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Fact or Fiction: Breakout player at Training Camp?

Posted Aug 18, 2017

Three Giants writers debate Big Blue topics with the second preseason game just days away:



Evan Engram was the breakout player of training camp.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -With so many established veterans that we know we can play, Engram is the obvious answer. He has been a weapon in the red zone, but what has caught my attention the most is his work during one-on-one drills. It’s not that he has beaten the safeties assigned to cover him since that’s expected for offensive players in those drills, but rather the way he is beating them. He has turned them around, juked them, and done pretty much whatever he has wanted to them. He has receiver skills and it looks like teams will have to assign a corner to cover him if they want a chance to stop him. The other guy you could consider here is on defense: Jay Bromley.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - As is natural with any first-round pick, Engram came into training camp with plenty of attention, so I don’t know if he really shattered any expectations because they were already pretty high. Jay Bromley, on the other hand, really has come on strong as he enters his fourth season. McAdoo said this a big year for the defensive tackle, and sure enough, he was penciled in as a starter next to Damon Harrison on the first unofficial depth chart of the year.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -  Evan Engram certainly stood out during training camp but the breakout star was B.J. Goodson.  After playing just 13 defensive snaps as a rookie, last year’s fourth round pick, showed he made huge strides in terms of his play and vocal leadership to emerge as the frontrunner for the starting middle linebacker job.  Goodson was extremely physical during practices and his fellow teammates took notice of his energy and fed off of it.  No one made a bigger jump from the end of last season to the start of training camp than Goodson and that claim was even backed up in the first preseason game against the Steelers when he collected a sack.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch on Monday was the best play you’ve ever seen at training camp.


JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -Maybe I’ve become numb to the whole one-handed catch thing, but I’ve seen him do that before. I can’t remember a specific play, but I’m sure at some point over the last 10 years there has been a more amazing contested reception or interception.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - The fact that John and Lance are saying “fiction” without providing a concrete example of a better play just proves that Odell’s was the best. Just watch the video. I rest my case.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -  I’d be lying if I said I actually remember every single play I’ve seen during training camp, but I’ll lean toward fiction only because I think as a society we always have the tendency to turn to hyperbole and oversell things that just happened because they’re most recent in our minds.  It was an impressive one-handed catch by Odell Beckham but, at this point, as he adds to his highlight reel by the day, I’m not exactly surprised anymore.  It’s basically expected.

Tight end Rhett Ellison will set career highs as a receiver this season.


JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -Every time Ben McAdoo has spoken about Rhett Ellison the past few weeks he has been effusive with his praise. In the first preseason game, he was a regular target for Giants quarterbacks. His previous career high for receptions was 19, which I think he should surpass easily in a pass-happy Giants offense. I would expect him to have around 30 catches. He also could be the guy with some uncontested touchdown catches around the goal line off of play action and misdirection.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - McAdoo mentioned earlier in camp that Ellison, while being a great blocker, is also a threat as a receiver. He proved that in the first preseason game and really grabbed everyone’s attention in that department while catching three passes for 20 yards in limited time. The guy is a true pro and brings a valuable element to the offense.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -  In five seasons with the Vikings, Rhett Ellison’s career-highs in the three major categories are as follows: receptions (19 – 2014), receiving yards (208 – 2014), receiving touchdowns (1 – 3 different seasons).  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’ll get at least 20 receptions and two touchdowns.  The wildcard is the receiving yards given all the other weapons on the team.  While I think he’ll be more involved in the passing game with the Giants, I can also see most of his catches going for short gains so although he may collect more receptions than previous seasons, I’m not so sure the yardage per catch will be significant. 

Romeo Okwara will finish third on the team in sacks this season.


JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I’m going to go with Devin Taylor here. Taylor, in my opinion, is going to have a prominent role on this team as a situational defensive lineman. He can play end or tackle, and I think he’ll have the third-most sacks on the team. It should be close between him, Okwara, and my sleeper candidate: Devon Kennard.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I’m going with Landon Collins, whose career is just getting started. If you remember, the defensive ends got off to a slow start last season. Collins, in his campaign to become an All-Pro safety, had two sacks before the bye week. Jason Pierre-Paul had 1.5 at that point while Olivier Vernon had one.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -  Last season, Romeo Okwara had just one sack and finished tied for eighth on the team behind, Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Johnathan Hankins, Snacks Harrison, Leon Hall and Jonathan Casillas.  While two of those players are no longer on the team, I still don’t see Okwara finishing third.  Collins could easily finish third again, don’t overlook Hankins’ replacement or Snacks’ push to collect more sacks and even Devon Kennard, who was utilized on the line of scrimmage last season.