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Rookie report: Assessing Giants' draft picks heading into training camp

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Lets look at the impressions made by the Giants' six draft choices during spring practices.

Landon Collins
Landon Collins
Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

As we look ahead to training camp for the New York Giants -- which isn't really as far ahead as you may think -- let's look back at the time that has elapsed since the 2015 NFL Draft and see how each of the team's rookies has progressed and where they might fit during the upcoming season.

It is likely that you have previously read some of what you will find below. The effort here will be to put everything about the rookie class into one place and to put a bow on it at the end with some overall thoughts about the Giants' current crop of newbies.

Round 1 -- OT Ereck Flowers (No. 9 overall)

By now, every Giants' fan knows -- or should know -- the story.

Giants draft 21-year-old left tackle of the future; hope to play him on the right side to ease him as he works to overcome technique flaws; starting left tackle Will Beatty gets hurt; future becomes present for rookie first-round pick; everybody holds their breath to see if this will work, or if Flowers will get quarterback Eli Manning killed.

Flowers, feels like he made strides throughout the spring.

"My overall game has just gotten better," Flowers said. "I'm gonna give all my energy to it."

Throughout much of the spring the Giants doubled up on Flowers' workload, often giving him reps with both the first and second units. It is an approach offensive line coach Pat Flaherty adopted after working rookies Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg into the lineup the past two years.

"I think that each year and each guy is different. I learned some things from Justin (Pugh) that helped Weston (Richburg) and learned some things from Weston in combination with Justin that have helped Ereck and through my teaching and everything," Flaherty said during mini-camp. "The biggest thing with these guys is how much time can you spend with them and just keep giving them the information so they just absorb it and digest it. One thing you find out with the younger players is they have to go out and do it, and they have to do it and do it, the more reps they get. That is what I did in the past and we did in the past. You don't want to work a guy until he is crawling off the field, but you want to work him to his brink because the more reps he is getting, the better off, and the opportunity to get to teach him on tape and he is experiencing that."

Flowers has no qualms with the workload, or with being thrown into the the fire.

"It's not asking a lot," Flowers said. "You're asked to do this, you're asked to do that. It's not asking a lot, it's doing your job.

"I'm ready to do my job."

Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said that Flowers is "going to grow" and that he is "very comfortable with him being out there (on the left side) right now."

Flaherty feels good about Flowers, though he knows the rookie is being asked to grow up quickly.

"I really have a positive attitude towards him because he is a guy, from the time we went down to visit with him, he really likes the game of football, he has trained very hard in the weight room and he is a competitor, and when you have those types of elements as a person, you have a chance to develop into a player," Flaherty said. "It is going to take some development. We all know that because of the injury to William (Beatty) that his development has been escalated, so we [have] to go. I use the term that I really feel and still feel that Ereck is going to be a very good player for the New York Giants for a long time, and I thought in a couple years he would be very good. Well that couple years now is September, so that is where that is at."

Round 2 -- S Landon Collins (No. 33 overall)

For all intents and purposes, Collins might as well be considered the Giants' second first-round pick. After making a trade with the Tennessee Titans to move up from No. 40 and get Collins, the Giants are certainly treating him like a first-round pick.

Collins has been a starter at safety since Day 1, and has shown the Giants that even at a muscular 6-foot-1, 228 pounds there are times he could play center field as well as the strong safety spot.

The biggest issue is that with no veteran safety to take charge of the communication, safeties have been "very slow" in making calls, according to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Collins has not been immune.

"The rookie pitfalls that they all fall into, which is thinking you can come in here and that you know it all. Then you find out you don't know much of anything and he has a situation now that he feels the pressure. He has to make the calls and get everyone lined up and he talked a good game as far as what he had to do at Alabama and I believe that," safeties coach Dave Merritt said during mini-camp. "Now when you are trying to line up grown men who have wives and children at home and they need that call from you, it is a little different than lining up a freshman. The call has to be right. Right now, he is slow to go, which was expected, but he has to pick it up quickly for us to be successful."

Merritt admitted that it is "extremely hard" for a rookie safety to handle what the Giants are throwing at Collins.

"You are ‘the extension of the defensive coordinator.' Whatever call comes in, you need to be able to hear the call, accept the call and then spit it back out to your fellow teammates," Merritt said. "For a rookie to come in and have that pressure, to be the extension of the defensive coordinator, I know we have the right one doing it, but it is extremely difficult."

Like Flowers, the Giants need Collins to grow up in a hurry.

Round 3 -- DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (No. 74 overall) 

Except for the weirdness of the Giants making him wear No. 58, the 6-foot-3, 267-pound Odighizuwa seems to have all the prerequisites to be a prototypical Giants defensive end. He has the body type, the ability to play the run, the quickness to become a good edge rusher and the flexibility to move around the line in a variety of roles.

Unfortunately, we saw very little of it this spring as Odighizuwa was sidelined for most of OTAs by a knee issue. He did get back on the field for some reps during the mandatory mini-camp.

"Getting Owa (Odighizuwa) back out there was big," head coach Tom Coughlin said at the conclusion of mini-camp. "He only had a couple, three days here but he showed us why he is here, so that was important."

Whether or not Odighizuwa can make an impact as a rookie is impossible to tell right now.

Round 5 -- S Mykkele Thompson (No. 144 overall)

Could Thompson go from surprise fifth-round selection to surprise starter at free safety? ESPN's Dan Graziano thinks so. Graziano writes that Thompson "has some range and some instincts and could show enough in training camp to earn a shot ahead of a relatively weak field of candidates."

I would agree with Graziano that Thompson has shown some range and instincts, and add that he has shown an ability to play the ball in the air. Thompson as a starter ahead of either third-year man Cooper Taylor or second-year man Nat Berhe seems, however, like a stretch. Working in his favor, though, is that he is probably the only safety on the roster who has a true free safety skill set.

Merritt admits to having been pleasantly surprised by Thompson thus far.

"I knew was a smart kid. He came here and he is a cerebral kid, that is for sure. He is going to take what I say literally and take my word for it and go out and try to execute it. Now I am starting to see that the kid actually has some football awareness, where I didn't think he had much of it when we first started off," Merritt said. "The [missed alignments] that started at the beginning of rookie mini-camp and OTAs have drastically gone down. Mentally, he has excelled past my expectations."

The question for the slightly built 6-2, 191-pound Thompson will be how he holds up when the hitting starts.

Round 6 -- WR Geremy Davis (No. 186 overall) 

The expectation when the Giants drafted the 6-2, 216-pound Davis is that he would struggle initially to distinguish himself in a crowded wide receiver group, but that he had the right physical skills and attitude to become a quality special teams player. In shorts and t-shirts there is, of course, much that you can't judge but the Giants must like what they see on special teams.

Davis received significant work as a gunner in punt coverage. From the little that could be gathered during preseason workouts, Davis appears willing to be physical from the gunner spot, something Dwayne Harris told us recently is critical to being successful at that spot.

Too early to be certain, but should Davis make the 53-man roster it would not be surprising if he ends up as the gunner opposite Harris.

Round 7 -- OL Bobby Hart (No. 226 overall) 

GM Jerry Reese said Hart would transition to guard at the NFL level after being a collegiate right tackle. Hart spent some time at tackle during OTAS, but seemed to take most of his snaps at guard during mini-camp. Not to discount him, but he seems like a development project destined for the practice squad. Exactly what you would expect from a 20-year-old seventh-round pick.

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