New York Giants: odell beckham

Giants Camp Report: Day 4

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:

  • Man, the Giants' offense looks like hot garbage right now. Eli Manning threw a ball so badly to Jerrel Jernigan that Antrel Rolle and Prince Amukamara almost killed each other as they collided to try to intercept it. Ryan Nassib (to Charles James) and Curtis Painter (to Mark Herzlich) also threw picks. There was a play in which Manning tripped over the feet of running back Rashad Jennings and fell to the ground. (He got right up, don't worry.) Kendall Gaskins fumbled a ball and coach Tom Coughlin began screaming and cursing at the top of his lungs, wheeling on the offensive players who were standing on the sideline and not in the drill and yelling, "Hang onto the [bleep-bleep] ball!" over and over. Mario Manningham beat Walter Thurmond on a slant route for a nice catch, but Thurmond stayed with the play and knocked the ball out of his hands. I mean, ugly. Still way early, but tough to watch.
  • This was the first day they practiced in shoulder pads, and the first thing I saw when I went out to the field to watch was rookie running back Andre Williams absolutely lay out linebacker Justin Anderson in a one-on-one kick-return drill. It was as though Williams was taking out all of his frustrations about Thursday's dropped passes on poor Anderson. But everyone was feisty. At the end of one drill, linebacker Dan Fox playfully tackled GM Jerry Reese, who was watching by the goal post.
  • Things that are real that you wouldn't have expected: Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard is a guy the coaches and other players continue to rave about, and Brandon McManus remains a threat to take the kicker's job from Josh Brown. McManus is 8-for-8 on field goals so far, was making them easily from long distance Friday and looks more powerful on kickoffs, which ends up mattering to coaches in a big way when these decisions are made. If it's close on the field goals, they take the guy who can kick it out of the back of the end zone. Field position matters.
  • Still no Odell Beckham Jr., and no word on when his hamstring will allow him to practice. Yes, the Giants are frustrated that their first-round pick is not on the field.
  • Keep an eye on Preston Parker, a third-year wide receiver out of Florida State who had legal trouble in college and has bounced around. The Giants are using him a lot with the first-team offense and on returns.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin knows the question is coming every day, but he doesn't have to like it. When the New York Giants coach is asked for an update on first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr., he shakes his head and usually his arms and conveys the most Coughlinian levels of exasperation.

"You'll know before I know," Coughlin said to the poor soul who felt he had to be the one to ask Friday about Beckham, who missed a third straight practice with a hamstring injury. "He seems like he's frisky out there. Today, he was catching the ball off the machine and moving around a little bit out there."

But that's it. While the Giants practiced in shoulder pads for the first time this training camp, their rookie wide receiver worked on a back field, catching short passes off a JUGS machine but not doing anything resembling real running. The Giants don't practice Saturday, and there's no indication as to whether Beckham will be back on the field when they return Sunday. At this point, they're waiting for him and the doctors to tell them he's OK to go, and no one seems to know how long it's going to be.

On the bright side, since there's no practice Saturday, at least Coughlin won't have to answer the Beckham question.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the second straight day, as his teammates went through training camp practice, New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. stood on the sidelines, twirling a ball in the air with his hands and chatting up wide receivers coach Sean Ryan. Beckham wears a uniform and a helmet, but he does not practice because his hamstring still hurts. If you're looking for a prediction on when he'll return to the field, don't ask his coach.

"You know as well as I do," Tom Coughlin said after Thursday's practice, when asked about a timetable for Beckham's return. "Let's face it: I don't want it to be like it was in the spring. We need to get him out on the field."

Beckham, the Giants' first-round pick from this year's draft, sat out a significant portion of spring practices due to hamstring issues. He practiced with the team Tuesday, the first day of training camp, but he injured the hamstring again during that practice and has not worked with the rest of the team since.

