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Giants news, 6/7: Azeez Ojulari, OTA No. 8, Leslie Frazier, Evan Neal, more headlines

New York Giants news for Wednesday

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Good morning, New York Giants fans!

3 Giants players whose 2023 performance is sneakily important

Besides the obvious names, there are other players whose fly under the radar but will be critical. BBV's Rivka Boord makes the case for OLB Azeez Ojulari, who the team settles on as a running mate with safety Xavier McKinney and who emerges at slot receiver.

For Ojulari, the issue is health as he played just seven regular-season games and was a limited participant in the playoffs. Pro Football Focus viewed his sophomore season as more successful than his first in the pass rush department. His grade improved from 56.9 to 64.0, and his pass rush win rate rose from 9.9% to 15.6%.

Getting pressure is the biggest key in Wink Martindale’s pressuring offense. The team did not invest in the edge rusher position beyond re-signing Oshane Ximines and bringing in a couple of undrafted rookies. They’re banking on Ojulari bringing significant contributions.

From Big Blue View

Other Giant observations

Practice Report: Observations from OTA No. 8 |

The defense got their hands on the ball often during practice today. Gervarrius Owens has flashed coverage skills throughout the month and knocked away another pass. Cor'Dale Flott and Tre Hawkins III also had pass break-ups. Deonte Banks showed off his speed tracking down and knocking away a deep ball sailing over the top. Xavier McKinney not only knocked away a pass late in practice, he also picked an early pass. Amani Oruwariye had an interception of his own that could have been returned for a touchdown.

The offense had their moments in practice, too. Lawrence Cager and David Sills had touchdowns along with Jaydon Mickens during the initial 7-on-7 periods. In the later competitive period, Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton. To close practice, Jalin Hyatt tip-toed on the back line and caught for a touchdown.

Giants' Evan Neal gets praise as he continues difficult transition | New York Post

“He admitted that he had a rough rookie year in some spots: Name me the offensive lineman who didn’t,” Anderson said. “He has the ‘it’ factor in that he wants to figure out how to get over the hump. Every good lineman I’ve known who’s struggled but has the will to want to be good, they figure it out. He has self-pride inside him.”

Giants analysts Carl Banks breaks down the team’s first round pick

Can the Giants, Vikings continue their success in 2023? |'s Bill Barnwell writes that while the Giants should feel great should feel great about their coaching choice Brian Daboll, history suggests the Giants might face more adversity in 2023.

The evidence certainly suggests that the odds are stacked against the two breakout coaches in the NFC. Their teams won in unsustainable ways a year ago, and neither roster added drastically more talent this offseason. There are no guarantees in the NFL, and it's difficult to project what will happen next year, let alone two or three years down the line. The preponderance of evidence, though, suggests that these two teams will take at least one step backward in 2023.

Eric Mangini: Giants face rough road in second year under Brian Daboll |

Mangini, speaking to co-hosts Michael Holley and Michael Smith on their Peacock TV streaming show Brother From Another, said Big Blue is likely to experience “hiccups” in head coach Brian Daboll’s second year despite qualifying for the postseason last year.

“I made the playoffs the first year with the Jets and expectations weren’t very high and as much success as he’s had — and we had — you’re still building your program, you’re still putting your vision into place. And there can be a lot of hiccups in Year 2 and they haven’t added that many players."

Mangini believes Daboll has readied the Giants for rough waters but now he must teach them how to deal with success.

“Then there’s the part where you have to teach your team how to deal with success,” he said. “We always talk about dealing with adversity — and there’s a lot of research and time put into that — but people have to learn how to deal with success, too.”

Where things stand with Giants’ Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones expectations, more: Mailbag | The Athletic

The Athletic's Dan Duggan believes the team will increase their use of two tight end packages this year if you look at the coaching history of the head coach and offensive coordinator.

Daboll and Kafka have had a wide range of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) usage at previous stops, but both have been with teams that used it heavily. The Chiefs ranked fourth in 12 personnel usage in 2018 and 2019 when Kafka was the team’s quarterbacks coach, while the Patriots led the league in 12 personnel usage in 2014 and 2015 when Daboll was the team’s tight ends coach. Daboll and Kafka demonstrated their flexibility last season, so expect an increase from their 19th ranking in 12 personnel usage now that Waller is on board.

DeAndre Hopkins isn’t right fit for what current Giants need | New York Post

There is always a right time and a right place for the right player, and at the right price, of course.

NFC rookies picked after NFL Draft Day 1 who could earn key roles in 2023 |

For the Giants, C John Michael Schmitz

If the Giants picked Schmitz in the first round, the complaints would've been minimal. He was the best pure center in the class thanks to his combination of first-step quickness, power, and balance. Schmitz never looks uncomfortable or awkward blocking for the run or pass, and if he's beaten, he calmly recovers.

After his long run at the pivot for the Gophers, Schmitz is as essentially as ready to go as they come at the position -- he could stand to get a tick stronger. His smooth athleticism will boost in the inside run game for the Giants and keep pressure off Daniel Jones from the inside as a rookie.

PFF Center Rankings: Top 32 ahead of the 2023 NFL season | PFF

Despite never having taken a snap, C John Michael Schmitz was ranked 30th by PFF. Three slot ahead of him was old friend Nick Gates of the Washington Commanders. Not on the list: the starter for the Giants last year John Feliciano.

12 UDFAs to watch in NFL training camp: Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Ivan Pace Jr. and more | PFF

The analytics website chose the Giants’ WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton as one of the 12 undrafted free agents to watch this summer.

One of the more notable players to not hear their name called on NFL draft weekend, Ford-Wheaton instantly pops on his 2022 film due to his explosiveness and body control downfield. While he ran a limited route tree at West Virginia and lacks some creativity after the catch, he showed strong hands, converting more than 50% of his contested targets into catches, and brings suddenness at the top of his routes to create additional separation.

Former Giants coach Tom Coughlin discusses the Jay Fund, Daniel Jones, Brian Daboll |

Around the league

Bills safety Damar Hamlin participates in team drills for first time this offseason |

NFL investigating Colts’ Isaiah Rodgers for possible betting |

Commanders DE Chase Young (knee) feels ‘night and day’ difference, not focused on lack of fifth-year option |

Cowboys shuffling offensive line for minicamp, Tyron Smith to left tackle | ProFootballTalk

Why the Eagles’ duo of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith could be even better this season | The Athletic

Ron Rivera not committed to Sam Howell as starter, happy with Commanders’ QB competition |

Cowboys release Antonio Callaway after WR reportedly arrested for driving with suspended license |

Dan Campbell: Jared Goff is a better QB now than he was with the Rams | ProFootballTalk

Jets decide not to hold mandatory minicamps next week due to earlier training camp start date |

Connor Williams not at Dolphins' mandatory minicamp | ProFootballTalk

Two Brown players robbed at gunpoint, multiple players have car stolen |

Bills break ground on new $1.54 billion stadium |

Randy Moss, Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald headline 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot | The Athletic

The best pass-catchers in different situations: Justin Jefferson leads the way on late downs | PFF

How Developments in Analytics Have Shifted NFL’s Landscape | The 33rd Team

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