The Giants once drafted a man known as Jumbo, and that turned out very well. So with the drafting of the hulking Ereck Flowers with their No. 9 pick, there’s already large expectations heaped upon the former Miami Hurricane.
Flowers, at 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, is what scouts call a road-grader – able to move piles by his lonesome. But for head coach Tom Coughlin, he had a better description of Flowers.
“He’s a battleship, an aircraft carrier. Just a huge kid,” Coughlin said.
General manager Jerry Reese was just as impressed with Flowers’s size, calling him “a gigantic human being.”
But for all the superlatives about Flowers’s bulk, to a man inside the Giants’ draft room, they mostly marveled at his on-field prowess.
“He was the highest guy on our board [who] can play either tackle spot. Ereck was also the strongest guy at the combine,” Reese said. “We hope he’s a longtime offensive tackle for the Giants.”
Reese added that Flowers’s demeanor and work ethic are what really set him apart, as the reticent Flowers is able to flip a switch on the field.
“He’s young and with great upside, because he just turned 21. He’s powerful and has a nasty streak,” said Reese, adding he thinks Flowers will be best served at his natural tackle spot. “I think he can play anywhere, but we think he’s a natural tackle.”
Flowers is a versatile commodity for the Giants, as they try – again – to retool their offensive line. Starting right tackle Justin Pugh may get kicked inside to guard with Flowers’s arrival. And if that happens, it really solidifies a sore spot for Big Blue.
Marc Ross, the Giants’ Vice President of Player Evaluation, noted that even with some technique flaws, Flowers was by far still the best remaining player on their board. Ross reasoned that what Flowers needs to make up in technique, he more than makes up for it with natural talent, work ethic, and a mean streak that belies the player’s quiet nature.
“He’s a physical, nasty football player, and you don’t see that much anymore in college. He was super productive against the top players, if you turn on the tape against teams like Florida State and Nebraska. He’s a tackle for sure, and can play either one,” said Ross, who added that Flowers will be diligent in cleaning up those flaws. “He’s just learning to play. Even with technique flaws, he’s still a dominant player. He’s done well in both [run and pass blocking]. We expect him to be a complete offensive tackle … He has those intangibles. We’re looking for clean football players, and he is.”
Flowers spoke briefly to the media, via conference call. And while he didn’t have much to say, he noted that he’s “ready to get to work right now.”
He added while he’s willing to play wherever, tackle is his position of choice. He also reasoned that even though there are lofty expectations that come with the No. 9 pick, he knows he’s not a finished product.
“I think I need to work on everything, a long way to go. But I love everything about football. I’m ready to take the next step. I’m a pretty good run-blocker and show pretty good athleticism, and am a good reach-blocker. And I’m ready to work at even the things I already do well,” Flowers said.
He added that while he’s considered shy, he’s confident in what he can bring to the team.
“I’d say I play with a lot of passion. And I feel I can come right in and play right away,” said Flowers. “I have a lot of confidence in myself and what I see in myself. I see myself anywhere on the line and making a contribution.”
Big Blue notes:
– Reese, on the hypothetical decision of having to choose between Flowers and Brandon Scherff, who was picked by Washington at No. 5 and was thought by many to be a lock for the Giants: “We liked both of them. We’re happy with Ereck. He was the best player remaining … We always talk about needs, so it’s good to get a need and value pick at the same time. It settles our O-Line down.”
– Ross wasn’t as evasive when evaluating the two tackles, acknowledging that Scherff had a head start, but Flowers is gaining, due to his persistence and maturity: “Scherff was a fifth-year senior, and Ereck just turned 21 last week, so of course he [Scherff] was slightly better with technique. But he [Flowers] is a gym rat. He’ll improve. He loves football … He’s a quiet person who just doesn’t want to go out on South Beach – and that’s rare. He’s just about that action, like Marshawn Lynch said.”
– Coughlin declined to speak about the possible move of Pugh to guard, but allowed he’s looking forward to seeing the budding competition: “We’re talking only about Flowers. He was the best player on the board, and that will always get the majority of a situation [if there’s a tie in the draft room]. You see him on film at second level coming with bad humor at a pile. … He’s an addition [and] the best (O-Line combo) will rise to the surface. It’s competition up front. The better competition, the better results.”
– Flowers acknowledged that while he’s hired a “lawyer to do the contracts,” it’s his dad, Everald Flowers, who “is representing me.”