Entering the 2019 NFL Draft the New York Giants knew that they had to add talent to their defense. GM Dave Gettleman said a number of times the team didn’t have enough defensive play makers last season, and would have won more games during a 5-11 season if it could have made some late-game stops.
After trading away Olivier Vernon, and losing Landon Collins, Kerry Wynn, Josh Mauro, Mario Edwards and Connor Barwin, you knew the Giants would emphasize defense in the draft.
Thus, Gettleman used the 17th overall pick on monstrous defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and engineered a trade up to select cornerback Deandre Baker with the 30th pick. Both should be instant starters.
Here is what Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur said about the two defensive players.
Gettleman: “We got me a hog mollie! Dexter Lawrence, he might have been the biggest player in the draft, I don’t know. He’s a quality run player and he’s more than just a two-down run player. This kid can push the pocket and he can have an impact on the pass rush. That’s why we took him at 17 and we are thrilled ... He’s versatile, he’s got hips, he can flip to rush the passer and we are thrilled to have him.”
Shurmur: “Dexter, I was with (Vikings DT) Linval Joseph, who all of you know, in Minnesota and he sort of reminded me of him. He’s sneaky with the pass rush, but he’s really good on first, second down and the run game stuff. Tremendous human being and he’s a big guy and I think you win with big people.”
Gettleman on Lawrence’s lack of pass rush productivity in college ...
“Here’s what I want you to understand. This is where numbers don’t tell all the story. Defensive tackles can affect the pass rush if they get consistent inside push. How many times have you guys watched a game, and the ends come screaming off the corner, and the quarterback steps up, and there’s nobody there. You get inside pass rush, those ends come screaming off the corner, they’re going to affect it, and if the guy is getting push, the quarterback is going to step up and Dexter will give him a kiss.”
On not getting an edge rusher with any of the first three picks ...
“Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oh and by the way, (LB) Lorenzo Carter had 5.5 sacks last year.”
Gettleman: “The last guy we traded up for we feel is the best cover corner in the draft, the kid from Georgia, Deandre Baker. We feel like we got three guys that are going to impact this franchise for a long time.”
Shurmur: “Dave did it, he got Deandre Baker. He’s a cover corner. The thing that impressed me most on tape was how stinking competitive he is. He’s very confident and he’s very competitive and I think when he’s faced with a challenge of a good wide out, he’s going to accept the challenge.”