A funny thing happened to Eric Herman’s summer vacation plans.
He’d circled New York as a destination back in the winter; he just couldn’t officially put it on his calendar. Being an NFL Draft prospect brings much uncertainty.
By the last Saturday in April, though, Herman’s plans to make his first visit to New York — and New Jersey — had been accelerated. The New York Giants selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
For a kid from Oregon, Ohio and Ohio University, he’s come a long way. And he hopes he’s just getting started.
“It’s starting to sink in,” Herman said. “This is all real, and I get a chance to go earn a spot playing in the NFL.
“The agency that represents me is based in New York, and back during the pre-draft process I said that once I got settled I’d like to come out and see it for the first time. Life works in strange ways, I guess. I’m loving it so far and ready for training camp.”
After four years starting at guard for an Ohio University program that’s creeping closer to regional and national relevance than it’s ever previously been, Herman now finds himself competing for a job with one of the NFL’s proudest franchises. He’s been a football player for his whole life, but BCS-level college programs backed off of recruiting him when he injured his knee as a junior at Toledo Central Catholic High School.
He rewarded the Ohio University staff’s belief in him, and now he’s looking to do the same with the Giants.
“The NFL was a dream,” Herman said. “It wasn’t a goal. To be honest it turned into a goal later in my college career. I’m extremely blessed and just trying to make the most of it.”
Herman did an eye-popping 36 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine last February. That kept several teams coming back to Athens, Ohio to work him out and get to know him better as the draft approached; it also proved that the college game tape and the 128 pancake blocks he’d been credited with in his college career were no fluke.
After the draft, Giants general manager Jerry Reese told local media that Herman is “a big, tough, nasty guard. We really liked him. Weíd been looking at him on the board for a while there and we were hoping that if he could get to the seventh round heíd be a nice pick for us at that spot. Heíll create some competition at the guard position. He’s a tough, hard-nosed, big football player.”
Once training camp starts next week, Herman knows he’s guaranteed nothing as a seventh-round pick besides the chance to get beat on in practice by the likes of Giants veteran defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Cullen Jenkins and rookie second-round pick Johnathan Hankins of Ohio State. How he pushes back in those battles could determine his NFL future.
“I’m learning everything I can, just working hard,” Herman said. “I’m around proven offensive linemen that have won Super Bowls like David Diehl and Kevin Boothe, Will Beatty. I’m picking brains, taking notes and looking forward to competing. It’s not just faster; these guys have so much knowledge about the game and their positions.
“The Giants have a business mentality. You walk into the facility and you get to work. We all have a common goal and that’s winning, and we’ll see where I can make myself fit and try to help.”