Oshane Ximines Jersey

NORFOLK (WAVY) — Oshane Ximines first started playing football when he was only six years old. Ever since, his dream has been to play under the bright lights of the National Football League. This weekend, the four-year defensive end at Old Dominion University will be one step closer to making that dream a reality.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life for draft day, and to finally see it here, I don’t even know how to feel,” said Ximines, who is expected to be the first Monarch ever selected in the NFL draft.

Most projections have Ximines hearing his name at some point during the second round, but there is a slight chance he could hear his name late in the first round. Whenever that moment comes is fine with him.

“I can’t call my own name,” he said. “Just going to wait and see who believes in me, and whoever believes in me is going to get my all.”

Ximines gave nothing less every time he put on a Monarch jersey. A 6-foot-4, 250-pound terror, Ximines set school records in career sacks (33) and sacks in a season (12.5), even though he was the guy every defensive coordinator penciled in as the playmaker ever game.

“We’re talking about a season where he’s been double-teamed, he’s got a tackle-tight end blocking him, he’s got a tackle or a back coming out, he’s never been left alone in one-on-one situations,” said Bobby Wilder on the “Old Dominion Football Show” back in October.

Whoever drafts Ximines will not only get a top-tier talent, but someone driven by nothing short of greatness.

“I want to be the best,” said Ximines. “Everything I do, every single day is to be the best.”

Travis Fulgham and Oshane Ximines put Old Dominion on the college football map with their stunning upset of Virginia Tech in 2018, their invitations to the Senior Bowl (the first in school history) and Old Dominion’s first bowl game win.

This week, they have the chance for another check on that storied list: Being the first players from Old Dominion to have their names called at the NFL Draft.

But their roads to Old Dominion couldn’t have been more different.

Fulgham, the son of diplomats, lived around the world before walking onto Old Dominion, hoping for a chance to impress the coaches. Ximines committed to Old Dominion and stuck with it, despite being highly recruited from bigger programs his senior year.

“He could have gone somewhere else, but he stuck with his commitment,” Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder said in NBC Sports Washington’s ‘I Am The Prospect’.

Ximines is now slated to go No. 59 to the Indianapolis Colts in the latest edition of the NBC Sports Washington mock draft. Fulgham, as the Virginia Tech team learned with his game last season, isn’t one to sleep on either.

Ximines, who threw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game this week, told News 3 WTKR that he was just trying to stay relaxed heading into the big event.

“Half the time I just have to be like Shane just relax man, we’ve been working our whole life for this, he told the TV station. “I’m going to be on a whole new football team come August, and I’m going to be in a camp.”

His college coach’s advice to his pro prospects was simple.

“Just do what you’ve done over your career at Old Dominion,” Wilder told them. “And you’ll be fine.”

Dexter Lawrence Jersey

The New York Giants have a “type” when it comes to defensive tackles. After selecting Dexter Lawrence 17th in the 2019 NFL Draft overall there can’t be any dispute that the Giants have a very specific player prototype and set of traits in mind when it comes to the defensive tackle position.

Those traits are: Big, strong, and having deceptive agility.

Over the last three years the Giants have selected Lawrence, B.J. Hill, and Dalvin Tomlinson, and each of those players shares traits with former Giants Linval Joseph and Johnathan Hankins. In fact, both Lawrence and Hill were directly compared to Joseph by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein in his scouting report for each player.

Each is certifiably big, massively powerful, and has surprising movement skills for a player who typically profiles as a two-down, run-stuffing nose tackle.

The Giants rarely get much pass rush production from their defensive tackles, with Johnathan Hankins 2014 campaign being the most notable exception. That year, Big Hank notched 7 sacks and 21 QB hurries, which landed him solidly as a Top 10 interior pass rusher.

But while the Giants haven’t gotten much pass rush production from their preferred brand of defensive tackle, they have still gotten good play for affordable prices, and their archetype has held them in good stead. With that in mind, that the Giants targeted Dexter Lawrence — the 6-foot-4, 342-pound, bench press champion (leading all front seven prospects with 36 reps) — should come as absolutely no surprise.

So what are they getting with Dexter Lawrence?
Power. Power In spades.

If there is one thing Lawrence brings to the party, it is power — Work divided by time, POWER.

Lawrence isn’t just strong, but he is able to unleash that strength quickly and move offensive linemen who are not ready for it.

This play perfectly illustrates that trait.

This is football the way Dave Gettleman wants to see it played. The offense running the ball from the 1-yard line while the defense lines up a 9-man box to stop them — though the jet motion to pull the ninth man out of the box is probably an unwelcome addition.

Syracuse calls a quarterback run to the left side from an unbalanced line (lining an extra offensive tackle up to the left side). They’re counting on their down blocks to wash the Clemson defense out while the right guard pulls around to create a numbers advantage on the playside of the formation.

