Giants GM Dave Gettleman discusses Odell Beckham Jr. and the NFL Draft from the NFL annual meeting:
ORLANDO – Dave Gettleman opened his news conference today with the kind of offensive thrust he'd like his players to exhibit in the fall.
With rumors regarding Odell Beckham, Jr. continuing to circulate here at the NFL annual meeting, the Giants' general manager said very explicitly in a two-minute statement that he would not respond to any of them.
"I just want to make a couple comments and, please, I'm not talking down on anybody," Gettleman said. "There are 53 guys on every active NFL roster. Football is the ultimate team game - 11 guys go out there, they blow the whistle, if you're the defense and 10 guys do it right and one guy does it wrong, you're looking at a touchdown. Same thing on the other side of the ball, and same thing on special teams. It is the ultimate team game.
"Every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I want you guys to understand something, I'm not going to discuss any aspects of contracts, I'm not going to talk timelines, I'm not going to talk progress. I'm not going there. I didn't do it in Carolina (where he was the GM for four years) and I ain't doing it up here, plain and simple. One of the most important responsibilities that any GM has is to eliminate internal and external distractions. It's my responsibility to create the atmosphere that allows players to play and coaches to coach. That is part of my job, and I really believe that. The other thing that I want you to understand is I'm not going to respond to hypotheticals, I'm telling you right now.
"So you're sitting there saying, 'Well, what is Dave doing? What is he talking about?'' In the past two days there have been two reports about Odell that have been floated - that he won't take the field without an extension, and the Rams are interested in trading for him. I understand the reports, people are going to print stuff, I get it. But, I want you to understand this - neither Odell nor his agent have contacted us regarding either report. So to be clear - I'm not going to respond to questions about either report, and as I stated earlier, every decision I make is going to be made in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. So, with that being said, let's talk football."
Gettleman was then his usual convivial self while parceling out snippets of information. The Giants own the second selection in next month's NFL Draft, so he wasn't about to provide clues for the other 31 teams regarding his intentions. But the nearly two dozen reporters in attendance induced him to discuss several relevant topics. And, as always, Gettleman laced his responses with humor whenever possible, such as when he was asked about his reaction to the video of Beckham that recently circulated on the internet.
"What was your response to it?" Gettleman said. "It came out, it's a video, I'm an old man and have bad eyes, I see this seven-second thing flashing in front of my face. All I saw was the pizza."
Asked if he wants Beckham on his team, Gettleman said, "I'm not going there." Moments later, in response to another question, he said, "The bottom line is, Ernie (Accorsi) taught me this and I told you guys this, you don't quit on talent.
"He's on our team. … The kid works his fanny off. His rehab (for the ankle fracture he suffered on Oct. 8) is going terrific. He sends us pictures and video (Laughs). He'll send us a video of him running. He is an excellent worker."
Gettleman repeated his assertion that if the Giants stay at No. 2 in the draft, they must envision the player they select being good enough to someday make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Have we had calls (from teams seeking to acquire the pick)? Yes," Gettleman said. "But we haven't set our board yet. It's about when you're drafting, when you're signing unrestricted free agents, it's all about value, it really, truly is. … This is the second pick in the draft. We really have to picture this guy putting on a gold jacket because if we can't picture that … I remember my very first year in the league when I was with the Bills, we had the third pick of the draft. Dick Roach, a hell of a DB coach, made the statement, 'We're not talking about, is this guy the third best player of this draft? Is this guy worthy of being the third pick of any draft?' So that is the conversation that we are having. When we set the board and have our conversations, is that guy worthy of being the second pick in the draft? Can we picture him some day putting on a gold jacket?"
Which means if the Giants choose one of the highly-rated quarterbacks like Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, they must not only compare favorably to other players in this class, but to highly-drafted successes like Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
"You have to," Gettleman said. "It's like when teams reach. (They say), 'We need a defensive tackle.' And they reach for a guy, and maybe he's a really good two-down player, really good run player, and they're hoping he'll develop into a pass rusher. No, you can't do that. You think about quarterbacks, the area code we're picking in, does he make everybody else better? Is he the guy? Can he do what Eli did? Two minutes left in the Super Bowl and he takes that team down the field -- boop. You've got to be able to picture that."
Gettleman is determined to get value for the second overall choice. One possibility remains Penn State's Saquon Barkley, a running back with a rare skill set.
"It's unusual, I'm telling you," Gettleman said. "He can string together moves and get in and out of stuff. It's funny, I (evaluated) him right before I came down. He's unique. No doubt about it. He's big, he's powerful, he can step on the gas, he's got different levels of speed and he catches the heck out of the ball, and he sees the blitz pick-up stuff."
The Giants have signed 11 players from other teams this offseason. And they no longer employ Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Pugh nor Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, among others. But Gettleman denied the team is in a rebuilding mode.
"It's about winning," he said. "Someone told one of the reporters that I'm going to tear down. Let's spend 62.5 million dollars on Nate Solder, spending the money on Patrick Omameh, we're not trading for Alec Ogletree if we're in tear down, we're not going that. It's about we've evaluated the roster, we've developed a plan moving forward, it's about winning now. Who wants to lose? I don't."
And he's doing everything he can to ensure that the Giants win in 2018 and beyond.