For the first time this year, the New York Giants unveiled an official depth chart, giving some insight to where some of the key position battles currently stand as training camp gets underway.
Here's the latest on positions of note:
Right tackle: Incumbent David Diehl is listed as the starter at right tackle, with first-round draft pick Justin Pugh as his backup. There was some speculation Pugh would get the nod at guard if he didn't win the starting right tackle job, but Kevin Boothe remains listed as the No. 1 there.
Running back: David Wilson is listed as the first-team running back, with Andre Brown sitting behind him as the No. 2. But despite their positioning on the depth chart, Wilson and Brown are expected to share the workload at running back.
Behind Brown, Da'Rel Scott is listed at the third-stringer, with Ryan Torain and 2013 draft pick Michael Cox sharing fourth-string duties. Which running backs end up being carried on the roster is one of the more interesting battles to keep an eye on during training camp.
Wide receiver: Of course Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are solidified as the Giants' No.1 and 2 wideouts, and Rueben Randle seemingly has a stranglehold on the No. 3 role. But behind the top three wideouts, Louis Murphy, Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan round out the top six.
Needing to take full advantage of camp to try and make the roster is Kris Adams, Keith Carlos and Julian Talley, all of whom have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Linebacker: Arguably no position has received more attention this offseason than the Giants' linebacking unit, which lost Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn, two of the three leading tacklers a season ago.
Listed as the starters is Keith River (strong-side), Mark Herzlich (middle) and Spencer Paysinger (weak-side).
The Giants brought in Dan Connor to compete with Herzlich for the middle linebacker job, and earlier in the offseason is appeared Jacquian Williams would be the favorite to start at weak-side backer. Injuries have likely derailed Williams' progress. And in a bit of a surprise, it's Aaron Curry ahead of fellow reserves as the second-stringer behind Rivers.
Kick return: Another little surprise, it's Wilson -- currently listed as the No. 1 running back -- as the primary kick returner. Wilson is obviously explosive and showed last year he's capable of hitting a home run on any given return opportunity, but it seems like the team is putting Wilson in danger of getting injured by expecting him to return kicks, too.
Listed behind him in Jernigan and Scott.
Punt return: Randle, expected be the Giants' No. 3 receiver, is also listed as the primary punt returner. It would not surprise me to see the second-year wideout to also take hold of kick return duties from Wilson.
Notes and Observations
- The loss of Martellus Bennett was a big blow to the GIants offense, but in his place the team has high hopes for free-agent tight end Brandon Myers and second-year pro Adrien Robinson, both of whom looked in sync with Eli Manning on Thursday.
- Ryan Nassib also got involved with the action. The fourth-round pick threw a late interception, but for the most part Nassib impressed with his performance.
- Little-known defensive back Laron Scott grabbed some attention, sniping three interceptions on the day. Scott has yet be active for a regular season game, but is making the most of this training camp.
Coughlin to go to Canton to honor Parcells "Giant to Giant"
Tom Coughlin has never been to a Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio -- that is, until this year.
The Giants head coach will make the trek this weekend to watch as former Giants coach Bill Parcells has his name enshrined with the greats to play, coach or have some sort of impact on the NFL.
Of course, in true Coughlin fashion, he will leave after Saturday's practice concludes.
Nicks sits out of practice
The story continues: wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sat out practice on Thursday.
This marks the first full practice Nicks has missed so far in training camp, but does indicate there is some sort of lingering issue with the wide receiver's groin. Nicks worked out on a limited basis Monday and Tuesday before taking Wednesday off to rest.
Drawing the attention of the coaching staff, wide receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride said he wants to see Nicks on the field more to better prepare for the regular season.
Ross wanted to come back to New York
After a one-year hiatus with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Aaron Ross is back in New York, hoping to revive his career.
Ross told the New York Daily News thing just "didn't click" with the Jags, so when the opportunity presented itself to return to the Giants, he jumped at it.
So far, Ross said the playbook is the same and the guys have welcomed him back with open arms, and "it feels great to be back."
Randle expected to complement Nicks, Cruz
No Giants player has received more hype this offseason and in training camp than second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle.
Randle is expected to be the No. 3 wideout this season, forming a dangerous trio along with veterans Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
Randle has received praise from Coughlin, who said the wideout seems to be more serious and more intent this year, as well his compatriot, Cruz, who said the sophomore has made tremendous strides in his second season.
And in his humble opinion, Randle believes the Giants' trio can be indefensible.
"It can be great,’’ Randle told The Post. "It’s going to be hard for defenses to deal with. We all out there healthy, playing up to our capabilities I can’t see any team really stopping us.’’
Giants react to Cooper's racial slur
A racial slur likely wouldn't be tolerated in the Giants locker room, but like all teams around the league today, the Giants were asked about Riley Cooper's slip-up.
"It’s unfortunate. It’s always surprising when you hear that," Cruz told the Post. "There’s no place for that type of language. It’s just unfortunate that happened to somebody like Riley Cooper."
"It’s disappointing. Any time anything like that happens, it’s obviously a black eye for him a black eye for that franchise and disappointing because we’re role models at this point in our careers and we have a pedestal to inspire, motive," punter Steve Weatherford said. "And it was unfortunate."
"Everyone makes mistakes but like I said it’s the Eagles problem," safety Stevie Brown offered. "We don’t have that problem over here and hopefully we’ll never have that problem."