The Giants’ rookies were front and center at Quest Diagnostics Training Facility in East Rutherford on Friday morning, as they were introduced to the New York media for the first time face-to-face.
And one of the first questions that come their way is how they play on the gridiron. For the 16th overall pick in DT Dexter Lawrence, he doesn’t just consider himself simply a brute force in the trenches that his career at Clemson showcased.
“Smart, physical, instinctive defensive lineman,” Lawrence said. “Tough, none quitting dude. Just ready to work, work every day and be great.”
As for the last first-rounder in DeAndre Baker, the Giants were confident they made the right decision to trade back into the first round to nab their top corner on the draft board. Well, confidence is how Baker made a name for himself while at Georgia, which is why he didn’t hesitate when asked how he plays.
“Confident and fearless,” Baker said. “That’s how I explain my personality on the field.”
Those two adjectives are perfect for defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme. An aggressive playcaller, Bettcher likes to send his corners and safeties at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the quarterback. Whether that’s Baker charging into the backfield himself or being left with a 1-on-1 matchup in press coverage, he knows he can get the job done.
“It’ll translate well. I can adapt to whatever scheme we play, and we play a lot of press,” Baker explained. “So, it’ll be great for me to show what I can do and help my team.”
Lawrence’s role this season is filling the vacancy left when Damon “Snacks” Harrison was traded away to the Lions. In the 3-4 scheme, he will likely be set up at nosetackle to provide that forceful run stopping power Harrison brought to the table.
But that isn’t all Lawrence has to offer. Though he only had 1.5 sacks last season, he believes he can get to the quarterback at the next level as well. He did have a breakout freshman season with 6.5 sacks.
“Definitely underrated,” he said of his pass-rushing skills. “It’s kind of on me to prove myself, right, because I know who I am and to prove others wrong. I’ve always been able to collapse the pocket, now I’m focused on escaping blocks or finishing the plays and things like that.”
Ultimately, these two first-rounders want to live up to their high selection in their rookie seasons. There is still a lot of time left before they can display their skill, but they both seem confident the Giants and their fans will like what they see.
“I just come in and play my game and just show them they haven’t made a mistake by coming to get me,” Baker said. “Just want to come in and help the team.”
Lawrence added: “Kind of coming here, gave me a little more motivation because the standard is here. So, you got to try to beat that standard or be better than that standard. That is one of my goals as I’m here; break the standard. All these great defensive linemen that came through here and did their thing. My thing is it always starts upfront. Let’s make the back seven and all their jobs easy.”