Setting Realistic Training Camp Expectations for Each New York Giants Rookie
A few handfuls of rookies will duke it out for limited spots on the New York Giants' 53-man roster this summer.
This article will lay out the training camp expectations for each of the 2014 Giants rookies.
For some rookies, mostly the draft picks, making the team is not really an issue. The expectations for these players are more to climb the depth chart during training camp, setting the stage for regular-season production.
For others, particularly the rookies who went undrafted, it's all about making the team. For these players, the expectations revolve around each specific rookie's chance to land a roster spot.
Read about all of them in the slides ahead.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Any player selected in the first round of the draft comes with high expectations, and there is no exception to the rule when it comes to 12th overall pick Odell Beckham Jr., a 5'11" wide receiver out of LSU.
Although he is slightly undersized for an outside receiver, the lack of height should not limit training camp expectations for him. New York is expecting him to stay healthy and hold down one of the sideline positions (either X or Z) across from Rueben Randle, which would allow Victor Cruz to make himself at home in the slot (Y).
The goal of New York's passing attack should be to clear the middle of the field for Cruz to run routes freely. That means the Giants will need to field two respectable threats on either side of him. Even though New York is planning on Beckham and Randle to share the field somewhat equitably in 2014, a friendly competition for targets should develop between the former college teammates.
The expectations for Beckham are higher than that of any other Giants rookie.
C Weston Richburg
A second-round selection is usually expected to push for a starting job, but there is minimal pressure on Colorado State center Weston Richburg to usurp a role with the first-team offensive line.
He can, for now, sit behind J.D. Walton, a free-agent signee who played the first 36 games of his career with the Denver Broncos. Walton started all 36 of those games before injuring his ankle early in the 2012 season; he has not appeared in a game since.
Now healthy, Walton holds the upper hand on the 22-year-old. The possibility of a lukewarm position battle breaking out between these two is present; however, Richburg is just as likely to get first-team reps at right guard, filling in for an ailing Chris Snee.
Giants fans are expecting big things from Richburg, just not as soon as this summer's training camp.
DT Jay Bromley
The Giants may have larger expectations for Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley than the fans do for him. That is a rarity for a third-round selection.
He is expected to make the roster, but the coaching staff may already see him as a viable addition to the interior D-line rotation. Behind presumed starters Cullen Jenkins and Johnathan Hankins, Bromley can be the first tackle off the bench by outshining Mike Patterson and Markus Kuhn during training camp.
The front office was criticized of reaching when it selected the 310-pounder in the third round. Because of this, the expectations for Bromley are lower than usual for a player of his draft status.
A wide-open defensive tackle unit will transform him from the draft's biggest reach into the draft's biggest steal.
RB Andre Williams
The expectations for New York's 2014 fourth-round selection are arguably higher than they are for the franchise's second- and third-round selections. That's because the Giants' fourth-round pick was Andre Williams, a Boston College running back who led the NCAA in rushing yardage as a senior.
He was also a 2013 Heisman Trophy finalist, making him one of the six most impressive players in college football. The 230-pounder isn't expected to stand out on such a level as a rookie in the NFL, but the Giants do want him to make the most of the team's fluid running back race.
Rashad Jennings, a free agent signed this spring, projects to be the starter in 2014. Behind him, however, all else is uncertain. Perhaps the electric David Wilson will finally hold a lasting charge; maybe the steadier Peyton Hillis will provide a more sustainable stand-in for Jennings.
In Williams, the Giants own a productive collegian whose 2014 expectations will depend upon his ability to stand out in a currently shapeless running back competition in training camp.
S Nat Berhe
It's difficult to project the training camp expectations for fifth-round selection Nat Berhe, since the position he played in college doesn't exactly exist in NFL defenses.
Berhe, at 6'0" and 194 pounds, played a position at San Diego State called "Aztec," which was a type of defensive back/linebacker hybrid. His size will limit him to safety at the professional ranks, although it would be refreshing to see him retain a linebacker's eagerness to make plays near the line of scrimmage even when lined up in the secondary.
