The original plan for the New York Giants appears to have been to use rookie first-round pick Ereck Flowers at right tackle. That changed quickly when left tackle Will Beatty tore a pectoral muscle while lifting weights. As soon as the Giants knew that Beatty would be out five to six months offensive line coach Pat Flaherty told Flowers he would be moving from right to left tackle.
The 21-year-old rookie's reaction? "I'm ready."
Is he really? We know that the recent history of offensive tackles drafted in the first round is a mixed bag with some success stories and other failures. We know that Flowers has technique issues to improve upon, with an anonymous NFL line coach having recently gone so far as to says Flowers had "some of the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high."
Flowers is a massive 6-foot-6, 329-pound man with strength, athleticism and determination that he used at Miami to mask any technical deficiencies he may have. He acknowledged Wednesday that despite not yet having put pads on he knows the NFL "is a whole different ballgame. Technique plays a way bigger role."
So, what about all that outside criticism of his technique? Sitting on a stool in the Giants' locker room surrounded by TV reporters and cameramen Flowers, speaking quietly but candidly, flashed just a little bit of the edge scouts say he plays with.
"Outside of this organization here and my coaches I really don't care what anybody else has to say," Flowers said. "I go to meetings every day and I listen to what they tell me. That's the voices, them and my teammates are the ones that matter."
Honestly, that's a response you have to like.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin also doesn't want to hear the outside chatter about Flowers' technique or what position he might be best-suited for.
"I don't subscribe to that -- what people, what they say -- he is our kid. He is an outstanding young player. He is going to do nothing but get better," Coughlin said. "Sure, there are going to be things that happen to him that haven't happened before. We knew there were a couple of things we need to clarify and work on him, but he will work.
"I thought he was heck of a football player [in college] or he wouldn't be here. Outstanding feet, nifty for a big man."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning likes the physical attributes Flowers possesses and the attitude he brings with him to work.
"He's big and strong and mean," Manning said. "He's got a good attitude and he wants to be a good player. Sometimes that's all you need."
Flowers knows there are questions about his readiness to protect the blindside of Eli Manning.
"I've always been a person to always believe in myself. I'm out there every day trying to get better. I'm up for the challenge," Flowers said. "Whenever you reach the next level the speed is different. When I first got to college my first practice I was like ‘man, this is fast.' As you go on you're going to get better, it's going to slow down. As you get better grips of the plays it becomes second nature.
"Right now that's what we're doing every day. Coming here early, putting that extra film work, working really hard trying to progress every day."
Flowers told reporters he saw Beatty's injury happen and that it was "pretty bad" to watch. Moving to the left side, though, doesn't put any added pressure on him.
"I don't feel any pressure. I just have a certain standard I want myself to play at and right now that's what I'm trying to do," Flowers said. "From the time I came here whether I'm second, third or whatever string I'm trying to be the best I can be regardless of what happens. When he told me (he was moving to the left) that it's the same thing I've been doing. Trying to get the film work in, trying to do the extra work.
"I've got a high ceiling. I'm trying to reach it."
The Giants, of course, hope he can. And quickly.