After prospects get taken in the NFL Draft, looking forward to rookie minicamp -- the first chance to impress their new coaches -- is top of mind.
But, just like the 2020 NFL Draft was, this year's rookie minicamp isn't anything the league has ever seen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For Giants rookies, it meant waking up on Friday and logging into the first virtual meeting sessions with coaches to try to get as acclimated as possible to life as a professional football player in a modified rookie minicamp. If the challenge wasn't big enough for this rookies to make the transition from college ball to the pros, these tough times are forcing them to do it unlike any rookie in the past.
However, T.J. Brunson could speak for the rest of the rookies when he says this is the best, and frankly the only, option they have right now.
"Because of everything going on right now, I think this is the best option we have," he told The New York Post's Paul Schwartz. "I personally don't have an issue with it. I'd rather be up there in person. If this is how we have to get our football in, then there's no problem with that."
Of course, not all players are visual, in-the-classroom learners. Some like to play it out themselves on the field. Others pick up certain mistakes, tendancies, and fundamentals while watching film.
Then, there's players like fourth-rounder Darnay Holmes out of UCLA. The Giants liked him at the Scouting Combine, with many believing his performances in Indy boosted his draft stock. But before that happened, there was no denying just how smart he was on and off the field. He finished his bachelor's degree in three years before declaring for the draft, so that forced his hand in trying to get in all his coursework and field work done efficiently and correctly.
So this virtual minicamp is something he thinks he can handle.
"You have different tactics that you use to grasp concepts and grasp schemes and make sure that you understand those things," Holmes said in regard to learning his new playbook. "I don't memorize, I want to grasp it and understand so I'll be able to tap into it no matter what the heat of the moment is."
But you can bet every rookie -- and veteran for that matter -- is itching to get back on the field as soon as possible. Vets are also videochatting with their coaches, as some newcomers like linebackers Blake Martinez and James Bradberry need to learn their new playbooks, too.
Seventh-round CB Chris Williamson knows his playing time will come down to what he proves on the field. But he and the rest of his rookie class will have to wait for that moment down the road.
For now, they can prove their mental side of the game is up to NFL speed.
"Football is such a physical game, but it's also a part of the mental makeup. Guys who are successful at the NFL level, it comes from the mental aspect of the game," he said.