Photos of OL Ereck Flowers at Giants Rookie Mini-camp
Football is one step closer.
The New York Giants are set to begin organized team practice activities (OTAs) on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, marking the third and final phase of the offseason workout program.
Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs with the Giants holding their sessions May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. No live contact is allowed, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
Here are five Giants players to keep an eye on during OTAs:
1. Ereck Flowers
For the first time since acquiring Eli Manning in the 2004 NFL Draft, the Giants held a top-10 pick this year, using it on offensive lineman Ereck Flowers of Miami. As the ninth overall selection,
Flowers was already expected to compete for a starting tackle spot, but that got turned up a notch when left tackle Will Beatty suffered a torn pectoral muscle last week that caused him to undergo surgery. Beatty, who hadn't missed a game since 2011, will be out for approximately five to six months as he recovers.
The Giants have decisions to make over the coming weeks and months, but one thing is for certain: they believe Flowers has the "potential, the toughness, the smarts and the competitiveness to be a franchise left tackle," according to vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross. After getting his feet wet during rookie minicamp earlier this month, Flowers will now be thrown in the deep end with the veterans.
2. Marshall Newhouse
In addition to signing running back Shane Vereen, wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris and linebackers Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas III, the Giants opened up free agency by adding Marshall Newhouse, a veteran offensive lineman who is entering his sixth NFL season with his third franchise (Packers, Bengals, and now the Giants).
As the roster currently stands behind Beatty, Newhouse has the most experience at left tackle, having started 26 games at the position in addition to eight on the right side.
Meanwhile, Newhouse, who was drafted by the Packers in 2010, has a familiarity with second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who was an assistant coach in Green Bay for eight seasons before joining the Giants.
Another lineman everyone will be curious to see line up is Justin Pugh, who has been the Giants' starting right tackle since he was drafted 19th overall in 2013.
3. Landon Collins
Photos of Safety Landon Collins in Giants Blue
After the Giants traded up to draft Collins with the first pick of the second round, the All-American safety out of Alabama was disappointed he did not go at least one spot higher on the first day and vowed to use it as a source of motivation.
The Giants hope he does as they return no starting safeties from last season.
Collins impressed scouts during his pre-draft interviews and has the temperament to make an instant impact, which he started to show at rookie minicamp. Like Flowers, Collins will now cut his teeth with the veterans starting tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Nat Berhe is another player who has a lot to gain in OTAs heading into training camp. The fellow safety earned his stripes on special teams as a rookie last year, and like he said, he wouldn't be here if he couldn't play.
4. Dwayne Harris
The league is well aware of what Harris can do on special teams, but he could be in line for more with his new team.
When the Giants signed the former Cowboy this offseason, they thought he could contribute more on offense as a wide receiver than in the past when he was looked at mainly as a special teams ace. Now it's up to head coach Tom Coughlin, McAdoo, and wide receivers coach Sean Ryan to find the right situations to insert him into the offense.
"That is exactly why I chose to come here," Harris said. "They do look at me as a receiver and the things I can do on the offensive end. The things I did in Dallas limited me because I was doing a lot of special teams work and then outside of that I was blocking for DeMarco Murray. I was one of the guys who was on the field all the time except when the defense was on the field. Being able to come here and show people I can play receiver and the things I can do when I have the ball in my hands is going to be fun for me. I think it is going to be fun for the organization to see what I can do."
5. Damontre Moore
Could this be his year? He and the Giants hope so. Last season the 2013 third-round draft choice notched the first 5.5 sacks of his career, but he could be in line for more this year as he continues to try to gain the trust of his coaches. Part of that is due to the release of longtime Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who racked up 38.5 sacks over nine seasons. Meanwhile, Moore will likely compete for a starting job on the left side with Robert Ayers and George Selvie, who signed this offseason with the team as a free agent.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked about his expectations for Moore.
"I'm not sure I have any expectations with all the guys," he responded. "I said this to the group, that the main objective right now, from now until February, is to be better today than we were yesterday. I know that sounds cliché-ish, but I think that's where we should be right now."