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Mailbag: Hidden gems on Giants roster


Will in New York: Nick Gates is interchangeable at both tackle and guard. Will he have a more active role at either or both positions in 2020?

John Schmeelk: I think you actually left a position out: center. It appears as though Gates will have a chance to play all three positions this year. An offensive lineman who can back up all five spots on the offensive line is invaluable and provides roster flexibility, especially on gameday. Despite the fact that Gates experience on the field is at guard and tackle, his best chance to start may be at center.

The Giants have three candidates on the roster to start at center this year: veteran Spencer Pulley, rookie Shane Lemieux and Gates. Dave Gettleman has indicated there is a chance Jon Halapio returns to the roster depending on how his injured Achilles is healing in June. The organization believes Gates has the ability to play center and if he does well enough, it could be his way to start for the team in 2020.

John in New York: What are the odds that one of the College free agents becomes the next Victor Cruz? Why did wide receiver Derrick Dillon from LSU, who ran a 4.28 at LSU's closed Pro Day, fall out of the draft?

John Schmeelk: I think predicting, or even asking, any of the undrafted college free agents to become a Pro Bowl level player is making a huge leap. Those types of players do not come along very often as undrafted players. If some of the undrafted free agents can become starters, important situational players or vital reserves, then the college scouting staff is doing their job well.

As for Dillon, he probably wasn't drafted for the same reason he didn't get an invite to either the Senior Bowl or the NFL Combine: a lack of college production. He managed 51 catches for 634 yards and four touchdowns over his four-year career at LSU. As a senior, he had 15 catches in one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football.

He stands at 5'11 but only weighed 186 pounds last year. He was stuck behind some great wide receivers like Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase, who were two of the most productive players in college football. Perhaps Dillon, with his raw physical ability and more an opportunity to show off his speed, can refine his skills at wide receiver and find his way onto the roster.

Joey in Florida: With the pandemic going on, how much of a chance do guys like David Sills V and Da'Mari Scott have at trying to show why they should be retained vs this new crop of UDFA's?

John Schmeelk: Scott and Sills will have the same opportunity as undrafted free agents Austin Mack, Derrick Dillon and Binjimin Victor. If anything, the pandemic might give players with a little more NFL experience an advantage since rookies are unlikely to get on the field with their new coaches until August. A player with any NFL experience will likely be a step ahead when the helmets are on for the first time. Joe Judge and his staff will give all the players a fair chance to earn a spot on the roster, and special teams will be a big part of the equation.


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