The New York Giants lost defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to free agency. It appeared the team would look to Jay Bromley or Robert Thomas to replace him. That was before Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson was selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
This Week in NFL History: This Week in NFL History: May 14 through May 20
Undrafted Free Agent Signing: Giants sign wide receiver nicknamed “Fastest Man in College Football”
Undrafted Free Agent Signing: Giants sign undrafted free agents Abdullah, Edwards, and Robinson
The team says publicly Tomlinson will compete with Bromley and Thomas for Hankins’ spot in the starting lineup. However, a player of Tomlinson’s caliber is not selected with such a high pick without an expectation of starting immediately.
“I just come in and try to get better each and every day. There are some great veterans that I can learn from and they’re going to teach me a lot of things,” Tomlinson said during the rookie mini-camp last week. “The coaching staff and I are learning. Hopefully I can learn the defense quick enough and things like that. I will just come in and work every day I like want to and see what happens.”
Tomlinson is a smart player. He was accepted to Harvard before choosing Alabama for gridiron reasons out of high school. The Giants are fortunate to have a player of Tomlinson’s intellectual acumen. Tomlinson is fortunate because he will have three of the best defensive linemen in the NFL to learn from.
The Giants spent big in free agency last year, bringing in Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison. Jason Pierre-Paul agreed to a multi-year deal in March.
“(Harrison) told me he was excited to get me here and to work with me and teach me some things,” Tomlinson said. “Snacks is a great defensive lineman. He’s just so aggressive out in the front. I just want to be able to play like him.”
Harrison is 40 pounds heavier than Tomlinson. Tomlinson’s versatility will be an added bonus once he gets acclimated to playing in the NFL.
“I feel like we are both aggressive, but I’m pretty sure he’s more aggressive than me, because he’s used to it,” Tomlinson said. “I probably have a bit more nerves right now. Just the way he comes off, we complement each other well on the defensive line.”
Tomlinson drew comparisons to Hankins throughout the draft process. It is hoped he will be the beneficiary of the attention Harrison, Vernon, and Pierre-Paul will draw.
Tomlinson is also reunited with his Crimson Tide teammate, Landon Collins. The All-Pro safety had some advice for him.
“Landon told me to come in and make sure I work like I always did at Alabama and things will be great,” Tomlinson said. “I’m excited to play with Landon again.”