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Quotes: Malik Nabers on becoming a Giant

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Wide Receiver Malik Nabers

Q: What has the last 24 hours been like for you, particularly the whirlwind and the rush since you got picked?

MALIK NABERS: (I) Just been thanking God that I’m finally here. The process is over with. I can finally know what team I’m going to.

Just been enjoying it every hour of the day with my family.

Q: When did this become a realistic goal for you?

MALIK NABERS: I would probably say after my freshman year. When I started playing my freshman year and the new coaching staff came in and I had a great sophomore year, the dream started coming more and more into reality that it was actually possible to get here.

Q: The player comparisons for you are pretty impressive, whether it’s Justin Jefferson, (Ja’Marr) Chase, DJ Moore. Who do you compare yourself to?

MALIK NABERS: I would say more of probably Ja’Marr. We’ve got that same frame. I get a lot of comparisons. I’m just focusing on trying to be the best Malik Nabers I can possibly be.

Q: What are the advantages of coming from LSU, with those guys you obviously mentioned, Ja’Marr, Odell? Pretty good line of receivers coming out of there.

MALIK NABERS: Just watching those guys, how they compete, how they run routes, how they were able to come from LSU and make a name for themselves in the NFL. So just hoping to follow in those guys’ footsteps and make a name for myself.

Q: Along those lines, you knew from having grown up in Louisiana the big shadow of all those great receivers who have gone through LSU. Why did you not shy away from jumping into that?

MALIK NABERS: I wanted to be great just like those guys. I knew if I followed in the right footsteps, and went to my home state, they were going to show me love no matter what, and they were going to get me prepared for this day here.

Q: Malik, a lot of people talk about maybe what separates you from these other great players in the Draft, what separates you. You think about separation, what does that mean to you? What does it feel like on the field when you can separate from the defender like that?

MALIK NABERS: It’s just second nature, me being an athlete, me being a dog. Just going out there and always being that person a quarterback can rely on, giving the ball to, having that confidence in myself and the quarterback. When the ball is in the quarterback’s hands, Malik is going to be open. I’m glad I had that quarterback this year that was able to do that.

Q: Can you feel it on the field when you’re with a defender that he might be with you but not for long?

MALIK NABERS: Yeah, I have that little Spiderman talent. When I feel somebody on the field, I know how close out of bounds is. I just know how to react to the ball, late, late hands, understanding where the defender can be on my route, so yeah.

Q: How do you think you need to improve from playing in college to have success in the NFL?

MALIK NABERS: I would say getting out of my routes faster, using my hands a lot more into my routes and stuff like that.

Q: Something Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen said — and Bill Belichick when he was talking about you — saying what stood out to them is your competitiveness and your toughness and how you kind of approach that. Where do you get that from?

MALIK NABERS: I believe I was born with it. I picked it up more and more as I got older, but I just never wanted to lose. When I was competing with my cousin in the yard, we were always going against each other, but we always never wanted to lose. It made that sense of competition level higher.

Q: Malik, when we were talking to you last night, you hadn’t spoken with Daniel Jones. Have you talked to him yet?

MALIK NABERS: Yeah, I actually did talk to Daniel Jones. He was like I’m happy you’re here. We’re going to hit the ground running. He’s going to learn about me, and I’m going to learn about him, and we’re going to get together.

Q: I know it’s very early, but what do you make of him as a quarterback?

MALIK NABERS: I’ll wait until I get here to see all of that. I’m just happy to be here. Great organization here, so I’m just happy to be here.

Q: You look at the scouting report, and there’s not too many people say you can’t do. How good can you be, in your opinion?

MALIK NABERS: As good as my preparation. If I prepare right, it will actually get me ready to go out there, play some games, and contribute to the team.

Q: When you think about living in New York — it’s really New Jersey — but being here, playing in this market, living in New York?

MALIK NABERS: I think it will be great for my family to come out here and see a different side of the world. Great city, great life. I heard the city never sleeps. So it’s going to be a great spot to play at.

Q: Do you know anyone around here? Did you know any of the guys on the team?

MALIK NABERS: I knew Cor’Dale Flott, I knew about Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson, and a few of those guys, yeah.