The Giants plan to practice in shells Friday, take Saturday off and then practice in full pads Sunday. The first preseason game is still 10 days away, and the first game that counts is still 46 days away, so Beckham has time to recover. But the Giants would like to see him on the field and operating in their new, high-speed offense before too much more time elapses.
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.

[+] EnlargeAdrien Robinson
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsAdrien 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:

Photos from training camp: Day 1

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
Here are some photo highlights from Tuesday, the first day of practice at New York Giants training camp in East Rutherford, N.J.

Eli ManningAP Photo/Seth WenigEli Manning is either signaling for peace, flashing a victory sign or, more likely, working through some offensive plays.
Odell BeckhamAP Photo/Seth WenigRookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. demonstrates his aerial skills.
Justin PughAP Photo/Julie JacobsonTackle Justin Pugh douses his head and face with water while taking a break. The temperature rose to 91 degrees on Tuesday afternoon in East Rutherford.

Giants Camp Report: Day 1

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of training camp:

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was not at all happy that four of his players had to leave the team's first practice of training camp with heat-related problems. Guard Brandon Mosley, who had been working at starting right guard in place of the retired Chris Snee, was carted off early in practice. The cart also came for linebacker Spencer Adkins and tackle Charles Brown for what Coughlin described as heat-related issues, and Coughlin made it clear in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Don Banks that he was not pleased about it. The Giants will look to make it all the way through their second practice Wednesday, when the high temperature is forecast to be 92 degrees. The high Tuesday was 89.

Linebacker Jameel McClain was also carted off, but that was due to a foot injury. X-rays on McClain's foot were negative, which is good news for the Giants as McClain is filling in for middle linebacker Jon Beason, who also has a foot injury but hopes to be back in time for Week 1. For what it's worth, rookie Devon Kennard continues to look good at linebacker. He worked on the strong side but has been mentioned as someone who could handle the middle linebacker responsibilities.

Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., the team's first-round pick, pulled up short on a pass route in practice, leading to an interception of Eli Manning by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Coughlin seemed annoyed about that and said of Beckham, "He has a ways to go." Earlier in the day, Beckham told us he was planning to watch out for and be careful with the hamstring injury that held him back in minicamp. It's possible the incident here was an example of that, but Beckham's health and overall progress will be worth watching as camp goes along. He has obvious blazing speed and good hands, but he will need to run his routes and run them again if he's to advance to the point where he's a Week 1 helper in the new offense.

Manning shows absolutely no ill effects of the ankle surgery that sidelined him for a portion of his spring work. He's practicing as usual and seems excited about working in the new offense.

The Giants used rookie running back Andre Williams as the goal-line back during that portion of practice Tuesday. Williams likely could slide into that role right away while he works on the finer points of his NFL game as a rookie.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants held their annual conditioning test Monday, the day before their first training camp practice of 2014. Other than veteran guard Chris Snee, who announced his retirement earlier in the day, pretty much everybody was able to answer the bell.

The Giants said linebacker Jon Beason would be the only player to begin training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, which is no surprise given that he's recovering from a broken foot. Beason has said he hopes to be ready by Week 1, and playing him on the training camp PUP list does not affect that hope. He can practice at any time after the team's doctors clear him medically. The only reason for the active/PUP designation is that it keeps the team's options open in case they end up wanting to place him on the reserve/PUP list to start the regular season. At this point, they hope they don't have to do that. Beason was on the sideline watching his team go through its conditioning test Monday afternoon.

Updates on other Giants injuries and assorted issues:

Left tackle Will Beatty, who broke his leg in the 2013 season finale and missed organized team activities and minicamp, has been cleared to practice on a "limited" basis, according to coach Tom Coughlin. Beatty ran with the rest of the team Monday, a strong positive sign that he'll be able to practice Tuesday afternoon. The Giants will monitor him closely due to the seriousness of the injury and his history of slow recoveries.

