Most of the players at the Giants’ rookie minicamp this weekend have been playing their positions all their lives. They’ve been groomed, have been taught the finer points, and have progressed through the system to get to this point.
And then there is Damarr Aultman. He’s been playing his position for about a month and a half.
Aultman, a product of Half Hollow Hills West High School on Long Island, went through training camp with the Dolphins last summer and spent the season on their practice squad, but that was as a wide receiver. When he showed up for the start of the Dolphins’ offseason workout program in April after signing a reserve/futures contract in January, the coaches there told him he would be making the switch to cornerback.
“They saw my traits and my skill set and they said how about we give you a shot on the other side,” Aultman said on Friday after his first practice as a tryout with the Giants. “I made the switch and I’m enjoying it so far.”
Less enjoyable was being waived by the Dolphins after the draft last weekend. The Giants were quick to give him an invite to their camp after that move, and they, too see him as a cornerback (although on their roster he is also listed as a wide receiver with a slash).
“This whole experience is new, but I feel like I’m making the adjustment fast,” he said. “I’m a fast learner. There are still things I need to learn, but I think I’m impressing the coaches with how fast I’m picking it up.”
He has some advantages. He’s been a pro for a year, so he knows how to act and take notes and prepare for practices. He knows the pace of the game. And as a former receiver, he knows a lot of the tricks from that side of the ball.
“I can see a lot of little things and that can give me the edge over some other DBs,” he said.
But, he concedes, there is still a lot he doesn’t have down yet. He was a receiver all through his college career at Maine. The last time he played defense was at Hills West.
“I definitely feel like a rookie all over again,” he said. “I really have no experience at this position at this level. Anytime the coach speaks I’m all ears. Even if it’s a basic fundamental I’m that person in the meeting writing it all down. I can’t be a Mr. Know-it-all.”
He could be a Mr. Do-It-All for the Giants, or some other NFL team. And he’d be happy with the slash at his position if that’s what it takes.
“As long as I’m playing football I’m having a good time,” he said. “My biggest goal is playing football regardless of the position.”