What hog molly goes around, comes around.
Dave Gettleman's second pick as general manager of the Carolina Panthers was 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive tackle Kawann Short. His second pick in the same role with the New York Giants? A 6-foot-2, 335-pound left guard named Will Hernandez. They face each other Sunday.
"He's a big, strong guy," Hernandez said. "He moves well laterally. He's very well aware of what's going on in the backfield, so we're just going to have to come out completely unleash and be smart with him and be technically sound. This is a guy you don't want to just come out there and just kind of go through the motions with; you've got to make sure you're technically sound and coming off with as much explosion and power as you can."
Short, named to the 2013 All-Rookie and 2015 Pro Bowl teams, is a key player in a stout Panthers defense. Never missing a game, Short's 31.5 sacks are tied with Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox and the Los Angeles Rams' Ndamukong Suh for sixth among defensive tackles since he came into the league. Gettleman's hope for Hernandez is to have the same level of impact but on the opposite side of the ball. The UTEP product has played all 263 of the Giants' offensive snaps to start his rookie season, and according to coach Pat Shurmur, is coming off his best performance to date despite the loss to New Orleans.
"Part of it is just playing more and more," Shurmur said. "Some people say you need 5,000 snaps before you get into it; he didn't have the benefit of that. He's getting better. I think it was his best game, still has his mistakes, but I think all in all, it was his best game, which is good. So we hope it just continues to go like it is."
The people over at Pro Football Focus agreed, giving Hernandez the highest grade among guards with a minimum of 25 offensive snaps in Week 4. The rookie is learning to deal with everything NFL defensive coordinators can throw at an offensive line, including twists up front. Communication will be key on the road.
"It's all about trusting your technique and trusting the guy next to you," Hernandez said. "[Left tackle] Nate [Solder] has helped me out a lot with that since I've been here, and I feel like we've really been starting to click with that and doing it to almost where it's almost second nature. I know as soon as Nate sees it or I see it, we're going to get it communicated and get it executed."
Going into a hostile environment, Hernandez knows the importance of running the football this Sunday to take the crowd out of the game. He believes it's something they can do much better, but "now it's just a matter of coming out there and actually doing it." On top of that, it comes a week after Shurmur said he would have liked more carries for running back Saquon Barkley, the headliner of Hernandez's draft class.
"One, I love his work ethic," Barkley said. "I love his passion for the game. He's a gritty player, definitely love how he plays in the trenches. Not only him, but everybody in this rookie class, when you see [defensive tackle] B.J. Hill, even [undrafted safety Sean Chandler] on special teams, and even though [quarterback Kyle Lauletta is] not playing right now, Kyle is developing in practice. I think our rookie class is very special. We have a lot of special talented players in that class, and I think there's a lot of room for growth and I think if we continue to work our butt off, we can be special."
Just like Gettleman's classes in Carolina, which the Giants will see up close on Sunday.