Offensive lineman John Jerry, who's one of the candidates to start in place of Snee at right guard, did not run, but nor was he put on PUP as Beason was. Coughlin said Jerry also would be "limited" in practice after missing OTAs and minicamp due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Jerry, Brandon Mosley and possibly rookie center Weston Richburg are candidates to replace Snee. Coughlin said Mosley was likely to get first crack at it when the first-team offensive line took the field Tuesday.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham, who's got a bad knee and missed spring practices as well, also has been cleared to practice on a "limited" basis, Coughlin said.

Quarterback Eli Manning didn't run with the team instead throwing on a different field with coaches. "He didn't run last year, either," Coughlin said of Manning. This is a case of two Super Bowl MVP trophies buying you special perks, folks. Manning said the ankle he had surgically repaired in April was "great, 100 percent, not an issue at all," which is no surprise since he was able to practice as normal in minicamp last month. He won't be limited in any way in training camp by the ankle issue.

First-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr., who missed some spring practice time with a hamstring injury, is also cleared for practice. The rookie wide receiver will be used on offense and on returns in camp.

The Giants signed undrafted former Auburn guard John Sullen to replace Snee. Sullen was one of several players who tried out for the Giants during their June minicamp.
The New York Giants Twitter mailbag is back from vacation! And not that you asked, but no, it does not feel as though it played enough golf. But oh well.

@DanGrazianoESPN: Speed. Like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote says in the opening credits of Talladega Nights, "hot, nasty, bad-a** speed." Odell Beckham was drafted to give the Giants the field-stretching threat that Hakeem Nicks did not provide last year, and the team believes he can outrun defensive backs and help open things up for Ben McAdoo's offense near the line of scrimmage. Of course, assuming they're right, Beckham can provide a big-play threat in his own right down the field. But their hope is that he has the speed to beat press coverage and stretch out defenses in a way that allows their offense to operate with a variety of quick-hitting options. I have my own concerns over how Beckham will react to big, physical cornerbacks, but there are plenty of people I talk to around the league who like him a lot and believe he'll contribute right away. @DanGrazianoESPN: Well, I think very. But I don't think there's any way you can count on it to happen. Even if Snee stays healthy, can he possibly deliver the same old power and explosiveness, on a consistent, week-to-week basis, that he did early in his career? All due respect to a great player, but I don't see it. They need a reliable backup plan, and I doubt it's John Jerry. So watch Brandon Mosley closely in camp. The Giants liked what they saw from him in the spring, and they're hoping he emerges as a reliable backup option (or a starter option if they do lose Snee and/or Jerry) at guard. A healthy, 16-game Snee would be a huge benefit to the Giants' offensive line. But I think it's a real long shot that they get it. He's a tough, tough champion who could surprise, but bodies wear down over time, especially at that position. @DanGrazianoESPN: I mean, I don't know who you have in mind, but Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis each have five years' worth of experience in the NFL, and those guys are already on the team. Given what's left on the free-agent market at this point, it's hard to see how they could bring in anyone who's any different from those two guys to do what you're suggesting. The Giants honestly want to give Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell a chance to show what they can do. They honestly don't believe in spending big resources on the position. But it's not as though they have NO TIGHT ENDS on the roster. What they lack is an experienced starting tight end they can trust to be a reliable option in the passing game. If none of the guys they have show any ability to be that, then sure, they could be shopping for tight end help once other teams start making cuts in late August. But given what the Giants tend to expect out of their tight ends, it's hard to imagine how someone on the roster won't emerge as at least a viable option. This is the group they're taking to camp at this point, and the truth is there's not a lot out there right now that would improve it. @DanGrazianoESPN: There's a role there for rookie fourth-round running back Andre Williams if he can take it. The Giants love to have a big, power running back who can grind out yards up the middle. No matter who the offensive coordinator is, that's going to be something Tom Coughlin wants. But they won't force Williams into playing time if he doesn't show he can handle some of the pass-protection responsibilities and maybe catch a ball or two. So while they like Williams and he was extremely productive in college last year, you shouldn't assume he's going to be a big factor in the run game right away. The Giants don't like to rush rookies, and everything I heard about Williams in spring practices indicated he needed a lot more work. They have Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox and probably David Wilson, so they can certainly get by. When Williams is ready, they will have use for him. But that may not be Week 1.

