Transcriptions from the Giants' day two selections
Second Round Selection Will Hernandez
Q: How excited are you to join a Giants team that is showing a focus to the running game, after the selection of Saquon Barkley in the first round?
A: I'm beyond excited. The fact that I get to work with guys like that, it's like, wow. The Giants all around is just a great, great team. The fan base is amazing. The coaching staff, when I met them on my private visit, was amazing. They were all real cool guys. I'm just excited to be a part of that team.
Q: What was last night like for you, were you expecting to go in the first round?
A: You know what, I always thought to prepare for the worst and expect the best. But honestly, I knew my range was one or two. Honestly, one through seven, I would've been fine. As long as I get the opportunity at the end to get picked up by a team, that's really all that mattered to me.
Q: How hard was going through an 0-13 season last year in college?
A: Oh, it was one of the worst seasons I've ever experienced in my life. It taught me a lot, it made me so much stronger. The only thing I want to do is just make sure that never happens to me again because I just want to win. I just want to win games.
Q: Can you talk about your personality on the field?
A: On the field, I'm a completely different person than I am off the field. I take football very seriously. It's more than a game to me, it's who I am. So, whenever I get on that field, I take it with all seriousness. Of course, I have fun with it, but with a serious, controlled attitude. And I love playing the game, I love the feeling that it gives me before, during and after, especially after a win. And that's just me on the field. I take it very seriously, I have fun with it, but that's me.
Q: What stood out to you during your visit to the Giants facility?
A: The coaching staff. The coaching staff, I think, really got me excited. I got to meet everybody there. Everybody there was just really, really cool and you can tell that everybody there has one common goal, and that's to win. I love surrounding myself with people like that and I'm just really excited I get to work with them.
Q: Are you more comfortable on the left or the right side?
A: Wherever they decide to put me, that's where I'll be. I'm comfortable on both sides. I've always practiced it, I always try to do what's best for the team. I don't really worry about what's comfortable and what's not. I do what my team needs me to do and that's it.
Q: How ready do you think you will be to play right away?
A: You know what, that's up to the coaches themselves. Like I said, they're great coaches, I trust them 100 percent, but if you ask me, I feel like I can play right now. I'm fully confident in myself, but it's just not up to me, it's up to everybody. So, whenever the coaches call my name, I'll be ready.
Q: Was quarterback Eli Manning at the facility when you visited?
A: Yes, he was.
Q: What was your conversation with Manning like?
A: I saw him from afar, didn't get to meet him personally, but it was crazy to see him in person. He's an awesome player. Obviously, I know so much about him. I see him all the time and it was just crazy that I was in the same room with him.
Q: Is it also a little crazy that now one of your jobs is to protect Manning?
A: Of course. It's so much responsibility and ready to go, though. I got him, I got him 100 percent.
Q: Can you reflect on how far you have come from some of the adversity that you faced during high school?
A: Yeah, if you look at my life then and now, it's completely night and day. I did go through a lot. A lot of it, I can't complain too much about it because it shaped me into the player I am today and the person I am today. And honestly, I think if I wouldn't have gone through all that, I don't know if I'd be here. I'm telling you, it changed me. It changed my mindset, it changed my mentality, it completely made me the player I am. I took all of that and took it out on the field. I don't wish it on anybody, but I'm thankful that it happened.
General Manager Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Gettleman: I'll talk about the two kids first. Lorenzo Carter, who by the way went to Georgia, not Clemson. I can't wait to kill (Chris) Canty.
Q: It was wrong on the card. The card said Clemson. I think it was the card that the league provides.
Gettleman: Oh, so the league had it wrong. You just gave Canty an out. Okay, Lorenzo is an edge pass rusher, he's a solid run player, he's big, he can run – he has been a very good special teams player at Georgia and he's going to give us flexibility. He's going to be an outside player obviously and he'll give us pass rush in addition to like I said, he's a pretty darn good run player and he has really good special teams ability. B.J. Hill is an inside powerbroker, defensive tackle. Just like Lorenzo, he's instinctive, he's smart. B.J. is a powerful, tough son of a gun and sometimes as a defensive lineman at the college level, you'll see them in these three-point stances and then you'll see them in the four- point frog stance, and in the four-point frog stance they're not going to get any pass rush. But when his hand is in the dirt in the three-point, he showed the ability to get up field, flip his hips and track the guy down, so we're really pretty pleased. Again, both those guys had second round value for us, so we're really pleased for that.
