The Giants selected Dalvin Tomlinson in the draft April 28. Tuesday was the first time he was able to give them a glimpse of what they got in him.
As a defensive tackle, the 6-3, 315-pound Tomlinson has spent the past few months playing patty cake with offensive linemen and watching as running backs run past him in drills, unable to hit anyone because the workouts took place in just helmets and jerseys. But with the Giants practicing in shoulder pads for the first time this season, he finally was allowed to haul off and hit someone.
And he liked it.
“It was more exciting than anything,” Tomlinson said after the workout that included half-line running drills and full-team snaps. “It was a little nerve-racking also. Every year is going to be a little nerve-racking. But I’m more excited than anything to get out there and just do what I do on the football field.”
And that is create havoc.
While All-Pro tackle Damon Harrison is widely considered the best run-stuffer in the NFL, the Giants are trying to find someone to play next to him — and play off of him — in the interior. Veterans Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley have gotten the first crack at that position, but Tomlinson is expected to push for the job. And he did not shy away from his desire to get it.
“Just being a football player and being so competitive, you want to start,” Tomlinson said. “I feel like I can grab that spot because it’s one of those spots you have to be physical in there every single play and I’m that type of player to go in there and be physical. You have to be out here soaking into the team to play that position because, defensive tackle, you make a lot of plays, but also you have to open up a place for other people. So, you have to go in there and be aggressive and physical every single play.”
For the first time as a Giant, he was able to do that.
“I would say it’s the first official day (of training camp) because the defensive line has to have pads on so you can do your job for the most part,” Tomlinson said. “You really don’t get that feeling without pads or in shells and things like that.”
Ben McAdoo said he was more focused on watching the offense than on watching Tomlinson during the more physical drills, but he’ll undoubtedly watch the tape of the workout to get his first true impression of the second-round pick. Tomlinson said he thought he did well.
“I think I had some good things, things I also need to work on,” he said. “Just a new playbook and new game plan. Just getting used to everything and adjustments out there.”
Ultimately, though, it’s the same game as the one he was dominant in at Alabama.
Tomlinson has been working mostly with the second team, but on Tuesday he also got to work with Harrison for the first time.
“The more and more I play beside him, the more and more I get comfortable playing there,” Tomlinson said.
And the more and more likely it becomes that he sticks.
“I feel like we’d be a great defensive front with us two up there,” Tomlinson said of teaming up with Harrison.
The Giants felt that way, too, back in April. On Tuesday they were finally able to see it.