New York Giants Training Camp: Week 4 Stock Report
The New York Giants' fourth week of training camp is underway, and it's time to reexamine the soaring and sinking stocks of some oBig Blue's players in flux.
There have been plenty of practices and now two preseason games—one versus the Buffalo Bills, one versus the Pittsburgh Steelers—to judge the directions in which each of the players listed in this article are heading. While some have taken these opportunities and made the most of them, others are watching these same opportunities slip between their fingers.
Eight players are listed in this slideshow—four with a stock that is rising and four with a stock that is dropping.
Read on to see which Giants made the list.
Stock Rising: WR Corey Washington
New York's 6'4" receiver is standing tall in training camp and the preseason.
Corey Washington, a product of Division-II Newberry (S.C.) College, has been impossible to miss—and not just because he's taller than any of the Giants' other wide receivers. In the Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills, his 73-yard touchdown catch on a go route down the right sideline was the play of the game. The same could be argued for his game-winning, three-yard catch on a fade in the left corner of the end zone versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason.
Washington's catch versus the Bills was from Ryan Nassib.
The catch versus the Steelers was from Curtis Painter.
Will he catch one from Eli Manning before all is said and done?
Perhaps that day is on its way. Washington took first-team reps during Monday's practice and played like he belonged there, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The No. 1 thing that stood out to Dan Salamone of Giants.com during Monday's practice was an acrobatic catch Washington made in which he "contorted his body in midair" to come down with a jump ball.
Washington uses his size well, and his specialty seems to be going up and coming away with 50-50 balls. He is New York's quickest-rising star.
Stock Dropping: WR Mario Manningham
Mario Manningham does not resemble anything close to the player he once was for the Giants.
After catching just one pass for 17 yards versus the Bills, Manningham could not haul in either of his two targets against the Steelers. In fact, he didn't even see playing time until the fourth quarter.
Things are not looking good for the former Super Bowl star. Although he is currently listed as a third-team wide receiver, several players below him on the depth chart have been more impressive this preseason. In addition to Corey Washington's standout performances, former practice squad receiver Marcus Harris has also drawn praise for his play. Preston Parker, a third-year pro, has displayed additional value as a punt returner.
When Manningham was signed in the offseason, most fans were excited and thought he'd be a shoo-in to make the team. The picture has gotten murkier since then, and Manningham might now be on the outside looking in.
It does not bode well for Manningham that he is still not confident in the strength of his knee.
Stock Rising: RB Andre Williams
With first-rounder Odell Beckham Jr. still sidelined, fourth-round selection Andre Williams continues to be the Giants' most impressive offensive rookie.
Williams is still backing up Rashad Jennings, who scored on a 73-yard sprint versus the Steelers, and the rookie running back is unlikely to unseat the veteran for a starting job. However, with Peyton Hillis injured and David Wilson walking away from the game, Williams is making a strong argument for himself as the No. 2 back.
The Boston College product led the team with 48 yards on seven rushes against the Bills. He followed that up with another nice showing when New York hosted the Steelers, rushing for 35 yards on seven more touches. Imagine what Williams could do if given a full game to pound away at a defense.
The 230-pounder is a mean runner and does not look like much fun to tackle. While he could likely pound an opposing defense into submission on his own, the one glaring deficiency in his game is his ineffectiveness as a pass receiver out of the backfield. Williams must hone this aspect of his game to one day assume the starting role.
Stock Dropping: RB Michael Cox
If the Giants' awful running back situation in 2013 offered any hope for the future, it might have been in the form of Michael Cox.
Cox was a seventh-round selection who didn't show a ton of promise in games, but he was raw and the right size (6'1", 222 pounds) to one day make a difference in the Giants backfield. However, even with David Wilson out of the picture, the 2014 outlook for Cox is rather shabby.
