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NFL Draft: Giants select Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly, cousin of Islanders' Anders Lee

Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly runs a drill at

Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 3, 2019.  Credit: AP/Michael Conroy

Ryan Connelly hasn’t had a chance to get to any Islanders games this regular season or the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I’m gonna try to now, for sure,” he said on Saturday.

Another member of the bandwagon? No. The newest Giants linebacker, drafted by the team with the 143rd overall selection in the fifth round out of Wisconsin, is actually a cousin of Islanders captain Anders Lee. Connelly will be in New Jersey with the Giants starting later this week – the rookie minicamp begins on Friday – so he might be a little too busy to head over to Brooklyn right away. But if the Islanders stick around the postseason long enough, he might get that chance.

Lee welcomed his cousin via Twitter on Saturday afternoon as the Islanders wrapped up their practice before Game 2 against Carolina on Sunday.

“Huge congrats to my cousin,” Lee wrote. “Walk-on who’s worked his butt off to get to this point. Well deserved. Welcome to New York!”

Connelly was a high school quarterback who walked on for the Badgers and became a two-year starter at inside linebacker. He should help the Giants on defense and special teams as well.

Connelly posted a short video message to Giants fans on social media shortly after he was selected.

“Super excited to be part of the New York Giants football organ-eye-zation,” he said.

The puck doesn’t fall far from the family tree.

Giant steps

GM Dave Gettleman said the Giants are in no rush to fill their 90-man roster with undrafted free agents. “We may sign just half a dozen guys,” he said of the 13 available spots. Some of the early agreements, which won’t be finalized until rookie minicamp later this week, include cornerback Jake Carlock from LIU Post (and Babylon High School), running back Jonathan Hillman from Rutgers, and wide receiver Reggie White Jr. from Monmouth.

New York Sports