We are now roughly two weeks into the New York Giants 2015 training camp. That is enough time to assess how the team's 2015 rookie class is handling the adjustment to the NFL. So, let's get on with a training camp rookie report card.
The ninth overall pick has, of course, been given a huge task. The Giants are asking him to play left tackle, something that many others NFL rookies have struggled with in recent years. Flowers had a good spring and, while he had ups and downs, appeared to be making progress early in camp. The Giants were, and still are, hopeful that Flowers can do the job.
"Well, really what we'd like to see him do is just take off in this circumstance and become the player that we know he can be and grasp things as fast as he can and move from all the spring's work and the experience that he had, quickly move past that into what we're doing and what we're going to face right now," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "In reality we want him to just take off at that spot."
Flowers, though, sat our practice Wednesday and Thursday due to a hip flexor. That, of course, complicates his learning curve and jumbles the offensive line.
Coughlin called it "very difficult, very tough" for Flowers to make up for the lost practices.
"You miss time and you really have a difficult time making it up because there's all kinds of stuff being thrown at him. The defense has got a sophisticated disguise and pressure package. He would benefit, definitely, from being out here," Coughlin said. "So he's had his work in the spring, there's no doubt he'll pick it up, but it's not good to miss practice. That's that we're here for."
Flowers did return to practice on Saturday, albeit on a limited basis. The Giants are continuing to count on Flowers to be their left tackle and help settle down an offensive line that will be critical if they are going to succeed in 2015.
Truth be told, Collins hasn't been noticed a lot during training camp -- at least by media members eyeballing every play from the sidelines. That is probably a good thing. Collins has broken up a few passes and recovered a fumble that he promptly fumbled right back to the offense thus far during camp. There have been no egregious mistakes and no situations where you thought "he's a weak link in pass coverage."
No real indication of whether the Giants see him as a strong or free safety. The Giants have actually been playing "sides" with their safeties, meaning a safety could be up on the line of scrimmage, in the slot, in deep center field or in two-deep based on the defensive call and offensive formation.
The real test for Collins, and the safeties in general, will be when the preseason games start.
"When you look at the practices, it's great going against our guys every day, but once you go into the preseason games, you're able to play against opponents, and you're able to go against other offenses that are playing against our first defense -- you'll be able to roll some guys in and out," Merritt said. "Then, hopefully it [the safety situation] will clear up right away."
Odighizuwa missed much of the spring with a knee issue. He said early last week that he felt "great," and spent much of the week proving it. Day after day during the past week Odighizuwa has been a presence as a pass rusher, giving whatever right tackle who was lined up against him fits.
Odighizuwa has shown a quick burst around the edge that scouts weren't sure he had. Two hip surgeries and the fact that he was a 3-4 defensive end at UCLA may have hidden his talents.
We have seen young players like Damontre Moore flash early in training camp before and not become major contributors in the regular season. If, however, Odighizuwa continues this type of play throughout the preseason he will force his way into the defensive end rotation.
When the Giants used a fifth-round pick on Thompson there was plenty of head-scratching. What the Giants saw in him, though, is becoming increasingly clear. They saw a player who can run, who has the ability as a collegiate cornerback at Texas to drop down into the slot when necessary, has some ball skills and -- perhaps most importantly -- is an intelligent player who could eventually develop into the quarterback the secondary is desperately looking for.
That would be a lot to expect from a rookie, although Thompson has been mixing in with the first unit during recent practices. When he was drafted, Thompson seemed a bit surprised since the Giants were the sole team to have expressed interest. Thus far, though, the stage has not seemed too big for him.
"Smart kid. Mykkele is one of those kids that is able to take it from the classroom and it appears, so far, take it to the field. Even with the checks that we have on the back end," safeties coach Dave Merritt said. "With him being able to think and being able to maybe be a quarterback on the field—that's what I see from him. He's a smart kid."
It is no secret that the sixth-round pick, a wide receiver from UConn, has been one of the most impressive players in camp so far. Davis has been excellent thus far, catching everything thrown his way. The Giants also continue to believe he can develop into a solid special teams player.
The problem is the depth chart. Davis is part of a mix that includes Preston Parker, Corey Washington and James Jones. They are battling for what will likely be two roster spots. How that will turn out is unclear at the moment.
When the Giants drafted the 20-year-old Hart in the seventh round they said the plan was for him to transition from the right tackle spot he played at Florida State inside to guard. Well, that has only sort of been the case thus far. Perhaps due to the Will Beatty injury, Hart has actually been splitting his time between right tackle and right guard throughout training camp. He has taken reps almost exclusively with the third unit. Hart appears to be a developmental player, not one the Giants will be counting on in 2015.