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For two seasons, Will Hernandez lined up and started every game for the Giants at left guard, alongside veteran Nate Solder at left tackle. The two rarely missed a snap along the offensive line.

Solder took his elder-statesman role seriously and worked diligently to help Hernandez’s NFL indoctrination. On July 29, Solder announced he took the opt-out, citing COVID-19 concerns — his 5-year old son is undergoing cancer treatments — and now Hernandez not only loses Solder’s guidance, he also steps into a mentor role for rookie first-round pick Andrew Thomas, the likely replacement at left tackle.

“It really does seem like just yesterday that I was a rookie behind Nate,’’ the 24-year old Hernandez said. “Now, I might have the chance to do the same. All I’m going to say about that is I’m not sure who’s going to land in that position. I’ll leave that up to the coaches. I learned from the best. Nate Solder really taught me a lot on and off the field. But he also taught me unconsciously how to treat a rookie. I felt like I got treated by him with the utmost respect, with the utmost attention to detail, wanting to help me to get better.

Will HernandezMatthew Swensen

“It’s just all those things I picked up from him looking back at it now. It’s the same things that I would instill in anybody who was brand new coming in and playing next to me. I would take a lot of the same things he did with me and add my own personality to it.’’

Hernandez is in the early stages of developing a relationship with Thomas, considered the most NFL-ready left tackle in the draft.

“He’s a really smart guy,’’ Hernandez said. “He gets things right away. He picks up on a lot of the stuff that coach talks to him about. He’s able to absorb it and pick it up right away, which I think is very good. He just has that demeanor. You can see it through his note-taking, through his playing, through his practices, that he wants to get better. He wants to do good. I think he’s going to be just fine. He’s doing great right now.’’

Something else also stood out to Hernandez about the rookie.

“He can sing,’’ Hernandez said. “He can really sing. He has a voice. We made him get up there for the rookie song. I don’t remember the song name right now. All I know is it was good. I was snapping my fingers the entire time.’’

Source: New York Post

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