The New York Giants will be hosting their minicamp this upcoming weekend from May 14 to May 16, which will include 22 players, including six draft picks, three undrafted rookies, and a max of five tryout players. So far, the Giants have already confirmed they will bring 30-year-old receiver Kelvin Benjamin in for a workout, kicking the tires on the veteran who was formally a Dave Gettleman draft selection years ago.
However, the Giants have a few stellar young players to work with on both sides of the ball from their most recent draft class, but there are a few undervalued options who could make an impact in their first year in the NFL. Let’s take a look at a few prospects who might have an extended future with the Giants.
Three New York Giants rookies who could stand out in mini-camp:
1.) Elerson Smith
The Giants utilize their fourth-round selection on Northern Iowa edge rusher Elerson Smith. Nobody knew who Smith was before his surprise selection, but he was a Senior Bowl stand-out who showed incredible production in 2019. Smith is a 6’6″, 252-pound pass rusher, who racked up 14 sacks, 14 QB hurries, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks during the 2019 season.
Smith is a superior athlete who had the highest vertical of any defensive end in the 2021 draft class at 41.5 inches.
From yesterday’s pro day
41.5 in vert pic.twitter.com/bctl9bdJ7f
— Elerson Smith (@ElersonSmith) March 23, 2021
According to the “Relative Athletic Score” metric, Smith ranked 18th out of 1333 DE’s measured since 1987, showing a superior stature in that category. With sufficient speed off the line of scrimmage, I view Smith as a mismatch rotational option for the Giants this upcoming season. Against heavy-footed offensive tackles, Smith has the speed and power to overwhelm them on the outside or dashing to the interior with jab step moves.
Camp will give us our first look at Smith, and hopefully, he progresses nicely as he looks to add a bit more muscle mass onto his frame but also refine his technique at the next level.
2.) Aaron Robinson
Another exciting young rookie is UCF nickel corner Aaron Robinson, who was formally an Alabama transfer. Robinson is a press, man coverage corner who will push Darnay Holmes in the slot for reps. That should be an exciting position battle between two feisty players.
Watching senior bowl practice tape – UCF CB Aaron Robinson is constantly giving WRs problems at the LOS in these 1v1s pic.twitter.com/m1VCNuo8Sj
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) January 27, 2021
Robinson isn’t only a stellar football player but is also a great teammate. Head coach Joe Judge pointed out his ability to energize players around him and how he creates positive relationships with his fellow teammates. That is exactly the type of character attribute the Giants are looking for, and it fits perfectly with the structure of their defense and represents the type of player they seem to be attracted to.
I believe Robinson has a bright future ahead of him as a third-round selection, and the Giants were so high on him they felt the need to trade up and snag him before Dallas or Philadelphia could make their move. He’s a player to keep an eye on during camp and could even win the starting job in the slot potentially.
3.) Brett Heggie
The Giants signed UDF Brett Heggie out of Florida, and while he went undrafted, he has some solid, tangible traits to consider as we approach minicamp. Heggie is a 6’4″, 310-pound interior defender with experience at center and offensive guard. Having been teammates with Kadarius Tonye, Heggie has routinely faced off against quality opponents in the SEC. In 2019, he started 12 games, including eight left guard and four at right guard. In 2020, Brett moved to the interior at center, starting all 12 games at the position. He has desirable size for the NFL as a center but lacks functional strength at times and is lackluster with his fundamentals. The Giants likely view his physical traits as potential upside, but he will need extensive coaching to iron out some of his bad tendencies and habits.
Giants UDFA Brett Heggie has some DRIVE to him! Nice continuation block and driving his man into the ground.
He's a finisher! Keep an eye out for him during camp — has experience at OG and C. pic.twitter.com/HStf5JXe1H
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) May 13, 2021
While I don’t see Heggie contributing day one, he could be a long-term project and could end up being valuable down the line as a reserve or potential starter at center in the future.