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James Bettcher, citing team-first motto, happy Giants took Daniel Jones with sixth pick

Giants' defensive coordinator James Bettcher said of passing on a defensive player: "How can you talk about 'team' and not be about team? How can you talk about building culture and not be about that?"

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws a pass during

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throws a pass during rookie minicamp on Friday in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

James Bettcher the defensive coordinator would have rather drafted someone else with the sixth overall pick.

James Bettcher the Giant is happy to have Daniel Jones on the team.

That’s the way it works in the NFL. Sometimes decisions made in the best interest of the franchise conflict with those that would best serve individual desires.

“How can you talk about ‘team’ and not be about team? How can you talk about building culture and not be about that?” Bettcher said on Wednesday. “You can’t preach to your players as a coach and not be about that life, right? Whoever we have, we are excited to have. That is not a company line, it is personal opinion.”

That said, it was understandably difficult for Bettcher to sit by and watch the Giants select a quarterback — one who may not even play this season if things go according to plan — when there was so much defensive talent available once the team was on the clock.

“If you want to ask me if I would have love to have Josh Allen or Ed Oliver, I think if you lined up 32 coordinators — however many hundreds of defensive coordinators there are that have ever coordinated — and said, hey, you get picks one through five in the draft and you get to draft anyone that you want, I have a feeling they would take all defensive players,” he said.

Bettcher, of course, knew that Jones was the player the Giants were targeting at six. By the time the draft rolled around, they had already gone through all of the possible scenarios, including the one that took place.

Bettcher said he and general manager Dave Gettleman had discussed Bettcher’s feelings about the defensive players at the top of the draft long before the first round opened.

“Dave Gettleman does a great job, and this does not happen everywhere, but through the process, he wants to hear your opinion,” Bettcher said. “He cares about what coaches’ opinions are. He wants to hear about how you are going to use guys . . . There is great communication and it is clear communication.

“At any pick as they come, you don’t sit there and say ‘I know I am not getting this guy’ or ‘I am getting this guy,’” Bettcher added. “You know the conversations that you have had, so you are good with it. You have had the opportunity to have the conversations and that is what is great about here.”

Whatever disappointment Bettcher felt after the sixth pick was quickly salved by the 17th and 30th ones. The Giants selected DT Dexter Lawrence and CB DeAndre Baker in the first round after Jones.

“Look at the two guys that we were fortunate to get,” he said, calling Lawrence “one of the biggest humans that I have ever seen” and Baker “one of the best, if not the best, tackling corner in the draft, period.”

And, maybe, they also got a quarterback who will help the Giants win games.

“I am really excited about the guy we brought in at six,” Bettcher said.

Even if he would have chosen otherwise.

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