EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today concluded their offseason program and completed an important transaction when they signed first-round draft choice Ereck Flowers to a multi-year contract.
Flowers did not use an agent and instead negotiated the contract himself.
“It was great,” he said. “(I) talked to them. Got a great deal done. Everything went good. It was smooth.”
Flowers, the ninth overall selection in the NFL Draft, is on track to be the Giants’ starting left tackle on opening day after playing there during the OTAs and the minicamp that concluded today.
“I made a lot of progress,” Flowers said. “I have a better understanding of the plays. I got a lot more comfortable out there. Everything was a success.”
When the Giants selected the 6-6, 329-pound Flowers on April 30, they envisioned him as a potential left tackle, though not immediately. But Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle lifting weights on May 18. Flowers, who had been working at right tackle, moved down the line.
“We like him as a future left tackle of the New York Giants,” offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said. “I am very comfortable with him being out there right now. Nothing is ever set in stone. We look forward to getting back here in camp and seeing him jump in there right from the beginning and give a run at it.”
Offensive line is the position group that is perhaps most difficult to evaluate in the spring. The players do not wear pads and there is no hitting in practice. The coaches must wait until training camp to see players engage in full contact with the team’s – and opponents’ -- defensive linemen.
“I use the term that I really feel and still feel that Ereck is going to be a very good player for the New York Giants for a long time,” offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said. “I thought in a couple years he would be very good. Well, that couple years now is September.”
McAdoo and Flaherty said Flowers performed well in his first series of tests.
“I am excited to have Ereck,” McAdoo said. “I think he has done a nice job so far. He is a young player. He is going to grow, but my concerns are we would like to see him get in here in training camp in great condition and ready to go. Get some good defensive ends over there and get some good one-on-one battles going with some pads on. We are excited for that. We are out there running around in our underwear right now, so it is tough to really put a solid foundation or evaluation on these guys at this point up front. They seem to be working well together, Ereck included.”
“I really have a positive attitude toward him,” Flaherty said, “because he is a guy from the time we went down to visit with him, he really likes the game of football, he has trained very hard in the weight room and he is a competitor. And when you have those types of elements as a person, you have a chance to develop into a player. It is going to take some development. We all know that because of the injury to William that this development has been escalated, so we (have) to go.”
If Flowers is in the lineup in Dallas on Sept. 13, he will be the third Giants rookie lineman to start the opener in as many seasons, joining Justin Pugh (2012) and Weston Richburg (2013). Pugh is playing left guard next to Flowers after moving over from right tackle. Richburg has switched from left guard to center, his natural position.
“I learned some things from Justin that helped Weston and learned some things from Weston in combination with Justin that have helped Ereck,” Flaherty said. “The biggest thing with these guys is, ‘How much time can you spend with them and just keep giving them the information so they just absorb it and digest it.’ One thing you find out with the younger players is they have to go out and do it and they have to do it and do it, the more reps they get. That is what I did in the past and we did in the past. You don’t want to work a guy until he is crawling off the field, but you want to work him to his brink because the more reps he is getting, the better off and the opportunity to get to teach him on tape and he is experiencing that.”
Both Pugh and Richburg had some rocky moments as rookies, but exhibited far more good than bad and quickly became stalwarts on the line. Flaherty expects his latest high draft choice to be similarly successful.
“Ereck, from day one when he was drafted, before he even took a snap with us, when he was up here, we sat and talked,” Flaherty said.
“As I went through a couple of the other (draft-eligible) guys, one asked me, ‘What are your expectations of me if I get drafted by the Giants?’ Ereck never asked me that. Through the conversation, I guess he realized what I was telling him, you were drafted with the ninth pick by the New York Giants for a reason and that reason is that from day one you are going to compete to be a player. I did tell him at that time nobody knows when that day is. It could be the first day, it could be the 25th day, it could be the 10th day. But my goal as a coach is to always get you ready to be ready that first day. That is kind of what we talked about. I didn’t tell him his rookie season is over. You are going to be a rookie, they are going to treat you like a rookie, but I think he will grow and mature at a rapid pace.”