Thanks for all of your questions. I'm'a check back in Monday from training camp, and we'll be off and running. Until then ... Shake n Bake. 

All this week, we took a position-by-position look at the New York Giants' offense as it heads into training camp. The week of July 14, we'll do the same with the defense. Today, though, as a Saturday special, we'll take a look at the way the Giants' special teams stack up with a couple of weeks still left before camp.

Kickers: Josh Brown, Brandon McManus

Punter: Steve Weatherford

Long snapper: Zak DeOssie

Kick returners: Quintin Demps, Trindon Holliday, Odell Beckham Jr.

Punt returners: Holliday, Beckham, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan

Gunners: Zack Bowman, Bennett Jackson, Charles James et al.

Special teams coach Tom Quinn said in June that he saw the placekicker position as a competition between Brown, who was the Giants' kicker last year, and McManus, a rookie out of Temple. That's a battle to watch in camp.

Demps was signed for kickoff returns, but the suspension and release of Will Hill has left the Giants thin at safety, and Demps likely will have to play more there than they originally planned. That could open the door for Holliday or rookie Beckham to get more kick-return chances, assuming they're not afraid to use this year's first-round pick there and expose him to injury that could limit him on offense. David Wilson, who was brilliant as a kick returner in his 2012 rookie season, is unlikely to find himself back in the mix even if he's cleared for contact following neck surgery. Michael Cox, if he makes the team at running back, could factor here as well.

Holliday should be the primary punt returner, though Beckham can likely do the job there too. Randle and Jernigan are holdovers from last year's punt-return unit, which was one of the worst in the league.

Bowman gets mentioned here because his ability to get down the field on special teams is a primary reason the Giants signed him. James and Jackson could use strong performances on the coverage teams in camp as a means of making the team in a crowded field of cornerbacks.

Weatherford's and DeOssie's spots are as secure as Eli Manning's is.
All this week, and then the week of July 14, we are taking a position-by-position look at the New York Giants' roster heading into training camp. Today, we look at the wide receiver group.

Starters: Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle

[+] EnlargeGiants
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsRueben Randle will try to grab a bigger role in the Giants' offense.
Backup candidates: Odell Beckham Jr., Jerrel Jernigan, Mario Manningham, Trindon Holliday, Corey Washington, Marcus Harris, Julian Talley, Preston Parker, Travis Harvey

Cruz is the only sure thing in this group, and the Giants are best when he's working as the slot receiver. That means they need to spend camp identifying their best options on the outside. Randle, the 2012 second-round pick, is the guy they'd like to see take the leap in his third season. He showed enough flashes last year to make them think he can be a big playmaker. They just need him to play and work more consistently.

Beckham was this year's first-round pick, and as such he'll get an opportunity to contribute as a starter as soon as he's ready to handle it. But the Giants don't rush rookies, and if he's not ready, they will wait and use other options until he is. Manningham is a wild card -- a player the Giants know and like but who's coming off knee problems that kept him from being a factor for the 49ers during his two seasons away from New York. Jernigan showed enough late last year to merit more of an opportunity, but regardless of what anyone says publicly, he's still viewed as Cruz's backup in the slot more than anything else.

