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Mailbag: Options at RG, Darius Slayton's role


Guy in Florida: What possible candidates are on the roster to play right guard? I am particularly interested in Kyle Murphy and the two undrafted rookies the Giants signed in May.

John Schmeelk: At this point there isn't much to say about undrafted free agents Brett Heggie and Jake Burton because there haven't been any padded practices yet to see how they can perform against NFL-caliber defensive linemen. Heggie started 31 games at the University of Florida over five years, starting 15 games at left guard, four at right guard, and 12 at center. In his redshirt senior season, he started all 12 games at center and most analysts consider him a center. Jake Burton played his graduate transfer season at Baylor and started his final eight games at right guard. From 2018-2019, Burton started 23 of 24 games at right guard for UCLA. Murphy was an undrafted free agent from Rhode Island in 2020. He started his final 21 games at Rhode Island as a left tackle but also logged nine starts at left guard, five at right tackle and one at center in his four collegiate seasons.

Then there are veterans Will Hernandez, Zach Fulton, Jonotthan Harrison, Kenny Wiggins, and Chad Slade. There's also a chance many of these same players will have a chance to compete with Shane Lemieux at left guard, as well.

Jeffrey in Connecticut: What role do you think Darius Slaton will have in the receiving corps?

John Schmeelk: Slayton is probably the fastest player of the Giants' top four receivers (Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay) and has already accomplished much on the outside as a pro. Teams need big plays to score consistently and with the attention of defenses directed elsewhere, Slayton could be a big-play threat. He may not get 70 or 80 catches, but his catches will be impactful and help the team get the ball in the end zone.

Jim in Texas: A recent article listed Sterling Shepard among the possible punt returners. Why not Dante Pettis? He's right up there with the most productive NCAA punt returners of all time. Pettis is fast, tough and has really good hands.

John Schmeelk: If Pettis makes the final roster, he will have an opportunity to compete for that spot given his skill set and history of success there. You can expect rookie Kadarius Toney to have every opportunity to contribute as a returner, especially since he will be splitting time at wide receiver. Newly acquired John Ross, if healthy, could get an opportunity, too. Jabrill Peppers is also a very talented return man. So it would be surprising if Shepard was anything more than an emergency option.

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