Rookies take first step in NFL journey

The pre-draft process can be grueling for rookies.

From the moment they take off their college jersey to the last time, they immediately begin to train for the combine, all-star games, pro days, official visits with clubs, and a slew of other obligations – all with the goal of making it. to the NFL. On Friday, the next leg of their journey commenced.

“It felt great, first day back,” said outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, the fifth overall pick in last month’s draft, after the first practice of the rookie minicamp. “It was weird for me. The past six months I hadn’t been a part of a team. Now getting here, doing walk-throughs, doing indies (individual drills), doing everything, going back to being part of the team, it has been fun. “

Yesterday, the Giants welcomed their 11 draft picks, 13 undrafted free agents, and a host of tryout players for what amounts to an orientation at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It’s a time for them to get to know the coaches and vice versa as they acclimate to professional football. It’s also the first opportunity to put on their team’s logo, a moment that wasn’t lost on Thibodeaux.

“You know, I put it on, but I felt like I’m not there yet,” said Thibodeaux, the first defensive player to earn unanimous All-America status in Oregon history. “I feel like there’s still some hoops and some hurdles. There are still some prelims I’ve got to go through to be part of the team. But I don’t have words for it. It still hasn’t hit me. I feel like it’s going to hit me once we really get into it. I heard some music and I almost cried. I said, ‘Man, we’re really here.’ “

Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson felt the same way.

“It was still a little bit surreal, finally on an NFL team, just being out there,” said the second-round pick out of Kentucky. “It was a really good practice, though. … [I’m] Really just learning as much as I can with the playbook, just getting all the terminology down with my coaches and things like that. Just getting really comfortable out here, so when it’s time for a real practice, I’m really full speed and ready to go. “

While the coaches and front office members have gotten to know the draft picks intimately over the past five months, others have more ground to make up. But there is always a diamond in the rough.

“I think you can see stuff in terms of individual drills that you need to see, whether it’s change direction, quickness, it’s a little harder for maybe the big guys,” coach Brian Daboll said of evaluating players invited on a tryout basis. General Chat Chat Lounge “But this is something we’ve done quite a bit. If there’s a guy out there that stands out, we’ll find them.”

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