Three Giants writers discuss their expectations as OTA's get underway:
Keep an eye on these 10 players when the Giants begin OTAs on Monday.
The New York Giants begin the final phase of the offseason workout program today with the first of 10 organized team activities (OTAs) at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. This is the first time the team practices together for the first time in 2017, so we asked our staffers what are they looking forward to finding out in the coming weeks.
In terms of the action on the field, the only place to look is the defensive backs against the wide receivers. The receivers are at an advantage since the DB's can't play bump and run at all due to contact rules, but they still compete against each other at a high level. In that same group, I'm also excited to see Brandon Marshall up close and personal. I was wowed by AJ Green when I watched him in the joint practices with the Bengals two years ago and I bet Marshall will be similar.
I also want to see Evan Engram run some routes against the Giants veteran defenders to see how his timed speed transfers to the field. Where he lines up and the formational creativity will be fun to see as well. In terms of the roster, it'll be interesting to see what the injured players (Darian Thompson, Shane Vereen) are doing. I also want to see how the Giants decide to rotate and position their offensive linemen to determine where players are competing for spots.
By no means is it even close to being close to being close to the final one, but I like to get a sense of the pecking order. During OTAs, we'll get a preview of what the coaches are thinking on the depth chart. We'll see, for example, where free-agent addition D.J. Fluker and sixth-round draft pick Adam Bisnowaty fit into the offensive line – what position, what string, etc.
The same can be applied across the board, but you always keep an eye on the competitions. Will B.J. Goodson move to the front of the line at middle linebacker? Who's going to start off with Damon Harrison on the top line at defensive tackle? How far along is Darian Thompson after his promising rookie year came to a close after two games because of injuries? These questions will start to be answered at OTAs as they set the table for training camp.
The first thing I always look for at OTAs is how much progress injured players from the previous season have made and how much they're taking part in on field activities/drills. Running back Shane Vereen, linebacker J.T. Thomas and second-year safety Darian Thompson all fall into that category this year. Vereen is looking to bounce back following a triceps injury that placed him on injured reserve twice and limited him to just five games, Thomas suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 and Thompson is recovering from a foot injury that cut his rookie season short after just two contests. One other player I'll be keeping close tabs on is tight end Matt LaCosse, who battled various injuries in each of the last two seasons and I think has a chance to secure a roster spot assuming he can prove durable.
Given there's no contact in OTAs, there's only so much you can take away with respect to the competitions at several positions but if there are any positions to watch for some additional info it's the wide receivers and defensive backs to observe where they are lining up, route running, speed and coverage skills. OTAs will be the first opportunity to see new wideout Brandon Marshall on the field as well as corner Valentino Blake, who will be competing for a spot on the depth chart behind the team's top three starters. I'm also anxious to see where certain offensive lineman line up, especially on the right side highlighted by D.J. Fluker, who has experience at both guard and tackle. That may tell a lot as to where the true competitions will take place in training camp. Lastly, I always like to see how the players, who just took part in rookie minicamp interact with the veterans. Will the vocal leaders amongst the rookies still show that assertiveness?