DT Dalvin Tomlinson using tough rookie season as fuel heading into offseason:
While his college team went on its fifth national title run in the last nine years, Dalvin Tomlinson's professional team concluded a 3-13 season.
Welcome to the NFL, rookie.
The Alabama product's debut campaign was bittersweet as the Giants' second-round pick. Tomlinson achieved a lifelong goal, but the Giants set a franchise record for most losses in a single season.
"It was a dream come true, but it didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Tomlinson said. "So I have a lot to work on to help contribute next year."
The 6-foot-3, 317-pound defensive tackle was being modest.
Tomlinson led all rookie defensive linemen with 50 tackles, nine more than San Francisco's Solomon Thomas, the third overall pick in the draft. Tomlinson did so while starting all 16 games next to Damon Harrison, one of the best interior players in the league. The veteran kept the rookie going in a turbulent season.
"He was super helpful. He pushed me every day," Tomlinson said. "If I wasn't having a good day, he made sure I was going to go out there and give it my all. So I feel like he was the main one responsible for my personal growth."
Tomlinson added: "We came in with the mindset every day that we just have to get better and we have to keep pushing each other because we're the only ones who are going to push each other. No one else is going to do it."
Tomlinson isn't used to losing. Alabama won all but seven games during his five years on campus. It took just nine weeks for the Giants to reach that mark.
The season-ending victory over Washington provided little consolation, but the Giants did end on a positive note. After the game, interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo told the team to keep chasing that feeling.
Tomlinson plans to do just that.
"It motivates you a lot," he said. "Just the momentum going forward, just motivate you to chase that feeling more often."
Now Tomlinson enters his first full NFL offseason, free from pro days, combines, interviews and everything else that the draft process required.
"I feel like you have to take some time off to recover from the long season," Tomlinson said. "It's not like college where you can just go back and do it."
Tomlinson knows he's not in Tuscaloosa anymore.