The Giants like to field an extra defensive back, usually a safety, to clutter opposing pass attacks. However, on the depth chart, New York already has Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Quintin Demps and possibly Cooper Taylor ahead of Berhe at safety.
In training camp, Berhe is expected to climb this depth chart as much as possible.
LB Devon Kennard
The Giants made two selections in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, and the expectations for the two could not be farther apart.
Linebacker Devon Kennard was selected 22 picks after safety Nat Berhe, but his early expectations for training camp are way higher. Already, Kennard has received some first-team reps on the strong side, due to Jon Beason's foot injury and Jameel McClain's subsequent shift to the middle.
New York does not field many linebackers who can be described as entrenched in their playing positions. The unit looks different from year to year, but Kennard is now in position to become a rare familiar face among the Giants' uncertain cast of linebackers.
He is expected to hold down a starting spot throughout training camp.
CB Bennett Jackson
Former Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson, a sixth-round selection, has the lowest expectations of New York's seven 2014 draft picks.
He is not yet an NFL-caliber coverage man. In college, he was serviceable, but in the pros, he must improve significantly in order to be relied upon—even as a reserve.
Ahead of him on New York's cornerback depth chart are Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond III and at least three other players. It would take something catastrophic for Jackson to be counted upon in the defensive backfield this summer.
The expectation for Jackson, a team captain in college, is to stand out on special teams coverage units—the only place he's likely to land a final roster spot.
DT Kelcy Quarles
Of all the undrafted rookies, the expectations for defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles are the highest.
For three years at South Carolina, he was just as disruptive an interior force as his Gamecock teammate Jadeveon Clowney was on the edge. Part of Quarles' collegiate production was directly related to the additional attention on Clowney, who was selected first overall this spring by the Houston Texans.
Despite this criticism, many draft experts projected Quarles to be third- or fourth-round pick. NFL front offices were less enthused with the 22-year-old tackle, as he went unselected.
In Quarles, however, the Giants nabbed a high-upside undrafted free agent. The expectation for him this summer is to not only make the roster but also find his way into the interior D-line rotation.
TE Xavier Grimble
Expectations for tight end Xavier Grimble are not far behind those for Kelcy Quarles. The only reason Grimble's expectations don't exceed Quarles' is because not much is expected of the Giants tight end competition as a whole.
There is a possibility that Grimble finishes training camp as New York's No. 1 tight end, but it's inaccurate to say that's the expectation. He faces competition from two inexperienced youngsters in Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, as well as two unproductive veterans in Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells.
This summer, Grimble is expected to make the most of this wide-open tight end race, possibly pushing for the starting job.
LB Dan Fox
The expectations for undrafted rookies drop off after Kelcy Quarles and Xavier Grimble. Of the rest of the UDFA pack, Notre Dame linebacker Dan Fox has been hyped the most.
He doesn't stand much of a shot to crack the starting linebacker unit, but he will battle for a roster spot this summer. Although he is capable of contributing at all three linebacker positions in the Giants' base 4-3, the spot he should be targeting is backup middle linebacker.
Described as a natural football player, Fox will likely thrive on special teams. The expectation for him this summer is to carve out a role as a coverage-team specialist while developing his linebacker skills.
WR Corey Washington
The Giants took a dip into the shallow Division II talent pool and came up with Newberry College product Corey Washington, a 6'4" wide receiver.
He is virtually unknown, so training camp expectations for him are minimal. That may change, however, when New York's tallest receiver puts on pads. So far, the smaller receivers have dominated the lighter, unpadded spring workouts.
New York's receiving corps is undersized as a whole. The expectation for Washington is to stand out in camp as a raw, yet beautifully sized developmental pass target.
K Brandon McManus
At first glance, kicker Brandon McManus might be written off as feeble camp competition for incumbent starter Josh Brown. Under further scrutiny, the expectations for McManus and his battle with Brown skyrocket.
McManus kicked and punted for the Temple Owls, earning him an undrafted free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts last summer (he did not make the team, so he is still listed as a rookie on the Giants roster). Apparently, he gave the venerable Adam Vinatieri a run for his money.