Holliday was signed as a return man and is unlikely to make much of a contribution on offense, though they did use him there a bit in the spring with others injured, and he held his own. The rest of the guys on that list are long shots and/or practice squad candidates.
One last New York Giants Twitter mailbag before I start a too-brief summer vacation ... @DanGrazianoESPN: Yeah, I think that's a fair expectation, and I think you saw the Giants lean that way last year with Terrell Thomas as the regular nickel corner. They signed Walter Thurmond to play that position, and he's as good at it as anyone in the league. And they're thin at safety with Will Hill suspended and released, Stevie Brown coming off knee surgery and Quintin Demps having been signed primarily to return kicks. They have been talking a lot about keeping Antrel Rolle at safety, rather than using him all over the field as they've done in years past, and obviously sticking with a three-cornerback look would help with that. I honestly don't see the need for the old three-safety package, especially if Jon Beason is back healthy at middle linebacker early in the season. It worked well during that 2011 Super Bowl season, but that year they were thin at cornerback and linebacker and deep at safety. You're right if your point is that the scheme should be based around the personnel, and right now cornerback is a Giants strength. @DanGrazianoESPN: With Beason nursing a foot injury, the starting middle linebacker in training camp (and probably for Week 1) is going to be Jameel McClain. He projects as the starting strongside linebacker if Beason's healthy, but he's taking over in the middle while he's not. Jacquian Williams is the front-runner for the starting weakside linebacker spot, and the strongside position should belong to either Spencer Paysinger or rookie Devon Kennard, who impressed coaches with his minicamp performance. As for receivers, that's an interesting case. My first thought is that they keep six -- Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Mario Manningham, Odell Beckham Jr., Jerrel Jernigan and Trindon Holliday. But Holliday isn't really likely to factor as a receiver, as he's pretty much exclusively a kick and punt returner. So that would leave them with five real receivers (four if Manningham's knee won't let him answer the bell). That opens it up for someone like a Marcus Harris, Julian Talley or Corey Washington to possibly sneak onto the roster with a good camp, but that's a long shot. @DanGrazianoESPN: Based on my conversations with Giants people (and with Will Beatty himself) last year and this spring, I think the main reason Beatty struggled was technique. He's not a big, monstrous, mauling left tackle who relies on strength and an ability to overpower people. Beatty's success, when he's had it, has had more to do with quickness and athleticism. I was told last season while he was struggling that Beatty was playing with his hands too low, giving away leverage and hurting his ability to dictate his matchups. That sounds like an easy thing to fix, but bad habits are tough to break, and as the year went along the struggles got into Beatty's head. He admitted in December that he'd felt the weight of his free-agent contract and let the pressure get to him, and I think he was looking forward to an offseason to clear his head. The problem is that Beatty's offseason has been about recovery from that broken leg he suffered in the Week 17 game against the Redskins, and he hasn't had time to practice getting back into good habits. I agree that a Beatty rebound would have a positive ripple effect along the rest of the line, but at this point you have to consider him a major question mark, and not just because of the injury. @DanGrazianoESPN: The firing of their longtime tight ends coach does rank among the more surprising moves of the Giants' offseason. But when they hired young Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator, it was only fair to assume he'd want to bring in a few of his own coaches and help construct the staff. During those discussions, it was decided that Pope's position would be one of the ones to turn over. They moved wide receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride (the son of the former offensive coordinator) to tight ends coach, Sean Ryan from quarterbacks coach back to wide receivers coach and hired Danny Langsdorf as the new quarterbacks coach. Pope was a Giants icon, and the only person whose name is on all four of the franchise's Super Bowl trophies. But there was an effort to get a bit younger on the coaching staff this offseason. Tight end Adrien Robinson spoke during OTAs about how he's felt a different kind of connection with the younger Gilbride than he did with Pope, and if that's the case with the rest of the group it might answer your question. Thanks for all of your questions. If you need me, I'm on the golf course.
A 7-9 season and a turbulent offseason has left the New York Giants' roster littered with question marks heading into 2014. There are so many positions -- receiver, offensive line, running back, tight end, defensive line, linebacker -- where they hope they've found answers but can't be sure. A lot is riding on the ability of Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff to bring it all together, and for help with that they will lean on the few positions at which they're sure they are set -- and the few players who remain roster rocks.

Victor Cruz appears to be such a player.