Shurmur: Yeah, I don't have much to add. With Lorenzo, he can really run, he's got length. As Dave mentioned, he's a pass rusher, but yet he did a great job of setting the edge. He played his best football in his biggest games and that's really what showed up and he's a special teams player, so he'll have an immediate impact there. But just a big, long guy that's going to be an edge – you want a couple or three pressure-type players from the edge and he'll compete for that spot for us. B.J. Hill, he's tough to block. He's good against the run, he's kind of a little bit sneaky getting his pass rush, so we'll get a little pass rush out of him as well and he played on a really good defensive line. He was a very, very productive guy and I'll tell you what, when I had him on the phone, I could barely hear him – the people in the background were going absolutely crazy and he was probably as excited as anyone to get up here and get going. So that's what you're getting in those guys – two really good defensive players that we're going to add to the mix, get them out there going and trained up and playing on Sunday.
Q: Getting back to what was said earlier, was getting these two guys about value or need?
Gettleman: Again, the perfect setup is when value meets need and I'll be honest, we made an attempt to trade up but we couldn't get anything and we couldn't get it done. Sometimes patience is a virtue and obviously pass rush can come from a lot of different places, but in the ideal world you don't need to blitz to get inside pressure. We feel strongly that B.J. Hill has the ability – he's got things to learn, we're talking the third round here. He's got things to learn, but again, I like the way that he's strong up field and the ability to flip his hips. If a guy can't flip his hips, he can't rush the passer unless the guy in front of him falls down.
Q: Did you say you tried to trade up for Carter?
Gettleman: Yes. We tried and thank God we didn't have to.
Q: What changed? An hour ago you said you weren't going to trade up.
Gettleman: That's right, you caught me. He's an outside edge pass rusher. We need pass rushers, every team needs pass rushers – c'mon.
Q: You mentioned a couple of times that you need to run the ball, stop the run and rush the passer. That is what you did with your first four picks. Is that a coincidence?
Gettleman: Again, I really believe in those three truths, I really do. Running the ball makes your defense better and there is that old saying that I told you guys, a good team runs when they want to and they run when they have to. If you don't stop the run, you can take your pass rushers and tell them to go home because they're not going to be able to rush the passer on 2nd-and-3 and 3rd-and-1, it just doesn't work.
Q: As a former coordinator, did you sense excitement from James Bettcher when you took two defensive guys with these picks?
Shurmur: There was definitely excitement in the room because we had a consensus between the scouts and the coaches of what we thought of these guys and we liked them a great deal, so they were excited that they were available for us to pick. Yeah, we addressed a couple issues. (Hill) is probably the counterpart to Will Hernandez, kind of a gritty, tough guy on the other side of the line and he's got youth, he's got health on his side, plays extremely hard and we're excited to have him.
Gettleman: That game inside between those hog mollies, that is a violent, violent workplace. If those guys aren't tough, you've got no chance, you've got no chance and that's what B.J. – he's a tough kid just like Hernandez is a tough kid. Lack of toughness inside, it's going to catch up to you somewhere along the line. At some point in your season, lack of toughness will catch up.
Q: How do you get him on the field with having Snacks at that spot?
Shurmur: Ideally, there will be a rotation there, so they'll roll through it. I think that's what you're seeing now. Whether you play a five-on-the-line front or a lot of the time you're in a four-man front, you see a rotation and that's the best way to play our guys. So hopefully when we have good candidates to play those positions we can get a little rotation there that will keep them all fresher throughout the game and then limit their reps throughout the season, so that they can play longer, hopefully into the playoffs.
Gettleman: When I was in Carolina, we had eight guys, just roll them in and out, and the ability to keep those guys fresh is really a terrific thing. It's one of those deals where you'd like to keep your starters in around 75 percent. You'd like your backups to be good enough to be 35, take away the three, 25 percent instead of 35. That's the ideal world. You look at what Philly did last year and they were rolling them in and out. What that does and the other thing that is the kind of unseen part of it is that if you're playing Philadelphia and you're an offensive lineman, you might see seven different guys in a pass rush situation – those guys better study for those seven different guys or else they're going to get their fannies beat. Back in the day, you know if we played Dallas, Larry Allen was the left guard and Keith Hamilton was the right tackle and they were going to bang away on each other all day long every game. It's different now – they're rolling them in and out and you're seeing defensive ends playing inside. Look at what we did with Justin (Tuck) in the Super Bowl and what Brandon Graham did for the Eagles this past Super Bowl. You've got to understand the rotation and the ability because the other thing that you have to think about and John Fox had a statement, which was kind of interesting – he said, the biggest mismatch in the world is the smaller, quicker defensive tackles against the offensive guard and that's true, but I'm going tell you right now, if I'm 285 and I've got this 325-pounder banging on me all day long and I can't get a breath, the fourth quarter is going to be owned by the offense.
