The 2017 season is only a matter of weeks away, as the New York Giants training camp begins. The hopes and dreams of players and fans alike start to blossom in the next few days and weeks to come. Training camp, along with four preseason games, is the last chance for players to prove their worth on a 53-man roster.
I’ve compiled a list of 5 players, who you should keep an eye on over the next few weeks, to see how they progress and develop before the season comes around.
B.J. Goodson – Linebacker
The second-year, 4th-round pick linebacker, will be looking to step into a starting role in the heart of the defense. Having only seen 13 defensive snaps in his first year, it will be a big leap forward for Goodson who has been catching the attention of coaches and fans all off-season. The linebacker position was easily the weakest for the Giants on a very good defense and with no real upgrades during the summer, it’s obvious the Giants have full faith in Goodson to step up and be the starter.
A main area for concern for the Giants in 2016 was vs Tight Ends in passing situations, especially on 3rd downs. Goodson has been taking snaps in coverage sub packages during OTA’s, so he’ll be looking to impress as a 3-down linebacker. Goodson has improved his physical attributes and is a downhill tackling machine. But over the coming weeks, he’ll need to improve mentally- to become a leader at the middle linebacker position.
Darian Thompson – Safety
Another 2nd-year player who received limited snaps in his rookie season, Thompson saw 82 defensive snaps before injury halted his season. Reports during the off-season confirm that Thompson’s rehab on a foot injury has been successful, meaning he’s fully in-line to partner Landon Collins at the safety position.
Thompson will have some competition for the Free Safety spot, which the Giants will be more than happy to see. Undrafted rookie Andrew Adams filled in for Thompson last season and after a shaky start, became a very reliable player for the Giants in the secondary. Duke Ihenacho signed from the divisional rival Redskins will be looking to give the Giants coaching staff something to think about in the next few weeks.
Paul Perkins – Running Back
With no real frontline running back on the roster, after Rashad Jennings was released in February, it was interesting to see Ben McAdoo name Perkins the starter back in May. There’s no doubt Perkins showed glimpses of talent in the limited carries he got in the back end of the Giants season, but many thought the Giants would test the free agency market (LeGarrette Blount was mentioned numerous times). Perkins will no doubt have to prove his worth as a starter and he’s got the capabilities to be a 3-down back, as he’s a willing blocker, although certainly not on the level that Jennings was, and his blocking abilities will be sorely missed. His catching and route running will need some improvements, but he showed enough last season for teams to know he can be a threat.
Ereck Flowers – Offensive Tackle
The Ereck Flowers off-season narrative continues! There’s been so much talk of the improvements made by Flowers in the last couple of months, namely him dropping a few pounds and looking leaner and feeling quicker. It’s time for the talking to stop and for Flowers to just go out prove his worth on this Giants roster.
It’s safe to say Flowers has had a troubling and frustrating start to his NFL career and last season was a real tough one for him (and Eli Manning’s blind side), but the Giants front office showed faith by not drafting a OT until the 6th round in Adam Bisnowaty, so now is the season for Flowers to repay that faith by showing the Giants, along with the fans, that he is the future Left Tackle of this organisation.
Brandon Marshall – Wide Receiver
Training camps and preseason games are not usually where veterans need to prove their place, especially for players like Brandon Marshall. But fans will want to see and hear how the new addition to the offense is settling in. What will be most interesting will be to see how Marshall and Manning hook up, as it’s a well known fact that Eli likes his big target receivers. The chemistry between Marshall, Beckham Jr and Shepard, along with Tight End Evan Engram, will also be an intriguing development over the coming month, as excitement will build on how good this new-look Giants offense can be.
Giants Preseason Games:
Aug 11th – Steelers @ Giants – 7pm ET
Aug 21st – Giants @ Browns – 8pm ET
Aug 26th – Jets @ Giants – 7pm ET
Aug 31st – Giants @ Patriots – 7.30pm ET
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