[+] EnlargeVictor Cruz
Al Bello/Getty ImagesVictor Cruz continued his quest for self-improvement, even after signing a big contract.
After signing his big contract extension last summer, Cruz showed up at training camp and told his coaches he wanted to work to improve his blocking. Yes, that's a wide receiver, in the wake of signing his big contract, deciding he wants to work on blocking because he knows he's got to get better at it to help the team and make himself a more complete player. At a time in his career when a lot of players might have started coasting, Cruz decided to work even harder at one of the toughest parts of his job.

"He's that way," Giants receivers coach Sean Ryan said last week. "For the kind of quick ascent he's had, none of that has ever gone to his head or to his work ethic. He's the same guy he was the day he walked in here in terms of working hard and being down to earth and wanting to be a complete football player. You've got to respect that."

Cruz did improve as a downfield blocker last year, in the estimation of the coaching staff. Like the rest of the offense, he endured a tough season from a production standpoint, catching only four touchdown passes and none after September. But toward the end of the season, he spoke with pride about the improvements he'd made in his game, and his coaches are eager to see him continue to work at it.

"With those guys and the blocking, it's about want-to," Ryan said. "They've got to want to do it. They've got to want to get in there and dig out safeties. And there's a lot of technique to it, too, just coming down and beating men to a spot versus just running out to where they are now. It's not blocking them where they are; it's blocking them where they're going to be. And I think he took a real interest in doing that and being good at it and making himself a complete player, and we're going to pick up on it and continue to improve on it with him and with everybody. You've got to block to play receiver in the NFL. You have to do it."

The return of Mario Manningham to the Giants brings someone who obviously knows all about that. Rueben Randle has the size to do it effectively if he'll commit to it as Cruz did. Rookie Odell Beckham Jr.? Too soon to know what his commitment will be to that nitty-gritty aspect of his position. But having Cruz around as an example can only help. He stands as an example of someone who's continued to work to get better even after brilliant early-career success.

"He's got that same skill set," Ryan said of Cruz now compared with early in his career. "He's an explosive player. His change of direction is excellent. I think he's gotten rid of, in my opinion, some concentration drops he had early in his career. I don't see as many of those. And from a leadership standpoint, he's really stepped to the forefront in terms of being vocal and being a leader on and off the field in that position."

Wideouts give thumbs-up to new offense

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin admitted Thursday that the progress of installing the new offense is "slow." But it hasn't taken the wide receivers long to get excited about it.

"I’m liking it, it’s going to be pretty exciting," Rueben Randle said Thursday, after the team's second-to-last organized team activity. "Coach [Ben] McAdoo has done a great job putting us in positions to make plays and using our abilities. We still have a lot of work to put in out there on the field, but as far as now, we’re in a good spot."

[+] EnlargeRueben Randle, Dwyane Harris
Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCTRueben Randle says the scheme being installed by new coordinator Ben McAdoo is "pretty exciting."
Randle has a chance to establish himself as a starter this season, with Hakeem Nicks now a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Randle had 41 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns in 2013, his second year in the league.

The offense being implemented by new coordinator McAdoo is less reliant on the wideouts making their own reads based on how the defense is playing, and that suits Randle just fine.

"Everything is pretty much black and white, it’s simple. What you have [called] is what you run," Randle said. "Just takes a lot of things off our minds and go out there and play football and just use your ability to get open. That’s what we’re doing."

Jerrel Jernigan sounds upbeat as well. The three-year veteran finally had a breakthrough late in 2013, with 19 catches for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Giants' final three games.

Jernigan lined up as the team's third wide receiver during Thursday's OTA, and spoke positively about the new offense afterward.

"I think it’s an offense that fits my game," Jernigan said, "and also spreads the ball out to everyone and gives everybody the chance to make plays."

The Giants used a third-round draft pick on Jernigan back in 2011, but gave him very little playing time until the end of last season. He had just three catches in his first two years with the team.

