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Rookie Progress Report: First gameday in the books

Posted Aug 12, 2017

A look at the Giants' rookies performances against the Steelers:


Preseason in the NFL means different things to different players.  

For the young guys, it means getting an opportunity to prove the stage is not too big and that your team’s assessment of you was justified. The New York Giants got a good look at their young players on Friday night when they kicked off their four-game preseason schedule against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here is a recap of how the six draft picks fared in their first NFL game:

TE Evan Engram

Depth chart: TE2
Preseason Week 1: 2 TGTS, 1 REC, 11 YDS

Coach Ben McAdoo, a former tight ends coach in Green Bay, recently asked his rookie first-round pick to play faster and not think too much. The Ole Miss product responded with some big practices in training camp, including catching a touchdown to win a two-minute drill, but Friday night was all about translating it to game speed. Engram is currently listed on the depth chart behind veteran Rhett Ellison, whose blocking complements Engram’s playmaking ability at the position. While Ellison tied for a team-high three receptions for 20 yards, Engram’s first and only catch was an 11-yard gain late in the first half. He was targeted twice overall.

>> WATCH GIANTS VS. STEELERS HIGHLIGHTS

“This stuff, you can’t put into words,” Engram said. “This feeling, this dream come true. And to be out here with these guys, it was really exciting. I can’t honestly put it into words. It was just a really unique and amazing feeling. I felt really at home out there. I felt really at home, I felt comfortable and I can’t wait to just keep building on tonight for the rest of the season.”

DT Dalvin Tomlinson

Depth chart: RDT2
Preseason Week 1: 4 TCKLS (2 SOLO)

Tomlinson was drafted to help fill one of the few holes on an elite defense, which was created by the departure of Johnathan Hankins in free agency. On the first unofficial depth chart, Jay Bromley was listed on the first team opposite All-Pro Damon Harrison. Tomlinson was behind Bromley, and Robert Thomas trailed Harrison. While the competition continues, you can expect to see each of them plenty as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo rotates the big men in and out. While Bromley staked his claim with three tackles, including one for loss, Tomlinson held his own and recorded four tackles while Pittsburgh managed just 10 first downs on the night.

“I feel like [being the starter is] the long-run goal, the long-term goal,” Tomlinson said after this first preseason game. “As of right now, I’m just trying to improve and get better each and every day, and then hopefully I can get the starting job when the season starts.”

In the meantime, he has a talented group on defense to mentor him.

“It’s kind of like the brotherhood back at Alabama,” he said. “Just to come here, be with a great defense, and have the older guys just keep helping you get better each and every day, it’s just a great feeling.”

QB Davis Webb

Depth chart: QB4
Preseason Week 1: 8/16, 67 YDS, 61.2 RTG          

The third-round pick’s practice reps have been limited mostly to a seven-on-seven drill called “opportunity,” which is designed to give younger players a chance to show what they’ve got. While his team reps have been scarce, Webb did get a shot at running the two-minute drill in the final full practice before the preseason opener. Webb is playing behind Josh Johnson and Geno Smith, who are competing to be Eli Manning’s backup. Manning got Friday night off, resulting in a start for Johnson. Smith took over late in the first half, and Webb anchored. Entering with 6:39 left in the game, he led the final two drives, which resulted in 58 yards on 17 plays. 

“I thought he had some ups and downs in there,” McAdoo said. “He competed nicely, came out of the pocket, had some chances to make some plays. He did fairly well.”

RB Wayne Gallman

Depth chart: RB5
Preseason Week 1: 5 CAR, 11 YDS; 1 REC, 4 YDS

Gallman, who left Clemson as one of the most productive running backs in school history, is part of a backfield now headed by second-year pro Paul Perkins. The new-look group managed 73 yards on 23 carries (3.2 average) on Friday night. Gallman had a long run of seven yards in his debut and also notched a reception for four yards. 

“He’s everything that I expected,” Perkins said of Gallman earlier in camp. “He’s awesome, has tremendous burst, speed, agility, vision. He has long arms to keep defenders off of him. He’s a smart guy, so a student of the game, truly.”


DE Avery Moss

Depth chart: RDE4
Preseason Week 1: 2 TCKL (1 SOLO)

Despite leaving Tuesday’s practice with a shoulder issue, Moss was able to make his debut. While fellow defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had the night off, the Giants recorded six tackles for loss, including three sacks. Moss is looking to become a key part of the rotation of pass rushers to give Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon a breather or two throughout the course of a game.

OT Adam Bisnowaty

Depth chart: RT2
Preseason Week 1: Replaced Bobby Hart in 2nd quarter.

As a whole, the Giants allowed seven sacks and gained 73 yards on the ground against the Steelers. After the starters played the first quarter, the second-team offensive line came in. That included sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty, who has been backing up Bobby Hart at right tackle all summer. McAdoo likes the competition building from that second group, particularly on the right side. Meanwhile, undrafted rookie Chad Wheeler is working behind Ereck Flowers at left tackle and got a chance to run with the first team this past week in practice.

“They are two scrappy, young guys,” McAdoo said. “Wheeler is a natural player out there, he moves his feet very easily. Bisnowaty is a physical player. He works hard in the run game. He needs to improve his techniques in the passing game.”