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Kyle Lauletta pick creates backup QB competition


The Giants fourth-round draft choice will force competition at the Quarterback position:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –The Giants added both depth and intrigue to their roster today with their fourth-round draft choice.

The former was intentional, the latter was not. But it comes with the territory when the choice is a quarterback.

That player is Kyle Lauletta, whom the Giants selected with the 108th overall pick. He joins Davis Webb, the 87th overall choice in the 2017 draft, as young backups behind Eli Manning. The Giants took quarterbacks in consecutive drafts for the first time since 2008-09, when the players were Andre Woodson in the sixth round and a year later Rhett Bomar in the fifth. Neither ever took a regular-season snap with the team.

Nor did Webb in his rookie season. Whether Webb or Lauletta is second or third on the depth chart when the season begins will be determined in the spring, training camp, and four preseason games.

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"I think it's good to have three quarterbacks," coach Pat Shurmur said. "I think this league and our game is about good quarterback play, and I think it's about development of the quarterbacks. So the longer they're around you, the longer they can develop in your system. We wanted to go to camp with three and we'll probably add another one – four quarterbacks -- and go through camp that way and then just see where it goes.

"Picking Kyle has less to do about Eli and Davis and more to do about Kyle. We liked the player and we wanted to add him to our team and then just let them compete."

Asked about the possibility of having a backup quarterback with no regular-season experience, Shurmur said, "We put the best guy in there and you can only go with the information that you have. We'll try to get them as good as they can be within our practice format and then in the preseason, and then just see where it takes us. There's a reason why not all first round draft pick quarterbacks make it and all late round quarterbacks don't make it. You just put them out there, let them play and see what happens."

Lauletta, 6-3 and 222 pounds, was named the outstanding player at the Reese's Senior Bowl, where he completed eight of 12 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. In 40 games at the University of Richmond, he completed 758 of 1,194 passes (63.58%) for 10,465 yards, 73 touchdowns and 35 interceptions. He averaged 268.3 passing yards a game. The Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year, he was the fourth player in league history to throw for more than 10,000 yards.

In 11 games last season, Lauletta completed 281 of 433 passes (64.9%) for 3,737 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, averaging 339.7 yards per game.

"He was just too good of a value to pass up there," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He's got all the stuff – he's tough, he's not shy in the pocket, he's got pocket presence, patience and feel, which, again, those are instinctive things that you can't teach. He throws a really nice ball, he's accurate, he's got a sense of anticipation and timing and the other part is he's a runner. He's got legitimate escape dimensions and we're really pleased about that. He was just too good of a value there for us. We're really thrilled to get him there. I really expected him to be long gone."

On a conference call, Lauletta echoed what Webb said a year ago – and what most young quarterbacks say on the day they're drafted. He is eager to learn the offense and fit in with his teammates.

"I just want to get in there and get to know the guys," Lauletta said. "I believe it's so important in the NFL to have a strong quarterback room, and have a strong relationship with each other. There are so many times where you can help each other out and learn from each other, so first and foremost, I just want to get to know those guys and just get in front of the playbook and like I said, just get to know my teammates and just try to add value to that quarterback room."

In the fifth round, the Giants selected their second defensive tackle in this draft when they chose RJ McIntosh of Miami with the 139th overall pick. In 29 career games, including 24 starts, he had 95 tackles (50 solo), 22 tackles for losses and 5.0 sacks.

"He's an inside player, an inside defensive tackle," Gettleman said. "You can never have too much power in there. The kid has good power, he's a good athlete and the other thing is … he's got inside pass rush potential. … He's young and he's got upside, I know you guys hear it all the time, but this kid is athletic, he's got power and he has the ability to develop into an inside pass rusher."  

The Giants did not have a sixth or seventh-round choice. They sent the former last month to the Los Angeles Rams in the trade that brought them linebacker Alec Ogletree, and the latter in 2017 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for cornerback Ross Cockrell, who played all 16 games last year (Cockrell has since signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent).

The twosome selected today joined the four players the Giants selected in the draft's first two days: running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State (first round, No. 2 overall), guard Will Hernandez of UTEP (second round, No. 34), outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter of Georgia (third round, No. 66) and defensive tackle B.J. Hill of North Carolina State (third round, No. 69).

"I'm thrilled," Gettleman said of the team's draft. "I felt like we did really well. Again, you're talking about a first rounder in the second round, two second rounders you draft in the third round, we had Kyle where we had him rated and we had RJ where we had him rated. I'm thrilled with this draft. We got big butts, we got power, we got speed. And we got a quarterback that we really liked, so I'm not angry."

Building an NFL roster is a ceaseless process. As soon as the draft ended, the Giants began contacting undrafted players they believe can come in and compete for a roster spot.

"Part of this exercise is creating competition – bringing in players to create competition," Gettleman said. "Listen, the roster process isn't over. It's not over and you build your roster. Roster building is a 12-month period. So, am I happy with where we are right now? Yes. Do we have some needs? Yes. Do I want us to be better? Yes. It takes time. Folks, you have to understand, Rome wasn't built in a day. This is a brick-by-brick deal, and at the end of the day, we're going to keep making moves, shake up the back end of the roster until we get it right."

They exited the draft with six very important bricks.

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