Q: You guys did a lot of work on Bradley Chubb. When you looked at it the tape, did you notice B.J. Hill?
Shurmur: We go through it four times and watch each guy specifically. I think the important thing is that you want an outstanding front liner at all positions, but you have to develop big body depth on both sides of the line. This is one of those picks, talking about B.J. specifically. Then, you need edge and you need pressure. Edge-type guys. That plays into that third component of getting pressure on the quarterback. Really, look at the Super Bowl. There was, what, 2,000 yards of offense? It came down to one pass rush, knocking the ball out of Brady's hands. Graham on the guard. That is where the pass rush comes in.
Q: Does a guy like Lorenzo Carter being 6-5, 250 and running a 4.5 and only having 15 career sacks worry you?
Shurmur: He was involved on a team that got a lot of pressure. Although he didn't get sacks, there was a time where he did get pressure. There are some really dynamic rushes that he put on the quarterback where he was able to step up, move around and do something. He has got it in him. I think what you see on tape most of the time, you can tell he can set the edge and turn the run back in. We were joking that it looked to me like they were going to pull his scholarship if he didn't set the edge. He set the edge pretty well. You can see the pass rush ability in a handful of rushes that were pretty dynamic.
Gettleman: Who doesn't want to draft a kid that has 58,000 sacks? What you have to appreciate is his unseen production. If he is flying off the edge, he is creating pressure. Sometimes you are looking at guys that create plays for others. You have to look at that. That is part of it. At the end of the day, he does not have ginormous sack numbers, not a lot of these guys do. A lot of these kids don't have pass rush plans or pass rush variety. Our job is to teach them that. Lorenzo has great speed off the edge. He is explosive. We really believe he is going to help be part of that pressure.
Q: I know you were asked about Ereck Flowers on the radio today. Do you have anything to add?
Gettleman: He's in Miami and we are here. He decided not to come. He's an adult and he has the ability to make decisions on his own. This is a voluntary program and he has decided to stay in Miami. If you want to know why he is not here, call him.
Q: Have you individually called each prospect?
Shurmur: The process is that as we are picking them, we will give them a phone call. I'll start the conversations and then it passes onto Dave and ownership.
Gettleman: Many years ago, a team picked a kid that had unfortunately been killed the night before. Since that day, everyone calls you. Just let me hear you breathe, kid. Once the caller gets in touch with the kid, we send the pick in.
Q: Two days and four picks in, how do you think you've done?
Shurmur: I'm thrilled. Dave and I were talking leading up to the draft and I really believe that we were going to get a lot better. With four picks, we have gotten a lot better. That is where we are at trying to build a team, trying to build a great team. We have added four young players that will be part of that equation. I'm excited.
Gettleman: I'm thrilled. Really. Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, you talk about running the ball, I think we got a little better at that. Then, Lorenzo and B.J. Hill, you talk about defending the run and rush the passer. We got better at that. Very pleased.
Q: Do you leave here tonight looking at your board and hoping that there are some guys that are available tomorrow?
Gettleman: We will hang around until it's over and then we will discuss. We will look at the board and see where we are at. We are at 108. I don't know how many picks down that is. You go through the same process. When you are so far away, you start bringing everyone in and look at your army and all the guys that should be in the conversation. When someone gets picked, you ask who the next guy is that is going to come into the conversation. To this point, first round in the second round, two second rounds in the third round, so I'm not mad.
Q: You talked about the offensive line and defensive line and referenced Philly. How do you feel about the improvement of both of your lines?
Shurmur: We are two picks better. That is true. We have added youth and depth to both of our lines. Initially, it becomes competition in the building and it puts the better group of guys on the field to compete against Philly.
Gettleman: Exactly. Two picks better in the D-line, one pick better in the O-line, two picks better in the O-line in free agency. We are getting better, boys and girls.