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Developing Roster Questions the Giants Must Answer During Training Camp

There are a few Giants roster battles starting to take shape in which players who in the past received the lion's share of the snaps might have to yield to someone else.

We’re approximately six weeks away from the start of New York Giants training camp. There is already plenty of talk about the roster and how the snaps will be distributed at certain positions. So let's take an early look at some of the developing questions the Giants will be looking to answer during the preseason.

Who gets more targets, Evan Engram or Kyle Rudolph?

Both tight ends will likely start for the Giants when they run 12-personnel, but who will get more touches?

Engram is the incumbent, and he's a long way off from his 2017 rookie season, which so far has been his most productive to date. Despite a Pro Bowl berth last year, he struggled in the offense, particularly with dropped passes, none more significant than what would have likely been a game-clinching third-down pass in Week 7 at Philadelphia.

With Engram not appearing to be a fit for the short Y-stick option routes offensive coordinator Jason Garrett likes to run, he's going to have some competition in the form of Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowler who spent the bulk of his career with the Vikings.

Rudolph only played 12 games last year due to a foot injury that required surgery shortly after signing with the Giants. Before he had his surgery, he expressed optimism about being ready for the start of the season.

Rudolph would appear to be a better option for the Y-stick option routes and the red zone, another area that Engram was supposed to be a threat to opposing defenses. There will still be a role for Engram in the offense, but don't be surprised if his snap counts are adjusted.

Will it be Nate Solder or Matt Peart at right tackle?

After a fairly successful career with the Patriots, Solder has been a disappointment for the Giants after signing a then-record-setting free-agent contract. After two forgettable seasons that included undisclosed injury issues, he opted out last year due to COVID-19 concerns.

Andrew Thomas ended up playing left tackle for the Giants last year, which was the plan all along (albeit a plan that was moved up one year). Meanwhile, Solder has returned on an adjusted contract, and he is in line to compete for the starting right tackle spot with second-year man Matt Peart.

Publicly, the Giants' coaching staff is of the "May the best man win" mindset, but privately, it wouldn't be shocking if they wanted Peart to win this competition, which would allow the youngster to settle into the job for the long term. As for Solder, if that were to happen, he'd end up as the swing tackle, the role previously held by Peart last year.

Who will play left guard and right guard?

Barring injury, Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux will hold two of the five starting jobs on the offensive line. The question is who will play where.

Hernandez was the Giants’ starting left guard from 2018 until he tested positive for COVID-19 midway through last season. Lemieux, the tam's fifth-round draft pick, took over the role, and the Giants never looked back, only sprinkling Hernandez into the lineup on occasion.

During the OTAs and mandatory minicamp, the Giants decided that Hernandez, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, will attempt the move to right guard, a completely new position for him as he's played left guard since high school.

Whether it stays, that way remains to be seen as if Hernandez struggles, the coaches could flip the order and have Lemieux move to right guard instead, though they would probably prefer to stick with what they have.

Is there a role for cornerback Isaac Yiadom?

Yiadom started ten games at corner last season for the Giants after acquiring him from Denver for a seventh-round draft pick. While that's not a huge investment, there was still hope that in giving up a draft pick, Yiadom might be able to fill the second cornerback spot.

Such was not the case, as Yiadom struggled in zone coverage and was benched for Ryan Lewis. When Lewis went on IR, Yiadom returned to the starting lineup.

Yiadom, who agreed to a pay cut to remain with the Giants this year, still isn't assured roster spot. The team added former Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in free agency, and they drafted Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams to compete with young holder Jarren Williams and Sam Beal.

That's a lot of competition at cornerback--and we haven't even mentioned Julian Love and Logan Ryan, both of whom can also play the position. Yiadom, he’ll have to keep his head on a swivel throughout training camp, as there may not be roster spots available for everyone. 

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