Q: What’s the best way to maximize your skill set in the offense?

MALIK NABERS: I would say moving around different positions, understand I can play outside, inside. Let me create space and just get the ball in my hands.

Q: Malik, you obviously earned your way to this point. What does this opportunity mean to you?

MALIK NABERS: It means the world. All the hard work and dedication paid off. All the support that my family had for me, it all paid off to win. I’m thanking the Lord that I finally got to be in a position that I always wanted to be in.

Q: Do you remember when you first got the idea, I want to be an NFL wide receiver?

MALIK NABERS: Yeah, I was 8 years old, and I told my mom I wanted to play in the NFL after seeing my little cousin play football, seeing all his accomplishments, all his trophies in his room. So, yeah, it started at that age.

Q: Are you a guy who sets goals for yourself? Some guys like to hang goals on the wall and focus on those kinds of things.

MALIK NABERS: No, I don’t set long-term goals. I just put my mind to whatever I want to accomplish.

Q: Back in 2020, I think, in high school when you couldn’t play that year, how difficult was that? How much did it make you miss the game and that experience?

MALIK NABERS: It was very difficult seeing how the competitiveness that I have, seeing my team go out there and sometimes lose games, and I couldn’t do anything about it. All I could do was just sit there. I always wanted to help, but I couldn’t. That emotion was running through me every time they played on Fridays. Going out there and practicing and giving those guys extra looks, just being that guy on defense or that guy on offense that was able to play different positions at the time and just give those guys a look, they saw a different teammate in me, the teammate that wanted to help those guys win.

Q: Joe was talking last night about your competitiveness. He mentioned you had a shoulder injury that you didn’t miss any time with. How much did that injury impact you? How much were you fighting through, and is it all good now?

MALIK NABERS: It’s all good now, but like how I am, if I’m able to move my arm or anything, if I’m able to move something that’s hurting, then I’m out there and still going 100 percent. I’m putting my body on the line for the team, and it’s not going to change.

Q: I know you’re close with Coach Hankton. What has he meant to your growth?

MALIK NABERS: My mentor, somebody that I always can go to. He’s going to push me to be the best player, the best man I can be. So having that guy in my corner has been a blessing.

Q: What’s the most important lesson that you’ve kind of got from him?

MALIK NABERS: Learning how to be a pro athlete, learning how to put everything first, the football is first, keeping the main thing the main thing. So, him teaching me all that, it’s got me through a lot.

Q: When do you think you kind of realized that, that you were able to put football first? You’re a teenager when you get there.

MALIK NABERS: I mean, with him, he was just teaching me how to be a pro early. He saw something in me. He knew I was going to be here. He wanted to push me into being a pro early, so when I got here, I was already going to be through it.

Q: Malik, when you look at the guys who tried to cover you this year, obviously we joked last night that Dave said he wants his try, but who would you say that you had respect for that you’re looking forward to kind of getting another shot at in the league?

MALIK NABERS: I would probably say Terrion Arnold. Our level of competitiveness, even with me and him talking one-on-one, we’ve always got that dog mentality and want to be great and want to push each other to be great. I would probably say him, Kool-Aid McKinstry, my sophomore year, me and him was going at it. I would probably say, I believe Renardo Green also, from Florida State.

Q: I’m curious, what did you learn from going through the arrest? What did you learn from that experience, and how much is that something you had to talk to teams about through this process?

MALIK NABERS: It was a learning experience. It’s something we all go through in life, but I’m glad I’m here today talking past it.

Q: Malik, have you heard from any of those wide receivers, particularly from LSU?

MALIK NABERS: A few hours ago, I was talking to Odell Beckham. I talked to Ja’Marr. Talked to Terrace Marshall. Those guys are just telling me to be the same person that I’ve been the whole time. Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t get — you’re in the league, but don’t be too scared. You’re still playing football. You’re still that little kid that was playing football at the end of the day. Have fun with it. It’s a fun thing to do. You’re playing for the NFL, the dream that you always wanted to do. So just keep that.

Q: Did Odell say anything about the Giants?

MALIK NABERS: No, he didn’t say anything about the Giants. He was just telling me congratulations.

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