Stopping short of saying he is going to tuck Saquon Barkley in at night and sing him a lullaby, New York Giants guard Will Hernandez plans on being joined at the hip with his fellow rookie. Hernandez, a guard out of UTEP and a second-round pick, will be counted on to pave the way for Barkley for many seasons to come.
It is something that Hernandez teased about this weekend following the first day of rookie minicamp. Underneath the jokes, however, is the clear and present fact that Hernandez will be counted on the help the Giants running game.
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Representing the first two picks by the Giants in last month’s NFL Draft, Barkley and Hernandez are major pieces in the renovation of the team’s offense. General manager Dave Gettleman talked prior to the draft about the need for the Giants to add some beef to the line and balance out the running game, a ground attack that has been bottom of the NFL the past two years. In Barkley, they got a running back at No. 2 overall who was the consensus top player in the draft.
And in Hernandez, they got a guard who loves to be called nasty and aggressive in his style of play.
“Yeah of course. I think every player should be referred to as that. If you’re a football player you should be referred to a nasty, on the edge player,” Hernandez said. “I think that’s how everyone should play. I think that’s the reason why this sport is so popular and yeah, I definitely consider myself that and I think that everybody should be exactly that.”
Hernandez teased that he walks in front of Barkley in the hallways at the team’s facility as well as the cafeteria line to get used to blocking for the former Penn State running back.
Rookie minicamp may not hold the same weight and significance for Hernandez, likely a lock to make the team, as it does for the undrafted players looking to latch-on and make a roster. But despite the limitations of camp (limited contact and hitting), Hernandez said some good things can still emerge from these three days at the team’s facility.
“The first thing is that you’re adaptable. You’re adaptable to going from what you know and what you’ve been taught for the past five years, four years and being able to transition. Even though it’s still the sport of football, there is still a lot of details that you need to be able to adjust to and the style of coaching that the coaches do here and the way they want you to do things,” Hernandez said. “I think that’s most important and then after that, I think it’s just showing the same person you were for the reason of why they brought you down here. Show that you’re still that guy that gives all-out effort, that wants to play, that has passion for the sport and show them that and improve day-by-day too, which shows your coachability.”