Now in a battle for what appears to be the final running back roster spot, Cox is losing to Kendall Gaskins, a former member of the Bills practice squad. Gaskins, who is two years younger than the 25-year-old Cox, took a noticeable step forward in their individual roster battle during the Steelers game. After neither back was all that impressive versus the Bills, Gaskins carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards against Pittsburgh. He also caught three passes, including an 18-yard catch-and-run to set up the game-winning score.
Cox is the only back on New York's roster that weighs less than 230 pounds. That may not sit well with head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who are trying to install a formidable power running game.
It also doesn't help that he's averaging a half-yard per carry so far this preseason.
Stock Rising: CB Zack Bowman
Although his game versus the Steelers was not nearly as impressive as the one he had versus the Bills, former Chicago Bear Zack Bowman is still one of the rising contributors in New York's secondary.
After tip-drilling a pass into the hands of Cooper Taylor and coming down with an interception of his own in the end zone during the Bills game, Bowman enjoyed a pretty solid week of practice. During practice on Thursday, Aug. 7, the cornerback intercepted two passes.
Bowman is providing the Giants with a degree of reliability at cornerback. The 29-year-old has extensive experience as a reserve from his days in Chicago (73 games played, only 23 starts), and he appears able to stand in as a starter at a moment's notice. With Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie locking down the outsides and Walter Thurmond III holding down the slot position, Bowman is unlikely to be called upon unless one of those three gets injured.
Cornerback, however, is a position in which injury is inevitable. Whether it's a hamstring that costs a starter a game or an ACL that robs a starter the season, Bowman is the reliable reserve New York absolutely needs on its 53-man roster.
Stock Dropping: CB Jayron Hosley
Jayron Hosley is plummeting.
Although Hosley is still listed as a third-team cornerback, it's hard to imagine any of the undrafted guys behind him being any less effective on the field. And it's not like Hosley has got much going for him off the field either—remember that looming four-game suspension?
So far this preseason, when Hosley isn't allowing a completion to the man he's supposed to be covering, he's getting flagged for pass interference. Twice he committed said infraction versus the Steelers, and the second call gift-wrapped a nice, 47-yard gain for Pittsburgh.
As Patricia Traina of Bleacher Report and Inside Football put it in a Tweet, "Hosley continues to play himself off this team."
It's hard to imagine a scenario in which Hosley finds his way into a regular-season game for the Giants.
Stock Rising: QB Curtis Painter
Just when Ryan Nassib was starting to put on the appearance of New York's true No. 2 quarterback, Curtis Painter had to shake things up.
Painter was the last Giants quarterback to see action versus the Steelers, and I guess you could say New York was saving the best for last. He led one long, sustained drive that resulted in a game-winning lob to Corey Washington in the end zone. On the drive, Painter completed all seven of his attempts (to five different receivers) for 68 yards.
Although he only attempted three passes against the Bills the week before, all of them were completed.
That's right. Curtis Painter—of all people—has not yet thrown an incomplete pass this preseason.
Painter earned the backup reps he got during Monday's practice. Although Tom Coughlin claims this is standard flip-flopping, Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger wonders if something more than that is really going on.
Stock Dropping: QB Ryan Nassib
As impressive as Curtis Painter has been, the Giants have to hope Ryan Nassib wins this job.
Against the Steelers, however, Nassib threw no breathtaking bombs to Corey Washington, as desperately as he needed another. Instead, he completed only 12 of 21 attempts (57 percent) for 81 yards while also throwing an ill-advised backwards pass that Pittsburgh's defense scooped up and returned for a fourth-quarter touchdown. The play lost a lead that New York had nursed since nearly the start of the game.
Those mistakes must have the Giants worried, as they're ones Nassib cannot afford to make if he is to become a reliable backup in Year 2.
The Giants, who traded up to select Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, will be slightly hamstrung if they have to keep Painter as the backup so Nassib can tag along for another year of observation (at this point, cutting him is out of the question). If Nassib can prove himself as a backup, the Giants can cut Painter and will be afforded the luxury of carrying an extra special teams player on the 53-man roster.
The team probably isn't comfortable enough in Nassib's ability to take that leap yet, but there are three preseason games still to be played.