The play calls for Lawrence to be blocked by the left tackle (number 60). But things don’t go as planned for the offense as Lawrence shows off that power, discarding the blocker with a one-handed shove to the shoulder, throwing him out of the gap. That kind of rag-dolling of a 300-pound man is not an easy thing to do and is likely the kind of thing which attracted the Giants to Lawrence.
Versatility and hustle

It’s fun (and efficient) when you get a play that shows off two traits at the same time. Lawrence is pretty much universally referred to as a “nose tackle” when evaluated, and its easy to see why: With his size and power, he has the ability to command double teams and push the pocket from the interior. That, in fact, makes up the bulk of his pass rushing upside: Bulling blockers into the backfield and denying passers a pocket into which they can step up.

However, he does have those surprising movement skills for his size, and Clemson took advantage of them. Offensive tackles and tight ends are used to seeing relatively svelte and speedy EDGE players line up across from them. It can’t be a good feeling then to see a player somewhere between 70 and 100 pounds heavier than the average EDGE, with the power shown above, across from you.

It is unlikely that the Giants will line Lawrence up at defensive end in a four-man front, though they did do so with B.J. Hill on occasion. However, that he is able to do so in college just goes to show that the Giants don’t need to play Lawrence exclusively at nose tackle — in fact, Clemson only played Lawrence at nose tackle on 48 percent of his snaps. He has the ability to play from a variety of alignments and the Giants should (and hopefully will) make use of that.

But he isn’t just a big guy at the line of scrimmage, Lawrence gets after it through the whistle.

On the play above, Lawrence gets a free run into the backfield because the Boston College offense called a quick wide receiver screen. But where most 320-plus pound defensive tackles might take the opportunity to jog after the play, Lawrence takes off after the play at a sprint and ultimately is the one to make the tackle.

That’s the kind of play Giants fans got used to seeing from Damon Harrison and does bode well for the team.
What is he lacking?

Lawrence brings a lot of positive traits to the Giants’ defensive line, but he isn’t a perfect prospect — if he was he would have been reckoned at the same level as Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver. There are two major concerns with Lawrence that are common to massive defensive tackles: Quickness and stamina.

Lawrence is athletic and powerful, which means that he can get going better than most massive tackles. But there is a difference between that and being “twitched up” and quick on an absolute scale. In the first play we saw him throw an annoying offensive lineman out of the way, but he wasn’t able to get penetration before the pulling guard sealed him out of the play. There a quicker player might have been able to shoot that gap and either slow down the quarterback or make the play in the backfield. That isn’t to say he can’t contribute to the pass rush, but Lawrence’s path into the backfield will be through blockers, not around them, and that tends to be slower.

There is also the matter of his stamina. Whenever Lawrence is on the field, he plays hard and hustles with a high-revving motor. But in college he wasn’t on the field that often in the grand scheme of things. The Clemson defense as a whole played 1023 snaps in 2018, and Lawrence only saw 460 of them, or 44.9 percent. It is somewhat unrealistic to believe that Lawrence will be an every-down player for the Giants, and will need to be a part of a rotation for them to get the most out of him.

That rotation was already a stout one and the strength of the defense as currently constructed. Adding Lawrence just made it even stouter.

Sterling Shepard Jersey

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard, who was getting ready to enter the final year of his rookie deal, won’t have to worry about the uncertainties that come with free agency.

Instead, Shepard and the Giants agreed to a four-year contract extension worth up to $41 million, according to the NFL Network and confirmed by a source, who also confirmed an ESPN report that Shepard’s new deal includes $21.3 million in guaranteed money.

Shepard’s deal, which he’s expected to sign ahead of the team’s start to the off-season program beginning April 15, makes him one of the highest paid slot receivers in the league.

The Giants’ second-round pick in 2016 has 190 career receptions for 2,286 yards and 14 touchdowns and is coming off career-highs in receptions (66) and yards (872).

Shepard is under contract through 2023. He was due to count for $1,892,445 against the 2019 salary cap, of which $1.26 million was his base salary.

Assuming Shepard received a signing bonus, that amount will prorate starting this year and through the end of the contract. It’s also possible the Giants lowered Shepard’s base salary to the NFL minimum of $805,000 given his new cash windfall received at signing.

The extending of Shepard’s contract also quelled some early swirling rumors, including a report by the NFL Network that the Patriots were interested in acquiring Shepard.

Instead, Shepard, now the longest-tenured Giants receiver, will lead a group that is mostly the same unit as what the Giants fielded last year, the exceptions being Odell Beckham Jr., who was traded to the Browns last month, and the addition of veteran Golden Tate.

Speaking of Tate, his signing of a four-year, $37.5 million deal last month didn’t do much to quell rumors that the Giants were looking to move on from Shepard, who was thought to be virtually the same player as Tate as far as their skill sets were concerned.

However, head coach Pat Shurmur, at the recent NFL league meetings in Phoenix, offered a glimpse into how he might be planning to deploy both Shepard and Tate in the Giants offense.

