NFL, NFLPA agree to virtual offseason program
The NFL and its players' union has agreed on a blueprint for how they will conduct the offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL and NFLPA have reached an agreement on a voluntary offseason program set to start April 20, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per sources informed of the agreement. The virtual period of the program can begin next week, but no on-field work is allowed until all 32 club facilities can reopen.
Club facilities will only open in accordance with NFL protocols and federal, state and local rules and regulation, Pelissero added. Only if all 32 facilities can open will any of them open; otherwise, all will remain closed during the period.
The virtual period will consist of three consecutive weeks of classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs using videoconferencing technology. An extra voluntary veteran camp will be available for new coaches, with the virtual period ending no later than May 15, per Pelissero.
The plan, which was under discussion between the NFLPA and NFL management council for weeks, was approved Monday via vote.
Nick Gates could be a wild card in Giants' plans for o-line
Nick Gates signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in May 2018. A preseason ankle injury caused him to miss his entire rookie season, but Gates came back strong last year in his first NFL season.
"We have faith in Nick Gates, the kid we signed two years ago, a free agent we signed out of Nebraska," General Manager Dave Gettleman said on a conference call Monday. "He missed his rookie year on I.R., but last year he made a lot of progress. We are excited about him."
Gates played in all 16 games in 2019 with three starts. In his first NFL start in Week 10 against the New York Jets, Gates allowed just two pressures on 54 pass-blocking snaps. During the team's Week 15 win over the Miami Dolphins, the young lineman's second NFL start, Gates did not allow a single pressure, picked up a key block on Saquon Barkley's second touchdown run and finished with an overall grade of 82.1 from Pro Football Focus.
While it is still too early to tell what will happen, Gettleman did reveal to reporters that the front office has had internal discussions about possibly moving Gates inside to play center. Currently, the only center on the roster is Spencer Pulley.
"Just for what it's worth, we've talked about Nick doing that," Gettleman said about the possibility of Gates playing center. "He did do some of that last year in practice, so it's not completely new. Nick is smart. The thing you love about Nick is just how tough he is, because it's a fist fight in there. There's no doubt about that. History tells you that the toughness of your team is really, really indicated by the toughness of your offensive line. So, we're always looking for that kind of piece. Nick would be in consideration at center, absolutely."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
Position Preview: Top defensive backs available in 2020 NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off next week. Leading up to the start of the first round on April 23, Giants.com will be taking a look at the top five prospects at each position in this year's draft class. Each list is based off of NFL.com's prospect rankings.
First up are the defensive backs.
Giants current depth at CB: James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine, Sam Beal, Grant Haley, Julian Love, Derrick Baity
Giants current depth at S: Jabrill Peppers, Sean Chandler, Nate Ebner, Rashaan Gaulden
Here are the top players featured in the Position Preview: Top DB prospects in 2020 NFL Draft:
CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State - "This is a very clean player with a very high floor and ceiling."
CB C.J. Henderson, Florida - "Overall, Henderson has some elite traits and could emerge as the top cornerback in this class, but his tackling must be addressed."
S Xavier McKinney, Alabama - "Overall, McKinney is an intelligent, versatile defender and he should be very effective in multiple roles."
CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah - "Overall, Johnson is very talented and should be a Day 1 starter outside with the potential to cover in the slot as well."
CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson - "Overall, Terrell has some tightness, but he's a very solid player who should emerge as a quality No. 2 cornerback for his drafting team."