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Fact or Fiction: Early training camp preview


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The player you're most excited to see with the pads on at training camp is rookie LB Azeez Ojulari.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Show me Andrew Thomas! Thomas improved over the final six games of his rookie season, but we did not see a level of dominance from the summer to the end of the season that would be expected from a Top 5 pick. He won't win every rep, but let's see him stonewall his opponents in some of 1-on-1 drills during training camp. He has the size, athleticism and length to do it. With a year under his belt and a full off-season under offensive line coach Rob Sale, you can ask for more frequent displays of dominance against the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Azeeez Ojulari and Ifeadi Odenigbo.

Dan Salomone: Fact - If adding offensive playmakers was the No. 1 priority for the Giants this off-season, edge rushing help was not far behind. Enter Ojulari, a second-round pick from Georgia who led the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks last season. Spring football was all about communication and learning the ropes for the rookies, but when the pads come on at camp, it's time to compete.

Lance Medow: Fact - The Giants are looking for a pass rusher to emerge opposite Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari will be in the mix to assume that role. His work against the offensive linemen in camp as well as his performances in preseason games will tell a lot as he begins to make the adjustment from college to the pros. Ojulari was a disruptive player at Georgia over his final two seasons. He led the Bulldogs in sacks in 2019 (5.5) and 2020 (8.5) and last season, led the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (12.5) and forced fumbles (4).

WR Kenny Golladay vs. CB James Bradberry will be the best veteran 1-on-1 matchup of training camp.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Pads matter for wide receivers, too, especially for players like Golladay and Bradberry. Both are strong and physical in the way they play their positions, so you can expect the competition between the two to be fierce in camp. Golladay might not create the most raw separation, but his ability to use his length, strength, coordination and athleticism to make contested catches is second to none in the National Football League. Bradberry is one of the league's better cornerbacks at the catch point, which is why he was tied for second in the NFL with 18 passes defended last season.

Dan Salomone: Fiction - Along the same lines, Sterling Shepard vs. Adoree' Jackson will be one to watch. They are mirror images of each other in terms of size and service in the NFL. Shepard is smooth and even-keeled off the field, but he brings some fire to the practices and games. Defensive back and receiver have become two of the most intriguing position groups on the roster - let's see them get after each other.

Lance Medow: Fact - This is by far the most intriguing matchup. You have the Giants' best corner, coming off his first Pro Bowl season, going up against the team's biggest off-season splash. Golladay has three inches on Bradberry and has made a name for himself by making contested catches, so going up against one of the NFL's top performers in passes defensed will be a good test during training camp.

Catch up on all the action with must-see photos from minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

OT Andrew Thomas vs. LB Azeez Ojulari will be the best young 1-on-1 matchup of training camp.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Thomas vs. Ojulari is right up there, but let's go with a battle between two rookies in the slot: DB Aaron Robinson vs. WR Kadarius Toney. Both of these players are extremely physical and will not hesitate to mix it up. Toney is an elite athlete. How well will Robinson be able to stick with him in man-to-man situations? How will Toney develop his route-running and will he be able to use his raw tools enough to create consistent separation in a traditional route tree.

Dan Salomone: Fact - The growth of these two players will be critical to the Giants' long-term success. Coincidentally, they are also long-time friends and former roommates at Georgia. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses, which will make for interesting 1-on-1s to watch.

Lance Medow: Fact - You could make an argument that Matt Peart's matchup on the opposite end will also provide for some good battles, but it depends on who he's most often lined up against (he could very well see a handful of veterans). Thomas is entering Year 2 and Ojulari is getting his first taste of an NFL training camp. They'll both test and push one another, just as they did in Athens on a daily basis.

The player with the most to gain at training camp is guard Will Hernandez.

John Schmeelk: Fact - Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Hernandez has a chance to establish himself as a quality starting guard in the NFL. He will also have the chance to do it at right guard, which is a position he has not played since high school. There are not many starting positions completely up for grabs in training camp, but guard is one of them and Hernandez has a chance to earn it. If he does, it can set up his young career moving forward. 2020 third-round pick Matt Peart, who can earn a starting spot at right tackle, would be another option for this question.

Dan Salomone: Fact - After starting all 32 games in his first two seasons, Hernandez made only seven last year while spending time on the reserve/COVID-19 list. With a switch to the right side, Hernandez will be competing for a spot in the starting lineup as the Giants have made it clear they are comfortable to let the young guys play.

Lance Medow: Fiction - Hernandez is looking for a bounce-back season after his 2020 campaign was interrupted due to virus protocol. He will have a chance to reclaim his starting left guard spot or move over to the right side, although the player with the most to gain is Nate Solder. Unlike Hernandez, Solder's opportunity is at just one spot - right tackle - and his competition is second-year pro Matt Peart. After opting out in 2020, Solder seems to be very excited to be back on the field and has gained a new perspective on the game. He appears motivated to prove he can still play at a high level and, with an impressive camp, could make a case to be a starter at the position where his career began in New England in 2011.

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