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N.C. State’s Tony Adams has never been the center of attention

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But, could he be a future center for the Giants?

NCAA Football: South Carolina at North Carolina State
Tony Adams
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman says that you have to “dig around” to unearth quality offensive linemen. He has been doing that, and spending John Mara’s and Steve Tisch’s money, to help rebuild the Giants offensive line.

The free agency portion of the offseason is, however, mostly over. The big signings have all been made, and now teams are picking through the boneyard to find what is left. The 2018 NFL Draft is up next, and Gettleman and the Giants have been connected to a lot of the top offensive linemen. Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame, Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, James Daniels, Billy Price.

The draft, though, is more than one or two rounds. When you “dig around” sometimes you find treasure late in the draft or even after the draft. Gettleman did in Carolina when he signed future All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Years ago, then-Giants GM Ernie Accorsi found David Diehl in the fifth round.

Could Tony Adams of North Carolina State be that same type of late-round, under-the-radar buried treasure?

A four-year starter at N.C. State, mostly at guard, Adams didn’t get an invitation to the NFL Combine. He didn’t get an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He’s being told by scouts that his stocky build (6-foot-2, around 320 pounds) and short by NFL standards arms means he will have to play center as a professional.

Adams, who spoke with me on the phone recently, hasn’t flinched at any of it. He told me that being overlooked is “something I’m used to.”

“My whole career I’ve been a guy that has had a chip on my shoulder. Because of my size people may not notice me as much as other players. It just gave me a little bit more fire, a little bit more juice to prove to everybody else along with myself that I can be with these and I can do as good or even better than some of these guys going forward,” Adams said.

“This has been my story for my whole life. It just keeps adding to the fire. It allows me to be a better person, a better player going forward.”

N.C. State was the only Division I school to offer Adams a scholarship. He started for four years and ended up as a team captain.

The Giants don’t currently have a pick beyond the fifth round of the draft. They could, however, use depth behind and competition for Brett Jones at center. Adams said he has spoken to representatives from the Giants twice — once at the East-West Shrine Game and once after a regional combine in Tampa, Fla.

NFL.com says:

Three-year starter who lacks length, but carries a powerful, compact frame. Adams plays with plus balance and body control and it’s rare to see him fall off of blocks. As a youth tennis player until the age of 15, Adams has developed above average footwork for a big and has the play traits to fit into any run scheme. His lack of length will concern some teams, but he’s talented enough to become a solid NFL starter fairly early in his career.

Other sports

Adams’ background includes having been a tennis player since the age of 2. Adams was once a top 20 player in the New England Region and traveled the country to play in tournaments. Yes, just imagine a guy that big — self-proclaimed serve and volley player — charging to the net.

Another more well-known potential Giants’ draft pick, quarterback Josh Rosen, also has a tennis background. Would Adams like a shot at Rosen on the tennis court?

“Oh yeah, absolutely, let’s go,” he said.

From his tone, I can tell you he wasn’t kidding.

N.C State teammates

Several of Adams’ N.C State teammates — defensive end Bradley Chubb, H-Back Jaylen Samuels, running back Nyheim Hines among them — will also be waiting to find out which NFL team calls their names during the draft.

Adams voiced a recommendation for all of his former Wolfpack teammates.

“Players from N.C. State are different. We all have been taught to take care of business like a man would. You can see that in all the guys. They’re all really good kids. They’ve always acted like a professional, they’ve always taken care of their business,” Adams said

“You’re going to see that in all of these other N.C. State players that are going into the draft. They’re great players, but also really, really good people.”

Chubb, of course, has been talked about as a potential first-round pick for the Giants in the wake of their trade of Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Adams endorsed the idea. His scouting report on Chubb?

“A leader, someone that has an unbelievable motor, and a competitor. Whatever team gets him it should be No. 1 because that’s how good a player he is,” Adams said. “Anybody who gets him is going to be very, very happy.”

Could the Giants’ draft end up having a distinct Wolfpack flavor to it?