EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Giants opened rookie minicamp over the weekend at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It was the first chance to see this year’s draft class on the field as well as the team’s undrafted free agent signings and some camp invites.
The camp really serves to get the players’ feet wet and get them to understand the basics of the NFL level. Still, there’s plenty to glisten from the two-day camp, and here are a few things we learned this weekend from rookie minicamp.
John Michael Schmitz might have to change snap techniques
Often when you think of offensive linemen adjusting to the NFL, you think about blocking schemes or dealing with more physical or athletic blockers. It turns out second-year center John Michael Schmitz might also need to learn new snapping techniques.
Playing at Minnesota, Schmitz used what is called the “dead snap” technique, where the center palms the tip of the football and doesn’t grip the laces. In a shotgun formation, this means the snap goes back to the quarterback end-over-end, not spinning in a spiral motion. The purpose of this is to make snaps more accurate; however, it also means the snaps are a bit slower to reach the quarterback, which can help pass rushers.
Schmitz mentioned that he talked to the Giants about using the dead snap or regular snap and is comfortable doing whatever Daniel Jones wants.
“It’s whatever is comfortable for Daniel,” Schmitz said at rookie minicamp. “I’m flexible doing the dead ball snap or the regular snap. Doesn’t change a thing for me.”
Tommy DeVito isn’t just here to be a local face
There was a lot of focus on “local legend” Tommy DeVito coming into camp. DeVito played at Syracuse and Illinois and played his high school ball at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. While he may not have been a Giants fan growing up, he’s very much in the mix for the QB 3 spot with the Giants. He had a 69.6% completion rate in 2022, which was the best in the Big Ten, and threw 15 touchdowns and 2,650 yards.
The Cedar Grove, N.J. native was one of three QBs in camp over the weekend — Bryce Perkins (Virginia) and Hunter Johnson (Clemson) were there on tryouts — and head coach Brian Daboll was aware of what came along with DeVito.
“He spun the ball pretty good, was productive,’’ Daboll said. “Was good in the meetings that we had with him. I know he’s a local legend around here, but he’s got a long way to go, a lot to learn. Good young man to work with.’’
DeVito was also cognizant of the work he needed to do to make enough of an impact to earn a job on the roster.
“It’s good. Fresh start. Started here at the bottom, right, so got to work my way up,” the QB said.
Eric Gray’s thoughtful answer on running back value
There has been quite the discussion going on about the value of running backs in the NFL in recent years — even here at amNewYork — especially in New York with the ongoing situation with Saquon Barkley.
Gray was asked about the new view on running backs in the NFL and he pointed to the depth in which they have to understand the game.
“I think it’s a very valuable position,” Gray said. “You look at today’s game, you look at just the different running backs in the league and you think about how important they are to the offense. They’ve got to learn protections; they’ve got to learn the passing game. They have to know what everyone is doing, so in my opinion it’s a very valuable position that can make a lot of money.”
The Giants are searching for physicality with their CBs
When the Giants drafted Deonte Banks in the first round of the NFL Draft, he discussed how his physicality was his calling card and part of his game that he’s modeled off of other cornerbacks before him.
“I used to really like Patrick Peterson when I was young. I started to like Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, that type of guy…They’re just physical. They talk a lot of trash, too.”
During rookie minicamp, fellow rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins pointed out the same thing.
“My best attribute?” Hawkins said. “I would say my physicality. I’m physical…I was kind of born with it, growing up with older cousins and you’re kind of getting picked on. You’ve got to be kind of the tough dog out of the little family. I kind of was born with it, kind of groomed into it.”
With Wink Martindale running a defensive system that prefers man coverage, cornerbacks being big and physical allows them to control receivers off of the line of scrimmage and buy time for their pass rushers to get into the backfield. It seems that the Giants are searching for that level of physicality and edge with their rookie class.
“I feel like you’ve got to have a little edge to you, playing defense,” Banks explained.
It appears Joe Schoen and the Giants would agree.