EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Throughout camp last year, Damon "Snacks" Harrison was used to seeing Johnathan Hankins lining up next to him for each rep. This year, though, he has seen multiple jerseys swap in and out as the Giants try to figure out who will start next to him Week 1.
Who is the leading candidate? There hasn't been one player in particular who has stood out. But, according to the Giants' depth chart, Jay Bromley is ahead of the pack.
The fourth-year veteran has only four starts so far in his career, but his work ethic this offseason is one that is reminiscent of a seasoned starter like Harrison.
"Well, you see it yourself. Jay's come a long way, man, but that's just a testament to him being in here in the offseason," Harrison said at practice Tuesday. "I come in here to run and he's already running, he's lifting weights, he's focused. It's night and day from where he was a year ago."
After Hankins' exit, the Giants noted they were going to search for a player who can complement Harrison's run-stuffing abilities. And Harrison thinks Bromley's skillset could be the answer.
"Well, I mean, you have power and you have speed," the 28-year-old said. "But Jay has a combination of both, so he can play the nose tackle as well as the three-technique."
"He's faster than me, he's quicker than me, he's a pass rusher, he's strong, he's long. Now he's just more comfortable in the defense and he knows exactly what's asked of him and he's doing a pretty damn good job of putting forth the effort. Obviously, you saw it translate out there to on the field, so I'm just excited to watch him grow as the season progresses."
Bromley has the upper hand, having been able to study the Giants' defensive playbook for the past three season. His competition -- rookies Dalvin Tomlinson, Josh Banks, and Avery Moss -- have all been thrown into the fire to compete. And Harrison has had a front row seat.
"Well, Dalvin [Tomlinson] is coming along," Harrison said. "This past, I want to say, week and a half, two weeks, he's taking coaching very well, he's in the classroom all the time watching the film, trying to improve, asking questions. Avery [Moss] as well and Josh Banks. So, I think we have a good group, it's a good competition."
But no matter who wins the battle, Harrison knows that he is still the alpha at nose tackle.
"Well, I'm better at being the nose tackle," Harrison said, laughing. "…All of those guys, I told them, I'm the only one-trick pony on the defensive line. It's nose tackle or bust for me, I can't -- there's too much space at the three-technique."
Harrison doesn't mind admitting he isn't the most versatile tackle. The run game is his forte, and he was awarded a five-year, $46.25 million contract by the Giants last season because of that. But he did record a career-high 2.5 sacks last season, and would like to improve on that number this year.
"I think we can win a lot of games," Harrison said. "Whether that's me getting double-digit sacks or not. That's just a personal goal of mine. I have a number in my mind that I'm chasing."
What is that number? He wouldn't say. But if one of those players mentioned proves they can get to the quarterback, they will likely see themselves next to Harrison on Opening Day.