New York Giants: Top 5 Position Battles in 2017
By Michael Stewart (@golferbad)
The 2017 New York Giants training camp should have some interesting battles at a few positions. GM Jerry Reese signed a number of free agents (on current roster and from other teams) in the off-season to help improve the Giants overall talent. Reese also had 6 draft picks and signed 17 UDFA as well.
So with all this activity, there should be a few positions that could be up for grabs in training camp. Below, I have assembled my top 5 positional battles I believe will play out:
MLB: The Giants didn’t draft a linebacker this season (which is not unusual for GM Jerry Reese), so it appears that Keenan Robinson and B.J Goodson will have the opportunity to battle it out to see who will get the most snaps at the MLB for the Giants.
With Robinson on a one year contract and Goodson being the only linebacker signed beyond 2017, it would appear that the Giants will give him every opportunity to start at the MLB position. I believe that (especially in the beginning) both will share the duties until one emerges as the #1 candidate. Currently; it appears that Goodson is a better run stopper and Robinson is better in pass coverage.
RT/RG: Now this battle should consist of 3 candidates with John Jerry, D. J. Fluker and Bobby Hart battling it out for only 2 spots (RG & RT). The Giants re-signed John Jerry to a 3 year contract in the off-season and signed Fluker to a 1 year deal.
Hart got enough playing time in 2016 (injuries) to warrant consideration. Fluker and Hart can play both OG & OT; whereas Jerry only plays OG. Unless one of these candidates totally flops, I can see this battle going down to the final pre-season game before it’s decided. Also, keep an eye on 6th round pick Adam Bisnowaty and UDFA signee Chad Wheeler.
FS: Thompson was the favorite to be the safety opposite Landon Collins as a rookie in 2016, but his foot sprain landed him on the injured reserve (I.R.) list. This caused him to miss valuable time and opened the door for others, like undrafted rookie Andrew Adams out of Connecticut.
Adams started 13 games for the Giants at safety and played the second-most snaps at safety behind Collins. He took over as the starter in Week 4 and held it until the wild-card game against the Green Bay Packers. The Giants really like both FS in Thompson and Adams and still have high hopes for Nat Berhe who is a close 3rd in the FS battle. This is arguably one of the deepest positions for the Giants and a good problem to have.
Kicker: A forgotten position by many, but not by the Giants coaching staff. Currently the Giants only have Aldrick Rosas on the roster (who is unproven), but that should change quickly as GM Jerry Reese is committed to add another kicker before training camp. If so, who would be the candidates?
It’s been reported that kickers Dan Carpenter, Mike Nugent & Travis Coons could be available to create competition with Rosas. Now another candidate could appear, but for now are these 3 veterans any better than what the Giants currently have in Rosas; despite being unproven? Thus far, the Giants haven’t shown any indication of bringing in another kicker as the job right now belongs to Rosas. My guess is that this position could be unclear and not solidified for most of the season.
RB: Head Coach Ben McAdoo has already stated that 2nd year RB Paul Perkins will be the starter for the Giants on opening day. Now I fully believe that Ben McAdoo is being honest and forth right with that statement.
However; It wouldn’t surprise me if rookie RB Wayne Gallman slowly becomes more of the features back for the Giants as the season progresses. Despite not being in favor of the Giants selection of Gallman (would rather have had either D’onta Foreman or Samaje Perine drafted instead), he does possess certain attributes that could eventually outshine Perkins and change the pecking order at RB. Gallman can run inside or outside and is every bit as good of a receiver as Perkins. Gallman is also a better blocker than Perkins; which could come in handy on blitzing backers & corners. This may not start out as a positional battle, however; as the season unfolds it certainly could.