OTA Wrap-Up: Writers give their takeaways

Posted Jun 12, 2016 writers give their takeaways from the team's 10 OTA practices: 

Organized team activities came to a close on Friday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Over the last month, the Giants held 10 practices leading up to next week’s mandatory minicamp, which runs June 14-16. After that, we won’t see players back on the field until late July when training camp opens.


With that in mind, we asked the staffers for their overall impressions from OTAs.

By John Schmeelk

OTAs have come to an end, a yearly activity that gets way too much attention from NFL fans and media because, quite frankly, there isn’t anything else going on in the NFL worth talking about. The draft is past. Free agency is over. Rosters, for the most part, are what they are. It’s exciting to see players on the field with offense and defense going against each other for the first time since last season. But really, what is there to see? Football is a contact sport, and in OTAs there isn’t any contact permitted. NFL players are running around in pajamas in a sport where they normally wear what amounts to armor. So, in other words, take everything with a grain of salt. With all that being said, here are my quick-hitter takeaways from the team’s work during OTA’s:

Eli Manning still looks really good. So does Odell Beckham Jr., who is almost uncoverable one-on-one, even by super-skilled cornerbacks like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins. Thanks, Captain Obvious. Damon “Snacks” Harrison is really big. When he is allowed to actually hit someone, he should be pretty good. Even without pads, Olivier Vernon just has that burst and array of moves that makes him look like an elite pass rusher.


Sterling Shepard is really, really quick and knows how to get open. He doesn’t really drop anything either. B.J. Goodson seems to be around the ball a lot. So does Darian Thompson. Owa Odighizuwa looks healthy and really wants to be a good pass rusher and the physical ability seems to be there. Will Tye does not have a “drops” problem. Andre Williams’ hands look better than I have seen them. Matt LaCosse has made a few plays that make me believe he has a real shot. Bobby Rainey has got some pep in his step and has shown good hands. Ben McAdoo has great energy, and I love his innovative thinking in how he is changing things around in practice to meet specific goals.

And finally, one word: COMPETITION. At this point of the year, you can have a pretty good feel for who might be on the final 53. I don’t think that’s the case this year. Depth at a lot of positions, and even some starting jobs, are still very much in doubt. It will be a lot of fun once the pads come on in training camp and the preseason games start to see who separates themselves from the pack.

By Dan Salomone

I could go a number of different ways with this, but my main takeaway is pretty simple. The Giants set out this offseason to get better on defense, and they have. From free agents to draft picks and undrafted rookies, they’re better at every level. Starting up front, Jason Pierre-Paul is back and has “unfinished business” as he is almost one calendar year removed from his horrible fireworks accident over last Fourth of July. Newcomers Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison will only help him close the deal this season.

The same goes for the linebackers at the next level. They’ll be there to clean up the scraps left over by the defensive line. Jasper Brinkley has been holding down the middle since defensive co-captain Jon Beason retired. Despite no contact, the front seven has shown a knack for big plays in OTAs, including interceptions by Pierre-Paul, Brinkley, and a pair from rookie linebacker B.J. Goodson, the fourth-round pick.


Zoom out one more time, and you get to a secondary that was infused with talent. Janoris Jenkins, the former Ram who signed as a free agent in March, is looking as good as advertised. He and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who have 13 defensive touchdowns combined in their careers, will make plays while bringing along rookie Eli Apple, the 10th overall pick out of Ohio State. Meanwhile, like he did in high school and college, Landon Collins is working for a breakout Year 2 at safety, where the Giants have some competition to find his partner. That could end up being rookie Darian Thompson, the third-rounder out of Boise State. He’s shown why he’s the Mountain West’s all-time interceptions leader with a few of his own at OTAs.

By Lance Medow

Given there’s no contact allowed during OTAs, there’s only so much you can take away from the workouts, but with that being said, this period of the offseason program still allows you to see how players are gelling, where the coaches are lining them up on the field and their focus on fundamentals, which is a big emphasis for Ben McAdoo this offseason.

A number of things have jumped out to me.  On defense, in the secondary, this year’s third-round safety Darian Thompson has made a very smooth transition from college to the pros.  Since he arrived for rookie minicamp, he’s made his presence felt vocally and that carried over into OTAs even with more established veterans in the mix.  He has also shown his knack for taking away the football, which was a staple of his game at Boise State (19 career interceptions).  His fellow Broncos teammate Donte Deayon, an undrafted rookie corner, has also been active in the secondary, as has free agent addition Janoris Jenkins.  Both players are constantly around the ball. At linebacker, Jasper Brinkley has stood out vocally with his ability to command the huddle, and this year’s fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson has taken advantage of his opportunities, especially in coverage.

On offense, the tight end competition has been fun to watch as all five players on the roster are being mixed in.  Matt LaCosse has made a number of nice grabs, it’s good to see Larry Donnell back on the field after what he went through last season with a neck injury, and this year’s sixth-round pick Jerell Adams is quite a physical presence.  How he uses that frame at this level will be key.

In terms of the receiving corps, with Victor Cruz focusing on individual work and Rueben Randle leaving in free agency, you can tell last year’s fifth-round pick Geremy Davis sees a golden opportunity to move up the depth chart.  He’s shown his ability to stretch the field, which was a big component of his game at UConn.  There’s going to be a lot competition at various positions across the roster come training camp, but the stiffest may be running back.  Bobby Rainey’s play has been well documented throughout his NFL career, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has been impressive during OTAs.