The Giants begin the next phase of their offseason this week when OTAs begin on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford. It will be the first time the Giants will be on the field in an organized fashion since Joe Schoen and the team’s front office went through a busy offseason.
New York still has one very big issue hanging over its head and that is the contract of Saquon Barkley, who has yet to sign his tender offer. The Giants running is not allowed inside the team facility until he signs.
Aside from that there are a few other interesting storylines to note over the next three weeks of OTAs.
The Saquon Situation
Let’s get this out of the way early. We’ll at least know if Saquon has signed a deal or not if it comes out that he is in East Rutherford this week since he’s not allowed at the facility unless he’s under contract. Barkley still hasn’t signed his tender and contract negotiations don’t seem to be any closer than they were when the offseason began or even during the bye week back in November.
Daniel Jones getting to know his new receiver options
After the Giants inked Daniel Jones to a new long-term deal in March, New York had been active in getting him some receiving help for this upcoming season. The Giants went out and traded for tight end Darren Waller, signed wide receivers Parris Campbell and Jameson Crowder, and drafted Jalin Hyatt out of the University of Tennessee.
They’ll also have returning guys as well, but, for Jones, getting extra time to get in sync with the new targets they’ve brought in will be important. The Giants QB managed to roll with the punches when it came to all the injuries last season among the receivers, however, for New York to take that next step he’ll need to be in lockstep with his new options and that starts over this time period.
Which Receivers Will Emerge?
Piggybacking off of the Daniel Jones question is simply which receivers begin to emerge from the pack. Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins seem like locks to make the team given that the Giants re-signed them this offseason. We know Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson will make the team because they were early-round picks from this regime. So that’s five of six spots.
Who gets the others?
Parris Campbell also feels like a lock since he was a key free agent signing this year, so will the Giants also want to keep Crowder with Robinson and Campbell already on the team as slot receivers? Is Sterling Shepard healthy enough to push for a spot? Will any young players like Kalil Pimpleton or Bryce Ford-Wheaton stand out?
The Giants have a chance to go from a really shallow wide receiver group to a really deep one in just one off-season.
Interior Offensive Line Battle
The Giants drafted John Michael Schmitz early in this year’s draft, but they also signed J.C. Hassenauer, who has starting experience at center. Either one could win the starting center job, but then the players blocking around them are also up in the air.
It would seem likely that Ben Bredeson will be one of the guards, and Mark Glowinski will likely start opposite him; however, Bredeson only emerged as a starter due to an injury to Shane Lemieux, so he should get a chance to prove himself again. The Giants also like Jack Anderson, who Joe Schoen helped to draft when he was back in Buffalo.
That doesn’t even factor in Joshua Ezeudu, who the Giants drafted in the third round last year. It should be a healthy competition in camp.
Which Rookies Will Push for Reps?
Finally, a big storyline will simply be which rookies adapt quickly enough in OTAs to seem like they will push for starting snaps come training camp. We already covered that Hyatt and Schmitz will be in position battles against established veterans, and Schmitz may need to learn a new snapping technique.
Eric Gray figures to get a lot of reps in OTAs with Barkley not likely to appear, but Gray is unlikely to start with the Giants hoping to get Barkley into camp this summer. Deonte Banks should push for a starting job, but cornerback is a tough job to break into and the Buffalo Bills notoriously worked rookies in slowly when Schoen was there. However, it’s unclear how much of that he agrees with.
Banks will have to battle last year’s 3rd round pick Cor’Dale Flott as well as 2021 3rd round pick Aaron Robinson and veteran free agent addition Amani Oruwariye. While it’s unlikely to be the case, there is a chance that none of the Giants’ top three picks start Week 1 given that this team now has healthy competition everywhere.
Those jobs won’t be won these next few weeks, but the young guns can go a long way toward making the Giants feel confident in them with a strong few weeks of practice.
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