Giants: 3 exciting rookies to keep an eye on in preseason opener

NFL: New York Giants Training Camp, tre hawkins
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants kick off their preseason on Friday night with their opening game on the road against the Detroit Lions. The Giants and Lions got together for two joint practices earlier this week in preparation for the preseason opener.

With New York’s veteran players and key starters unlikely to suit up on Friday, many rookies will have an opportunity to sharpen their skills, earn playing time, or fight their way onto the roster. Three rookies, in particular, stand out as must-watch talents for Giants fans in Week 1 of the preseason.

Tre Hawkins has been dominant at Giants training camp

Sixth-round rookie CB Tre Hawkins III has been lighting it up throughout training camp. He has routinely been a standout performer at practice and will have a massive opportunity to build on his successful summer on Friday night.

Hawkins should see plenty of playing time in the preseason after earning first-team reps during practice at training camp. If he continues developing at such a rapid rate, Hawkins may find himself in the starting lineup this preseason and eventually earning significant playing time during the regular season.

The Giants have been toying with the possibility of starting Hawkins on the outside with fellow rookie corner Deonte Banks, moving veteran defensive back Adoree’ Jackson into the slot. Such a scenario could only play out if both Hawkins and Banks are able to perform at a consistently high level throughout the preseason.

Is Bryce Ford-Wheaton fighting for a roster spot?

Undrafted rookie Bryce Ford-Wheaton is an exciting young prospect that should get plenty of playing time in the preseason. The West Virginia product possesses freakish athletic ability but has an uphill climb to making the Giants’ final roster. If he can stand out during the preseason, however, Ford-Wheaton could make a late push for a roster spot.

The Giants have a crowded wide receiver room with fourteen players at the position currently on the roster. Ford-Wheaton stands in at 6-foot-3, 221-pounds, boasting an insane 4.38s 40-yard dash time. With a bit of development, the potential is limitless for a player with such athleticism.

John Michael Schmitz seems regular season-ready

All eyes will be on rookie center John Michael Schmitz as he takes the field this preseason. Schmitz, drafted in the second round, has been solidifying himself as the team’s starting center throughout the summer. Though he is still technically competing with veteran OL Ben Bredeson, Schmitz does appear to be the leading man for the starting gig. A strong outing this preseason will cement Schmitz as the Giants’ starting center in Week 1.