As the New York Giants progress through the OTA period, position battles are starting to catch fire and some unexpected ones have taken shape. The defense will be one of the more prominent units full of competition and opportunity, as the amount of rookies and younger players has increased exponentially this offseason.
Adding players like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, Corey Ballentine and more, have made the outcome of the starting team a bit more murky, which is a positive thing.
New York Giants top 3 position battles:
1.) No. 2 cornerback spot
The assumed No. 1 corner for the Giants is Janoris Jenkins, but the second spot opposite the veteran is the position up for grabs. Heading into pre-season it was expected the DeAndre Baker has the starting job all but locked up, however, 2019 Supplemental Draft pick Sam Beal has shown he can compete at a high level.
Beal has shown his range and ability in coverage thus far in OTAs, tipping a pass with his recently surgically repaired shoulder that resulted in an interception by Peppers. This will be one of the more exciting battles of the early summer, as the two are fierce competitors with solid attributes.
2.) Pass rusher
Some might have Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden penciled on the defensive line, but I’m not so quick to give them the starting jobs. The Giants recently drafted pass-rusher Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion. Coming from a small school certainly doesn’t present the best chances in terms of an immediate impact for Ximines, but he has proved to be quick and active so far in camp.
Oshane has advanced moves for a product of a smaller school – GM Dave Gettleman was especially impressed with his counter-punch. I expect Carter to earn a starting role, but Golden is three years removed from his best season, a 12.5 sack effort in 2016. He’s coming off a significant knee injury and shouldn’t be considered a starter just yet, Ximines could steal the job with a bit of development.
3.) Right tackle
Mike Remmers was recently signed to a one-year deal to solidify the right tackle position for the Giants. I do not consider him the legitimate starter until he has proven that his surgically repaired back isn’t a hindrance to his abilities. Chad Wheeler was the starter at RT last year and will fight for his right to stay put.
I expect both Wheeler and Remmers to battle it out over the course of the summer. “Big George” out of Kentucky could also be in the mix, but I believe he will need a bit more development before he can withstand premium NFL edge-rushers.
It’s fair to remember, though, that Remmers was forced to play out of position with the Minnesota Vikings, so returning to his natural spot at right tackle should help him find his normal self.