The fourth training camp practice overall, the second consecutive in full pads, is in the books at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Here is who jumped out to me:
OLB OLIVIER VERNON: Guys like Vernon can't really rack up the stats or highlight plays during practice because you aren't allowed to hit the quarterback. The team will just play through on plays where a defensive lineman happens to run free into the backfield. As he has demonstrated for most of camp, Vernon is the toughest player to block on the Giants' defense. During the half-line run drill, he was constantly in the backfield. He used his power to push Ereck Flowers into the quarterback's lap in red zone drills. Later on, during one-on-ones against the offensive line, he used his violent hands to get around Nate Solder on an outside rush.
"He's strong, he's powerful, he's smart, he works at his craft, he's a true professional," linebackers coach Bill McGovern said today. "Again, in terms of being prepared and coming here and showing up and going to work. I think (this defense) plays him in space, we can rush him outside, we can bring him inside, there's a lot of different things, so he's hard to key on a little bit when he's bouncing around on the edges."
TIGHT ENDS: The group didn't make one attention-grabbing catch, but they showed their versatility throughout practice that should help the offense throughout the season. During red zone drills, Kyle Lauletta floated a beautiful pass to the corner of the end zone that Rhett Ellison caught and got his feet down before sliding out of bounds.
Evan Engram got into the mix later during a second red zone period. He caught two little out routes on what looked like hot reads from Eli Manning; both likely would have been touchdowns. Later, he caught a longer pass down the seam in the middle of the defense. Both guys were active in the running game, as well.
"It's a critical position," Pat Shurmur said of the tight ends. "Other than the quarterback, that's the one connection to the run game, to the passing game, and then obviously the protection game. Those players need to be efficient. As we know, tight ends – they have a redeeming quality. Go through the league, and just take all the tight ends and what's his redeeming quality? Is he a pass receiver? Is he more of a blocker? Is he a guy that can do both and play on all three downs? Hopefully, you have a good guy on your roster that can be all those things. That's why I think it takes a village at tight end, and we've got to use them strategically to get the best out of their skillset."
CB DONTE DEAYON: The diminutive corner gets a second straight day on this list. He made the play of the day, a great leaping interception on a deep pass from Kyle Lauletta intended for wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo near the sideline. Deayon stayed step for step with Etta-Tawo and positioned himself perfectly underneath and just inside the receiver. He went up and grabbed the ball at its zenith before it could get to the receiver.
WR STERLING SHEPARD: Shepard made the best offensive play of the day. During the last team period, Shepard was isolated on cornerback William Gay in the slot and beat him outside at the top of the route. Manning hit him perfectly in stride for what would have been a big gain, and potentially even a touchdown if the safety didn't take the perfect angle over the top. Shepard is a tough cover from the slot.