“I think when you play offense, you try and get the most out of the players you have,” Shurmur said. “You have to use their skillsets. I do believe that it takes a village to spread the ball around. The quarterback gets the ball out. We have a lot of fine players on offense. We will spread the ball.”

Although it’s early, it sounds as though Shurmur, who said Tate and Shepard have similar skills, is going to deploy both players both in the slot and on the perimeter.

“(Tate’s) skill set is like Sterling’s,” Shurmur said. “When we run the ball, they are gritty blockers, and you can play them on the edge and in the slot. Then, when you throw the ball, they have both done good work in the slot and have had production outside. You can play both guys wherever.”

Although it appears the Giants seem set at receiver—they’ve also brought back Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Corey Coleman—and at tight end, where they have Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Scott Simonson, and Garrett Dickerson, don’t expect the Giants to stand pat.

“Our plan is to add more good football players,” Shurmur said. “The diet that doesn’t sell is to eat less and exercise more. No one will buy that book. We are just trying to add more good players.

“We shined a bright light on some positions of need a year ago, and we are going to address some of those needs.”

Wayne Gallman Jersey

Just two years ago the New York Giants were in more than just a state of peril, they were spiraling towards their demise with no end in sight. Eli Apple and Landon Collins were causing serious issues in the locker room, leaders were deteriorated to their raw self, and management was benching Eli Manning for Geno Smith.

Essentially, the entire state of the franchise was in jeopardy, and it required a complete overhaul in management and personnel. General manager Dave Gettleman and his no-nonsense approach have found a way to not only revitalize the offensive line but has improved the state of the locker room and brought in players to maintain it.
Newly signed receiver Golden Tate has already seen the camaraderie on the Giants, stating:

“You can already tell a week in we have a really solid locker room. It’s been great so far. I’m looking forward to building these relationships.”

Installing fresh leaders that have no relation to the dark days of the past was a priority going into the offseason. Players like Antoine Bethea, Markus Golden, Kevin Zeitler, and Tate will all play a significant role in helping the younger guys develop.
The New York Giants are fighting to succeed:

In addition, extending Sterling Shepard was a great move for the atmosphere of the team. His leadership abilities and skill set will help his teammates elevate their game and improve in any way possible.

The trio of Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, and Evan Engram have been pushing themselves to improve as well.

If the Giants take a running back high in the draft, an investigation is in order. They are set with generational talent Saquon Barkley and happy with Wayne Gallman in reserve. Taking a running back, strictly for depth purposes, could conceivably be in order on Day 3 of the draft.

The trade of Odell Beckham Jr. assures there will not be a superstar receiver on the roster. Veteran Golden Tate was signed as a replacement, but he is a smallish target — with exceptional yards-after-catch prowess — and has a similar skill-set to Sterling Shepard, whose role will increase without Beckham on the scene. There are plenty of returning options — Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler — with experience, but adding a receiver is something the Giants will look to do in this draft.

They could use a youngster with size, and Hakeem Butler of Iowa State fits the bill at 6-foot-5. Butler had 101 receptions and 16 touchdowns the past two seasons, and eight of the TDs were 40 yards or longer. He is raw and his hands need to improve but he could be a developmental project.

There is great optimism that Evan Engram’s late-season surge (mostly when Beckham was out with an injury) will carry over into this season. Engram’s second NFL season was disappointing, stopping and starting because of injuries and reduced playing time.

Rhett Ellison does a little bit of everything and is a particular favorite of coach Pat Shurmur. A blocking tight end would be a nice addition. Zach Gentry did plenty of in-line blocking at Michigan and Trevon Wesco of West Virginia is a wide body at 270 pounds.

Dalvin Tomlinson Jersey

For the first time in team history, the Texans will have the 23rd pick in the first round of the NFL draft.

In their first 17 drafts, the Texans had three first-round picks lower than 23rd, and all worked out quite well: left tackle Duane Brown (26th) in 2008, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (26th) in 2012 and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (27th) in 2013.

Brown anchored the left side of the line for most of his nine seasons with the Texans. Mercilus is entering his eighth season, including his seventh as a starter. Hopkins has become a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection as perhaps the best receiver in the NFL.The Texans are expected to take an offensive tackle or a cornerback in the first round unless general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien throw a curveball.

Gaine could surprise everyone and select a player at another position. Trading out of the 23rd spot wouldn’t be too surprising.

If Gaine were to trade up, he would most likely target a left tackle. If he traded down for an additional selection or two, he might be more inclined to select a cornerback from a deep class.

Trading down is an option for Gaine, who’s overseeing his second draft as general manager.

“Conservatively speaking, I would always lean toward accumulating more picks,” Gaine said last week at his pre-draft news conference. “More at-bats, more opportunities to take more players.

“(But) every situation’s different. When it comes to supply and demand, there’s certainly a player falling down the draft board, (and) we evaluate every transaction that occurs.

“If that player’s dropping and you had a high grade on him and you trust your process, perhaps that’s worth a conversation if you had to go up and get him.”

