EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After finishing his first draft as general manager of the New York Giants, Dave Gettleman got a laugh when asked his thoughts on his six picks.
With his heavy Boston accent, Gettleman said no GM is going to walk into a press room and tell the media he drafted garbage.
Garbage wasn’t the word he used, but the meaning was clear. He could have stretched the truth if he wanted, but it wasn’t necessary.
“I’m thrilled. We got big butts. We got power. We got speed,” said Gettleman who momentarily stopped to apologize for his choice of words. “And we got a quarterback we really like. I am not angry.”
Coming off a 3-13 season that cost coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese their jobs, the Giants seemingly found value and filled need with every pick in the NFL draft that ended Saturday.
They feel they got the best player in the draft in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall. They had a first-round grade on guard Will Hernandez of UTEP when they took him in the second round.
Edge rusher Lorenzo Carter of Georgia and defensive tackle B.J. Hill of North Carolina State had second-round grades when taken in the third round.
Quarterback Kyle Lauletta of Richmond and defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh of Miami were right where the Giants felt they would be in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.
The picks will create competition on a team that needs to be pushed by new coach Pat Shurmur.
Gettleman also knows the job of building a roster is far from over.
“It takes time,” he said. “Folks, you have to understand that Rome was not built in a day. This is a brick-by-brick deal and at the end of the day we are going to keep making moves and shake up the back end of the roster until we get it right.”
ELI STILL THE ONE: The decision to grab Barkley and ignore the quartet of quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks overall clearly shows the Giants think 37-year-old Eli Manning has good years left. Taking Lauletta in the fourth round also shows the team wants backup Davis Webb, the third-round pick last year, to have competition in training camp.
THE BARKLEY FACTOR: Barkley should give the Giants their first legitimate home run threat out of the backfield in more than a decade. What makes him unique is he is a three-down player who runs with speed and power, and can catch passes. And in the NFL, opposing defenses can’t focus on him like in college. There’s Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram to worry about.
“I think that’s why I was brought here, to bring an impact to the running game, to have that same domination that I had in college where a team wants to just shut me down, and then it just opens up everyone else,” said Barkley, who had 53 total touchdowns in three years with the Nittany Lions.
THE O-LINE: The offensive line will be dramatically different than the banged-up, inefficient unit that played last year. Hernandez should be able to start at one of the guard positions along with free agent signee Patrick Omameh. Fellow free agent Nate Solder is set at left tackle and Brett Jones returns at center. The only question mark is right tackle. Ereck Flowers has been asked to move from the left side to the right, but his status is uncertain; he has refused to take part in the voluntary offseason activities and minicamp.
NEVER ENOUGH: Gettleman is a believer in never having enough good players. The additions of Carter, Hill and McIntosh gives the Giants a dozen pass rushers when veterans Kareem Martin, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, John Mauro, Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn, Robert Thomas and Avery Moss are added in. Should be an interesting camp.
STILL NEED: A big receiver is needed. Veteran Brandon Marshall was let go after failing his physical last week. New York has other guys who played last season, but no one combines height and speed that can stretch the field. The Giants could use one more inside linebacker for depth in the new 3-4 alignment. With Eli Apple coming off a bad season and Janoris Jenkins returning from ankle surgery, a cornerback would help.
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