It's a quiet time in the NFL.
Teams have wrapped up their spring practices and are recharging their batteries before the grind of training camp and the upcoming season. So, it's a good chance to look back and assess what we saw from the Giants in their first practices under the new regime.
"I feel very good about where we are at in terms of the spring and what we got accomplished," coach Brian Daboll said earlier this month at mandatory minicamp. "Thrown a lot at them. The guys have come in every day with really blinders on ready to work and get better and taking it day by day. Great appreciation for the work ethic that those guys have put in and the coaches. Long way to go, but we've got a lot accomplished this spring."
View the best photos from mandatory minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
With that in mind, the Giants.com crew discusses who turned heads this spring:
Dan Salomone: From the front office to the coaching staff to the draft class, the Giants' offseason was largely about all the new faces in the building … but not entirely. Saquon Barkley looked fresh upon his return, saying he feels like he can "trust" his knee again and "not think about it." Just as important as his health, though, is how he will be used in the new offense under Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who hail from AFC offensive juggernauts Buffalo and Kansas City, respectively. Barkley said he hasn't moved around in an offense this much since his college days. "I was all right in college," said a smiling Barkley, who finished his Penn State degree this offseason. "I was OK in college."
Barkley added, "I think this offense is going to put our playmakers in position to make plays, whether it's post-snap, pre-snap, just giving us looks so we can good out there and let our talent go and work. I'm excited not only for myself but for all the playmakers on this team, for the offensive line, for the team in general. I feel like we have something special here, but like I said, like I always say, got to take one day at a time, can't look too far in the future … and now make sure that we can capitalize on this break to catapult us and put us in the best position for the season and coming into camp."
Lance Medow: If there's one player to highlight from spring activities, it would be this year's second-round pick: Wan'Dale Robinson. With a few wide receivers nursing injuries and limited during OTAs and minicamp, Robinson has taken full advantage of his reps with Daniel Jones as the two seem to have already developed a nice rapport heading into training camp. Robinson was an explosive player at Kentucky as he set single-season school records for receptions, receiving yards and 100-yard receiving games in his lone year with the Wildcats (2021) and we've seen some glimpses of that throughout the spring with his ability to get out in open space and find the end zone.
When you take into consideration how the Bills used Isaiah McKenzie and Cole Beasley and the Chiefs employed Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman over the last few seasons, it's no surprise why the Giants would be interested in a player like Robinson, who has similarities to the players listed above in terms of physique and skill set. Robinson is a slippery player, who has proven he can turn a short catch into a big play and that's exactly what the Giants are looking for as they hope to surround Jones with another dynamic playmaker. It also doesn't hurt that he's been utilized as a running back and could contribute on special teams as a return man.
Matt Citak: Let's start with the offense. Heading into the offseason program, it was clear that one of the biggest position battles leading up to the start of the regular season would be at tight end. With Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins and Daniel Bellinger as newcomers to the roster, the starting spot has been completely up for grabs. Heading into training camp, you could give Bellinger the edge over the two veterans. The rookie proved to have great hands throughout his collegiate career, registering one of the lowest drop rates among all tight ends in the draft. This was on full display throughout the spring, as Bellinger seemed to catch every pass thrown in his direction. The 6-foot-5 tight end is already developing some nice chemistry with Daniel Jones, which will benefit both the rookie and his quarterback once training camp rolls around.
On the other side of the ball, the player who turned heads is also one of the players most people are excited to see in Wink Martindale's defense – Xavier McKinney. The young safety was getting his hands on the ball during team drills in almost every practice. McKinney recorded several interceptions throughout 11-on-11 drills, and forced even more incompletions. He led the Giants with five interceptions last season, and his ability to find the ball was easy to see throughout the spring. Martindale's defense with the Ravens had a track record of producing some strong seasons from its safeties, which could bode well for McKinney.
Check out all of the top photos from the New York Giants' 2022 Media Day.