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Cover 3: Under-the-radar breakout candidates


In this week's edition of Cover 3, the crew picks under-the-radar players you should be watching.

John Schmeelk: Darnay Holmes. Rookie cornerbacks historically struggle in their rookie season, but Holmes was very solid playing one of the most difficult position in any NFL defense - the nickel corner. He showed the ability and willingness to tackle and even flashed some pass rush ability off the edge.

As a coverage player, Holmes was not tested as often one might think because the Giants often played zone defense. He held his own when asked to play true man-to-man defense in the slot. With a second year of seasoning and the Giants likely playing more man-to-man this year, Holmes will have the opportunity to have a breakout season.

Dan Salomone: Leave it to Patrick Graham, a Yalie, to be drawn to a player's artwork during a Zoom meeting. In his world, you get on his good side by giving him interior decorating connections. That's just what Ifeadi Odenigbo, a free-agent addition from the Vikings, did for his defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Of course, he also brings something to the table as a 6-foot-3, 258-pound Northwestern product with 10.5 sacks and 28 quarterback hits in 32 career NFL games. The Giants' haul in the draft and free agency received a lot of attention, but Odenigbo's name isn't mentioned as often as it should be.

"Smart guy," Graham said on the second day of minicamp. "I like the way he plays football. He has versatility inside and outside on the line. Natural pass rush ability. Plays strong with his hands. Physical edge setter and a great attitude. He's always soaking it up. He's very serious, but he could play around a little bit. He was joking with me yesterday. I was like, 'I don't feel your energy out here.' He's like, 'Coach, I'm focused' and gave me a little shove. I definitely felt it. Being down to this weight, I definitely felt it. I like him. He's a good football player for the reasons why we like those guys, plays with his hands, plays with his base, plays with good discipline and all that stuff right there."

Lance Medow: When there's so much player movement and changes across rosters throughout the off-season, it's easy to overlook those who are coming off injuries – so let's pick Lorenzo Carter. Last season, he was limited to just five games due to a torn Achilles and instead of Year 3 being a potential breakout campaign, that opportunity could present itself in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract.

Carter has shown flashes in previous seasons, but hasn't put it all together yet. After his first two seasons, the Giants changed their coaching staff. This time, Carter can be more comfortable with what second-year defensive coordinator Patrick Graham expects from him. The Giants are looking for an individual to complement Leonard Williams in the pass rush department and Carter has a golden opportunity to assume that role if he can stay healthy and prove to be a consistently disruptive player.

The Giants take the field at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for Day 2 of minicamp

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