Whether the Texans remain 23rd or work a trade depends on who’s available and who’s willing to make a deal. If they stay where they are, league history shows they have a chance to draft a player who’ll make an impact on the franchise, or they could end up with a prospect who never lives up to his first-round status.

Since the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, three players who ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame were drafted with the 23rd pick: Oakland punter Ray Guy in 1973, Cleveland tight end Ozzie Newsome in 1978 and New England cornerback Ty Law in 1995.

Gaine and O’Brien would love to draft a Hall of Fame player in the first round, of course, but they’d be happy with a player who becomes a starter and helps them get closer to their goal of winning a Super Bowl.

The Texans would be excited to select a player like three former 23rd picks: Oakland outside linebacker Dee Ford (2014 by Kansas City), Detroit offensive tackle Riley Reiff (2012 by Minnesota) and Green Bay offensive tackle Bryan Baluga (2012).

Since the Texans have such a pressing need at left tackle, they might be satisfied with a pick akin to two other offensive tackles taken with the 23rd pick: Baltimore’s Michael Oher (2009) or New England’s Isaiah Wynn (2018).

After Gaine makes his first-round pick, he’ll turn his attention to his pair of second-rounders — 54th and 55th overall.

Second-round draft choices are expected to become starters at some point in their careers, sooner rather than later.

Gaine and O’Brien would like to get a player in the 54th spot like the last two drafted in that position: Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates and Miami linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Bates and McMillan started every game as rookies. McMillan has started every game in his first two seasons.But in the previous six drafts before McMillan was taken in 2017, there were only disappointments selected in the 54th spot.

Some of the more productive 54th picks were Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap (2010), Minnesota offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (2009), Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard (2006) and Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin (2003).

As for players who were drafted with the 55th pick, the last three have worked out well: Carolina cornerback Donte Jackson (2018), New York Giants defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (2017) and Cincinnati receiver Tyler Boyd (2016).

An FYI to Texans fans demanding an offensive tackle: In 2006, the Bengals used the 55th pick on offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, who’s still going strong for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Texans are confident they’ll be able to draft some starters and contributors in the first three rounds, in which they have four picks.

“We have a scouting staff and a coaching staff that are on the same page,” O’Brien said. “We talk the same language. We work hard (and) try to supplement the scouts’ information with our coaching information.

“We understand the scouting system we have in place. There’s a lot of communication, a lot of hard work that goes into it.”

And beginning Thursday with the first round, O’Brien and Gaine expect that hard work to start to pay off.

Evan Engram Jersey

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There is a new look and different feel as the New York Giants begin their offseason workout program Monday. Gone is the polarizing presence of star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He has since been replaced by the steady veteran presence of Golden Tate.

Or was he?

The Giants can’t realistically expect Tate to completely fill that ultra-productive void. They know that. Tate is a fine player, but Beckham averages 92.8 receiving yards per game, the second most in NFL history. That’s not fully replaceable with one person. It will take “a village” to offset the loss of such a dynamic player, as coach Pat Shurmur has explained.A key component for the Giants is going to be tight end Evan Engram. He will be asked to become as much a big-play downfield receiver as any of the receivers themselves.

Forget that Engram is labeled a tight end. He has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and flashed an ability to make game-changing plays down the middle of the field during his first two professional seasons. That was especially apparent during the final four games of 2018 when Beckham was sidelined with a quad injury.

The Giants are leaning on that to carry over into the post-Beckham era, all over the field.

“I can flex Evan out, put him outside the wide receiver and move him around. He can also play attached,” Shurmur said recently at the annual NFL owners meetings in Arizona. “As we get a better feel for him, we will keep him in the mix.”

Engram is coming off an up-and-down season that saw his production and playing time dip on occasion. The latter was the result of his limitations as a blocker. After starting the season playing close to 90 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, that dipped to 60 percent when healthy in the second half of the season.

Despite the decreased playing time, it’s probably not a coincidence Engram’s production spiked when Beckham didn’t play the final four weeks of the season. Engram’s four biggest games (in terms of receiving yards) came during that span, and so did four of the six longest plays of his season. His 320 receiving yards over the final four weeks was 10th among all receivers and second among all tight ends, behind only San Francisco’s George Kittle.

The Giants are counting on more of that this season from Engram, even if they seem to credit the spike in production more to his health than the absence of Beckham.Engram hurt his knee in Week 3 against the Houston Texans and missed the next three games. He later missed a pair of games with a hamstring problem. The season was a physical and emotional struggle marred by some early drops and injuries.

It took a while but Engram, 24, finally looked like the player who appeared on the verge of being something special his rookie season.

“When he got healthier, he was able to produce in a way we think he can,” Shurmur said.

Whatever the reason, the difference in the numbers is glaring.

This is what life post-Beckham could be like for Engram. Busy. And more productive.

At least that is what they’re all hoping.

