Summer vacation, and with it the end of the 2019 offseason is over. The first players have reported to the New York Giants facilities for the beginning of the Giants’ 2019 training camp.
For now the rookies will be the only players on the property, as the veteran players don’t report until Wednesday. Likewise, we still have a bit of time until we get to see the players on the field, as full practices don’t begin until Thursday.
But for now we have our first chance to see Giants in the facilities and on the field since the close of OTAs.
Over the next month or so, the Giants’ rookies will participate in battles up at almost every position and across the roster. Some will be jockeying for position on depth charts, some will be battling for starting roles, and some will simply be battling to make the roster.
The Giants Rookie Class
Daniel Jones (QB) — Ideally, Jones’ job throughout training camp, the preseason, and in to the regular season is to try and take Eli Manning’s job. Realistically, Jones is battling to push Manning, force him to be better than he has been, and to give the Giants (and their fans) confidence that they made the correct pick at sixth overall.
Dexter Lawrence (iDL) - Between his draft position and Dave Gettleman’s undying love for industrial-sized human beings, Lawrence is almost certainly in line for a starting job. His goal in training camp is to first prove that he can help the Giants find some answers in the pass rush and give them a reason to keep him on the field for all three downs. Next, Lawrence needs to show the team that neither endurance nor durability are a concern and that he is capable of playing the (roughly) 58 percent of the defensive snaps that Dalvin Tomlinson played in a similar role before the trade of Damon Harrison.
DeAndre Baker (CB) - Like Lawrence, Baker is in line for a starting job as an outside corner opposite of Janoris Jenkins. Baker will be looking to show the Giants that he is capable of matching up with NFL receivers on an island. If he can do so, it will go a long way towards giving James Bettcher the confidence to scheme and call games aggressively.
Oshane Ximines (EDGE) - Ximines has the chance to win a starting job over the course of camp and the preseason. The Giants’ defense lacks an established, proven pass rusher, and that creates a golden opportunity for the 95th pick in the draft. Ximines needs to show that he has the technique and enough athleticism to win right away as an EDGE for the Giants. It’s a lot to ask of a (late) third-round rookie, but the Giants might need him to step up and take the job.
Julian Love (CB) - Love might be the steal of the draft for the Giants. He comes out of Notre Dame with some of the best ball skills in this year’s draft and loads of experience. He is in a competition with Grant Haley and Sam Beal for the third cornerback job (which is, effectively, a starting position). The Giants have also mentioned Love as a potential safety convert, which also presents some interesting questions as to how Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea could be used.
Ryan Connelly (iLB) - In all likelihood, Connelly will begin his Giants’ career as a special teams player. He is regarded as a heady, instinctive linebacker, but he will need to show the Giants that he can play in coverage and has a consistent willingness to stack and shed blockers when playing downhill if he wants to push for a significant role on the defense.
Darius Slayton (WR) - Slayton’s goal over the next month or so — and into the regular season — is to show that he is more than an athlete playing wide receiver. The Giants’ passing attack relies on route concepts to defeat coverage, creating easy reads and throws for quarterbacks. In college, Slayton’s route tree was really more of a twig and he was seldom asked to do more than run down the field as fast as he could. He has the chance to rise up the depth chart and secure a significant role on the offense, if he can show that he is a reliable route runner.
Corey Ballentine (CB) - Ballentine is almost a complete mystery coming out of college. Film of him at Washburn was scarce, but what there is shows an aggressive, physical, and somewhat “grabby” corner. He could be another player with the potential to convert to safety. He has a similar athletic profile to Bennett Jackson (who made the transition well before injuries took their toll), and Ballentine’s highly physical game could translate.
George Asafo-Adjei (OT) - Ideally, Asafo-Adjei will show the Giants that they have a reliable back-up lineman and some depth to their offensive line — perhaps a utility player in the mold of Kevin Boothe. However, with Chad Wheeler still in the starting mix and questions regarding whether age and injury have robbed Mike Remmers of the ability to be a viable starting lineman, “Big George”
Chris Slayton (iDL) - Slayton has the potential to battle 2018 draftee R.J. McIntosh for a role as a rotation piece on the defensive line. Both players have the potential to be 5-techniques in 3-man fronts as well as 3-techniques in four-man fronts. Before that, however, Slayton will need to show that concerns in college regarding his effort are misplaced.
