“Let’s not be an instant evaluator.”
That was New York Giants coach Brian Daboll on Saturday, reminding that four training camp practices without pads isn’t enough to make firm decisions about players.
Still, what fun is it on the outside if we don’t make silly, snap judgments? Or, at least speculate a little bit? So, let’s look at risers and fallers from the first week of 2022 training camp. Yours truly witnessed three of the first four practices, so this is largely based on what I saw with my own eyes.
Darnay Holmes — Three interceptions of Daniel Jones in the first three practices. It is clear that Holmes is understanding what he is seeing from the offense, and anticipating where Jones is going with the ball. Holmes also forced a Saquon Barkley fumble on Saturday.
Kadarius Toney — Every practice the 2021 first-round pick goes through is one more than he had in last year’s training camp. He has been productive the first few days, even if it’s clear that he and Jones are not always on the same page as they learn the team’s new offense. Plus, and maybe most importantly, Toney seems to be enjoying himself.
Elerson Smith — The second-year edge has been a factor in the pass rush. I am interested to see if that continues when the pads come on this week. [One-on-one interview]
Richie James and C.J. Board — I’m lumping these two together as they are similar as wide receivers/kick returners/special teamers. Both have been getting significant first-team snaps with the offense, perhaps a sign they are favorites to make the 53-man roster.
Xavier McKinney — It is pretty apparent that McKinney is becoming the on-field leader of the Giants’ defense.
Gary Brightwell — The 2021 sixth-round pick has had few opportunities thus far.
Devery Hamilton — Maybe this isn’t fair, because Hamilton’s chances of making the team have always been virtually non-existent. A steady stream of pass rushers has, though, been running by Hamilton from his left tackle spot.
Backup centers — The Giants have three options on the roster — Ben Bredeson, Max Garcia and Jamil Douglas. None has shown that they can consistently handle the task of executing a shotgun snap. Daboll got so frustrated with the center play on Saturday that he moved Shane Lemieux to center with rookie Joshua Ezeudu sliding in at left guard.