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Fact or Fiction: Biggest standouts at training camp


CB Darnay Holmes was the breakout player of training camp.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Holmes was probably the most productive player in the entire defensive backfield during training camp. No other player got their hands on as many footballs as he did throughout practice. At 5-10 and 195 pounds, I thought his frame might be an issue in the NFL, but he appears more than stout enough to hold up with a prominent role throughout the season. Finding a reliable nickel cornerback can be tough, since that player often has to deal with the quickest receiver on the other team, a player who is offered a two-way go on every snap with no sideline as a virtual defender. If Holmes can fill that role as a rookie it would be a boon for the Giants' defense.

Lance Medow: Fact - This year's fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes made a name for himself during training camp, thanks to his aggressive play and ball-hawk qualities. You never know how rookies will adjust to their first camp, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, but that wasn't an issue for the former UCLA standout as he constantly flashed throughout practices and brought a consistent intensity to the table. The transition from college to the pros has gone rather smoothly for a player who didn't have the luxury of a typical NFL off-season and he took full advantage of his opportunities. Holmes collected eight interceptions in three seasons at UCLA and you got a glimpse of why he was able to post those stats during the course of camp.

Re-live all the action through the top 100 photos from the Giants' 2020 training camp.

S Jabrill Peppers was the most impressive player on defense.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Lorenzo Carter's performance in the scrimmage last week made him a real consideration for me. He got to the quarterback consistently, winning on both sides of the line and using different pass rush moves. He wasn't quite as consistent throughout practice in August. I will give that prize to Leonard Williams, who was a daily disruptive presence up front, especially against the run. It remains to be seen if he will turn his athleticism and disruption into pass rush production, but he was a lot to deal with for the Giants' offensive line this summer.

Lance Medow: Fact - You can make a case for Darnay Holmes, and Lorenzo Carter has also shown some flashes; but I'll give Jabrill Peppers the edge because of his consistency. He and Evan Engram pushed each other on a daily basis as they tried to improve and get ready for the upcoming season. Peppers put his stamp on the defense at camp, whether it was hustling to make a stop in the open field or coming through with a key deflection. He was the leader of a very young group.

TE Evan Engram was the most impressive player on offense.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Even though it is very difficult to judge a running back during training camp, I have to give the nod to Saquon Barkley. He is as explosive and elusive as ever. I like to watch him in 1-on-1 receiving drills because I know linebackers have no chance of staying with him. It doesn't matter who tries to cover him - they can't. Barkley could have the best season of his young career, especially as a receiver who catches passes down the field. Nick Gates would be another nominee here as someone who showed no visible problems to the naked eye adjusting to his new position at center.

Lance Medow: Fiction - This isn't a reflection of Evan Engram. It's more the inability to overlook Corey Coleman. When you have Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, it's very easy to not pay much attention to the rest of the receiving corps, but Coleman provided many reasons to keep close tabs on him throughout camp. After tearing his ACL during the very first training camp practice in 2019, Coleman looks like his old self prior to the injury. The speed is there as well as the confidence to go up and make plays for the quarterback. You can see why Coleman was a former first-round pick. He has all the talent and can contribute on special teams. It's just a matter of him staying healthy.

The toughest roster decisions will be at wide receiver.

John Schmeelk: Fact - I feel very good about who the Giants' top four receivers are going to be: Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton and Corey Coleman. Beyond that, anyone's guess is as good as mine. I can find arguments to keep anyone from Alex Bachman, David Sills, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor or C.J. Board. Johnny Holton is also a possibility, even though we haven't seen him practice with the team much yet. It might come down to which players the front office determines are most likely to pass through waivers onto the practice squad.

Lance Medow: Fact - My response to the previous statement ties in very nicely to this one thanks to Corey Coleman's strong camp, but the depth chart goes way beyond him. Former practice squad players David Sills and Alex Bachman have stood out, as well as undrafted rookie Austin Mack and former Jaguars wideout C.J. Board. If the Giants elect to keep six receivers, that means there's, likely, only two more spots up for grab. You also can't overlook undrafted rookie and Mack's Ohio State teammate Binjimen Victor, who is the tallest receiver in the group at 6-4 and newly-signed veteran Johnny Holton (6-3). I don't think there's another position on the roster that presents as much depth and versatility. Having several options to choose from is a very good problem to have and whoever doesn't make the final 53-man roster, will be in play to join an extended 16-man practice squad. For the sake of continuity, that's a positive development for the Giants.


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