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Cover 3

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Cover 3: This Spring's breakout players


*Three Giants writers debate which under-the-radar player is primed for a big Spring: *

Later this month, the New York Giants will report for their offseason workout program, a voluntary nine-week stretch that is split into three phases: strength and conditioning; on-field workouts; and organized team activities (OTAs) that can include 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills.

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In between, the team will usher in its 2017 draft class as well as any undrafted rookie free agents.

It is an important time for everyone to come back together as coach Ben McAdoo lays out the plan for his second season as head coach. For players, it is also an opportunity to set the tone for competitions that will continue through this summer's training camp.

In this week's Cover 3 on, we asked our writers to discuss someone who is flying under the radar into spring. Here is what they had to say:

By John Schmeelk

It's hard to define "under the radar" these days, given how engaged fans are with every level of the team, but I would have to go with tight end Jerell Adams. There's no guarantee, despite the belief of many, that the Giants take a tight end in the draft. Considering the depth of the class, it might be likely, but that doesn't mean Adams won't have a chance to carve out a role for himself as both a blocker and a receiver in the offense. If the Giants decide to use more 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) this season, Adams could be a valuable cog being on the field at the same time as Rhett Ellison. If Adams continues to progress as a blocker, he and Ellison could be the spark to help the running game. His 6-foot-5, 247-pound frame could also make him a dangerous target down the seam. Adams showed promise as a rookie in limited playing time, and if he shows enough in the spring, he might be on the field a lot more in 2017.  

By Dan Salomone

An X-factor this spring will be linebacker B.J. Goodson. As a rookie fourth-round draft choice last year, Goodson was a vital special teamer, but he didn't see the field on defense much while playing behind a stout group of veterans. It's nothing he wasn't used to. Goodson waited in line behind future draft picks at Clemson before taking over the reins and leading his team in tackles in 2015. By and large, the Giants return the core of their defense that allowed the fewest offensive touchdowns in 2016; Kelvin Sheppard, a free agent, remains unsigned at this point. Last season Sheppard played the traditional middle linebacker role, which is where Goodson potentially could take over in his second season. We'll see what the coaches have in mind when they roll out the defense for the first time in OTAs.

By Lance Medow

I'm going to go with tight end Matt LaCosse, who has been slowed by injuries over the last two seasons.  The former Illinois standout originally joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2015 but was released after suffering a hamstring injury very early in training camp.  He then rejoined the Giants in early November of 2015 on the practice squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster in late December when he played in two games.  Last year, LaCosse spent the entire season on injured reserve because of a knee issue, but the fact that the Giants put him on IR is perhaps a sign they believe he has promise.

He clearly hasn't seen much time on the field and has a modest NFL resume, but LaCosse has the ability to block and stretch the field as a receiver and was in line to contribute before suffering another injury.  He had been splitting first-team reps with Larry Donnell and Will Tye throughout training camp.  With the competition at tight end wide open entering the spring, LaCosse has a great opportunity to showcase his skillset and prove to the coaching staff he can stay on the field.  Given players don't wear pads in the spring, you can only tell so much, but for LaCosse, the big step for him is to pile up the reps and continue to build chemistry with Eli Manning.  He's the player I'd keep close tabs on during OTAs and minicamp.

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