EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree' Jackson each entered the NFL as 2017 draft choices, but they never faced each other until they became teammates this offseason. Now their practice skirmishes are quickly becoming one of the most entertaining stories in the Giants' training camp.
Golladay is challenged whether he lines up against Pro Bowler James Bradberry on the left side or Jackson on the right, and not just because the corners are each highly skilled.
"Those two guys are totally different players," Golladay said. "Adoree' is a little smaller (5-11), Bradberry a little more my height (6-1) and more of a physical guy. Man, it's great competition when I go against both of them.
"The noticeable difference is just height and length. Taller guys, footwork is a little bit different, even though J.B. has great footwork. Adoree' is a little bit quicker, but both are great competition."
That's been on display during the first week in practice, as the Giants' standout receiver and corners go at each other as if they are playing in a postseason game.
"We're gonna compete, that's all I'm gonna say," said Bradberry, who smiled when asked if he would let Golladay catch any passes in camp. Golladay's retort? "I might let him break up a few passes, periodically," he said.
Maybe he'll extend the same privilege to Jackson.
"To be able to go against him is a privilege," said Jackson, who played his first four NFL seasons for the Tennessee Titans. "To have those different aspects – you've got Kenny, you've got (wide receiver John] Ross (III), you've got Shep (Sterling Shepard), you've got Darius (Slayton), you've got (tight end Evan) Engram. You've got all those different guys out there, so it's just a blessing to have that versatility so that you can cover and see what you need to work on. That's what I take out every time I'm covering everybody out there, what you need to work on for this type of skillset or this type of skillset."
View the best photos from Friday's training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
In four seasons in Detroit, Golladay caught 183 passes for 3,068 yards (16.8-yard avg.) and 21 touchdowns, twice exceeded 1,000 yards and led the NFL with 11 scoring receptions in 2019. At 6-4 and 213 pounds, he is taller and heavier than Shepard and Slayton, the team's other frontline receivers.
"First time I'd seen him, I didn't know how tall he was," Jackson said. "I'm not going to lie, I didn't know how tall he was. Someone was like, 'Yeah, that's Kenny.' I was like walking down the floor to him thinking, 'Okay, he's not—' but then when I keep walking up, alright I'm looking up now. So Golladay, he's a statue, pretty tall."
While Golladay has been competing against Jackson, Bradberry and the Giants' other defensive backs, he is working closely with quarterback Daniel Jones. The players first bonded during the offseason and continue to strengthen it not just in team sessions, but in post-practice private workouts.
"Really just reps," Golladay said of the one-on-one work. "Trying to get on the same page."
The quarterback and receiver hope to enhance their on-field chemistry.
"Pretty much so it can just be like clockwork," Golladay said. "Anything you do a lot of times, you get comfortable with doing it. Pretty much, when we do extra stuff after practice, it's so we can be better the next day at it or whenever it comes up."
That commitment to do whatever it takes to succeed is one reason coach Joe Judge was eager to add Golladay to the team.
"One thing I've been very encouraged with Kenny is, first off, the guy is tremendous to work with in meetings," Judge said. "This guy is keyed in, focused, locked in, like he's staring through you the whole time. He's absorbing everything. He's very, very ahead on how he pays attention in meetings and he carries it over to the field. Mentally, he's really caught up really fast on what we're asking him to do. He was good in the spring, as far as working.
"The time throughout the summer with Daniel and the other receivers, I believe that helped him and all the other receivers, as well. He practices really hard, that's something that's very important. When you look at our guys, they practice hard. A lot of times anybody new comes into our program, sometimes there's a learning curve. I'd say with Kenny, he's really jumped off as of right now. We go through every day, in terms of what it looks like with the eye test, but then also going through the GPS numbers, the volume, the yardage, the intensity, the high intensity reps he's had, and he's always at the top of the scale right there amongst a couple other guys."
The coach is equally enamored with the player who spends much of practice trying to prevent Golladay from catching the ball.
"We were talking about Adoree' early on, he can play inside or outside, he's an experienced player, he's an intelligent player," Judge said. "I've known about him from playing against him throughout the years, and he brings a different element as well as a possible return specialist and things of that nature."
It's clear both Golladay and Jackson have delivered an infusion of talent and determination to their respective units.