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Who stood out at Giants minicamp? (6/12)

The New York Giants opened their three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The offense came out firing with big throws and nice catches, but the defense evened the score by the time it was all said and done. 

“I told the players this and really it’s the case, it’s really OTA 11 in my mind because anytime they come on the field with their helmets on, it’s about the ball, it’s about the ground and it’s about getting yourself better,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “They handled today just like they have the other OTAs, so good work, was very competitive. You saw at the end there – every day we do a situation and today was the two-point play and the defense did a good job with those two-point plays today.”

Here are standouts from Day 1:

QB ELI MANNING: Shurmur has liked the back-and-forth between the offense and defense this spring, and today the offense came out and played with a purpose. Wide receiver Roger Lewis started things off with a long reception off the arm of Davis Webb, and then Eli Manning got hot, starting with a nice hookup to Amba Etta-Tawo (more on him later). Manning really spread the ball around today, hitting everyone from running back Saquon Barkley to fullback Shane Smith to wide receiver Alonzo Russell. Smith had one of the better catches of practice, tipping the ball to himself as he went up the sideline. Manning also found wide receiver Cody Latimer for a touchdown during a period in the red zone. Marquis Bundy also had a great catch, coming back on a high ball from Kyle Lauletta. 

"They started out pretty good today on us," inside linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "And I thought that they showed that they can throw the ball, run the ball and did a lot of great things today. You said they’ve got a lot of weapons over there and it’s going to be something to see, for sure, on Sunday."

WR AMBA ETTA-TAWO: Etta-Tawo is making it hard not to notice him this spring. Especially down the stretch in OTAs, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound wide receiver seems to make a highlight grab every day he steps on the practice field. Today was no different. He made a terrific catch on a ball from Manning, who made sure he waited for No. 6 to return to the huddle so he could give him a high-five. 

Etta-Tawo spent time with Jacksonville and Kansas City before landing on the Giants’ practice squad last season. He played at Syracuse in 2016 as a graduate transfer from the University of Maryland after spending four years, including a redshirt season, with the Terrapins. He went on to have the most prolific season for a receiver in Syracuse history, setting 10 Orange receiving records in his one year on campus and being named to four All-America teams.

DT B.J. HILL: The first thing defensive line coach Gary Emanuel told Damon Harrison this offseason is that he is “going to love 95. He can play.” The player they were talking about is B.J. Hill, the rookie third-round choice from North Carolina State. Hill is coming into his own and disrupted a pass play today by swatting down a ball in the middle of the line of scrimmage. 

“So I got out here and I’ve been watching him,” Harrison said. “He’s strong and he’s got some wiggle to him and he has some move to him. So that’s somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league, as well as Dalvin Tomlinson, who I think will take the next step this year.”

DB CURTIS RILEY: Seeing reps at safety with the first team, Riley set the table for the defense’s strong finish to practice. Today’s “situation” period focused on the two-point conversion, and Riley knocked down a pass from Manning intended for tight end Evan Engram. On the second wave, defensive back Orion Stewart got in the way of Webb’s pass intended for Lewis. On the third, linebacker Thurston Armbrister swatted away Lauletta’s attempt. Sticking to the subject of breaking up passes, linebacker Mark Herzlich made another good play today in coverage, something he has done repeatedly this spring. Donte Deayon also had a good pass deflection as well. 

Remaining schedule: The team will practice tomorrow and Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Coordinators are set to speak after Wednesday’s practice, and Shurmur will wrap up camp on Thursday. Players will again speak after practice on both days.

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