It is very early, several months away from the 2017 NFL regular season. We know for the most part, though, what the 90-man roster the New York Giants bring to training camp will look like. So, where does it appear that the best, or most interesting, position battles will take place?
Let’s use today’s “Five things I think I think” space to look at what could be the five most interesting position battles of the summer.
We know there will be roles for first-round pick Evan Engram and free agent blocking tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison. Beyond that? What will the Giants do with last year’s starter, Will Tye? He caught 48 passes, but really never established himself as a weapon in the passing attack. He also struggled as a blocker. Can Jerell Adams find a role? What about Matt LaCosse, a guy the Giants continue to give chances?
It will be interesting to see how many tight ends the Giants ultimately keep, and who they are.
How will the Giants structure the right side of their offensive line? They say that free-agent signee D.J. Fluker will begin in a competition at right guard, but can he unseat incumbent John Jerry? In the end, could Fluker actually be competing with Bobby Hart at right tackle? Does sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty, who played right tackle during rookie mini-camp, figure into the competition? Who will win backup jobs? Will the Giants still dip into free agency to find a veteran swing tackle?
Paul Perkins is the starter, but how will the playing time — and the roster spots — be divvied up behind him? Veteran pass-catching back Shane Vereen and fourth-round pick Wayne Gallman figure to be on the roster, but how will they be used? Veterans Orleans Darkwa and Shaun Draughn, along with rookie undrafted free agent Khalid Abdullah, will compete for roster spots. How many backs will the Giants keep?
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo recently termed this competition “interesting,” and it certainly is. Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams figure to be the main combatants for playing time next to Landon Collins. Can Thompson reclaim the job he appeared to have won last season before being injured, or did Adams jump to the head of the class with an unexpectedly good rookie year? Can Nat Berhe and Mykkele Thompson finally stay healthy? Can undrafted free agent Jadar Johnson push for a roster spot? What about veteran Rahim Moore? Can he re-start his faltering career, or is he just a camp body?
Eli Manning is No. 1. Rookie Davis Webb is No. 3. But, who is No. 2? Will it be Geno Smith? He failed miserably with the New York Jets, largely due to his own decision-making — on and off the field. Smith, however, does have ability. Can he tap into it with the Giants? Will it be Josh Johnson? Technically, Johnson has eight years of experience as a backup quarterback. He hasn’t played in a game since 2013 and hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011, so what would happen if Johnson had to play in a real game is anyone’s guess.