Brown will be an easier kicker to beat out than Vinatieri. Still, the expectations aren't quite that high.
OL Rogers Gaines
Offensive lineman Rogers Gaines is a Tennessee State product who spent time with both the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears dating back to last summer. He did not make the roster with either team, so he will get another run as a rookie this summer with the Giants.
He has a delightful frame at 6'6" and 329 pounds. The former undrafted free agent, however, has much work to do before he can put that size to good use. As a small-school prospect, Gaines' technique is less than stellar.
The training camp expectation for him is to perform as more than just a camp body.
DE Jordan Stanton
A former standout at one of the top FCS programs in James Madison, defensive end Jordan Stanton will now try his hand at the NFL.
H has the size to stick at 6'4", 280 pounds. He has experience playing both end and tackle, but his best fit in the Giants' 4-3 base defense is on the strong-side edge.
The expectations for him are nonexistent, but he can surprise a few fans by landing on the practice squad at the end of training camp.
S Thomas Gordon
A Michigan product, the 6'0", 214-pound Thomas Gordan has the ideal mixture of size and experience for an undrafted free-agent safety to overcome the odds and make the team.
The former Wolverine was productive as a four-year letterman with 220 tackles and six interceptions. He's also a pretty impressive athlete with a 41-inch vertical leap at his pro day, per NFLDraftScout.com. Still, he went undrafted, and the Giants were able to snatch him up.
Although Gordon is not expected to make the 53-man roster, he could surprise everyone with a strong showing this summer.
DE Kerry Wynn
Working out on the strong side of the defensive formation will be former Richmond Spider Kerry Wynn.
He was listed as a defensive tackle on his NFL.com scouting report but is now listed as a defensive end on the Giants roster. Although he has the versatility to go between the two positions, he lacks the talent to thrive at either. He will likely be buried on the depth chart at left defensive end.
The small-school prospects are plentiful on this roster, and Wynn projects to be one of the least impressive ones.
LB Justin Anderson
The Giants signed Senior Bowl participant Justin Anderson to compete for a roster spot at linebacker this summer.
In his final two seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette, he led his team in tackles, averaging more than 10 per game as a senior. The 232-pound tackling machine will now try to make the leap to the next level.
Expect Anderson to be one of the Giants' finest special teamers in camp.
S C.J. Barnett
An Ohio State product, safety C.J. Barnett has big-school credibility but not the corresponding talent.
His game is described as "slow" by Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton. That's bad news for a player who is attempting to make the transition from college to the faster, more unforgiving NFL. Barnett probably does not have the athleticism to recover from the many rookie mistakes he's sure to make.
The Giants are deep in the defensive backfield, making it that much harder for a player like him to make the roster without a rash of injuries to other players at the same position. He is not expected to stick.
DE Emmanuel Dieke
Emmanuel Dieke became a full-time starter at Georgia Tech, although he was never exceptionally productive, recording just five sacks in 49 games.
The 257-pounder's primary advantage is length, but he could afford to bulk up and fill out his 6'6" frame. He needed an impressive enough pro day for the Giants to take a chance on him as a pass-rusher.
In order for Dieke to make New York's roster, he'll have to show that he's a more dynamic playmaker than he was at Georgia Tech. The expectation is that he fails to do so.
WR Travis Harvey
Sitting at the bottom of New York's wide receiver pecking order is Travis Harvey.
He has no NFL experience outside of the time he spent in Tennessee Titans camp last summer. He played his college ball at Florida A&M, where he recorded less than 1,000 receiving yards in two seasons against FCS competition.
He will need to display something amazing this summer to amount to anything more than a camp body.
DB Kyle Sebetic
Defensive back Kyle Sebetic was a late signing out of the University of Dayton, an FCS program.
He was signed to fill the void left by the release of safety Will Hill, although the former Flyer has no chance to be anywhere near as effective as Hill was.
He is described by Big Blue Interactive as a "tweener," with subpar speed for a corner and subpar size for a safety. Although listed simply as a defensive back on the Giants roster, expect him to settle in at safety in camp—only briefly, though.
All roster information courtesy of Giants.com.