Thursday, July 24, 2014
Overreacting to Giants' first depth chart
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- See now, this is what I'm talking about. The New York Giants just handed out a depth chart here in the media room. And while the nice gentleman who handed it out kept saying, "Officially unofficial," and while it's only July 24, I see no reason why we can't pick through it and overreact to what's on it, do you?
No? I didn't think so. Good. Let's go.
Adrien Robinson is buried on the Giants' initial training camp depth chart.
First thing that jumps out is that Larry Donnell is listed as the starting tight end. That's not as surprising as the fact that Adrien Robinson is listed as the No. 5 tight end, behind Donnell, Daniel Fells, Xavier Grimble and Kellen Davis. That seems like a message from the coaching staff about Robinson's progress, and it's somewhat shocking considering that Robinson and Donnell have been the guys most mentioned when the organization has talked about expecting its young tight ends to step up.
The thing to remember, of course, is that the only place Robinson has ever been an effective pass-catching tight end is in Jerry Reese's imagination. Robinson caught a total of 29 passes in four years of college football at Cincinnati and didn't catch one in either of his first two NFL seasons. He's a blocking tight end, if anything, but Reese drafted him thinking he had the physical gifts to become a good NFL tight end. It's still possible he turns out to be correct, but to this point there's no evidence to support it.
The Giants' starting tight end job remains wide, wide, wide open and could conceivably still go to someone who's not yet on the team. But it's stunning to see Robinson listed all the way at the back of the depth chart when there was an assumption that he could get the first crack at it.
Elsewhere on this gilded document:
Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle are listed as starting wide receivers, with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. behind Randle and Jerrel Jernigan behind Cruz. Beckham is, somewhat surprisingly, not listed at all among the kick returners or the punt returners, but that could be because he hasn't practiced much because of hamstring problems.
J.D. Walton is listed as the starting center and Brandon Mosley as the starting right guard. Rookie Weston Richburg is listed as the backup center and John Jerry as the backup right guard. Those positions both could flip between now and Week 1. Richburg also could conceivably end up starting at right guard. Those two spots are in flux. Will Beatty, Geoff Schwartz and Justin Pugh are in their usual spots at left tackle, left guard and right tackle.
Ryan Nassib is listed as the No. 2 quarterback, ahead of Curtis Painter. We'll see whether they keep two or three, but Nassib has to show more.
Henry Hynoski is listed as the starting fullback ahead of John Conner, but man. The way they've been lining up tight ends in the backfield makes you wonder whether they'll carry either one.
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Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard, whom we discussed Wednesday as a quick study, is listed as the starting strongside linebacker, with Jameel McClain in the middle in place of the injured Jon Beason. McClain could move back to the strong side when Beason returns, but Kennard has a chance for significant playing time as a rookie based on what he's shown so far. It wouldn't be a shock to see him hold on to the starting job. Jacquian Williams is listed ahead of Spencer Paysinger as the starter on the weak side.