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Cover 3: Giant with most to gain at training camp


With the training camp schedule set, the crew discusses which players have the most to gain this summer:

Dan Salomone: The off-season departures of Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, and Jabrill Peppers created three voids to fill in the secondary from an Xs-and-Os standpoint and in the veteran leadership department. There is now an opening in the safety tandem alongside Xavier McKinney, a rising playmaker in the league. Julian Love, who earned his impeccable reputation largely on special teams, now has a starting role on defense within his grasp.

"I definitely feel a sense of leadership, a sense of urgency more than anything," said Love, whose emergence on defense began last season. "I saw some stat somebody sent to me about me and Dex [Lawrence] playing the most games as a Giant on the defense, which is crazy to think about. But I'm just really trying to be a resource for all the young guys to get them going. My position is guys like [rookie fourth-round pick] Dane Belton are really coming along, some other young guys who are on their way right now. I'm just trying to be that personable guy. I'm not super old. I'm pretty young. So I'm right there to fill in the gap and kind of be that leader for everybody. Also just making plays. I feel like I've known [defensive coordinator] Wink [Martindale] forever now and I've been here for a couple years, so I'm excited to take that next step forward."

With Bradberry gone, Adoree' Jackson moved up a notch in place of the former Pro Bowler. The domino effect also leads to players like Aaron Robinson and rookie Cor'Dale Flott, who will compete for reps this summer.

"It's definitely a blessing to have an opportunity to have a shot at it," Flott said. "Definitely going to take it one day at a time and focus on practices and getting better."

Lance Medow: If you're going to argue someone has the most to gain during training camp then they have to be part of a position group where there's a wide-open competition and they need to have a realistic shot to win a starting job or carve out a significant role. This description applies to Daniel Bellinger. It's not a stretch at all to say Bellinger could emerge from the tight end group based on his level of play in camp and the preseason. This year's fourth-round pick is walking into a position where there are two veteran players - Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins - but no established star who warrants the majority of the snaps at tight end.

You also can't overlook that, in all likelihood, the Giants will utilize all three tight ends at various points of a game to make it more of a tight end-by-committee. During the draft, Brian Daboll even mentioned how last season, the Bills had one active tight end for the last few games and, at times, used five wide receivers. The point is, the usage of personnel will vary throughout the season, giving a rookie like Bellinger an opportunity to get on the field.

To further emphasize the point about playing time, look at how the Bills employed their tight ends in 2020. Four players received playing time and not one assumed more than 45 percent of the snaps: Dawson Knox (45%), Tyler Kroft (27%), Lee Smith (16%), Nate Becker (3%). The fact that Bellinger was used primarily as a blocker at San Diego State but also showed flashes as a receiver bodes well for his chance to contribute in several different facets of the game.

Matt Citak: This might come off as a bit of an obvious answer, but the player with the most to gain at training camp is Daniel Jones. Entering his fourth season as the Giants' quarterback, Jones is now playing under his third head coach and offensive coordinator since arriving in East Rutherford back in 2019. This means an entirely new playbook and accompanying terminology that the young quarterback must master ahead of the season.

On top of the new offensive scheme, Jones is also surrounded by many new teammates this year. Three of the Giants' expected starters on the offensive line – Evan Neal, Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski – are newcomers to the team. Although there is likely to be a competition for the starting left guard position, Shane Lemieux is one of the favorites to win the spot, and he did not appear in a game beyond Week 1 last season. Andrew Thomas (13 starts) is the only returning starter on the line with significant playing time in 2021. Of the six tight ends on the roster, Chris Myarick is the only one who spent any time with the Giants last year, and he played in just eight games and didn't even finish the season with the team.

So, training camp is going to be so important for Jones and the entire offense, especially when you consider how many games in the receiving corps were lost due to injury. The quarterback must become completely comfortable with both the playbook and the new teammates around him. This work started during the spring, as the near perfect attendance throughout spring workouts certainly benefited Jones. But training camp is obviously when teams truly start revving up for the season, so it will be the first chance to really see how far the offense has come.

Take a look at rare photos of New York Giants training camps through the years.

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