New York Giants: 3 underrated players turning heads in training camp

New York Giants, Matt Peart

Despite some unfortunate injury news this week for the New York Giants, there are plenty of positives to harp on. Padded practices have brought good and bad news, but several back-end roster players have played above their weight class in recent weeks.

Three New York Giants players who are turning heads:

1.) David Sills

After landing on the Giants’ practice squad in 2019, David Sills has quietly made his presence known during training camp. As a former undrafted free agent, Sills is working hard to earn his place in the NFL. His thin frame could be seen as a negative, but he has utilized his strengths well, so far.

At West Virginia, Sills produced 132 receptions for 2,097 yards and 35 touchdowns. Extracting that type of potential from him has been difficult, but he’s giving us a glimpse into what he’s capable of on the football field. Given his success during padded practices, the hopes are that he can develop into an impactful player. At the very least, he can be a contributor on special teams.



“David Sills has done a really good job; he’s a really smart guy,” said receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. “He’ll go in there and play all the positions. told you guys the other day that he’s a rep stealer. He has his reps, and he’ll go ahead and run his reps, but then he’ll steal some other reps.

“If he sees guys running down the field, he’ll jump in there and say, ‘I got them, I got them, I got them.’ I like that about him–he jumps in there, no matter what position it is.”

“This guy busts his butt every day he comes out,” Judge said after last week’s scrimmage. “He’s shown up a lot for us already on offense, he shows up in the kicking game.”

“He’s a guy out there you can trust,” Jones added. “A guy who’s in the right spot a lot of the time and can get open and make plays. He’s a good player.”

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2.) Matt Peart

Third-round pick Matt Peart has been a focal point for the Giants and their development on the offensive line. At 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds, Peart has the perfect frame for an offensive tackle in the NFL. He was once considered a long-term project, but adding nine-pounds of muscle mass and taking to coaching might have expedited that timeframe. With Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season, the Giants will likely start Andrew Thomas and Cam Fleming at the tackle positions. Nonetheless, Peart remains close behind and could earn starting reps at some point during the campaign.

Offensive line coach Marc Colombo loves Peart’s gritty mentality and physicality at the position.

“There’s just a lot to work with as an offensive line coach. We like what we’ve seen so far,” Colombo said, adding that Peart is a tremendous athlete. “He just looks like a [expletive] football player.”

3.) Devante Downs

With David Mayo undergoing surgery on his meniscus, the New York Giants are down one potentially starting linebacker. With Ryan Connelly still working on the sidelines after tearing his ACL last season, it is possible the Giants look to Devante Downs to supplement the spot. Downs was formally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 but has only four combined tackles to his name over two seasons. He was claimed by the Giants in 2019, spending seven games with them and logging one assist.

He has really excelled during practice this year, showing that he might be deserving of some starting reps. With the Giants looking to supplement the loss of Mayo, Downs could be the first player called upon. However, his lack of live game experience is a bit problematic.

“I think a little bit probably of some confidence, familiarity with the area, the staff a little bit, the time we’ve been around each other, most of it through Zoom,” position coach Kevin Sherrer said of Downs. “He’s a bigger athlete. He’s one of the bigger guys in the room. He’s in the 240 (pound) range. Most of the guys are a little bit lighter than that. … With him, I see a lot of confidence that I didn’t necessarily see on film last year given only being around him in person for just a few weeks. I’ve seen his confidence really grow.”