From the team’s activity in free agency to last week’s draft and now the rookie free agents being signed, the 2014 Giants have a new look. So let the competitions begin.
“I’m excited about this whole concept of, whether it be free agency, whether it be now the college free agency of being able to bring players, recognize and then get players in here that we want and then put the young men that are working hard right now in this offseason program together with this new group and let’s get this thing going,” head coach Tom Coughlin said in Saturday’s post-draft press conference. “Let’s get the mesh going, let’s get this camaraderie thing going, let’s get out on the field and be smart about it. Compete. We’d like to be able to match up all of the positions with some competitiveness because that’s how you get better.”
With that in mind, Giants.com over the next week will break down competitions to watch on offense, defense, and special teams. Here we look at the top ones on offense:
Roster: Josh Freeman, Curtis Painter, Ryan Nassib.
While Eli Manning is quickly progressing from the ankle procedure he underwent on April 10, the competition behind him will start to heat up in the coming weeks and months. The Giants, contrary to recent history, carried three quarterbacks on the active roster last season. It remains to be seen if they will do so again in 2014 after the team brought in Josh Freeman and re-signed Curtis Painter. Meanwhile, Ryan Nassib, whom the Giants drafted last year in the fourth round, will try to make his mark in his second NFL season.
Roster: Kellen Davis, Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells.
Despite the low production to this point in the careers of the two returning players, Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, general manager Jerry Reese has reiterated his commitment to them. Health has been a hurdle at times in their development, but if they can overcome that, then it’s time to get out there and contribute.
Meanwhile, they will compete with two veterans who are new to the team. Kellen Davis, the second tallest player on the team at 6-7 and 265 pounds (only tackle Steven Baker is taller at 6-8), comes over from the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The other, Daniel Fells, most recently played in 2012 for the New England Patriots after stints with Denver, St. Louis, and Atlanta.
Reese was asked multiple times about not drafting a tight end this year. He responded there wasn’t one the Giants liked in their drafting windows. “You can’t just wave a magic wand and a tight end will show up,” he said. “We’ve had tight ends that we’ve been able to develop in the past.”
Roster: Rashad Jennings, David Wilson, Peyton Hillis, Kendall Gaskins, Michael Cox, Andre Williams (2014 fourth-round draft pick).
While the team waits for David Wilson to be cleared for contact following neck surgery, the Giants landed former Oakland running back Rashad Jennings early in free agency. Jennings will look to solidify his role while the Giants return with Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox, and Kendall Gaskins, who was a late addition to the practice squad last season and signed a reserve-future deal. However, that was before the Giants added another wrinkle to the situation by drafting Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams out of Boston College in the fourth round.
“A very good value for us, gives us some more depth at our running back position, creates a lot of competition,” Reese said of Williams. “We’re still hoping that David Wilson comes back and is able to go, but again, we said out of the gate that we weren’t’ going to count on that until the doctors say that he can practice full-contact and he hasn’t been released to do that. We think he’s going to be there but we couldn’t pass up the value of a running back like this, of this caliber, at this point in the draft.”