Three Giants writers discuss the play of the rookies after four games:
At the quarter-pole of the 2017 season, our Giants writers assess this year's rookie class and how the first-year pros can impact the team moving forward.
The Giants' rookie class has three members playing significant roles thus far. Wayne Gallman got his first game action this past week and showed some flashes of potential. Evan Engram has played as advertised and been very effective at tight end. I'll focus on Dalvin Tomlinson.
In the larger picture of the team's slumping run defense, he is rightfully lumped into that issue with the rest of the defense. As an individual, though, he is playing just as he did when he was at Alabama, which is a good thing. He is not being moved off his spot, and he is showing flashes of being able to push the pocket.
Pro Football Focus has him graded as the 19th interior defensive lineman in football, which for a rookie, is fantastic.
Eli Manning was on his way to leading the team in rushing on Sunday, but then birthday boy Wayne Gallman came along. With Orleans Darkwa sidelined with a back injury, an opportunity opened for the fourth-round draft pick to make his NFL debut. Gallman's first NFL rush -- and his lone attempt of the first half -- was a two-yard gain. The Giants featured him down the stretch after starter Paul Perkins left with a rib injury, and Gallman ended up with a team-high 11 carries for 42 yards. His biggest play, though, was a four-yard touchdown catch that put the Giants ahead late in the third quarter.
Gallman said after the game he took a lot of first-team reps in practice last week as the Giants looked for a spark in the run game. Coaches often go with the hot hand when it comes to running backs, and it looks like Gallman, who turned 23 on Sunday, is heating up. He's also the healthiest at this point.
When you take a player in the first round, you expect that individual to contribute in Year 1, and through the first four games, tight end Evan Engram has lived up to expectations. He is tied for second on the team with Brandon Marshall in targets (30) and third in receptions (19) and receiving yards (200). Engram has quickly built chemistry with Eli Manning, and most importantly, the two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback has not shied from looking the way of the former Ole Miss standout, meaning the trust factor is there as we've seen with Engram's knack for making difficult catches in traffic. Engram's stats have essentially increased in each of the first four games and he was targeted a season-high 11 times against the Bucs in Week 4.
Fourth-round pick Wayne Gallman was active for the first time this season against Tampa Bay. The former Clemson running back took full advantage of his opportunity as he provided a spark for the ground game when he replaced the injured Paul Perkins. Gallman seemed to have a good feel for finding the holes and was decisive with his assignments in pass protection. He even caught a touchdown pass. Depending on the health of the backfield moving forward, Gallman will likely see an expanded role.