New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram have each been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in recent years, so they understand the process and how overwhelming it can be for young players.
However, when the dust settles and it’s time to get to work, both Barkley and Engram want a hard-nosed “dog” to join their squad — one with qualities like wide receiver Sterling Shepard.
“I think the big thing that Shep brings to this team is a dog mentality, and that mentality that we hate to lose. That’s Shep on and off the field,” Engram told reporters last week.
“That sends a message to our locker room that we need more guys like that. We need more guys with that mentality, that work ethic, and the ability to do whatever we need and whatever we can on the football field to win. And that’s Sterling Shepard.”
Barkley doesn’t care which positional group the Giants target so long as the youngster comes in with his head on straight and works to make the team better.
“I don’t care who we draft, if it is a quarterback, running back, tight end, defensive end, whatever,” Barkley said, via NJ Advance Media. “As long as they are guys that are willing to come in and work and buy into what we have here as a team, they can help us win.
“Just guys that love the game. That is the biggest thing I have learned so far in my one year in the NFL. Just guys that love the game and love competing, whether you are 2-14 or 14-2.”
Engram has faith Giants general manager Dave Gettleman will do just that, having landed a slew of players who met that criteria in 2018, including Barkley.
“Our front office and coaches, they know what they’re doing,” Engram said. “The rookie class that came in here last year was definitely really mature. (They) were kind of natural leaders, and they stepped up to the plate.”
With two picks in the first round and three picks over the first 37, the Giants will most certainly have their choice of “dogs.”