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Takeaways from Day 1 of Giants rookie mini-camp

Newest Giants begin to get acclimated to life in the NFL

NFL: New York Giants Rookie Minicamp
Head coach Brian Daboll watches Friday’s mini-camp practice.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Rookies, including all 11 draft pick, were on the field Friday for Day 1 of New York Giants rookie mini-camp. This was not, though, a high-intensity practice where you could clearly see players like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal and Wan’Dale Robinson showcase their skills.

This was shorts and t-shirts work, much of it done at a walk-thru pace. There were 14 7-on-7 snaps tossed, but even those weren’t really high intensity.

So, what were the Giants trying to accomplish? Head coach Brian Daboll explained the purpose of the mini-camp to the rookies this way:

“It’s for you [players] to get to know us, us to get to know you. There’s only a couple days we’ll do stuff on the field. There’s a long way to go, as they can see,” Daboll said.

“I think it’s really important, particularly in terms fo some of the tryout guys to really minimize the package, not motion, shift and do all these crazy things. Just see who can perform out there and maybe we find a couple guys in terms of the tryout guys.”

Mutual respect

After the draft, Giants third-round pick Cor’Dale Flott, a cornerback, said Giants’ second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson was the toughest wide receiver for him to cover in college. Friday, Robinson returned the favor.

Giants’ rookie safety Dane Belton, a fourth-round pick from Iowa, played against Robinson for three years in college.

“He’s a real quick player, gets in and out of his breaks really well,” Belton said. “I think he’s an electric player.”

Robinson caught a few balls from quarterback Brian Lewerke during the 7-on-7 drills, including short grabs on three straight plays.

Robinson and Flott did match up a couple of times.

Robinson also worked as a punt returner. I probably shouldn’t mention that he dropped the first ball kicked to him.

Bringing the juice

Asked for thoughts on No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux, Daboll said this:

“It’s just been good to get to know him. You have so many different meetings. You meet at the combine. Comes up here. You meet with him. He’s a good, young man. Got a lot of energy. Even out there, we had a walk through a little while ago, he brings a little bit of juice. Good sense of humor. I appreciate him.”

Thibodeaux brought a little of that juice to his post-practice presser.

Thibodeaux was asked about the $50K donation he made to Puppies Behind Bars to get the No. 5 jersey from Giants placekicker Graham Gano.

“He’s a great guy. Before we even started negotiating, we really got to know each other. That’s the biggest part of being a teammate, joining someone’s family, getting to know him. Getting some wisdom from him. Been in the game 13 years or thereabouts. A lot of wisdom. He was able to give me a lot of wisdom; we were able to make it work,” Thibodeaux said.

“And military was big for me, my grandfather was in the military. He’s a military kid, figuring a way to give back, do something positive. We figured it out.”

Who’s that QB?

The Giants did not sign any undrafted quarterbacks, or bring any in on a tryout basis. That left Lewerke, who spent last year on the practice squad, as the only quarterback at mini-camp.

Except for GM Joe Schoen, who spent some time playing QB and throwing to receivers during individual drills.

For what it’s worth, Schoen can wing it a little bit.

A Kadarius Toney note

No, the second-year wide receiver wasn’t at the mini-camp. He wasn’t supposed to be. He was asked about, though, and Daboll said Toney has been in attendance at every workout since he reported to the voluntary offseason program on April 25.

“I really like him. He’s smart. Again, you’re not really — you’re doing things. A lot of them on air and stuff like that,” Daboll said. “But you can tell he’s got instinctive football. He’s been a pleasure to be around. Good teammate. Smart. It’s been great.”

Replacing Bradberry

Daboll was vague about whether or not the Giants had the player or players on the roster to replace recently-released cornerback James Bradberry.

“We have a lot of guys in today and rookie camp and tryout stuff. We had guys here yesterday, really all camp, Phase II. Guys working hard. Good group. Take it day by day,” he said. “We’ll work with the guys we have. We’re going to try to add and at times replace guys if other guys are better. Really a day-to-day process.”