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Mailbag: Receiver depth, Markus Golden back in fold


Austin in Illinois: If the Giants' receivers can stay healthy is it a top-tier WR group?

John Schmeelk: The combined threat through the air from Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley should keep opposing defenses on their toes. Engram and Shepard are mismatches for opposing linebackers (and maybe safeties?). Slayton is an emerging perimeter deep threat. Golden Tate can play inside and out and is one of the best receivers in the league after the catch. Sterling Shepard is elusive and creates excellent separation at the top of his routes and can be interchangeable with Tate on the field. Last year, those five players were never on the field at the same time. If they can stay healthy this season, the Giants will have more than enough weapons to allow Daniel Jones to improve in his second season and the Giants to have an explosive offense.

Pete in New Jersey: With Markus Golden back in the fold, might we see him and Fackrell on the field at the same time to optimize pressure or disguise where it is coming from? Can either player cover a running back out of the backfield?

John Schmeelk: Fackrell was praised for his coverage ability when the Giants signed him, so he should be able to help if he has to drop into coverage. Both he and Golden can be used on the field at the same time as pass rushers on either end of the line if the coaching staff thinks that's the team's best lineup. Last year in Green Bay, Fackrell was also used as a stand-up rusher in the middle of the line with Preston and Za'Darius Smith lined up outside on some plays.

View the best photos from Friday's training camp practice.

Alex in New York: Would you consider the linebacking core improved over last year when it comes to coverage against tight ends?

John Schmeelk: In my opinion, Blake Martinez is an upgrade to Alec Ogletree in coverage, so yes. Ryan Connelly, who appears healthy, might also provide a boost to the pass defense from the inside linebacker position, too. And safeties Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney each have the athleticism to cover tight ends.

Tom in Tennessee: What are RJ McIntosh's prospects?

John Schmeelk: This is a big year for him entering his third season. In a 3-4 defense, he would fit in best as a defensive end, and in an even front his skill set would fit more of a three-technique defensive tackle. He will have to earn his way onto the field ahead of players like Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and B.J. Hill. If McIntosh can prove he can get pressure on the quarterback as an interior rusher, he can find a role in passing situations.

Allan in New Jersey: Overall, I think Dave Gettleman has done a really great job restocking the team with talent, first on both the lines, but where do you think the Giants go from here?

John Schmeelk: As we've discussed before, the biggest key for future success is for the players drafted from 2017-19 to start becoming foundational franchise pieces. Daniel Jones becoming a true franchise quarterback is the biggest part of the equation. The team has a young offensive line, and two young receivers in Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. Most of the work still has to be done on defense, where the team lacks a proven dominant sack artist, and has a lot of inexperience at cornerback beyond James Bradberry.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.


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