Sometimes the best way to learn about new players is to turn to those who have watched them play the most. So, to get to know more about New York Giants second-round pick Will Hernandez we turned to SB Nation’s UTEP website, Miner Rush, for the 411. Alex Nicolas heeded the call, and below are Alex’s responses to my questions.
1. Giants GM Dave Gettleman talked about Hernandez having “pride” and playing hard despite UTEP’s awful record. Is that something that was noticed during the year?
Alex: From the season opener against Oklahoma, until 0-12 was a harsh reality, Will was a leader, and handled the situation very well for a player of his caliber. We’re talking about a guy who could have been drafted around the same spot last year, but had so much pride he gave up early NFL life for a shot at history in his senior season. “History” went down a dark road, but Will never showed any negative emotions and as you’ve seen, some pretty intense and classic film clips. He was always cordial with the media despite tough 0-12 questions, and his outstanding character showed up numerous times during a difficult season.
2. If you are familiar with WWE, you will like this. I had a scout compare Hernandez to Braun Strowman, who goes by the moniker “monster among men.” Do you find that appropriate?
Alex: HAHA! Very appropriate. Will is a true finisher. His shoulder leading double team chip blocks against 3-techs are nasty, his run block finishing skills are nasty, his footwork and awareness in pass-pro is impeccable. It’s easy to say a lineman is a road grater, but Will is more than that. He’s a monster among men, a finisher, and is just a straight up nasty hog molly.
3. How confident are you that Hernandez can excel quickly in the NFL?
Alex: I’m pretty confident Will can carve out a quick niche early on in his career. He’s one of those true football players who doesn’t feed or react to outside noise i.e. media, scouts, and bloggers like me. He will be totally tapped into the offensive lineman room, and is uber receptive to coaching, adjustments and diving into film. Of course there will be certain match ups where growing pains will happen. Will’s mental aspect of the game has not been talked about much, although that is a strong point of his which made him the leader of the OL room at UTEP, and will help navigate through the rigors of a rookie season in the trenches.
4. The Giants seemed surprised Hernandez lasted until the 34th pick. Were you?
Alex: Yeah, I really was once I saw offensive lineman sort of flying off the board in the first round. In my opinion, (even if its a bit homer) Will is a 13-year plug and play guy in the interior who provides production in the run game, and can be versatile in pass pro. The only knock on Will leading up to the draft was that his arm length wasn’t up to par, so for the teams who read too much into that and passed on him.....LOL!!!!
5. Is there anything about Hernandez the person we don’t know, but probably should?
Alex: He had a number of his old UTEP lineman with him at his draft party, showing he fully embraces the brotherhood football is, and will have no problem being a great locker room guy for Big Blue. He is also a big fan of tacos, so I’d guess after a long Hall of Fame career in New York, he would open up a solid taco spot featuring southwestern style tacos Giant fans can enjoy.
Thanks to Alex for taking the time to answer my questions.