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Giants minicamp report, Day 2: Big day for several young players

Eli Apple, Donte Deayon and other young players have a good day

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp
Donte Deayon bats away a pass from Myles white. He ended up with an interception off the tipped ball.
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants held a lengthy two-hour practice on Wednesday, the second day of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp. This proved to be a good day for several young players, including Eli Apple, Donte Deayon, Will Tye, Geremy Davis and Sterling Shepard. Let’s look at some of the takeaways from what will be the final full workout until training camp. The Giants will hold a walk-through on Thursday.

Cornerbacks shine

Apple gave up a couple of short completions early in Wednesday’s practice, but after that he flashed the potential that convinced the Giants to make him the 10th overall pick in the draft.

  • Apple denied a deep pass intended for undrafted free agent Roger Lewis, getting inside position and reaching up to tip the ball away.
  • Lined up against Odell Beckham, Apple beat the star wide receiver to his spot on an in-breaking route, knocking the pass — and Beckham — down.
  • In a red zone drill, Apple blanketed Myles White on a corner route and dove to knock down a potential touchdown pass.

"Today was a pretty solid day," Apple said. "Got my hands on a lot of balls out there."

Deayon, the 5-foot-9, 158-pound undrafted free agent slot corner from Boise State, continued to make plays. He came up with an interception on a deep ball to Myles White, contesting the catch and snatching it out of the air when it was juggled.

Deayon made back-to-back impressive plays in the red zone. First he knocked a pass from Ryan Nassib away from K.J. Maye in the right corner of the end zone. Then, he leaped high to bat away a pass by B.J. Daniels intended for Maye in the other corner.

"He’s got a chance," said Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo of Deayon.

Deayon’s former Boise State teammate, rookie safety Darian Thompson, is not surprised at all by Deayon’s performance this spring.

"I knew right when he got the call and he told me that he was going to come along with me that they got themselves a good player," Thompson told Big Blue View. "He’s always been that way. He always makes plays. Some people overlook him because of his size, but if you give him a shot no way he’ll fail you."

Injury notes: Berhe, Bromley sit out

Safety Nat Berhe and defensive tackle Jay Bromley on Wednesday joined the list of players not practicing. Coach Ben McAdoo was not available to reporters after practice, so we got no official word on why either player was out. Berhe’s agent tweeted that Wednesday was just a rest day for Berhe, coming off calf surgery that cost him last season.

Victor Cruz did individual drills at the beginning of practice, but once again did no take part in any of the 7-on-7 work.

Spagnuolo: We will be better on defense

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is pretty open and easy-going during his press conferences. His voice and resolve did seem to harden a bit Wednesday, though, when he was asked if he was "confident" the days of poor Giants’ defense were over.

"They’re done," Spagnuolo said. "We’re gonna be better. We’re gonna be better because of players, we’re gonna be better because of better coaching, less mistakes. We’re going to be better because it’s the second year in the system. That’s what we fully expect to do. Everything we went through last year is over and done."

Giants still figuring out the slot

Apple has played in there a little. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has seen some time there, and Janoris Jenkins has done it in walk-throughs. Trevin Wade and Deayon have also seen reps in the slot.

Who will be there when the season starts?

"We’re trying to find that out right now," Spagnuolo said. "We’ve played a lot of guys in there. We decided to do that right from the beginning, let’s find out which guy plays best in there and go from there.

Sterling Shepard standing out

We could talk about this catch or that catch that Shepard made. There is, however, a better indication of what the Giants think of their second-round pick. The wide receiver has been working with the first team, and on Wednesday the Giants unveiled a couple of wrinkles to their offense that look to have been designed for Shepard.

One was what appeared to be a Jet sweep, something that hasn’t been part of the playbook. Another was a quick wide receiver screen to Shepard noteworthy because the Giants motioned Beckham into the backfield on the play as a decoy.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said Shepard "has demonstrated a suddenness, an explosiveness, an ability to make contested catches, to separate from defenders .... He's a rookie, he’s making mistakes, but he doesn’t make a lot of the same mistakes. He tends to be a quick study. I’m excited about where he’s headed."

Catches of the day

Tye made a pair of nice catches, a leaping touchdown grab at the back of the end zone and a twisting catch on a seam route. Davis made the catch of the day, a leaping, one-hand touchdown catch overJanoris Jenkins on a fade route.