Stock Up, Stock Down for Key New York Giants Heading into Camp
The New York Giants will begin training camp in roughly two weeks and have seen a number of players' stocks both rise and fall.
As expected, position battles are already underway in OTAs and will undoubtedly carry into training camp.
Injuries and free agency have somewhat plagued New York this offseason, but the NFL draft and hard work have some G-Men's stock on the rise.
We know that newcomers David Wilson and Rueben Randle's stocks are up, but who else has been impressing the coaching staff?
Hakeem Nicks' stock went down slightly when he broke his foot—though I wouldn't worry—but who else has Giants coaches worrying?
Let's meet my stock up/stock down selections.
Stock Down: Will Beatty
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As if the Giants offensive line isn't bad enough, training camp is merely two weeks away and left tackle Will Beatty is suffering from back issues, according to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk.
Beatty missed the last six regular season games of 2011 and the entire playoffs due to an eye injury.
In Youngmisuk's article cited above, Youngmisuk also suggests that if Beatty can't fill the role, New York will look to guys like James Brewer, David Diehl and Sean Locklear.
The left tackle position—and the offensive line as a whole—was New York's biggest issue in 2011, as the running game averaged a league-low 89.2 YPG.
Right now, it all hinges on Beatty's health, which will cause some shuffling around on the O-line if he digresses.
In that case, the Giants would have to decide on Locklear or Brewer at LT or move Diehl back to LT and use Locklear/Brewer at RT.
Stock Up: Jayron Hosley
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As the New York Giants' third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, cornerback Jayron Hosley will have a chance to see some significant playing time this season.
As Paul Tierney of Giants101 writes, Hosley looked great covering 2011 breakout wideout Victor Cruz during practice, meaning he can really give sophomore Prince Amukamara a run for his money in the nickel spot.
Given what's been written about the 21-year-old rookie, fans should be pleased with Hosley's performance thus far and believe that his stock is definitely on the rise as a member of the G-Men defense.
Stock Down: Ramses Barden
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It would be an understatement to say that Giants third-year wide receiver Ramses Barden has been a complete and utter disappointment.
In 17 games, Barden has a mere 15 receptions for 174 yards and zero touchdowns.
At 6'6", Barden was expected to be a nice replacement for Plaxico Burress, but it didn't exactly pan out that way. His poor performance was highlighted in the Giants' victory over the New York Jets on Christmas Eve last season, to which Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger details further.
With Hakeem Nicks out for presumably the rest of the summer with a broken foot (via ESPN), the door seemed to be open for Barden to compete for a WR position.
But then the Giants drafted rookie wideout Rueben Randle out of LSU with their second pick and Victor Cruz optimistically said (via NFL.com) that Nicks will be ready for New York's Week 1 showdown against the rival Dallas Cowboys.
That, in my mind, shows that the Giants don't have much confidence in Ramses Barden.
Stock Up: Adrian Tracy
That's what you may be thinking, but Adrian Tracy is ready to prove his worth as a potential replacement for backup defensive end David Tollefson.
After playing defensive end in college and linebacker for the Giants practice squad, Tracy is a Mathias Kiwanuka-type player who can be effective at both LB and DE, but according to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk, Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell will put Tracy at DE:
"We felt that he's more of a defensive end. After looking at him for the past year or so, we feel that's his strength and we can make some progress with him playing defensive end for us... He's really strong at the point of attack. You'd be surprised at how Tracy is strong at the point of attack –- much stronger than he physically looks. But I think he'll do well there."
I think Tracy will do just fine at defensive end, especially given the benefit of learning from Pro Bowlers Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.
Tollefson was a key provider on the Giants D-line last season and given the opportunity, Tracy will do the same.
Stock Down: Da'Rel Scott
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Last season, I shared my thoughts on why Da'Rel Scott should get some playing time, citing his blazing 4.34 40-yard dash time and his body of work at Maryland.
The exit of Brandon Jacobs to the San Francisco 49ers opened a door for the 24-year-old running back to possibly backup starter Ahmad Bradshaw, but that door seemingly closed when New York selected Virginia Tech's David Wilson with the No. 32 overall pick of the draft.
Wilson has impressed his coaches during offseason workouts, especially offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who highlights Wilson's explosiveness in ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk's piece.
Youngmisuk suggests that D.J. Ware will begin the season as Ahmad Bradshaw's backup, but I'm going to have to disagree with that due to what's being said about Wilson during OTAs and the lack of production from Ware during his four seasons in New York.
As for Scott, he gained just 16 yards on only five attempts in 2011, including a fumble that he lost.
I think Scott has the ability to be a backup in the NFL, but it's not going to be for the Giants in 2012. That spot will belong to David Wilson.
Stock Up: Chase Blackburn
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Chase Blackburn was a savior for the Giants during their 2011 Super Bowl campaign and it looks like he'll be rewarded again for the upcoming season.
As NFL.com reports, Blackburn is projected to be Big Blue's starting middle linebacker when the Giants enter training camp at the end of the month.
ESPN's Dan Graziano writes that Michael Boley, Mathias Kiwanuka and Blackburn are slated to be the starting linebackers for the Giants, but there are other candidates for the position, which include Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones, Jacquian Williams and newcomer Keith Rivers.
Perry Fewell (via NFL.com) says that the starting MLB job is up for grabs, but given Blackburn's skills and track record, I see him coming out of camp and retaining his job as the starter.
I've always been a big Blackburn fan, which is why I ranked him as an early winner and an important unheralded player for the Giants this offseason, so there's no reason to think otherwise that his stock is high.
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