Kyle Lauletta Jersey

To the outsider’s eye, even those keenly aware of the inner-workings of the NFL, the third-string quarterback on an NFL team can be the invisible man, someone who seeps into the woodwork, prone to get lost and only arise when summoned by the coaches or yanked into a mundane chore no one else wants to do.

Kyle Lauletta made sure he wasn’t ghostly. The 2013 Downingtown East High graduate and former University of Richmond star wanted to make himself tangible, as the New York Giants’ fourth-round pick in 2018. Backing up Eli Manning and Alex Tanney, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback was the unofficial greeter to any new skill position player on the Giants last year, and there were many.If a new wide receiver came in, or a tight end or running back were just signed, Lauletta would be the one pulling them aside to see if they needed someone to throw to them, or quiz them on the offense on his own time. He created a role for himself by filling out self-scout reports for Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Mike Shula, showing the Giants’ offensive tendencies that opposing teams may try to exploit.

Lauletta, 24, who lives in Exton, (in Chester County) dressed for three games his rookie year, appearing in one, and finished 0-for-5 passing with an interception. He, regrettably, received more attention for something off the field last October than anything he did on it.

In many ways, Lauletta learned a great deal. He had his character questioned, he learned patience, time management away from the field, and how to break down film and see the nuances NFL defenses pose through the eyes of one of the true masters of the game, future Hall of Famer Manning.

“Last year was a challenge in a lot of ways,” said Lauletta, who shredded the Richmond record book, passing for a school-record 10,465 career passing yards and 73 touchdowns, and a single-game record six touchdown passes in Richmond’s 68-21 win over Howard in 2017. “I enjoy feeling part of the team, whatever my role will be this season. I want to continue contributing to our success.

“I know as a third-string quarterback who was hardly active, that was obviously tough. But it’s why I took so much pride in watching and breaking down film. It’s why every single week I did a self-scout report for our coaches, basically showing what a defense may be seeing in our offensive tendencies.“It was my way of contributing to our team every week. With Eli, I want to help him as much as I can, and that means helping everyone around Eli learn what they have to do. If it means going over basics, I did it and I’ll continue doing it. To be a good teammate, I have to be more proactive doing that next season.”

Teaching them helped Lauletta, too.

“People say the biggest difference is the speed of the game, but for me, the most demanding thing was protections because of the complex NFL defenses,” Lauletta said. “As far as the Xs and Os, that was it for me, being able to command the line of scrimmage and who’s protected and where. Eli has done that flawlessly throughout his career. In college, the protections are pretty basic. It gets much more difficult in the NFL, because there are so many different variations on the fronts. The defenses try to confuse you as to who the down rushers are and who’s dropping back into zone coverage.

“Some teams design certain blitzes where they can rush five guys into a six-man protection, with your running back still getting eaten up in protection. Protections are what I asked Eli and Alex Tanney the most about, and those two are as smart as they come. They saw so much and they’re so experienced. The closer your offensive line and quarterback can be, the more successful you can be in the NFL. With the Tennessee Titans, for example, it was difficult pre-snap to know who was coming. If you don’t know the protections, you’re lost.”

From March 17 to April 10, Lauletta has been spending time in Los Angeles, California, near UCLA’s campus, working out with NFL Rookie of the Year, Giants’ star Saquon Barkley, and receiver Sterling Shepard. Lauletta had a small surgical procedure done on January 4, scoping out his right knee, and for the first time is 100-percent healthy in a year.

“I feel great and I had a strong last month,” said Lauletta, whose mechanics have sharpened under the eye of his former IMG quarterback coach, Adam Behrends. “I’ve spent three months rehabbing and I feel really good. My legs are great and I haven’t started really throwing until I got out here working out. I got a good opportunity to throw to Saquon and Sterling, and some of my old Richmond teammates.

“I would say this is probably the biggest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m still making strides on getting my explosiveness back. That’s what was missing last year. I’ve been working hard to recover from the surgery.”What’s really improved is Lauletta’s hips. He’s improved his balance, staying upright and not leaking toward the left. He’s in pursuit of the effortless throwing motions you see from Baker Mayfield and Aaron Rodgers, snapping the hips, unwind and torque.

“Those guys are great at it, I mean Aaron Rodgers doesn’t even look like he’s trying, he doesn’t reach the ball back very far. He just has very violent hip torque, and that’s the motion that I’m trying to get,” Lauletta said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot better just by being out here a few weeks.”

Lauletta has also put behind him a traffic incident that occurred last October, when he was arrested for various motor vehicle and related disorderly persons offenses in Weehawken, New Jersey. On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, the criminal charges of eluding police and the subsequent disorderly persons charges were dropped in a Hudson County Court, and Lauletta pled guilty to the disorderly persons offense and two tickets for an improper turn and disregarding an officer’s instructions.

Lauletta has no criminal history. In fact, he’s more apt to stop traffic to help an old lady across the street than be arrested for anything. To those that know him, the news was laughable, and met with disbelief. Yet, Lauletta’s character was excoriated by certain media.

