3 Giants to keep an eye on at the start of OTAs

parris campbell, new york giants
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (1) rushes the ball after making a long reception Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The New York Giants are kicking off “Phase 3” of their offseason today with OTAs officially set to kick off. During this phase, teams may hold a total of 10 days of OTAs, however, no live contact is permitted, according to Art Stapleton.

Instead, the Giants will conduct plenty of 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills for the next couple of weeks, giving the media and coaches alike a closer look at the team’s skill position players. With plenty of incoming talent this offseason, there are a few players worth keeping an eye on as OTAs kick off this week.

CB Deonte Banks

In a recent article on Giants.com titled “Fact or Fiction: OTA predictions, players to watch,” all four of the Giants’ crew answered “fact” to the prompt, “Cornerback Deonte Banks is the defensive player you’ll watch most closely at OTAs.”

“With no pads on and no meaningful work being done in the trenches, the focus will be on the perimeter and Deonte Banks,” John Schmeelk explained. “With limited contact allowed at the line of scrimmage, let’s see how he plays off-coverage, which is something he did earlier in his Maryland career but not as much in 2022. And will watch his speed and how will he run against a much faster Giants wide receiver corps.”

Banks, the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, is entering the league with high expectations. After surrendering 50+ yards in a game just once throughout his collegiate career, Banks is in line to begin his rookie season as a starter on New York’s defense. He will be worth keeping a close eye on during OTAs.

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WR Parris Campbell

Dan Salamone responded “Fiction” to the WR Jalin Hyatt being the offensive player he will watch most closely at OTAs. Instead, Salamone proposed that fans should keep their eyes on “0.”

“Parris Campbell, the free-agent wide receiver addition from Indianapolis, was one of the first players to take advantage of the new jersey number rules and will sport No. 0 with his new team,” Salamone wrote. “But that’s not the only reason to watch him. After some unlucky injuries plagued the first chapter of his NFL career, Campbell started to show his capabilities during a healthy 2022 campaign. Campbell was part of the off-season plan to upgrade the speed in all three phases of the roster.”

Campbell is one of the team’s most exciting off-season additions. The former second-round pick totaled 623 yards and three touchdowns on 63 receptions for the Colts last season. Campbell brings 4.3 speed to New York’s offense, making him a dynamic weapon that can show off his skills in non-contact drills.

In a recent interview with Fireside Giants, new Giants LB Bobby Okereke (formerly of the Indianapolis Colts), had this to say of his former Colts teammate:

Yeah, he’s extremely fast. I mean, 4.3 is an understatement. He’s fast, he’s fast as heck. But he’s a leader. He’s a leader, he’s a guy who does stuff right. He’s a guy who brings young guys along. And he’s just a competitor. He’s ultra-competitive. Whether you’re shooting hoops, outside of football, you’re playing corner of the locker room or you’re on the field, he’s one of the most competitive guys. And I mean, that’s what you need to win.

Bobby Okereke on Parris Campbell via Fireside Giants

TE Darren Waller

The Giants’ blockbuster move this offseason was trading for veteran TE Darren Waller. As Matt Citak wrote, “The most intriguing player on the offensive side of the ball has to be Darren Waller.”

“OTAs will provide Waller and Daniel Jones a chance to continue building their chemistry, as it is the first time they will be on the field together participating in drills against the defense,” Citak elaborates. “As we saw last year, Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka enjoy playing two tight end sets. Waller’s presence should provide the offense with a new dynamic, and it all starts next week at OTAs.”

Waller, a 6-foot-6 athletic freak, has topped 1,000 receiving yards twice in his NFL career. He’s a dynamic receiving threat, possessing the ability to align in the slot, out wide, and inline as a tight end. OTAs will give a glimpse of how Daboll and Kafka plan to utilize the versatile offensive weapon.

Bonus: OC John Michael Schmitz

Since there is no contact permitted and no pads being put on, the offensive linemen will not have too much work to do at the start of OTAs. But rookie center John Michael Schmitz will still be worth keeping an eye on for one specific reason: his snap technique.

Throughout his collegiate career and at the start of the Giants’ rookie minicamp, Schmitz used a “dead snap” technique. This technique is seldom used in the NFL. There is lots of speculation surrounding Schmitz’s usage of the technique and whether or not the Giants will ask him to switch to the more traditional way of snapping the football. That answer could be given at OTAs.