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Giants training camp: Players to watch this summer

Victor Cruz is at the top of the list

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants players report for training camp Thursday. Here is a list of the players I am most interested in observing during training camp and the preseason. Feel free to add your own choices in the comments.

Victor Cruz

Can Cruz make it through training camp in one piece? Can he emerge as a productive NFL player? All eyes will be on Cruz’s every move in training camp as he tries to come back after missing 26 games with a torn patella tendon and a torn calf. Color me skeptical. Despite all the workout videos and the optimistic words I’m nowhere close to certain that Cruz can still run and cut well enough to be a good NFL receiver once again.

Donte Deayon

Can this Mighty Mite actually make the team? Deayon had a great spring, showing the ability to cover and to make plays on the ball. Can he actually tackle and hold up physically at all of 5-foot-9, 158 pounds? If so, Deayon has a shot to stick as a reserve corner.

The draftees

There are four that I am particularly interested in, mostly because they have the potential to impact the 2016 season. First-round pick Eli Apple left a favorable impression with a great final practice during minicamp. Can he use that as a springboard? Expectations continue to spiral for second-round pick Sterling Shepard. Can third-round pick Darian Thompson build on a good spring and win a starting job at safety? Can exciting rookie running back Paul Perkins catch up after missing OTAs and force his way onto the field?

Roger Lewis/Darius Powe/Anthony Dable

I am willing to hazard a guess that one of these three rookies makes the 53-man roster. Lewis had the most impressive spring. Dable draws the most curiosity because of his having only played football overseas. Powe is a late bloomer who had an excellent senior season at Cal. My money is on Powe, but this one is anybody’s guess.

Will Johnson

Why the veteran fullback/tight end/H-Back? I’m really curious about a couple of things. First, Johnson’s impact on the roster status of Nikita Whitlock. Second, the evolution of how the Giants will use their tight ends.