D.J. Fluker's big personality, talent could interest Giants in NFL draft
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The 'D' in D.J. Fluker certainly does not stand for decaf.
The tackle from Alabama, who could be in the Giants' sights with the 19th pick in the NFL draft that starts Thursday night, shows an energy and enthusiasm seldom seen by offensive linemen. Consider that the player he most aspires to be like is Ray Lewis.
"Even though we play two different positions, we all do the same job and we get our job done,'' Fluker said Wednesday at an NFL Play60 event for draft prospects. "The only difference is I'm blocking. But I take pride in that.''
That kind of energy may be intriguing to the Giants, who have drafted similarly driven players late in recent drafts, most notably Mitch Petrus and Markus Kuhn.
"I'm one of those guys who is going to bring it every single play,'' Fluker said. "I'm the guy with the high energy when it comes down to the fourth quarter, I'm the guy you want to go to. That's how it is . . . Any man can lead an army, but it takes a leader to lead his army to victory. I was the general [at Alabama]. That's what I did. That's why we won championships.''
One of his college teammates attested to that.
"He's a special individual,'' said Alabama guard Chance Warmack, also a projected first-round pick. "Not a lot of guys can maintain that enthusiasm over the course of time, but he gets it done all the time. He always cares more than the average person does. That's what makes him special.
"That's who he is. He's always been that way. That's all he knows.''
The Giants have mostly kept their distance from Fluker, but offensive line coach Pat Flaherty did meet with him at Alabama's pro day.
The big question for the Giants would seem to be figuring out if such a personality could fit in with what is mostly a staid, veteran group.
"This is a new breed of linemen coming up,'' Fluker said. "I'm more vocal. That's me.''
But he also knows that he needs to back it up. And if he comes to the Giants, he'll have to start out as a private, not a general.
"At the end of the day you have to go out there and earn respect,'' he said. "That's the main thing. You have to go in there being humble, but when [my] time is called I'm still going to be D.J. Fluker, the high-energy guy who brings it every day at practice. When you get a guy like me from Alabama, there are no regrets.''