When the Giants selected Kyle Lauletta with the 108th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft it caught a lot of pundits by surprise because the Giants already had Davis Webb on the roster and had passed on a quarterback on the top of the first round. The choice for the Giants front office, on the other hand, was an easy one.
"Where we had him on the board, we couldn't pass up the value," Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman said after the team selected Lauletta. "Very honestly and very frankly. I always am. I had a GM send me a text – they wanted to pull the trigger in the second round, but they got into team needs or whatever."
Lauletta is in a quarterback room featuring Eli Manning, Davis Webb and Alex Tanney.
"We want to develop a good and a solid quarterback culture here," Head Coach Pat Shurmur said. "If at some point he is not the starter, then he is going to do what he can to help the starter be good and that's what I'm talking about when I say we want a great quarterback room. I'm really thrilled that we could bring him in and try to develop him and see how good he can be."
"We collaborate together," Lauletta said. "We help each other through it and it is like having three coaches for one guy. When one person is in and he throws the ball somewhere we might say the safety did this. We talk through it. How do you see this one? I agree with Coach Shurmur, it is very important. I think we have a great group and everybody gets along well and helps each other out."
The Giants kept three quarterbacks on the active roster last season and that is once again a possibility in 2018.
"For a very long time, I was on teams where we would just keep three quarterbacks active," Shurmur said. "Another model is to have two and one on the practice squad, so we'll 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."
It's a difficult transition for every player coming from college to the NFL but it is especially so for quarterbacks. No one else needs to know the assignments of every other player on the field on every given play. Lauletta also has to be able to anticipate where wide receivers he has never played with before are going to be and when they are going to get there before they arrive.
"I'm still looking for it," Lauletta said. "It's a work in progress. It's my rookie year and I still have a lot to learn. Playing the quarterback position, understanding where to go with the ball and the timing of it is really everything, 90 to 95% of it. If your feet are in line and your eyes are where you need them to be, usually a good throw and an accurate throw is going to follow. I'm a huge believer in that philosophy and I'm just trying to continue to get quicker with my processing and know where to go with the ball and put it on the money."
It was easy for Lauletta to pinpoint when it start to click for him and his hard work started being reflected in his performance on the practice field.
"I think once all the install had gotten in and we started to repeat plays," he said. "Once you see a concept for the first time, even if you have done it before, you still want to get familiar with the timing and the whole concept of the play. We install during rookie minicamp and again in OTA's so when mandatory minicamp came around we had enough of the plays already in where it started to sink in and I started to feel very comfortable in there."
For a quarterback, the work is never done and Lauletta knows what he needs to improve on in training camp in order to continue to improve.
"I don't think there is ever just one specific thing you can focus on, just getting really sharp, maybe consistency and footwork. When your feet are right the ball goes right. That's everything. Just continuing to throw the ball and find completions, even if it is to the back. Make positive plays, positive gains that keep the chains moving. Just staying away from turnover and taking care of the football."
Lauletta will have opportunities not only in practice, but also in preseason games come August. It will be his first in game action as a NFL quarterback and everyone can see exactly how far he has come in just over three months with the Giants.