Charlie Fisher, now the wide receivers coach at Arizona State under head coach Herm Edwards, the former Eagle and ESPN analyst, was Lauletta’s offensive coordinator in 2015 at Richmond under then-Spiders’ head coach Danny Rocco, now the head coach at Delaware.

“When I heard, one of our younger graduate assistants said, ‘Did you hear about Lauletta? I said, ‘What about him?’ He said, ‘He was arrested.’ I said, ‘Arrested? For what?’” recalled Fisher, who has over 40 years of coaching experience. “I was wondering what everyone was talking about. No one arrests this kid. Then I heard about the traffic incident and I know a little about the scenario, because I work here with (former New York Giants’ linebacker) Antonio Pierce.

“He was a Giant and he knows the traffic in that area is so bad, especially if you’re late. Kyle dropped his shield. I told Kyle that’s really uncharacteristic of you, because he’s always the first one in the building. He would sit and game plan with me at night and he would have a book full of notes. You trace a little bit of that toward the workload of an NFL quarterback and the amount of preparation it takes, and he may have gotten a little mentally tired.

“It was an off-week and he dropped his shield a little bit, but he also told me, ‘Hey coach that will never happen again!’ Anyone that knows Kyle knows that wasn’t Kyle Lauletta. I coached this kid; I recruited him; I know this kid. The way he was depicted by the media was totally wrong. The media tends to overlook a small situation that was way, way overblown. I’ve coached a ton of kids for over 40 years and this kid is as fun a kid as I’ve ever coached. He’s the kind of kid who you would want to date your daughter. Danny Rocco would say the same thing about Kyle. He has a bright future.

“I know the Giants like Kyle a lot. He has the attributes anyone would like in the NFL: He’s tough, and he’s smart.”

Rocco agreed.

“I had Kyle for four years,” Rocco said. “The one thing we’re all so fast to lose today is perspective. Kyle Lauletta is a great character young man who’s from a great family. He cares about his teammates. We’re living in an age where it might look good for some people who appear to care. Kyle genuinely cares.

“Kyle always did everything that was expected of all of our student-athletes at Richmond. Outliers occur every day and that incident was an outlier of Kyle Lauletta. That’s just not that kid. He made a bad decision in assessing that moment, but Kyle is one of those guys who’s able to learn and improve on everything that happens in his life. He’ll move forward and I’m sure he has. I always loved Kyle’s attitude. It was always, ‘Coach what do you want me to do?’

“That moment certainly does not define who Kyle is.”

As for Lauletta, he’s turned the page.

“The people who know me, the Giants, they know what I’m about,” Lauletta said. “The best part of that whole deal was the response in the locker room and reaching out. I was upset. It was a tough time for me. I know that’s not me. I’ve built up my character and who I am.

“One mistake won’t change that. Eli reached out and told me to keep my head up; that it was blown out of proportion. He told me that if I needed him, just let him know. That meant a lot to me.”

With the draft coming up, Lauletta also hears the talk about the draft. The Giants, after finishing 5-11 at the bottom of the NFC East, have the sixth and 17th overall picks, acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. There is speculation that the Giants may draft a quarterback, with many respected mock drafts having the Giants taking Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the sixth overall pick.

“I don’t really pay attention to any of that talk, unless I go on-line, and remember this time last year, everybody had me going to the New England Patriots and how I’m Bill Belichick’s perfect quarterback,” Lauletta recalled. “That didn’t have any validity. A lot of that stuff is media driven. The media can make up whatever narrative they want.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with the first-round pick, but who cares? If they draft a quarterback, I have to be better than anyone they draft, so bring it on. If they draft someone, he’ll have my support. He’s my teammate, but it will also fuel me even more and make me work that much harder.

“I’m competitive as hell. If I want to start in the NFL someday, I still have to be better.”

B.J. Hill Jersey

East Rutherford, N.J. — After trading offensive catalyst Odell Beckham Jr. and sacks leader Olivier Vernon to Cleveland and losing perennial leading tackler Landon Collins to free agency, the New York Giants are rebuilding heading into the NFL draft.

The question is, where does general manager Dave Gettleman start? He has 12 picks overall, including two in the first round (Nos. 1 and 17), and three of the first 37.

After winning eight games the past two seasons, there aren’t many positions where the Giants don’t need help.

The position fans identify first is quarterback. Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is 38, heading into the final season of his four-year, $84 million, and has taken the team to the playoffs once (2016) since winning the NFL title in February 2012. There is no heir apparent on the roster, although Gettleman drafted Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round a year ago.

There are some potential choices in Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Duke’s Daniel Jones, and Missouri’s Drew Lock. Using the ‘Kansas City’ model, all could benefit from learning the ropes from Manning and being ready for a Patrick Mahomes’ type emergence in 2020.

Gettleman recognizes he has other major needs. The defensive line is desperate for an edge rusher or two. The offensive line needs a right tackle. A cornerback, a safety, an inside linebacker and a deep threat at receiver all would help.

