New York Giants: Top 5 Positions to watch for
By Michael Stewart @golderbad
Introduction: The New York Giants 2018-19 Training camp will have a new coaching staff, GM and new faces on the roster. Like every training camp, there should be a few interesting battles for starting position spots worth taking note of. Looking over the current roster, I came across 5 positions that should be interesting to watch to see what transpires before the Giants first game of the season. Coming off a 3-13 record, not one position should be safe, so here are my top 5 positional battles to watch in training camp:
Right Tackle: With Nate Solder cemented at the Left Tackle spot, former Left tackle Ereck Flowers will now be competing for a starting spot at right tackle along with Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty. Flowers absence from voluntary camp, along with Wheeler coming into camp in great shape could have possibly sealed Flowers fate. GM Dave Gettleman tried to find a new home for Flowers during the draft, but was unsuccessful.
Will Giants give Flowers every opportunity to win the right tackle job from Wheeler or Bisnowaty, or is his fate sealed. At 23, Flowers can still turn it around and with the hiring of super agent Drew Rosenhaus, could indicate that Flowers wants to showcase himself not only to the Giants, but the entire league that he is still a capable offensive tackle. The fact that the Giants didn’t pick up his option doesn’t mean that they have given up on him. Rather they are willing to give him every opportunity to win the right tackle position and to be a part of the New York Giants football team this season.
Right Guard: Depending on which depth chart you look at, the Giants have Nate Solder and Patrick Omarmeh penciled on the left side of the line; with rookie guard Will Hernandez looking to un-seed John Jerry. By all reports, Hernandez is a lock to anchor the right side for the Giants for the next decade. The Giants will have Hernandez work at both guard positions to give them the flexibility to insert him at either spot if needed. Unless, I’m totally off on Hernandez, I expect him to start at one of the guard positions and Omarmeh and Jerry will be the ones battling it out for the other spot.
Free Safety: Darian Thompson had a disappointing season in 2017, as did many of the players for the Giants on defense. The biggest setback for Thompson in 2017 was inability to make tackles in the open field; which results in many big plays against the Giants. GM Gettleman signed a handful of players with secondary experience at cornerback. However; I expect the Giants to explore a couple of these players to transition to safety and give Thompson a little competition this year. A couple of players to watch for are C.J Goodwin, at 6’4/220 lbs certainly has the size to play safety and is a solid tackler. Also Michael Thomas could also join the competition as well with his ball hawking skills.
Kicker: Aldrick Rosas struggled in 2017 and the Giants would be wise to bring in a veteran to compete with Rosas. The difference of making the playoffs or just missing could be a missed field goal or two in a course of a season. GM Dave Gettleman understands the importance of a dependable kicker and will not let that happen, so this position bears watching and I expect a multiple of candidates to compete.
Left Corner Back: Last season drama with Eli Apple is reportedly in the past, however; I got a feeling that Gettleman is making sure that the Giants are prepared if Apple has a repeat performance in 2018. Gettleman brought in several cornerbacks (7) for additional depth and perhaps to compete with Apple for playing time. On paper, Apple has the overall talent over any of the new corners signed. However; Gettleman is hoping for at least one of them to emerge and siege the moment and give Apple a run for his money.
Final Thoughts: There were only positions worth noting as well; such as: the 3rd wide receiver spot, the weak-side linebacker spot and the fullback position. Head Coach Pat Shurmur will utilize the traditional fullback position a lot more in 2018 with the addition of 1st round pick Saquon Barkley. I project the Giants offensive to become a more balanced team with the running game being utilized more to set up the passing game; which has not been the case over the last several years. Having a solid blocking fullback in front of Barkley will go a long way in improving the running game. Look for TE Rhett Ellison to be employed as fullback/hybrid for the Giants in the backfield; which will give the Giants two tight ends on the field most of the time.