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OTA preview: How many Giants players will attend voluntary workouts?

Phase 3 of NFL offseason workout program begins on Monday

New York Giants Training Camp Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The New York Giants begin Phase 3 of their offseason workout program, the Organized Team Activities (OTA) portion, on Monday.

The Giants’ OTA schedule is as follows:

  • OTA Offseason Workouts: May 24-25, May 27, June 2-4, June 14-15
  • Mandatory Minicamp: June 8-10

Here is the NFL’s definition of Phase 3:

Phase Three (May 24-June 18) remains its customary four weeks in length. Beginning in Phase Three, clubs may conduct in-person meetings and classroom instruction subject to COVID-19 testing cadence, tracking, facility access and other protocols. During Phase Three, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The biggest question is how many of the Giants’ 90 players will take the field for the voluntary workouts. With the urging of the NFL Players Association, the Giants are one of several teams whose players issued a statement that they would not attend voluntary workouts.

It stands to reason, though, that drafted and undrafted rookies should take advantage of every possible on-field opportunity to prepare for their first NFL season or try to make an impression on the coaching staff. Same with pretty much any player not guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster. Any chance to show the coaching staff they belong, especially one with fewer players for coaches to monitor, is one you would think such players would want to take advantage of.

This quote was in Peter King’s ‘Football Morning in America’ column on Monday, and I happen to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment:

“When you’re talking about rookies, whether it’s the first pick or Mr. Irrelevant, to tell them not to show up, I don’t understand it. And for an undrafted player, it’s suicidal.”

— Agent Harold Lewis to Ken Belson of the New York Times, on the NFL Players Association’s advice to players that no player should feel obligated to go to a team’s offseason workout program.

Players who will be fighting for their jobs — or careers — this summer are being done a disservice by being advised not to take an opportunity to improve their chances of making a team.

There is media access this week to watch Thursday’s workout. The most interesting part of that access is going to be taking stock of how many players are actually in attendance.