EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants had to wait more than four hours to make their initial second-day selection, but the wait was well worth it.
With the 31st pick in the third round and 95th overall, they chose Oshane Ximines, an outside linebacker from Old Dominion who will give the Giants much-needed pass rush help. After trading away their second-round selection late Thursday to move to the 30th spot in the first round, the Giants weren’t on the clock Friday until almost 11:20, long after the 7 p.m. start.
“We had to wait quite a few hours, just like you,” coach Pat Shurmur told reporters at a late-night news conference. “We felt good about the move we made yesterday, you saw we went up and got (cornerback Deandre Baker), and then all of the sudden today — bang, bang, bang — there was a move on corners, so we felt good about why we did that, so that kind of knocked us out of an early pick. I think when (general manager) Dave (Gettleman) and the guys put the board together, and it falls right on a player that is not only a good player but a player of need, I think it is a credit to the process, and I think as we all get to know this guy better - The X-Man - everybody will see why we picked him.”
The delay was certainly worth it to Ximines, who was born in Queens and is delighted to be joining the Giants.
“This is the best feeling I have ever had in my entire life,” Ximines said. “My family is from New York, everybody has been rooting for me to go to New York, and to actually have it happen. I have been waiting all day for this. I wouldn’t want to go to any other team. I’m just excited and ready to get to work.”
Ximines starred at Hertford County High School in Ahoskie, N.C., where he had 35 career sacks. His play at Old Dominion was so impressive he became the first player in school history to be selected in the NFL Draft.
“I’m extremely happy to set that standard for Old Dominion,” he said. “Being the first player drafted, I hope to set a standard now and have the tradition continue and have more players drafted in the future.”
Ximines will soon become the answer to a trivia question; when he plays in a regular-season game, he will officially become the first player in NFL history whose last name begins with X.
For the Giants, he checks off numerous boxes that are far more important. In 49 career games, he had a school-record 33.0 sacks, and set the single-season record in each of the last three years with 7.5 in 2016, 8.5 in 2017, and 12.0 last year, when he became the first Monarch to receive an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Ximines was a two-time Conference USA first-team selection. He had 11 career forced fumbles, including four in each of the last two seasons. And if that wasn’t enough, Ximines was a two-time captain who made the conference’s All-Academic team.
“He’s a scheme fit for us,” Shurmur said. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football – 48 starts, has been very productive, many sacks. He’s got a good first step. He’s a good edge player. I think he’s going to be a real good fit for our defense in base, as well as in nickel. Not to mention, as good a player as he is, as productive as he is, he’s an even better person. He’s going to be another real good scheme fit for our locker room. I called him to tell him we were going to draft him, and he quickly said hello and dropped the phone. He’s probably as excited a player to hear that he was going to be a New York Football Giant as anybody that I’ve called in the last couple years. We’re excited to add him to our team, and I think he’s a really, really good scheme fit for us.”
“We need pass rush help,” Gettleman said. “We feel we have really addressed it with Dexter Lawrence (the Clemson defensive tackle taken at No. 17) and this kid. We got inside pass rush help and we got outside pass rush help. The quicker you get to the passer the less time corners have to cover and good stuff happens.”
Ximines will join second-year pro Lorenzo Carter and fifth-year free agent acquisition Markus Golden as edge rushers. But that will not be his only role.
“He’s not a designated pass rusher,” Gettleman said. “He’s a legit three-down player.”
And that player intends to make an immediate impact.
“I’m thankful for the Giants believing in me and taking that shot on me,” Ximines said. “They are going to get everything I got. I’m just ready to come in, and do my best, and just be ready to compete.”
Ximines joins the Giants’ three-first round selections in the still-growing 2019 draft class – Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, Lawrence and Baker, who played at Georgia. The Giants will begin the final day of the draft – rounds four through seven - with six selections, including one each in the fourth and sixth rounds, and two each in the fifth and seventh rounds.
There are guys in the fourth and fifth rounds that we really like, and we still have third-round guys (players with third-round grades) available,” Gettleman said. “Right now, as the mood moves us, I don’t know that we’re going to move around right now. I’d like to sit and take the three picks (in rounds four and five). I don’t want to move the fours and the fives, as of right now, but who knows?”