A few weeks ago during Giants minicamp, we profiled five dark horse players who turned heads. At the end of the day though, every football player knows that, while minicamp standouts are nice stories, the real competition starts in training camp.
Big Blue training camp starts in a little over two weeks. It's a 90-man competition for 53 spots, and more than a few veterans will be left behind if they don't put up a good showing.
Here are five guys who are on the hot seat for the Giants:
We're cheating a little bit on this one, but it's not really accurate to say that there's only one receiver on the hot seat. Everyone not named Sterling Shepard or Golden Tate is fighting for his job as a Giant. There could be up to four wide receiver spots up for grabs on the team.
That's not to say that there aren't options -- Cody Latimer came on strong around injuries and flashed as a deep threat, Corey Coleman has the most raw talent of the group, Bennie Fowler was a quiet safety option and Russell Shepard is an excellent special teams ace that also picked up two receiving touchdowns. That's without even mentioning the new blood, like speedy Darius Slayton and intriguing red zone target Reggie White Jr.
Without Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants' receiving core is short on stars but heavy on depth. However, the Giants can't keep all of these guys. Latimer and Coleman are probably safe, but the battle for the final two spots will likely come down to preseason performance and availability on special teams.
Saquon Barkley is clearly the Giants' top running back, but there is a huge competition to back him up. The incumbent Gallman regressed in 2018, rushing for significantly less yardage than he did in 2017 and offering little as a receiver. If Gallman can't get back on track, the Giants have options -- veteran Rod Smith offers power and one-time starter Paul Perkins is still around at age 24.
The dropoff from Barkley to any backup will be great, but if Gallman can return to his 2017 form, the Giants could lighten Barkley's load a little bit and create a dynamic 1-2 punch.
Halapio is an easy guy to root for. He bounced around the league as a backup for many years before catching on as a starter with the Giants. During the offensive line's disastrous start to last season, Halapio was the best player of the group. Unfortunately, a fractured ankle stopped his 2018 season before it could really get going.
Halapio is back this season and expected to anchor the line at center, but he'll still have to earn his spot. Spencer Pulley did a good job taking over for him last year, and was re-signed to a three-year contract. Halapio was only signed for one year, so the pressure is on for him to earn a new deal.
The Giants already have a solid backup plan in Pulley in case Halapio stumbles or gets injured again. Even though he has the support of his head coach and general manager, he'll have to prove them right this year in camp.
The Giants don't have much inside linebacker depth, which would seem to bode well for Goodson as he enters the fourth year of his career. After starting 20 games over the past two seasons, it doesn't seem like he should be on the hot seat.
But Goodson didn't really progress last season either. He's a good run defender, but saw his playing time decline as he was picked on in pass coverage. Giants coaches gave Tae Davis more time late last year, and he pressured the quarterback more while playing better pass defense. The team also added fifth-round draft pick Ryan Connelly, who is already a favorite of James Bettcher.
Goodson is entering a contract year, and the team has two young players nipping at his heels. A good camp would go a long way for him.
The Giants didn't get great production from their secondary last year, but Haley was a pleasant surprise, starting nine games at slot cornerback as an undrafted free agent. However, the team added a bushel of young corners this year, including DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine. They'll also get Sam Beal back, who's expected to start alongside Janoris Jenkins.
Where does that leave Haley? If he's not careful, it might be on the outside looking in.
He offers the unique skill set of playing the slot position, but so do Love and Ballentine. Teams don't like to cut recent draft picks, and there just might not be enough roster spots to keep Haley around. Unless he shows improvement as a ball hawk or a special teams gunner, the Giants might be more inclined to turn the cornerback position over to the kids.