Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The 2019 NFL Draft is over, and the Giants have made all of their picks to bring in prospects they believe can impact them for years to come. It will be fun to watch as these rookies join the veterans at camp this preseason to see who will earn a spot on the 53-man roster, and who will be starting at the end of the day.
Between the new rookies and veterans, here are some position battles to watch in the new year...
With Odell Beckham Jr. traded to the Browns, the Giants wasted no time by bringing in his replacement in Golden Tate. It will presumably be Tate and Sterling Shepard as WR1 and WR2, but who will be at the top of the depth chart after that?
The Giants re-signed Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer, who showed them enough for a second chance with the squad. And Corey Coleman impressed the Giants as a returner, and they believe the former first-rounder still has untapped potential as a receiver in this league.
But the Giants also spent a fifth-round pick on Auburn's Darius Slayton, a player that can be viewed as a steal for Big Blue. Slayton ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, and at 6-foot-2, he could be the tall receiver that offsets the 5-foot-10 Tate and Shepard. He'll have these other veterans to battle with, though, and they for sure want to be key pieces of the Giants all season long.
As GM Dave Gettleman said, "Janoris [Jenkins] has a bunch of puppies he's got to train."
Jenkins is expected to be the Giants' veteran leader in the cornerbacks room, as his partner on the other side of the gridiron will likely be one of the three rookies the Giants drafted. DeAndre Baker, the Georgia product the Giants traded back into the first round for, will lead the pack. His aggressive style of play during his Bulldog career fits James Bettcher's scheme perfectly.
Then, there's the three-year Notre Dame starter Julian Love and the sleeper in Washburn's Corey Ballentine, who has been released from the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound while his best friend, Dwane Simmons, was shot dead in the same incident on their college campus. Love can be viewed at the moment as a depth corner that has the ability to work in the slot. Ballentine can do the same with his small frame and blazing speed.
But let's not forget about last year's supplemental round pick in Sam Beal. The Western Michigan product is supposed to be the best supplemental rounder since Josh Gordon, and he is fully healthy after missing his rookie year with a shoulder injury.
The Giants passed on some of the top edge rushers in this draft, including Kentucky's Josh Allen at No. 6 and Mississippi State's Montez Sweat at No. 17. They did, however, get a mid-round pickup in Old Dominion's Oshane Ximines. The 6-foot-4 Ximines was a sack machine for the Friars, with 32.5 sacks as well as 51 tackles for loss over his career. He is also the first player from ODU to be drafted.
He will join a group that touts Lorenzo Carter, who is in his second season with the team, and Kareem Martin as the two suspected starters off the edge. There is also free agent signee Markus Golden, who gets a headstart on Ximines given his time with Bettcher as a Cardinal.
Watch Ximines as camp kicks off to see if he can disrupt the depth chart, and make his case for a large role in his rookie season.
Landon Collins walked into free agency (and signed with the Redskins no less), and Curtis Riley went into the market as well. So the Giants will feature Jabrill Peppers -- the player featured in the Beckham trade -- and Antoine Bethea as their safeties in 2019. But who will be backing them up or featured in three-safety sub-packages?
Michael Thomas should have the upper hand here. He was a Pro Bowler last season, and was named a defensive captain as well. But Sean Chandler, an undrafted free agent out of Temple that impressed the Giants, could also fight for a spot in camp.
No, the Giants didn't go into free agency or the Draft to bolster this position. But it will be a very interesting battle to watch this summer.
Jon Halapio won the job out of camp last season, and he started the first two games for the squad. Unfortunately, though, he fractured his ankle and leg in a season-ending play in Week 2 against the Cowboys. John Greco, then, took over for Halapio at the position, but Spencer Pulley also was featured with nine starts at center.
Pulley and Halapio will be battling it out during camp, with Halapio likely getting the edge to start. Gettleman made sure to say "don't forget about Pio" during one of his press conferences earlier this offseason, and Halapio has been saying he is ready to get back to action. Pulley had a strong finish to 2018, and will definitely give Halapio a run for his money.