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How much can the Giants expect from their rookies?

The Giants, and Giants fans, are excited about the 2016 draft class, but how much can they expect from the rookies?

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 off-season has been one of the most exciting off seasons for the New York Giants in recent memory. It seems that everyone who steps foot in the building comments on the genuine sense of optimism surrounding the franchise.

And there’s a lot to be optimistic about.

On offense, the Giants have a quarterback who is coming off two of the best and most efficient years of his career in Eli Manning, throwing to one of the top three wide receivers in the league in Odell Beckham Jr. On defense they hit free agency with a bang, signing Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

But beyond a splashy free agency period, the Giants also have plenty of reason to be excited about their rookie class.

In fact, NFL Netork analyst and former scout Bucky Brooks cites the Giants as one of the five teams that could get the biggest contributions from their rookie class, with the Giants potentially getting the biggest contribution.

Brooks writes that Eli Apple, Darian Thompson, and Sterling Shepard could all shine in their rookie years for the Giants.

"Eli Apple and Darian Thompson will step into the starting lineup as the team's nickel corner and free safety, respectively. Apple can play on the outside or inside in sub-packages, giving Steve Spagnuolo tremendous flexibility with his lineups.


Thompson is slated to step in as the free safety opposite Landon Collins. The ex-Boise State standout is an excellent communicator with a high football IQ, which makes him a natural traffic cop in the secondary. He is also a rangy center fielder with the ball skills to become an immediate difference maker between the hashes."

And on Sterling Shepard, who has been generating a tremendous amount of excitement throughout OTAs and Mini-Camp, Brooks says.

"On offense, there's no question WR Sterling Shepard has been the star of the offseason. He has impressed coaches and team officials with his mastery of the position (route running, releases and position flexibility), while also displaying big-play potential on the perimeter.


Considering how many teams lack three top cover corners, Shepard could thrive as the Giants' WR2 or WR3 in Year 1."

The Giants are obviously hoping for their first three picks to hit the ground running and be contributors their rookie season. All three also appear to enter the league as professionals and that will only help them in their rookie campaigns. In the later rounds, B.J. Goodson, Paul Perkins, and Jerrell Adams all appear to have the upside to be contributors as well before long.

Add in Brad Wing, for whom the Giants traded their 7th round pick, and this draft class certainly could have several key contributors this year. The Giants 2016 draft class didn’t get the strongest grades — generally garnering B’s immediately after the dust settled — but 2016 could have been Jerry Reese’s best work.

Only time will tell, but we’re almost back to football so we’ll start to get our answers soon.