Each player has a former college teammate on the Giants. For Tomlinson, it's All-Pro safety Landon Collins, who is entering his third season.
"At Alabama, we would play a lot of video games together and stuff like that, because we came in together," Tomlinson said. "So, I'm pretty close to Landon. I've kept in touch with him."
And what advice did his decorated friend give him?
"Landon told me to come in and make sure I work like I always did at Alabama and things will be great," Tomlinson said. "I'm pretty excited to play with Landon again."
Gallman's former and current teammate is linebacker B.J. Goodson, who played every game but the opener last season as a special teamer and occasional reserve linebacker. Goodson is expected to compete for a starting job this season.
"The last time I talked to B.J. was maybe a couple of weeks ago at Clemson," Gallman said. "(I've) really just been finding my way around, trying to keep a low profile and going over the playbook."
That's something else he and Tomlinson have in common.
• Coach Ben McAdoo offered his thoughts after the first minicamp practice.
"I thought we had a lot of guys carry themselves well," McAdoo said. "They prepared, we went out, performance has to be a little bit better from everyone, but we'll clean it up. It's only the first practice.
"Nobody was moving too fast out there today. There was a lot of thinking going on. As they go, we'll see more speed. The speed will show up."
• All eyes were on the Giants' third-round draft choice, Davis Webb. Quarterbacks who are chosen that high in the draft are always heavily scrutinized in rookie camp.
"He's a work in progress," McAdoo said. "You can tell he's put a lot of time into it preparing for Indy and the Pro Day workouts that he had. Again, we have a long way to go there."
• The Giants did not re-sign linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who played in every game with 11 starts last season. That leaves the competition at middle linebacker wide open.
"Well, we have a bunch of guys," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "Look, it is early. We have got out here in phase two with some walkthroughs. B.J. (Goodson), Keenan (Robinson), those guys are doing a good job and Mark (Herzlich) plays a bunch of different positions, so we will see how it shakes out.
"I don't know who will get the first crack. Everybody is going to get reps. In practice, some days you will probably see B.J. out there first, some days you will see Keenan out there first, you might see Mark and a bunch of other guys. The same thing really happened last year if you think about it. Jasper Brinkley was here, Kelvin was here, B.J. was a rookie."
• This will be the fifth season offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan will work directly with Eli Manning, either as the Giants' quarterbacks coach or coordinator (plus six years as the team's wide receivers coach). He is certain Manning will help Webb as much as possible.
"I think Eli is time and again the consummate professional," Sullivan said. "He's going to go about his business trying to improve and trying to still take that approach that he's had in all the years that I've known him. That is not as a number one pick or two-time Super Bowl MVP, but more of an undrafted free agent. Having a great hunger, he's his own harshest critic looking at the mistakes that he's made and the things that he wants to improve upon from last year. I don't see there being any sense of competition or resentment or anything other than he's another guy in the room and he's going to - Eli that is - to get himself in a position to be at his best. So I don't see there being any type of effect with bringing someone else into the room. He is locked in, he's zeroed in as much as I've ever seen him."
• Since Tom Quinn became the Giants' special team coordinator in 2007, the team has employed veteran kickers Lawrence Tynes, Josh Brown and Robbie Gould. The only kicker currently on the roster is Aldrick Rosas, who has never kicked in a regular-season game.
"He's got nice size, a nice strong leg, and he's been highly accurate since he's been here," Quinn said. "He's very coachable, so he's been very good to work with. We've only had a couple of weeks that we've been able to get him out here with a snap and hold."
Is Quinn surprised the Giants didn't draft a kicker?
"Not necessarily," he said. "We had a couple of guys that we thought were good enough to kick in this league, but a couple of those guys got drafted. You don't want to reach for a guy just to have another kicker on your roster."
• The camp will continue tomorrow, but McAdoo might have to move the team indoors because of rain.
"If we can get outside, we will," he said. "I try not to mess with Mother Nature. If she says we can go outside, we will. If we can't, we'll be in (the field house).
"Sunday will be an off-the-field day. Meetings, strength and conditioning, mental conditioning, the whole nine yards."
View the best images as Giants Rookie Minicamp gets underway