By Michael Stewart @TheTruthNYG                           

The New York Giants OTA’s are completed, and soon mini camps will start up. As expected from a team that went 6-11, there are many question marks entering this season. One particular question mark I have involved five players currently on the roster who have been overlooked and not expected to be a factor or contribute for the Giants in 2024.

  • Evan Neal (OT): I can just see many of you shaking your heads t this time as Neal has been a disappointment thus far in his first two seasons as a Giant. However, all is not lost as help has arrived. I’m referring to new OL coach Carmen Bricillo who replaced Bobby Johnson in the off season. Bricillo’s resume on developing solid OL is well documented and he believes that Evan Neal has so much potential. Bricillo explained that over the first two seasons of Neal’s career he suffered through injuries and poor coaching that negated his development. Furthermore, Bricillo believes the additions of Jon Runyon and Jermaine Eluemunor playing along side of him on the offensive line will provide stability and continuity. Ultimately, Bricillo stated that it’s all up to Neal to prove he belongs in this league and thus far, Bricillo has been impressed with Neal’s overall attitude and his conditioning early on. Bricillo commented that Neal understands that this could be his final opportunity to prove the critics wrong and now it’s up to him.
  • Eric Gray (RB): Gray saw limited action in his rookie season and with the signing of Devin Singletary, Dante Miller and the drafting of Tyrone Tracy, many have forgotten about Eric Gray not only making a contribution, but even making the team. However, Gray impressed the coaching staff during the OTA’s and if he can continue this trend during Mini-Camp, then perhaps Gray might be a strong contender for the RB2 spot. On the current roster, Gray is the only pure power back and that could go a long way when it comes time fill out the 53 man roster. Gray needs to stand out moving forward and if he goes, he could make the final roster.  
  • Trey Hawkins (CB):  Hawkins was a 6th round selection for the Giants in the 2023 NFL draft and had an impressive training camp last season and won the CB2 position for opening day. As the season unfolded, As the season progressed, Hawkins weaknesses were exposed mostly in man coverage and was eventually benched. Many who follow the Giants are already dismissing Hawkins in 2024 and I believe he still has the athletic and tangibles to be a strong contributor to the Giants secondary. The competition at the CB2 position will also include Cor’Dale Flott, Nick McCloud, Aaron Robinson (remember him) 3rd Round pick Andru Phillips (most likely the slot CB) and David Long.  Under new DC Shane Bowen, Hawkins could flourish and be a major contributor for the Giants in 2024.
  • Dane Belton (S): The Giants used their 2nd round pick on Safety Tyler Nubin out of Minnesota, who is expected to win the Strong Safety position by opening day. With Jason Pinnock occupying the free safety spot, Belton is on the outside looking in. However, don’t dismiss Belton as an important cog in the Giants secondary. New DC Shane Bowen likes to utilize multiple safeties in many of his defensive schemes and Belton can certainly find enough snaps to be productive and contribute to the Giants Defense.   
  • Isaiah Simmons (LBer): Simmons is on my list because former DC Wink Martindale failed to allow Simmons greatest strengths to be utilized in his defensive scheme. Under new DC Shane Bowen, I believe he will utilize the athletic ability and explosiveness that Simmons possesses and create specialized blitzes packages for him either at the Linebacker and/or safety position. Expect to see more snaps for Simmons under Bowen, who will capitalize on what Simmons can bring to the table. I would not be surprised if DC Shane Bowen comes up with a few packages that we would see Burns, Thibodeaux, Ojulari and Simmons on the field at the same time. If so, this defense will be fun to watch.