Undrafted Free Agents
Paul Adams (OL) - Adams has the potential to push for a roster spot as a reserve lineman. He is athletic and powerful, but range and balance could force a move to the interior.
Tenny Adewusi (S) - Adewusi showed some legitimate athletic potential at the Delaware pro day. He is an unknown after failing to secure a starting job until his final college season, but with all the uncertainty surrounding the Giants’ secondary, he has the chance to push for a job. It’s more likely, however, Adewusi will be battling for a chance to make the roster as a special teams player.
Freedom Akinmoladun (DL) - If there is one position on the Giants’ defense that is crowded, it is their defensive line. Akinmoladun showed promise early on at Nebraska, but an ill-advised move by the coaching staff to have him bulk up robbed him of his athleticism. He could flash for the Giants in camp and pre-season, but his main job is to show them that he still has that promise and is worth a spot on the practice squad.
Ryan Anderson (P) - Anderson has his work cut out for him, battling Riley Dixon for a roster spot with the latter coming off a good season. Anderson is a good athlete (as a former receiver), an ambidextrous thrower, and a left-footed punter. Coaches tend to favor left-footed punters when they can find them, and his athletic ability could allow for some Special Teams skulduggery. But over the next few weeks, Anderson will need to show that he is a better punter than Dixon if he wants to get a roster spot.
Jake Carlock (DB/LB) - Carlock could be an interesting player to follow over camp. Listed as a defensive back, he has the size of a modern off-ball linebacker at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he has the skill-set to play long-snapper, and he has the hair of a Matthews. Carlock played a pseudo-linebacker position in college, and he could be a dark-horse contender to make the roster. As with several other players (such as Love, Ballentine, and others) Carlock could signal that we don’t have an accurate read on the Giants’ intentions for the top of their depth chart in their back seven.
C.J. Conrad (TE) - Conrad could be another player with a chance to make the roster. He is in a battle with Scott Simonson to be the Giants’ third tight end. The Giants like Simonson, but if Conrad can maintain (or build upon) the momentum he created in the off-season program, he has a shot. The Giants have a long history of finding under-the-radar tight ends who are capable of contributing, so we should look for Conrad to at least be a favorite for a practice squad position.
Austin Droogsma (OL) - Can the shot-putter who hasn’t played football in six years be more than a big athletic guy? The Giants took a flier on him based on his size, strength, and athleticism, but it will be up to him to show that he is able to play offensive line at an NFL level after not playing in college.
Eric Dungey (TE/QB) - Dungey likely doesn’t figure in to the Giants’ quarterback depth chart. However, how he is used is going to be one of the more interesting stories of training camp. Is he just a camp arm? Or do the Giants have a package of plays designed for him in their actual offense? Dungey was an instinctive playmaker with his arm as well as his at Syracuse, which could give him an advantage over other “Wildcat” quarterbacks the NFL has tried in the past.
Mark McLaurin (DB/LB) - McLauren was a box safety at Mississippi State, but the Giants have experimented with moving him to linebacker in a “moneybacker” role in the off-season. McLaurin will be fighting to make the Giants’ roster, likely as a special teams player and back-up. But as with other rookies noted above, does his potential role suggest a storyline to keep track of higher on the depth chart?
James O’Hagan (OC) - O’Hagan will be looking to push Spencer Pulley for a back-up job. O’Hagan didn’t show much in the way of quickness, agility, or athleticism on tape, but the Giants also don’t seem to value those qualities at the center position.
Josiah Tauaefa (LB) - A smart and high-energy player, Tauaefa should be fun to watch in camp and quickly become a favorite of the coaches. He should get plenty of looks on special teams, but he will need to show that he is capable of playing in space if he want to push for consideration on the defense.
Alex Wesley (WR) - A former track star who dominated the FCS level, Wesley doesn’t have eye-catching size, but he could be a dark horse to surprise in a receiving depth chart with plenty of bodies but few reliable answers. Wesley has the ability to stretch the field, and that is something the Giants sorely need on offense.
Reggie White Jr. (WR) - Certainly the most eye-catching name on the property, White is another young receiver with the potential to emerge from the crush of bodies at the position and force his way on to the field. He has an intriguing blend of size and athleticism, but is raw in the technical aspects of his craft. The Giants will be looking for White to show improved route running and a release off the line over the course of training camp. If he can impress, he could (potentially) rise as high as third on the depth chart if the veterans continue to be uninspiring.