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3 standout players from 3 weeks of OTAs

shepard-6917.jpg names three impact players from ten OTA practices:

The 10th and final OTA is in the books.

For the last three weeks, the New York Giants practiced at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as part of the offseason workout program. They wrap up the final phase next week with a three-day, mandatory minicamp, which will be the last time the team is together until reporting for training camp at the end of July.


All you can ask from a first-round draft pick during OTAs is to learn the system as much as possible and build some chemistry with the veterans. That's precisely what Evan Engram, the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has done since receiving the call in late April.

He also made plays along the way, including a red-zone touchdown in the OTA No. 9 while being covered by All-Pro safety Landon Collins. Tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride also praised Engram's willingness to block, something he was not asked to do heavily at Ole Miss. Engram said he wants to get the pads on to show his development in that area, but he'll have to wait until training camp.


The competition to back up Eli Manning will go down to the wire this summer if the quarterbacks keep playing the way they did for the past month. Of course, non-contact rules are an advantage for the offense, but Josh Johnson, Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb, who came on as of late, proved to be worthy backups.

Among the three, Johnson stood out and was consistent throughout his first OTAs with the team. Johnson, originally a fifth-round draft pick in 2008 who has played for eight other NFL organizations, signed with the Giants just before the start of the 2016 regular season, making this his first full offseason behind Manning. He regularly made our daily standouts list by throwing touchdowns from all angles and distances.


More often than not during OTAs, practice started with a Manning-to-Shepard connection. The quarterback and second-year receiver continue to build a great rapport, which produced 65 completions for 683 yards and eight touchdowns in Year 1. Now a sophomore, Shepard is fine-tuning his game, which includes an emphasis on yards after catch. Wide receivers coach Adam Henry also said Shepard playing outside a little bit more "could be in the cards" this season. Inside or outside, Shepard excelled this spring and was especially effective in the two-minute drill.

HONORABLE MENTION:CB Janoris Jenkins, WR Travis Rudolph, TE Matt LaCosse

BEST PLAY OF OTAs: In the second OTA practice, the 6-foot-4, 350-pound defensive tackle they call Damon "Snacks" Harrison made a play that will be tough to top for the rest of summer. After defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul stuffed a pass at the line of scrimmage, Harrison, who was named first-team All-Pro last year, laid out like a centerfielder to make the diving catch before the ball hit the ground. And you thought he was just a run-stuffer.   

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