The Best Rookie Storylines at New York Giants OTAs
After a solid showing in the 2013 NFL draft that saw the New York Giants address their offensive and defensive line issues, the G-Men will be looking to their rookies to make big contributions during the 2013 season.
Whether it's a question of Damontre Moore's work ethic or where Justin Pugh is going to find a home along New York's offensive line, there are plenty of storylines to follow for the newest Giants.
Let's get right into them.
Where Will Justin Pugh Play?
The New York Giants' first-round pick, offensive tackle Justin Pugh, was brought in to shore up an aging offensive line, but the rookie doesn't have a set position along the Giants' offensive line.
Pugh may not be thought of as a starter just yet, but come Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, one has to think the 6'4", 307-pounder will be one of the starting five on the Giants' O-line.
Pugh played left tackle at Syracuse, but according to Rotoworld, Pugh has been manning the right side of the Giants' offensive line during minicamps.
Prior to the NFL draft, there was a lot of talk about Pugh playing the guard position at the NFL level because of his short arms, which is also an option for the Giants if James Brewer replaces David Diehl.
After a disappointing effort from Big Blue's offensive line last season, the Giants are looking for Pugh to help anchor the line this season.
Damontre Moore's Work Ethic
It's no secret that Damontre Moore's work ethic has been questioned in the past— in his blog, the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano cites a lack of work ethic between games during Moore's time at Texas A&M—but it appears that defensive captain Justin Tuck isn't about to let the rookie defensive end off the hook.
According to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk, Tuck had a note waiting in Moore's locker when he showed up at the Giants' facilities that read, "I hope you are ready to work."
Youngmisuk's column also mentions Tom Coughlin citing a lack of work ethic from the 20-year-old pass-rusher, but under Coughlin, G-Men fans at the least can expect Moore to be put to work.
If Moore pans out for the Giants, they'll boast one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul also coming off the edge as part of a defense known for its big-play abilities along the D-line.
Moore's work ethic will be a storyline to monitor during the offseason and leading up to Week 1.
Ryan Nassib's Quest for Backup
No one is going to overtake Eli Manning for the starting quarterback gig in New York, but there will be a competitive battle for the backup position.
Fourth-round pick Ryan Nassib will give veteran David Carr a challenge for the backup position, and it's already being reported that Nassib has improved upon his time at the Senior Bowl, as noted by Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole.
NYG rookie QB Ryan Nassib throwing ball better (velocity, deep stuff) than what I remember from senior bowl in January.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) May 22, 2013
I think New York sees Nassib as part of its future. While Manning still has plenty left in the tank, the Giants know that this is the NFL, where injuries are just as common as a completed pass.
If Nassib shows enough potential during rookie camps and the preseason, the Giants should insert him as the backup quarterback and groom him into a possible successor to Manning further down the road.
Johnathan Hankins' Role
After the release of Chris Canty, New York went out and stockpiled at the defensive tackle position by signing Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins and drafting DT Johnathan Hankins in the second round of the draft.
Despite the depth at the defensive tackle position, you have to think Hankins will have a chance to immediately prove himself as a rookie. Linval Joseph should remain a starter and will likely start alongside Jenkins or Patterson. I think Perry Fewell includes the rookie Hankins in his defensive rotation as well.
Reading this blog post by Dan Salomone of Giants.com, it sounds like Hankins will be thrown into the mix of defensive tackles, competing against Shaun Rogers, Frank Okam and Markus Kuhn for playing time.
The 300-plus-pounder has an opportunity to make a difference for the Giants' D, which will be a storyline to follow as the regular season approaches.
Cooper Taylor's Heart
After feeling an accelerated heart rate while playing for Georgia Tech in 2009, safety Cooper Taylor thought his football career was over, according to the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.
“I thought football was taken away from me. I really thought if I had a heart condition my career would be done,” Taylor said in Vacchiano's piece.
Instead, the Giants’ fifth-round pick was operated on to fix his condition, which was diagnosed as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW).
The 6’4”, 228-pound safety has excellent athleticism for his size at the safety position and could even potentially play linebacker at the NFL level, as Vacchiano mentions in his column.
With the Giants needing all the help they can get on defense. As long as Taylor stays healthy, he’ll have an opportunity to compete for playing time in the Giants’ secondary and on special teams, but overcoming a serious condition is already a win in my book for the young athlete.
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer