The New York Giants expect approximately 22 players--a group that includes the six draft picks and three rookie UDFAs--to attend this weekend's two-day rookie minicamp, which runs Friday and Saturday.
With such a small turnout, the Giants have said that they will be running more of what resembles a coaching clinic that emphasizes individual drills.
The team is also expecting to have five veteran players who were not on NFL rosters last year in for tryouts.
Among those expected in for a tryout is former Carolina receiver Kelvin Benjamin, whom current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman selected in the first round of the 2014 draft.
Injuries have derailed Benjamin's career, and he has been out of the league since 2018--not to mention the Giants have a deep receiver group as it stands. So it will be interesting to see if Benjamin gets a contract from the Giants.
Regardless of the reduced roster, it’s an opportunity for a first-look at some of the 2021 team. Here is a short list of what could be revealed during the two on-field workouts, each of which is expected to run for approximately one hour.
WR Kadarius Toney’s Route Running
The Giants first-round draft pick has everything it takes to be an electrifying game changer in this Giants offense. But with that said, he’s still relatively new to playing wide receiver, and one of the knocks on him is that he’s not quite the polished route runner at this point.
But not to worry, as Toney is certain to receive plenty of instruction on that from receivers coach Tyke Tolbert as well as some of his veteran teammates once they all get on the field together. Considering his college production as a receiver—1,590 receiving yards on 120 receptions, and 12 touchdowns—Toney’s lack of polish on route-running didn’t exactly hurt his draft stock.
Still if he’s like any other player on the face of the planet, he’ll probably tell you that he can work to get better at his craft, and in this case, once he gets the route running issues smoothed out, he’ll become even more dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Edge Azeez Ojulari’s Burst and Explosiveness
Just before the draft, word came out that some teams had some concerns about edge rusher Azeez Ojulari’s knee. The former Georgia product had surgery on his knee in high school after tearing his ACL, but he received a clean bill of health on the knee from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews earlier this year. That apparently didn’t stop some teams who did their own medicals on Ojulari from attaching a red flag to his name.
The Giants weren’t one of those teams as they were satisfied with Ojulari’s knee. And this weekend the rookie will likely get a chance to put his burst and explosiveness on full display in pass rush drills against an unsuspecting blocking sled.
Florida Offensive Lineman Brett Heggie’s Skillset
The Giants didn’t draft any offensive linemen, but although general manager Dave Gettleman insisted that the team liked what they have at that unit, that didn’t stop them from agreeing to terms with two undrafted free agents, interior offensive lineman Brett Heggie out of Florida and tackle Jake Burton out of Baylor.
Heggie has already begun drawing some early buzz in the NFL scouting community. David Turner, a one-time scout for the Giants, Raiders, 49ers and others, told the LockedOn Giants podcast that Heggie is one of the more underrated offensive line prospects to go undrafted.
He believes Heggie, who played both center and guard center at Florida, has a chance to develop into a quality depth player on the offensive line.
Heggie had some early career injury issues—he suffered a season-ending knee injury as a freshman and also continued to fight through injuries in 2018, but he apparently has checked out well with the Giants medical staff and now will get an opportunity to push veteran Jonotthan Harrison for the backup guard/center role.
Cornerback Aaron Robinson’s Fit
Giants head coach Joe Judge wants to see competition across the board on this team, and he’s going to get his wish. But one brewing competition that’s not getting enough airplay is the one that appears to be developing at slot cornerback.
Last season, Darnay Holmes, the team’s fourth-round pick, played the slot and while he certainly seemed to be more of a fit for the role than Grant Haley had before him, Holmes’ final production (hampered somewhat by a late-season knee injury) didn’t exactly set the world on fire.
He finished with just one interception and three pass breakups on 52 pass targets (41 of which he allowed to be completed for 406 yards, 233 of which came after the catch).
Enter Robinson out of UCF, a player the Giants traded up to get in the third round (apparently out of concern that the Eagles might have been planning to take him instead).
To be fair, Holmes, in college, played the majority of his snaps on the perimeter and just 76 snaps against the slot, according to Pro Football Focus,) whereas Robinson played most of his snaps against the slot receiver, recording 15 pass breakups and three interceptions over his final two seasons.
The Giants, whose roster had been at 90, are expected to churn the bottom of the roster between now and the start of training camp. They have already begun that process by waiving defensive end Breeland Speaks Thursday.
With the team hosting the maximum of five tryout players as allowed by the league due to on-going COVID restrictions, that opens a spot for someone else to get an invitation to training camp.