By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Tonight’s pre-season game will be the New York Giants first and although most of the starters will only see probably one series on offense (maybe two).
There’s a lot to look forward to for the rest of the game. 90 players will be battling to win 53 roster spots and although a majority of spots are already determined; there will be a few that are wide open.
I’ll be watching this game more focused on the 2nd and 3rd string players to see who stands out or who doesn’t. I do have my top 12 players I will be keeping an eye on to see how they perform as I’m hoping they do well and earn a spot on the 53 man roster or the practice squad.
My list will include a few that have a good chance of making the roster and a few that need to provide “WOW” moments throughout pre-season. Here are my top 12 players.
- Reggie White Jr. (WR): White could take advantage of all the injuries at the wide receiver position to showcase his stuff.
- Daniel Jones (QB): Jones will have ample opportunity to justify being selected 6th overall and that starts tonight. I expect him to see a huge chunk of playing time tonight.
- CJ Conrad (TE): This was my favorite UDFA signing by the Giants and I think Conrad is going to grow on the coaching staff (if it hasn’t yet). Conrad is the second-best receiving tight end on the Giants roster and by the way, he’s not a bad blocker.
- James O’Hagan (OC): O’Hagan should see a good portion of playing time tonight and the main area I’m going to be focusing on is how well he handles the strength of opposing linemen. O’Hagan has great technique but needs to display some power as well.
- Paul Adams (OT): Adams is another UDFA signing I liked as he played against some of the best pass rushers in college and held his own. Adams should see ample playing time tonight and my focus on him will be on the handles the speed against opposing linemen.
- Paul Perkins (RB): Perkins was once the starting running back for the Giants back in 2017. Now Perkins needs to have an eye-popping, lights out pre-season to earn a roster spot. I’m pulling for him and hope he does well tonight as he should see some action.
- Dexter Lawrence (DL): Don’t like the idea of Lawrence moving to the outside, but that topic is for another day. I will be watching his first step off the ball and how well he can create penetration behind the line of scrimmage.
- Oshane Ximines (OLB): Ximines aside from Jones, will have the most eyes on him among the Giants rookies. Like many, I will be watching to see if Ximines can handle the overall talent level he’ll be facing tonight that he never faced in college.
- Corey Ballentine (CB): Ballentine is an extremely talented player and it won’t be long when experts proclaim his pick a steal in the draft. I will be looking to see how well Ballentine cover skills are and also to see if he plays physical.
- Ryan Connelly (ILB): Former Giants Head Coach Bill Parcells would have loved this kid as he plays the game old school. I will be watching Connelly anticipation on run/passing plays and see how well he closes in on the play. He has a great shot of starting on opening day.
- R.J McIntosh (DL): I loved the pick of McIntosh in 2018 on day 3 and was disappointed that he missed the majority of the 2018 season. However; I believe McIntosh is going to have a similar impact in 2019 as B.J Hill did in 2018.
- Julian Love (CB): Lots of talk of Love converting into safety, but for now I believe he will be more of a slot corner in 2019. I want to see if Love plays physical in the slot and also how well he tackles in the open field.
Final Thoughts: That’s my top 12 players for tonight’s game as I hope they make me proud and perform well. This pre-season is probably going to be a difficult one for both GM Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Pat Shurmur in terms of finalizing the roster to 53.
There’s going to be a surprise on both sides of the coin (cuts and making the roster) and as a result, the Giants will arguably have a very talented practice squad.