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Mailbag: Expectations for Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, more

What’s on your mind this weekend, Giants fans?

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp
Rashad Jennings during minicamp
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Ahh, Saturday. That means it’s “mailbag” time here at Big Blue View. So, let’s open it up and see what comes tumbling out.

Ed says: I don’t know if @DanGrazianoESPN or @RVacchianoNYDN will take the bait here, but I will. I think Jennings begins the season as the Giants’ featured back, but as much as I like the guy and think he’s a good player I’m not sure he ends the season with the job.

He has had career highs in carries his two seasons with the Giants, 167 in 2014 and 195 last year. The 2013 season with the Oakland Raiders (163) was the only other time he had more than 160 carries.

I will put the over/under at 160. That seems to be his magic number.

Daniel Badillo asks: Assuming he doesn't get cut, do you believe this is the last year for Jennings as a Giant?

Ed says: Cutting Jennings this year would be a stunner. As for next year, it is entirely possible — maybe even likely — that the Giants move on without him. He will be 32, ancient for a running back, and his cap hit of $3.062 million will be the largest of his four-year, $10 million deal. The Giants can save roughly $2.5 million against the cap by cutting him.

Ed says: Considering the way the Giants have treated the offseason, doing nothing substantive to this point to upgrade the offensive line, I would say they are pushing their cards to the center of the table and betting it will be Ereck Flowers. If they are leaving him at left tackle, it had better be

Ed Ippolito asks: Do you think Double O can make a big impact this year? He reminds me of Tuck during his early years.

Ed says: Odighizuwa is a guy the Giants appear to be counting on to become a third pass rusher and take some pressure off Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. The Tuck comparison is one we have made often at Big Blue View. If Owa can stay healthy he could develop into a very useful player.

Craig Massey asks: Do you think that the Giants should start looking for/grooming Eli's replacement in next year's draft or further down the line?

Ed says: I think that depends on a number of things, including how things go during the upcoming season. If they are in position to grab a guy they believe can be the successor, fine. If not, I wouldn’t force it. Manning has some time left. Right now, I’m more concerned about the Giants putting quality pieces around him than finding someone to succeed him.

John Calderon asks: What's a realistic expectation for Sterling Shepard? Considering Randle put up decent numbers last year but also Cruz is back as well.

Ed says: Well, let’s start by making sure everyone realizes Rueben Randle is no longer a Giant. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent. As for Victor Cruz, there is absolutely no way to know what kind of player he can be after two serious leg injures and nearly two years away from football.

A realistic expectation for Shepard? I recently polled Big Blue View readers on that very topic. I put the over/under at 60 catches, in-between Hakeem Nicks (47) and Cruz (82). Seventy-eight percent (2,239) of the 2,860 voters took the “over.” So, there’s that. I will also take the over, but not by a lot.

Jason Carvalho asks: Do you think Hankins and JPP walk in 2017?

Ed says: That is really hard to answer before we see what happens in 2016.

When you think about Jason Pierre-Paul, it is impossible to know what he will be worth after this season. There is a lot of optimism about what he will be able to do now that he no longer has to wear a club on his mangled right hand. But, his right hand is still mangled and we’re in uncharted waters here. No one really knows how productive he can or will be. If he doesn’t play well, maybe the Giants decide to move on without him. If he plays well and shows he can still be worth a long-term big-money contract maybe somebody blows the Giants out of the water with a mega-offer. We just have to wait and see what kind of player he is at this point.

As for Johnathan Hankins, this is an interesting case. The Giants history at defensive tackle in recent years is one and done — meaning they haven’t re-signed a defensive tackle once their rookie contract was up in a loooong time. I looked this up a while back and the last drafted defensive tackle to get a second contract from the Giants was Keith Hamilton, who was drafted waaaaay back in 1992. So, Hankins is swimming against the tide. Still, the Giants need to start keeping some of the players they draft and develop. Again, I think this comes down to how well Hankins plays in 2016 and what his price tag is going to be.

Greg Alfaro asks: What are the chances of Dable making the team.

Ed says: Anthony Dable is the French wide receiver the Giants signed in the offseason. Honestly, I don’t think his chances of making the roster are very good. He has size, but he’s 27 and he didn’t do much in the spring. In the competition for the final couple of wide receiver roster spots, I think Geremy Davis, Myles White, Darius Powe and Roger Lewis all enter training camp well ahead of him.