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Fact or Fiction: Most impressive spring player

Running back Saquon Barkley was the most impressive offensive player this spring.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I think it was Sterling Shepard. Shepard looked like one of the best players in the spring last year too, but then an ankle injury and the general issues of the Giants offense robbed him of what I thought would be a breakout sophomore campaign. He might not have a breakout campaign in terms of raw numbers this year because the ball will be spread around to all the talented players on offense, but I think his play will reach another level. No one gets more separation than Shepard at practice and he rarely drops the football. I can't wait to see him on the field in real games at 100%. He was my top guy during the offseason program.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - There's no contact during the spring so when you say "most impressive" keep in mind the evaluation period doesn't provide a great deal of material to truly project what a player will do during the regular season.  When they put the pads on in training camp that's a far more effective indicator.  With that being said, Saquon Barkley has taken advantage of all his spring work.  He's been involved in the pass game and has showcased his quickness and elusiveness.  Most important, Barkley seems to embrace his role as a pass protector based on him understanding his assignments in practice and mentally taking notes of how Eli Manning calls for changes in protections and makes adjustments at the line.

Linebacker Alec Ogletree was the most impressive defensive player this spring.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I have to go with Janoris Jenkins. It was clear he was the best cover guy on the field during OTA's and now that he is healthy I don't see why he shouldn't have a great year. James Bettcher wants his guys to play physical man to man defense and I think Jenkins is the guy to do it. The other guy I considered here was Olivier Vernon, who I thought did well against Nate Solder but with no pads and the offensive linemen being prohibited from using their strength to their advantage, I stopped myself from putting OV at the top of my list.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Regardless of what Alec Ogletree has shown this spring, it's hard to say a linebacker was the most impressive defensive player given you can't hit anyone now and tackling is the most important staple of playing that position.  Instead, members of the secondary can show much more.  That's why I'd say Eli Apple or Janoris Jenkins have jumped out the most compared to the rest of the group.  Both players have been active and opportunistic this spring and Apple is taking full advantage of a clean slate.

The biggest storyline of spring football was the emergence of Jon Halapio at center.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I know the question was whether it was the "biggest" storyline, but it was definitely the most surprising storyline, so I'll go "fact" here. I think almost everyone thought Brett Jones had a stranglehold on the center position, but Halapio has emerged as a real threat to start there. Halapio actually credits Jones for helping him improve to the point where he can be in this competition. The two guys are best friends and great people. I'm going to enjoy them competing with each other in the summer once the pads come on. (The starting safety spot next to Landon is probably the "biggest" storyline since it is wide open with so many competitors but I'm a sucker for these two guys!)

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Although Pat Shurmur said not to read too much into the rotation at center and on the offensive line during the spring, it's hard to overlook the fact that a player, who was on the practice squad last season and didn't start until late in the year, has been receiving reps with the first team.  Halapio is no lock to start over Brett Jones but he's at least setting the stage for a battle during training camp.  The Giants' goal this spring was to give players as many reps as possible at various spots, specifically on the o-line, but given there's a new GM and new coaching staff, you can't assume any returning starter from 2017 is just being penciled into the 2018 lineup.

The player you're most excited to see with the pads on at training camp is rookie guard Will Hernandez.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Will Hernandez has looked fine in the spring but we haven't even really been able to see him do what he does best, hot and move people. I can't wait to see him unleash his strength and nastiness when full contact is allowed at practice. It will be fun to watch. The other two guys I'm excited to see are Ereck Flowers and how he does at right tackle when full contact is allowed, and BJ Hill, who should be able to show his entire repertoire in full pads.   

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Given all the changes this offseason, I'm looking forward to see every offensive lineman in pads but if I were to pick one, I'd say Ereck Flowers over the rest of the group.  Unlike Hernandez, Flowers is moving to a new position, which he hasn't played since he was a freshman at Miami in 2012.  Will Hernandez is some physical specimen even without pads on so I'm simply expecting all of his toughness to once again be on full display but from a physicality and technical perspective, Flowers is the player to watch

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