The New York Giants will soon return to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey for their 2023 training camp.
For many players, the impression made on coaches and front-office executives over the summer will determine their future with the organization. Even some of the established veterans and recent signees will have something to prove as they convene to lay the foundation for the second season under general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll.
Some will look to prove they’ve made progress since they joined the team. Others will look to prove they’re better than the rookies brought in at their respective positions. Training camp will ultimately paint a clear picture of the best players.
Here are nine Giants players who need to have a strong training camp for one reason or another.
The competition at left guard will be among the team’s most interesting training camp battles.
Shane Lemieux dealt with injuries a season ago, which opened the door for veteran Ben Bredeson, who earned the trust of the coaching staff. And with John Michael Schmitz taking over at center, Bredeson will shift back to left guard where he’ll compete with Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu.
General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll insist they like their depth at the position but the starting job is still open to be had. Lemieux will need to demonstrate health and consistency throughout camp or run the risk being the odd man out.
Gary Brightwell has been a solid player for the Giants, both offensively and on special teams. However, there will be a new body at the position this year in the form of rookie Eric Gray, who also plays special teams. Saquon Barkley and Matt Breida will serve as the 1-2 punch and then it will come down to Brightwell, Gray and Jashaun Corbin. With the rookie all but guaranteed a roster spot, Brightwell will have to make a strong case this summer.
Evan Neal is guaranteed the starting spot at right tackle but that doesn’t mean his training camp performance is insignificant. He’s already under tremendous pressure and that’s only going to increase if he comes out and struggles this summer. He needs to start hot and carry that momentum into the regular season where he will be one of the Giants’ most important players — if not the team’s most important player.
The clock is ticking on linebacker Elerson Smith and time may run out if he doesn’t perform well throughout training camp. The 2021 fourth-round pick has spent much of his young career injured and on the sideline, and he’s falling further and further down the depth chart. The good news is that the Giants could use all the pass rush help they can get, so the opportunities will be there. It’s up to Elerson to seize them.
Like many others on this list, cornerback Aaron Robinson has failed to live up to his billing largely due to injuries. With the additions of Amari Oruwariye and rookie Tre Hawkins III, as well as a potentially larger role for Nick McCloud, Robinson is at risk of missing the boat. He has to stay on the field and prove to the team he’s worthy of not only a roster spot, but playing time. The same applies to Rodarius Williams.
It’s a numbers game at wide receiver and that doesn’t even include the eventual returns of Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson, both of whom are essentially guaranteed a roster spot when healthy. That leaves several players, including free agent signings, potentially fighting for their fate as a Giant. One such player is Jamison Crowder, who has the upper hand given his offseason workouts with Daniel Jones. Still, there are only so many spots available, so he’ll have to prove his worth as both a receiver and as a special teams asset.
Jeff Smith is in the same exact boat as Crowder. It’s really just a numbers game at this point and the veteran will have to prove his worth in multiple areas in order to earn a roster spot. Smith only has limited special teams experience so he’ll need a strong summer performance in order to stick.
Lawrence Cager is an athletic and arguably even underrated talent but the Giants suddenly have bodies at tight end. Darren Waller will take the top spot but Daniel Bellinger will see his fair share of playing time, which is well deserved. As a result, Cager will have to shine brighter than free agent signing Tommy Sweeney, who comes over from Buffalo, and rookie Ryan Jones. Chris Myarick may also see some training camp snaps at tight end, although the team currently lists him as their only fullback.
Losing Jarrad Davis hurts the Giants at the top-end of their roster and will likely force some depth guys into more prominent roles. Second-year players Darrian Beavers and Micah McFadden seem to have the early edge, while Cam Brown is a likely lock given his dominant special teams play. That leaves Carter Coughlin, a 2020 seventh-round pick, to battle it out with Dyontae Johnson and Troy Brown. The margin for error is extremely slim for Coughlin.