The Giants will bring 90 players to training camp this summer and all are looking to stick on the roster. Here are five players we will certainly be watching closely:
LB Lorenzo Carter
It wasn’t long ago that this long, lanky outside linebacker with reach from here to there was expected to be the next big thing on defense. Now? It has yet to be determined, but the signs are not trending upward. Carter totaled 8.5 sacks in his first two years (30 games, 14 starts) and averaged 44 tackles. In five games in 2020, he had one sack and 15 tackles. It looks as if he is developing into less of a sack artist and more of a sideline-to-sideline run defender with some pass-rush ability. He is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, and that can sometimes lead to hesitancy. There’s a big, big year ahead for this guy, with rookie Azeez Ojulari now on the scene and Carter playing the final year of his contract. Much of this also could be said of Oshane Ximines, who also is coming back from an injury-laden season.
OT Matt Peart
In many ways, Peart represents what the Giants are trying to do along their offensive line: Build a youthful group through the draft. If you were to pick a team based on how guys look coming off the bus, Peart, at 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds, would get a spot. He was considered raw coming out of Connecticut and he ended up getting 150 snaps as a rookie, mostly at right tackle, in head coach Joe Judge’s unusual rotation system. Peart did not allow a sack in his first eight games before COVID-19 hit him and his performance dropped in his final three appearances. The coaching staff wants him to win the starting right tackle job. If he cannot, veteran Nate Solder — almost exclusively a left tackle in the NFL — is next in line. Peart will start camp on the physically unable to perform list with a back injury.
You had to expect this name to show up here, even though he will start out on the PUP list. Barkley had surgery on Oct. 30 to repair a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus in his right knee. He went down Sept. 20, in Week 2 in Chicago, robbing the offense of its most lethal weapon. How this all turns out will define his legacy with the franchise that anointed him as the No. 2-overall pick in the 2018 draft. Once he is activated, expect the medical and training staff to go ever-so-slowly with Barkley throughout the summer. The target date for him is not the first day in pads, the first joint practice against the Browns or any of the three preseason games. Check back on Sept. 12 to see if Barkley is the starting running back in the opener against the Broncos.
WR Kadarius Toney
The first-round pick getting in a players-to-watch list: How novel. This is not a boilerplate selection, though. Toney actually does bear watching. He had a disjointed spring with his new team (he is currently on the reserve/COVID list) and is not a plug-and-play guy, as far as easily identifying his role and spot in the offense. There needs to be a feeling-out process to see where his unique skill-set (he’s elusive as hell) will work best. All rookies need to acclimate to life in the NFL, and there might be some growing pains for Toney as he embarks on the journey. He will get plenty of work in camp in the slot, lining up on the outside, in motion, on jet sweeps, maybe even on gadget plays (he’s got a heck of an arm). He does not need to be a finished product in time for the start of the regular season, but he does need to be ready to contribute as soon as possible.
NT Danny Shelton
The most significant absence on this roster from 2020 is Dalvin Tomlinson, who signed with the Vikings after four uber-consistent seasons anchoring the middle of the defensive line. Tomlinson is not irreplaceable, but also will not be easy to do without. There was no expensive free-agent addition imported to fill this spot. There was one big signing, though. Big, as in the body belonging to Shelton, a 6-foot-2, 345-pound run-stopper with six years of NFL work in the trenches. He is just 27 and has already cycled through the Browns, Patriots and Lions. It is always interesting to watch the biggest guys on the hottest days of camp. Can they get through it? Do they need frequent breaks? The Giants would like to be able to count on Shelton as their first-down anchor.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]