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Cover 3: Matchups to watch at OTAs

The rookies are in the building for good and have been thrown in the deep end with the veterans, who are in the middle of the voluntary offseason workout program. Things get taken up a notch next week when the Giants will hold the first of 10 organized team activities (OTAs), in addition to mandatory minicamp.

In anticipation of the next phase of spring football, the Giants.com crew looks at the matchups to watch.

JOHN SCHMEELK: With no pads being worn and no contact allowed during OTAs, my attention will be on the wide receivers and the cornerbacks. I don’t know who DeAndre Baker is going to match up with, but whether it is Golden Tate or Sterling Shepard, that’s the receiver I will be watching. Both of those players are crafty route runners. They are quick and elusive, and will provide a big challenge to Baker. Without the ability to use physical contact at the line of scrimmage to his advantage, I want to see how Baker mirrors receivers without slowing them down with his hands. His ability to cover man-to-man will be key to the Giants’ defensive success this season.

DAN SALOMONE: It’s the quarterbacks. No. 10 vs. No. 8. The former first overall pick vs. the sixth. The two-timer Super Bowl MVP vs. his successor. From what we’ve seen and heard, Eli Manning and Daniel Jones are consummate pros who will never show on the outside the competitive fire that burns inside. For Manning, it’s the desire to be at his best in practice so the team can win as many games once the regular season comes along, thus keeping Jones on the sideline with a hat and clipboard. For Jones, it’s the opportunity to learn from and compete with one of nine 50,000-yard passers in the history of the NFL. Manning has gone through OTAs and training camps with quarterbacks drafted by the team behind him, but never one picked this high.

LANCE MEDOW: Given there’s no contact allowed during OTAs, you can’t get too excited about any of the matchups in the trenches. That’s why the area of the field to focus on is where the wide receivers line up against the corners. I’m most looking forward to first-round pick DeAndre Baker going head-to-head with either Sterling Shepard or Golden Tate. Baker was considered one of the best cover corners in college football during his Georgia tenure and didn’t allow a touchdown his final two seasons with the Bulldogs. What better way for Baker to test his skills early in his NFL career than going against the Giants’ top two receivers. With so many young corners on the roster, Baker has a great opportunity to separate himself from the rest of the pack by making a strong first impression once he mixes it up with the veterans.

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