If you listen to Gettleman, he is going to take the highest-rated player on his board, regardless of position. He has preferences, though.

When he was hired by the Giants in December 2017, he reminded everyone of something former coach and two-time Super Bowl winner Tom Coughlin once said.

“He said big men allow you to compete, and that’s really just so true,” Gettleman said. “The O-line and the D-line, I believe in the hog mollies. We’ve had some great groups here, had great groups everywhere I’ve been, and we’re going to get back to that. They do allow you to compete.”

His other comment that day was the cliche that offenses score points, and defenses win championships.

The picks will reflect those principals. No one will be asking: “Where’s the beef?”


The last time the Giants took a quarterback in the first round was in 2004. The guy they selected was Philip Rivers with the fourth pick overall. Just as quickly, they shipped Rivers and three draft picks to San Diego for Manning. If the Giants believe there is a franchise maker at quarterback, it would be interesting if they used to same route to get Manning’s replacement. If not, maybe the second round.

Defensive line

The defense switched to a 3-4 scheme last season with new coordinator James Bettcher. It was a struggle. Opponents scored 412 points, averaged 118.6 yards rushing, and held the ball more than 31 minutes a game. A major problem was getting pressure: New York was limited to 30 sacks, with the now departed Vernon leading the team with seven. Six players who are no longer with the club accounted for 13 1-2 sacks. Tackle B.J. Hill (5 1-2 sacks as a rookie) and Dalvin Tomlinson are back. They are going to need help.

No Beckham

Beckham was the major outside threat with his quickness and speed. Sterling Shepard, who signed a $41 million, four-year extension, and free agent Golden Tate will be Manning’s top two targets, along with tight end Evan Engram, who needs to stay healthy. Shepard and Tate are slot guys, though. It would help if the Giants found a burner who could keep the safeties occupied, and there are a few in this crop.

Offensive line

The group gave up 47 sacks last season despite adding left tackle Nate Solder as a free agent and drafting left guard Will Hernandez in the second round. Center Jon Hapalio is back after missing most of last season. Kevin Zeitler, acquired in the Vernon deal, is a solid right guard. Right tackle could use an upgrade. Chad Wheeler filled in after the team gave up on 2015 first-round pick Ereck Flowers.

Post Collins

New York signed 34-year-old Antoine Bethea to fill the major void when Collins went to the Redskins. Michael Thomas, Sean Chandler and Kamrin Moore are expected to fight for the other safety spot. Don’t be surprised if a rookie gets a shot to start.

Lorenzo Carter Jersey

The 2019 NFL Draft is a pivotal moment for the New York Giants franchise. They’re trying to rebuild after going 8-24 over the last two seasons. The franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, is 38 and entering the final year of his contract. Not to mention, the defense has finished 31st and 24th over the last two seasons.

It’s safe to say the Giants have several needs they have to address.

Good news for the Giants is that they have 12 picks in this draft including two first-round picks (No. 6 and No. 17). Each pick will be crucial in the rebuilding process, but the sixth overall pick holds special significance.

There are several talented players on both sides of the ball that are projected to be top 10 picks. Now the question is who will the Giants take?

Unlike last year, general manager Dave Gettleman hasn’t given any indication on which player or players are on his radar, which is a smart move on his part. However, there has been no shortage of media speculation on what direction Gettleman plans to go.

We’ll know for sure on Thursday, April 25. But for now, here’s a look at some of the players that have been linked to the Giants in some way or another.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State Some feel Haskins will have the most productive NFL career of all the quarterbacks in this draft class. Several mock drafts have the Giants selecting Haskins, who was born in Highland Park, New Jersey.

The only true knock on Haskins is that he only started one year in college. But what a year it was. He broke Drew Brees‘ Big Ten single-season touchdown passing record with 50 while leading the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record.

If Haskins is still on the board when the Giants are on the clock, it will be hard for them to pass on him. Yes, finding an EDGE rusher maybe a more pressing need for 2019. But there isn’t a more important position than quarterback, and the Giants need to get their quarterback of the future, and the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Haskins would be an ideal fit.Gary is also a native of New Jersey being born in Plainfield. He played three seasons for the Michigan Wolverines and was twice named First-Team All-Big Ten (2017, 2018).

His best season came in 2017 when he had 58 tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses, and 5.5 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 277-pound Gary would be a welcomed addition to the Giants young front seven that includes B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Lorenzo Carter.

Gary is strong with long arms and a sturdy base—ideal for an EDGE. After helping the Wolverines to a 10-2 record, he sat out the Peach Bowl against Florida to prepare for the draft, but that should not affect his draft status. If the Giants draft him, expect him to be a starter from the first day of training camp.Either Allen or Ohio State’s Nick Bosa are considered the best EDGE rushers in this draft, which makes Allen staying on the board until six a longshot. But he was brought in for a visit by the Giants brass which means they feel it’s a possibility that he could be available.

