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Kudos, Wet Willies and more from the New York Giants’ draft

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Wrapping up three days unlike anything the NFL has seen before

The 2020 NFL Draft is over. We now enter a time where we have no idea when football will actually start, so let’s be thankful for the distraction provided the last few days by the draft. As we wrap it up, here are some “Kudos & Wet Willies,” and some other things I’m thinking about.

Kudos

Matt Peart for his Eli Manning shout-out — The Giants’ third-round pick grew up as a Giants’ fan in the Bronx. His favorite player? The now-retired two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback.

“The man is just tough, tough as nails. I respect his game and I just respect everything he does for the game. You know, he’s definitely my favorite Giant, 100 percent,” Peart said.

UConn head coach Randy Edsall — I did not expect to be talking to Edsall Saturday afternoon, but after I placed a request with the UConn football communications office asking if I could speak with the Huskies’ head coach about Peart he called me back and gave me a generous amount of time. You will read what he has to say as soon I get time to transcribe our conversation.

Dave Gettleman — Not for who he picked in the draft, but for wearing a protective mask on national TV. I have already shared my feelings about people who made fun of him.

Pat Traina — For asking second-round pick Xavier McKinney about his artistic penchant for drawing his own tattoos, something I did not know about the young man. It drew this response:

“It’s just something that I like to do in my free time. If I’m ever bored or ever kind of get to thinking, then I try to put the pencil on paper. For me, it’s pretty fun being able to do it and draw my tattoos.”

And it lets me use this picture:

I just want to know where McKinney is going to put the lowercase “ny.”

Giants’ PR Department — For embracing Zoom and allowing media to videoconference with Gettleman, Judge and drafted players rather than just hear them via a phone call. Those conferences were messy at times, and Judge did have to stop and walk the NY Post’s Ryan Dunleavy (a young fella who should know better!) how to unmute his microphone so he could ask a question. They were beneficial, weird glitches and people not entirely understanding the technology aside. Oh, and memo to Gettleman. Dude, next time back up a little bit. We want to see more than the bottom half of your face when you’re talking!

Wet Willies

Joe Judge — The Giants’ coach gets major points subtracted for failing to allow his dog, Abby, to have her shining moment on TV during the draft. After Judge had said that Abby was spending 15 hours a day with him at home in Massachusetts, Judge made the decision to come to New Jersey for the draft and work out of his temporary apartment to be closer to Giants’ IT staff.

That, of course, left Abby at home and off television. C’mon, Joe! The Giants could have afforded a pet-friendly hotel for a few days. I could have even recommended a couple near MetLife.

Geez, man. Even Bill Belichick let his dog get some air time!

Even Judge’s kids are mad at him.

“I tried to bring the dog with me, I was told that I could not bring the dog with me. I’ll tell you I let my kids down. I’ve been getting frown face memes all weekend because everyone else’s kids got to be on TV. So, I’ve got a six-year-old who wants to know if she’ll ever be famous. I told her it’s okay, no news is good news sometimes.”

Four seventh-round picks — No offense to Carter Coughlin, T.J. Brunson, Chris Williamson and Tae Crowder but four seventh-round picks is ridiculous. That means way too much work for me late in the day on a gorgeous Saturday. Dave, man, don’t do that again! Thank goodness Emily Iannaconi stepped up and handled posting a couple of those selections for us.


Quotable

This is a great quote from Judge on Saturday evening:

Darnay Holmes’ story

I will admit up front that Holmes is not a guy I paid much attention to in the run-up to the draft. I didn’t know his life story, so I wasn’t sure what he was talking about when he said the following to media during a Saturday conference call:

“Definitely there were several times when you go through different emotions and you don’t know when that day will come. I know those days and those experiences molded me into a better person, a better man. It molded my spirit to be someone that’s ready to transition and transform within every phase of my life. Every season is not going to be a good season, but I know that season shall pass and I’ll be bigger than that season.

“Everyone in my family is doing good these days. They are all on one accord, there is no family feud and everybody is making sure that we are transitioning so we have generational wealth for our young nephews.”

To understand what he is talking about, read this account from the Los Angeles Times. It’s well worth your time to help you understand what this young man has dealt with in his life.

Shane Lemieux and the center spot

Why ... didn’t ... the ... Giants .. draft ... a ... center? Giants fans on social media were pounding the virtual table for a center to be drafted pretty much the entire draft, at least from Round 2 on. It never happened.

What’s with that?

Well, maybe the Giants think someone from the trio of Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates and the rehabbing Jon Halapio will be able to get the job done. Maybe they just don’t feel value met need during the draft.

Maybe they actually did draft center depth, though probably not a guy who should be counted on to play the position in 2020.

Fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux played guard, not center, at Oregon. In the run-up to the draft, though, Lemieux has apparently been working on his snapping skills.

“Shane understands too that you got to create value for yourself and you got to be able to contribute to the team and typically if you’re playing guard you’re either playing tackle or center also,” said former Ducks center Jake Hanson, who is training with Lemieux. “He understands that they can be a possibility for him.”

Here is part of an NFL Scouting Services report on Lemieux:

Lemieux shows very good field vision and is alert to stunts and games. He communicates well with his fellow blockers, especially on combo blocks. He has no problems taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field. The coaches say he is mentally sharp and a very quick learner.

None of that means he will ever be a capable starting center in the NFL. He’s a fifth-round pick who has been a guard and may never actually be a factor for the Giants. It is, though, something to file away.

Quick hits

  • Darned if they didn’t. In several of my simulated mock drafts I picked Carter Coughlin just because of, well, the last name. For fun. Then the Giants went ahead and picked the Minnesota linebacker for real with the 218th selection. Who knew?
  • ‘Beezer Brigade (yes, I remember you) take note. Here is what Judge said about the Giants having taken four linebackers with their last five picks:

“I think it says a lot more about how our defensive scheme fits together. That we are going to play with a lot of linebackers throughout the game. You build your defense to build two thirds of your team, that’s really your defense and your kicking game for covering kicks. These guys have a lot of impact across the board right there.”

  • We are tracking Giants’ undrafted free agents here. Reminder, that these are all reports and have not been announced officially by the team, so things could change. Regardless, the coolest thing on that list so far is the reported (by himself) signing of Rhode Island guars Kyle Murphy. He was a college teammate of our Joe DeLeone. It also gives me a chance to remind you that Murphy took my “teach me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich challenge” at the Combine.