The New York Giants targeted Old Dominion defensive end Oshane Ximines as the 2019 NFL Draft entered Round 3 on Friday. Should no other team fancy him, they were set to select him with the 95th overall pick. It would be a historic one if they did as no Old Dominion player has ever been selected in the NFL Draft.
As it turned out, Ximines was still on the board when the Giants were on the clock at No. 95. They pulled the trigger.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Ximines told reporters on a conference call Friday night. “I saw them coming up with the pick and when I saw it, I was like, ‘please.’ I got the call and I don’t know how to feel right now.”
Ximines knew he would be selected at some point in the draft but had little idea when he would go. The Giants seemed be his preference.
“Honestly, this is the best feeling I have ever had in my entire life. My family is from New York, everybody has been rooting for me to go to New York, and to actually have it happen,” he said. “I have been waiting all day for this. I wouldn’t want to go to any other team. I’m just excited and ready to get to work.”
Ximines played four years at Old Dominion and is proud to be the first player from that institution to ever get the call on draft day.
“I’m extremely happy to set that standard for Old Dominion,” he said. “Being the first player drafted, I hope to set a standard now and have the tradition continue and have more players drafted in the future.”
He was asked when he realized he could possibly be drafted by an NFL team.
“I figured the NFL was a possibility by my junior year of college,” he said. “Agents started reaching out to me and it started to become a reality. I just tried to work as hard as possible to get picked as high as I could.”
The Giants met with Ximines at the Senior Bowl, where they appear to do their best recruiting these days. On Friday, they drafted the MVP of that game (Duke quarterback Daniel Jones), the third consecutive year they’ve done that.
“I had an awesome experience down at the Senior Bowl,” said Ximines. “Being able to compete against the best players in the country. I would recommend the Senior Bowl to any player coming out of college because you get that exposure to every NFL team.”
Ximines specializes in creating turnovers, specifically fumbles, something another former Giant pass rusher, Osi Umenyiora, was adept at.
“When you get a free lane to the quarterback, the first thing you have to target is the ball,’ said Ximines. “One thing my coach always preached was, ‘A sack is pretty good, but a sack-fumble is awesome,’ so every time I get off the ball, I try to go for the ball, try to create a turnover.”
Ximines said he models his game after another ex-Giant, Olivier Vernon, and the Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue.
“I try to take bits and pieces from everybody,” he said. “One person I’ve watched a lot is Ngakoue, and I watch Vernon a lot. There are a lot of people I just pick and choose from — if somebody has a good move, I try to emulate that.”
Ximines appears to be a nice fit for the Giants, a fungible piece that defensive coordinator James Bettcher can utilize in multiple fronts.
“I’ve done a good mix,” he said when asked if he prefers to play with his hand in the dirt or rush standing up. “I’ve played with my hand in the dirt, and I have stood up here at Old Dominion. It would all depend on the game plan that week and what my coach wanted me to do.”
And the Giants hope he’ll be able to do plenty.