Allen played all four years at Kentucky and set the school record for career sacks with 31.5. He was given the two most prestigious awards for a collegiate defensive player award last season—the Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards. In addition, he was named a unanimous All-American and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Allen will be one of the favorites to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and his talent is too great for the Giants to pass up if he’s still on the board. The Giants haven’t had a player with double-digit sacks since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2014. Allen could end that streak in 2019 if the Giants are able to snag him.

Will Hernandez Jersey

Earlier last week it was announced that German giants Bayern Munich completed the signing of Lucas Hernandez from La Liga club Atlético Madrid for an approximate fee of £68 million, making him the second most expensive defender in the world, and the most expensive in Bundesliga history. The French defender has been at Atlético Madrid since his youth days and has made 110 senior caps for the club since 2014. This tactical analysis will look at his strengths as a defender and what he’ll bring to Bayern Munich next season.
Positional awareness

Whether Hernandez plays as a centre back or as a left back, one of his main strengths is his positional awareness. He is rarely, if ever, caught out of position, and times his tackles perfectly, to ensure that they are clean and that he parries away the danger.

During Atlético Madrid’s match against Real Betis, he showed this quality perfectly. Hernandez allows the ball carrier space as he was not a threat in his current position with the ball. Hernandez positions himself so that if the ball carrier tries to pass it in the space behind him, he can cut off the winger easily.Once the ball goes out wide, he quickly closes in on the attacker, allowing him little time to think of his next play.The attacker takes too long and Hernandez uses the opportunity to perform a simple, clean tackle, and avoid conceding a goal.

His positional awareness allows him to rarely have to commit to a tackle or a block during a match. He only commits 1.12 fouls per 90 minutes which is quite low for a defender. To compare, he betters Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly whose rate is 1.31 fouls per 90 minutes and Juventus’s João Cancelo whose rate is at 1.35.

Covering Depth

His positional awareness also allows him to cut off passing lanes quickly, and reduce the threat. He knows when to back off and when to close defenders down. His speed also allows him to get back quick and deny threats.Here, Hernandez is able to recognize the danger and get into a 1 on 1 race with the attacker.He beats him to the ball and allows it to roll out, giving Atlético the advantage of possession.Hernandez also shows capabilities of covering for his teammates. Here his teammate makes a mistake and loses possession in a very dangerous area, near the penalty box.Hernandez then bends his run ensuring the attacker gets cut off. He is able to time his tackle and the ball goes out for a goal kick.During this game against Getafe, Hernandez had 5 interceptions and 6 recoveries, all without committing a foul and keeping a clean sheet. Atlético Madrid won the match 2-0.

Attacking abilities

The modern fullback has recently evolved to be able to not only defend but to also move forward and help attack and create. Hernandez’s heat map as a left back showcases that he is capable of fully going up and down the pitch, depending on the play.Transitions

When deployed as a left back, Hernandez is seamlessly able to quickly transition from attack to defence, and vice versa. This is such an important skill to have in a modern full-back, as even though they are tasked with attacking, they must be careful not to get caught out of position. Hernandez’s transitions also allow his team to perform quick counter-attacks at pace.

Here, he is able to win a 1vs.1 with an attacker and he regains possession for his team.He then notices the spaces left behind Real Madrid’s defence and makes a run into space.He does not receive the ball, but his fast transition play allows for quick counters before the opposition can organize their defence.Providing Width

Full backs providing width in the attack are crucial against all teams, but especially against organized, and well-drilled defences.

Here, Hernandez spots the space behind Real Madrid’s defence and decides to drift forward.

Lucas Hernandez Bayern Munich Tactical Analysis StatisticsHernandez receives the ball, and Real Madrid’s defence instantly stretches, making the defensive line disjointed. Gaps are created and there is space for Atlético Madrid’s attackers to run through on goal.The width allows Hernandez to put crosses into the box, and create more chances. He has averaged 34.88% successful crosses this season. Out of all the top fullbacks in the world, only Jordi Alba betters this record. Hernandez is notably above Andrew Robertson at 28.99% and David Alaba at 33.66%.
How Hernandez will succeed at Bayern Munich

Bayern have had a very up and down season, and questions around Niko Kovač have started to surface. However, whether Kovač will be the one coaching Hernandez next season is irrelevant, as he has all the tools to succeed at his new club. If he had stayed at Atlético, he would have most likely replaced Diego Godín, who looks to be near the end of his career. Bayern Munich has two ageing centre backs that have looked past their prime for a few years now.

Hernandez would fit in perfectly with Niklas Süle, a centre back pairing Bayern could have for many years. It is convenient that Süle is right-footed and Hernandez is left-footed, and both would be able to balance each other out. Hernandez would also have plenty of opportunities to play left back, allowing Alaba some rest. If needed, he can easily fit in a back three, either as a centre back or as a left wing back.

At 24 years old, the future is bright for Hernandez, and Bayern Munich will be the perfect opportunity for him to further advance his skill as a defender.