The New York Giants are set to make their preseason debut tonight at 7:00 pm on NFL Network against the New York Jets, for the “MetLife Bowl”. The preseason is a great time for fans, giving us football we haven’t seen in many months. This is also a very crucial time for the players, as their lives can completely change in just a few more weeks. As we go into the preseason, here are some key position battles to keep an eye on, and my projection of who will win the battle.
Battle 1: Wide Receiver Battle
The first battle is who will be the third and fourth wide receivers on the team. To begin the summer, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate were the two starters, and following him would have possibly been Corey Coleman and Cody Latimer.
It is difficult now due to Corey Coleman’s season ending injury, Sterling Shepard’s temporary injury, and Golden Tate’s suspension (as we await the results of the appeal). We now are searching deeper into the rough to find the next man up.
One battle will be between Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, and Russell Shepard. These three players have veteran experience, having combined 18 years in the league. With all three players returning from last year, they have one year in the Giants system. Any of these three players, or all three could see much playing time if Sterling Shepard loses any time, and the Giants are without Tate for four games.
The key battle will be between Alonzo Russell and Darius Slayton. Although Slayton has not practiced fully since early July, he has proven he can make plays. Russell has been a favorite target for QB Daniel Jones this summer. The Giants will keep both players on the active roster, but Russell will sneak his way past Slayton early this season. However, once Slayton gets healthier, he will surpass Russell in the depth chart.
Battle 2: Linebacker Battle
The next battle will be at the linebacker spot, between Tae Davis and BJ Goodson. Davis has turned heads this summer, enough to where he surpassed Goodson on the depth chart. Davis started in four games last year, logging 33 total tackles, and 3 sacks.
Goodson had started 13 games and logged 61 total tackles and two interceptions. Davis demonstrated good playing ability last year, and even proved to lend some help in pass coverage. Goodson is more of a run-stopping linebacker and has also had some issues staying healthy the last few years. Davis can solidify his spot being a starter, and Goodson may be a possible cut this year.
Battle 3: Depth Running Back Battle
This battle is between Elijah Penny, Paul Perkins and newly acquired Rod Smith. In the Giants recent depth chart, there actually was not a fullback spot in the roster, but one of these players will likely play that kind of role. The last time the Giants had moved on from a fullback was when they released Shane Smith.
Last season, Penny was the starting fullback. Penny was a former running back, who converted to fullback when joining the Giants. Penny served well last year in blocking and was involved in the passing game down the stretch.
Rod Smith is a running back formerly with the Dallas Cowboys. Smith has taken some snaps this summer at fullback and has made some progress there. This position will determine which player stays or goes, especially if they decide to keep Paul Perkins on the roster. The Giants very well can keep both Penny and Smith and use them in different situations if they decide to move on from Perkins, since Smith has a power-running style they can utilize in short yard situations.
Other interesting things to watch out for:
- Julian Love taking snaps at safety.
- Dexter Lawrence playing different spots on the defensive line.
- The battle between Scott Simonson, C.J. Conrad, and Garrett Dickerson for the third tight end spot
- The battle for cornerback number two and three between DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Antonio Hamilton, and Corey Ballentine