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Mailbag: Predicting the Giants' next breakout lineman


Rocky in Vermont: Games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage. The Giants' offensive and defensive lines are loaded with young unproven players. Who will be the team's next Pro Bowl lineman?

John Schmeelk: The defensive line has two players who have shown what they are in the NFL: Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams. The former is an excellent run-stuffing nose tackle, while the latter is a good run defender who can put pressure on the quarterback, even if he doesn't put up big sack numbers. Dexter Lawrence is just entering his second year but showed enough for people to be confident he will be a good player.

Kevin Zeitler is the only true veteran presence on the offensive line. Cameron Fleming has a lot of reps in the league, but has never been a full-time starter. Nick Gates and Andrew Thomas are very young and growing into their positions. There should be optimism Will Hernandez can take a jump in his third season. It will be essential for this group to find continuity quickly in a year with no off-season.

Ernie in Texas: Why waive Corey Coleman? I thought he was outstanding in camp.

Gordon in New Hampshire: Why cut a tough kid like Ryan Connelly? I realize he got hurt last year. Is it an injury situation?

John Schmeelk: Joe Judge didn't go into great detail on why the organization decided to let go of Connelly and Coleman. Both players were not waived-injured, which means they were both healthy despite coming off of season-ending injuries last year. Coleman made a lot of plays during camp, but there's a great chance the coaches saw something that we couldn't watching from the patio. They have a lot of data and insight from working with the players up close that others do not.

For linebackers, it is difficult to judge how they are performing in camp practices. True game situations are usually needed. Like with Coleman, the coaches are going to have a much better idea of how a player like Connelly is performing than the media watching from afar. There is also the matter of how the two players are doing in the classroom, which the media has no way to know about.

AJ in South Carolina: Do you think the Giants have the best secondary in the NFC East on paper?

John Schmeelk: A secondary is only as good as its weakest link. Until we know who the second outside cornerback is going to be (Corey Ballentine is listed on the unofficial depth chart) and how well they are going to play, I can't label them the best in the division. It is worth noting that all the secondaries in the NFC East have question marks, which is why rating them this early in the season would be foolish. I do feel good about the Giants' safeties, which could be the best group in the division if the young players continue to improve.

• The Giants will hold a virtual Season Kickoff Event presented by Investors Bank featuring several players and team executives Thursday, September 10, at 7 p.m. ET. The event will stream LIVE on, the Giants Mobile App, and the Giants YouTube channel. CLICK FOR DETAILS

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.


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