EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jon Feliciano has started 43 NFL games, 39 of them in the regular season. The position breakdown of those 43 starts is 30 at right guard, 11 at left guard and two at center.
The Giants signed the free agent lineman to play …center, where he last started on Nov. 15, 2020. According to Feliciano, it's a sound decision for both the team and the player.
"I've been in a lot of people's ears for a lot of years trying to get into the center position," Feliciano said today on a Zoom call soon after signing his contract. "I honestly think it's my best position, and I'm just really excited to finally get to show what I've got.
"It was definitely – I wanted to play center. There were other teams that were talking, and I believe in myself, and I believe that the center position is where I'll be best. Thankfully, Bobby and Daboll agreed and we got it to work out."
Brian Daboll is the Giants' new head coach. Bobby Johnson is the team's offensive line coach. Both coaches and Feliciano spent the previous three years with the Buffalo Bills. Johnson and Feliciano were together with the Oakland Raiders from 2015-17. Daboll and Johnson first deployed Feliciano at center, a position he now relishes playing.
"Going back to my Oakland days, I had a guy, (Arizona Cardinals Center) Rodney Hudson, who's a top-tier, one-two center, the last 10 years," Feliciano said. "I got to pick his brain and learn from him, and (former Raiders offensive line coach) Mike Tice, and (his assistant) Tim Holt, I took those four years of being a rotational guy, a backup guy, to learn a position that I didn't play in college (Miami). In college, I played both tackles and then left guard.
"So, from those first four years I got to learn center and I really fell in love with it. Just the responsibility that is on your hands to come in every week and everything is basically on you. You've got to know the defense. You've got to make all the calls for the guys around you. I take a lot of pride in knowing that stuff."
View photos from the career of veteran offensive lineman Jon Feliciano.
The Giants entered the free agency signing period that officially began today determined to improve their offensive line. In addition to Feliciano, they have reportedly agreed to terms with guard Mark Glowinski.
Last Thursday the Bills released Feliciano, who immediately thought he might get an opportunity to wear a new shade of blue with the Giants.
"I mean honestly, when I saw that Dabs got the job and then I got released, it was definitely one of the teams that first came to mind," he said. "Just having that familiarity with Daboll and Bobby. I'm just happy it all worked out."
Feliciano and Johnson both arrived in Oakland in 2015, the former as a fourth-round draft choice and the latter as the Raiders' tight ends coach. They immediately developed a working relationship.
"It started when I was a rotational guy and Bobby did the goal-line plays," Feliciano said. "Every week he would draw up the goal line plays and he started looking out for me and putting me in as a fullback, or tight end, basically just looking out for me and putting me in anywhere he could. Even went out in motion and ran a couple of routes. It's every fat man's dream (laughs). But our relationship started from there."
It will now continue as they try to help the Giants reconstruct the line in front of quarterback Daniel Jones.
"It's kind of probably the same situation as when I went to Buffalo the first time," Feliciano said. "They were struggling up front, the offensive line was, and our 2019 free agent O-line group, we understood going in that this team had potential if we had the quarterback upright. I believe the same thing watching Danny Dimes play. I believe he's going to be a really good quarterback, especially if he has some time."
Feliciano is here to help him provide exactly that.