The biggest difference for Jernigan this coming season might be mental. "It got my confidence back up," Jernigan said of his finish to last season. "Not because it was down, but you know, sitting on the sidelines for a long period of time, not really getting any reps here -- it just got my confidence up a lot for me to come in [with] this year."

Fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants' first-round draft choice last month, has been sidelined by a sore hamstring the past couple weeks. But the team is expecting big things from the 12th overall pick.

There is a learning curve for any rookie entering the NFL, and Beckham Jr. admits McAdoo's offense is more complex than the one he played in at LSU. But the hamstring injury doesn't limit him in terms of studying the playbook.

"It’s actually not that bad once you get into it and you break it down by formation and things like that," he said. "It’s really not that bad. It’s just a lot of memorization."

Beckham Jr. hopes to be cleared to participate in next week's three-day mandatory minicamp, which begins Tuesday.
Mel Kiper Jr.'s initial grades for the 2014 NFL draft are up, and he gives the New York Giants a "B." Mel gave eight teams a B-plus or better (three B-pluses, three A-minuses and two As) and eight teams other than the Giants a B, so it's a middle-of-the-road grade for what I would consider a middle-of-the-road draft.

Mel likes the second-round pick of center Weston Richburg the best, and I agree with him. He thinks first-rounder Odell Beckham Jr. "has a chance to be a really dynamic NFL player," which he'd better be, or else this draft will be graded quite poorly in years to come. And he thinks third-rounder Jay Bromley was a reach, which even Bromley thought he was.

But as we discussed throughout Friday and Saturday, after the first round, the Giants weren't trying to do anything very interesting here. They were looking in the middle and late rounds for safe, comfortable players about whose character and makeup they felt very good. They're tired of taking chances on projects and injury bargains that don't work out. And the state of their roster requires them to try and find players who can make at least some contribution right away -- whose NFL learning curve might be on the quicker side.

So the Giants' draft is loaded up with team captains who got good grades and who aren't going to need a lot of hand-holding in order to figure out what's being said in the meeting rooms and apply it on the field. The questions about the players the Giants drafted this year are questions of ceiling -- i.e. how good they can eventually be. We're not going to know that for a while, but it doesn't seem as though that was a major driving force behind any of these picks after the first or maybe the second round.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The pick: Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, LSU

My take: I don't like it, honestly. And this is nothing against the player, who's superfast and might well turn out to be a star. This isn't about predicting how these guys will play, because we can't. It's about assessing what kind of job the team did in maximizing the value of its pick. And in a draft like this, with so much talent at wide receiver, I don't see why a wide receiver under 6 feet tall is worth the No. 12 overall pick. I think the Giants could have addressed offensive line here with Zack Martin and figured out wide receiver later on. And as you know, I think improving the overall talent level on the offensive line should have been priority No. 1.

The ones that got away? A lot of Giants fans had been hoping for tight end Eric Ebron or tackle Taylor Lewan, who went Nos. 10 and 11, respectively, to Detroit and Tennessee. I do not believe the Giants would have picked either of those players over Beckham. Based on conversations I had in the days leading up to the draft, the Giants came out of their pre-draft interactions with Lewan with enough questions about his makeup to push him off their board. And Ebron plays tight end and doesn't block, and since the Giants don't value the tight end position enough to merit spending a pick this high on it, I do not believe he was in consideration for them here. I thought they'd take Martin, but there were a lot of people in this team's draft room who thought Beckham was a difference-maker, and they think they can get their offensive line help later.

What's next: The Giants hold the 11th pick in the second round (No. 43 overall), which is likely too far down to allow them to trade back up into the first, and they hold the 10th pick in the third round (No. 74 overall). So those are two pretty good picks Friday night that should allow them to address the interior of the offensive line. Look for them to look at a center in the second round, and keep an eye on Colorado State's Weston Richburg if he doesn't go tonight. They also hold a fourth-round pick, two fifth-round picks and a sixth-round pick Saturday. They traded their seventh-round pick for linebacker Jon Beason early last season.