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Fact or Fiction: Projecting rookie ceilings, depth chart

FACT-OR-FICTION

The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The Giants will have at least three players on the 2022 PFWA All-Rookie team

Dan Salomone: Fact – With two picks in the Top 10 and five in the Top 100, it's not a stretch. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal are the obvious, and perhaps likeliest, candidates as the fifth and seventh overall selections, respectively. But big things could be in store for Wan'Dale Robinson, the second-round draft choice who can line up all over the field in a creative and aggressive offense.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Last season, three teams, all in the AFC, had three players on the roster: Browns, Chiefs, Dolphins. So it's not a rare occurrence, though only the Colts (four players) accomplished this feat in 2020. With 11 draft picks in the 2022 class, the Giants certainly have the volume to help that cause, but high volume alone doesn't guarantee anything. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal and Wan'Dale Robinson are strong candidates based on their projected playing time, but there's depth and competition at wide receiver (although health/durability is always a wild card). So let's lean more toward a maximum of two than three All-Rookie selections.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This was a tough one. There is a decent chance that the Giants have two selections, as it would surprise no one to see Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal earn that honor. In fact, the two first-round picks were recently named to NFL.com's preseason All-Rookie team, but getting a third player honored might be difficult. Wan'Dale Robinson has some very tough competition at wide receiver, while Joshua Ezeudu and Cor'Dale Flott may not see a ton of playing time at the start of the year. Of course, a Day 3 selection, such as Daniel Bellinger or even Micah McFadden could outperform his draft position and grab rookie honors. But only 28 players made the All-Rookie team in 2021, and to expect three Giants to make the team this year might be a bit of a stretch.

Saquon Barkley will lead the team in receptions this season

Dan Salomone: Fact – Barkley's 4.3 receptions per game is the sixth-highest average in Giants history. The five in front of him are either a wide receiver or tight end.

Lance Medow: Fiction – If Saquon Barkley leads the team in receptions, it's not a great sign for the offense. Barkley topped the charts in that category in 2018 with 91 catches - but Odell Beckham Jr. missed four games and OBJ had three more targets than Saquon. With that being said, that team went 5-11 and the offense finished in the middle of the pack. Although the targets and receptions will be spread across the board, it's much more likely one of the receivers leads the team in catches than Saquon. Also, be aware a running back didn't even finish in the top three in receptions on the Bills nor the Chiefs in each of the last four seasons.

Matt Citak: Fact – Barkley led the Giants with 91 receptions in 2018, which was the last time he was fully healthy for a season. Even last year when he only played in 13 games, the running back's 41 receptions ranked second, just five catches behind team leader Evan Engram. One of Barkley's biggest strengths is his ability in the passing game, and throughout the off-season program, it was clear the new coaching staff plans to take advantage of his receiving skills. Now entering the season fully healthy, the 25-year-old back will look to return to the form that helped him win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year a few seasons ago, and that starts with his role in the passing game.

Take a look at rare photos of New York Giants training camps through the years.

Edge rusher is the deepest position group heading into the season

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Pretty much everything that could go wrong last season did go wrong, especially when it came to the wide receiver corps. But that doesn't mean there isn't talent. Throw in second-round pick Wan'Dale Robinson, and this could be a bounce-back year for the group. Just as important as health is the new system under Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka. On the Giants Huddle podcast this week, the receivers gushed about the freedom they have and how they can get space starting with pre-snap motions.

Lance Medow: Fiction – It's very hard for me to make a case for edge rusher when there's a bit of youth and uncertainty behind the projected starters. Elerson Smith's sample size is tiny while Quincy Roche and Oshane Ximines have shown some flashes. On top of that, veterans Jalyn Holmes and Jihad Ward haven't piled up huge sack numbers. So go with wide receiver as the deepest position group based on the talent, experience and versatility. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, C.J. Board and Collin Johnson are returning, with the additions of rookie Wan'Dale Robinson, Richie James and Robert Foster (the latter two bring special teams experience to the table).

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants' edge rushers have a chance to be very good this season. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari represent the team's most talented edge duo in the last decade. Thibodeaux is the team's highest drafted pass rusher in years, selected fifth overall, while Ojulari just broke the franchise's "official" rookie sack record last season with eight. Add in guys like Jihad Ward, Elerson Smith and Quincy Roche, and it's easy to see how the edge rushers are the Giants' deepest position group heading into the season.

The top active Giant on your Fourth of July BBQ invite list is Dexter Lawrence

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Nobody wants to go bankrupt, so go with Julian Love. His versatility and can-do attitude would be extremely helpful. He'd bring a good dessert, hop on the grill if needed, entertain the guests, assist your grandma out of the car, and probably even help you clean up. And he'd do it all with a smile on his face. He would bring a good energy to the party.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Dexter Lawrence has a great personality and would be very high on the list, but let's give the slight edge to Jon Feliciano. Like Lawrence, offensive linemen clearly have a strong appetite, but anyone who proudly wears the nickname "dirtbag" like a badge of honor earns a spot at this barbecue. From interviewing many different players across the league, it's also easy to see that offensive linemen are extremely smart and insightful and provide some great stories.

Matt Citak: Fact – If you have listened to any interview of Dexter Lawrence from the past few seasons, the defensive lineman's friendly personality is not difficult to spot. Lawrence has often been referred to by teammates as one of the funniest guys in the locker room, and more often than not, the 24-year-old is sporting a huge smile on his face while walking around the facility. The only concern is that - at 342 pounds – you'd have to get a little more food for the defensive lineman. Linebacker Jihad Ward came in a close second on this one.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.

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