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Giants Now: Big Blue praised for young talent

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ESPN ranks Giants among best in talent under-25

ESPN published a ranking of all 32 teams by their talent younger than 25-years-old, which had the Giants ranked among the league's best.

As Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders notes, "These ratings consider not just talent under 25 but also the value and length of those players' current contracts." This led to the Giants landing at No. 7 on the list.

Among the players listed as "blue-chip players" are quarterback Daniel Jones, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, running back Saquon Barkley, and wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

The article highlights the fact that "Jones was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league last year on passes more than 15 yards through the air," which Schatz notes is a good combination with the presence of 24-year-old wide receiver Darius Slayton. In addition, he references Toney as "a slants-and-screens sparkplug," while also mentioning Thomas' improvement in the second half of the season.

As for the defensive side of the ball, Lawrence is praised for his abilities as a pass-rusher while safety Xavier McKinney's potential is highlighted as well. Schatz goes on to call linebacker Azeez Ojulari an interesting prospect and "the best run defender at the position in the Class of 2021."

View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.

RB Saquon Barkley takes next step in return

Saquon Barkley's current status changed significantly today, but his potential availability for the Giants' first regular-season game did not.

Barkley was activated off the physically unable to perform/active list and returned to practice, actions made possible because he passed a physical over the weekend. Although he did not participate in seven-on-seven or full team practice periods, he did individual drills with his fellow running backs.

Coach Joe Judge said Barkley will not play in the Giants' preseason opener Saturday against the Jets, and both he and Barkley were careful to avoid definitive statements about the Sept. 12 regular-season game vs. Denver.

"To be honest, I don't know," Barkley said. "Obviously, you guys know how I am as a competitor. I'm pretty sure you guys know what my thought process is. But at the same time, I'm very fortunate to play for an unbelievable coach and an unbelievable organization that's actually thinking about me and thinking about the rest of my career and the longevity of my career and I don't feel forced. We have a great team here, great strength staff, great trainers who are doing everything they can and when the time is the time, that'll be the time for me to come back."

"I don't think this changes anything (about the Broncos game) at this point," Judge said. "There's nothing different now than what I've talked about the entire time. We're going to be patient with him, we're going to watch how he responds to each situation, and when the doctor says he's greenlighted to go out there and do something, he will.

"I'm sure the next question is going to be something about preseason. When he's greenlighted to do something, we'll go ahead and keep advancing him. I don't have an answer for anything right now preseason-wise or regular season-wise. We're just going to watch him on the field and see how it goes day by day."

Saquon Barkley, Kadarius Toney stand out at camp

For two Giants, Monday was another step in the journey back from injury.

The team announced shortly before players took the field that running back Saquon Barkley and linebacker Oshane Ximines passed their physicals and had been activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. It was an encouraging sign as the Giants ramp up for Saturday's preseason opener against the New York Jets. Although Barkley and Ximines are unlikely to play, coach Joe Judge said these next few days will determine how they split up playing time for the entire roster.

"We haven't made a final decision on it, yet," Judge said. "A lot of that will come into how the next couple of days go. That's not looking in terms of do we have to go out there and punish someone to some point, but we want to see how practice goes the next few days. I will say this, the priority for me is to treat this more like a traditional game four, and when I say that, it's more of a make sure all of the players that we really have to evaluate get an evaluation. Because of the rules this year, we have to cut five guys after the Jets game. I want to make sure that we don't make any decisions that impact our or their future without a proper evaluation."

Here are the standout players from a newsworthy practice:

RB Saquon Barkley

The first player in Giants history to begin his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons returned to the field. He was limited to individual drills, but that didn't slow him down one bit. After saying he accomplished all he could while working with trainers off to the side, he relished the opportunity to return to the field with his teammates and attacked everything he was allowed to do. Barkley addressed the media after practice and said what most people don't understand about coming back from ACL injuries is it's not about how you feel at the beginning of the week; it's about how you finish.

View photos from training camp as Saquon Barkley returns to practice for the first time Monday.

Live Stream: Inside look at Saquon's first practice

It was a big practice day for the Giants Monday as running back Saquon Barkley and linebacker Oshane Ximines returned to the field for the first time in training camp.

In addition, the team began preparations for its first preseason game this Saturday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Check out the video below to watch Giants.com's Paul Dottino and two-time Super Bowl champion David Diehl on 'Training Camp Report presented by Investors Bank' as they break down Monday's practice.

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