A Giant Thursday is among us, time to talk out the anticipated training camp battles for the G-men, though subject to change depending on whether Jerry Reese is done with the defensive make-over (and also depending on how things shake out with the rookie minicamp (tryouts as well on these dates), taking place from April 30, 2010 through May 2, 2010 (guys to watch, in addition to the Giants draft class 2010, include undrafted free agents DT Nate Collins, G Dennis Landolt (both with legitimate shots to make the roster) and Minnesota linebacker Lee Campbell, UConn running back Andre Dixon, and Boston College linebacker Brian Toal.
On to the two most anticipated (and likely) training camp positional battles (we’ll look at the secondary tomorrow):
1. Middle Linebacker: Four guys legitimately in the mix here (what I like to call the usual suspects at this point): Jonathan Goff, Gerris Wilkinson, Chase Blackburn, and 4th Round draft choice Philip Dillard. Goff probably has the upper-hand here, having started 4 games at the back end of 2009, albeit, with mixed results. Still, the Giants like his size/speed combination, and he has to be the favorite when camp opens. Goff’s biggest threat might be Dillard, a rookie out of Nebraska, who has a nice skill set and could be a huge surprise in 2010. Have to think Wilkinson’s chances are low, given the position change from the weakside linebacker position (I know he played in the middle in college, but that seems like light years ago and I just don’t see Wilkinson holding up physically in the middle, but you never know). Blackburn is a jack of all trades linebacker who excels on special teams and provides great overall depth. If Blackburn was going to be the starter, it would have happened last year.
Offensive Line: Will the Giants return the same starting five (O’Hara, Snee, Suebert, Diehl, McKenzie) or will second year man William Beatty (who the Giants are very high on) push his way into either the left tackle or right tackle spot, creating a domino effect on the line? Beatty is easily the Giants most athletic tackle and in brief stints last year, showed huge potential at both tackle spots. If Beatty comes in a little heavier and a little stronger, watch out. Reese and Coughlin would love to see Beatty win one of the tackle spots, but does that mean the end of the line for either Seubert or McKenzie?
Also, while less talked about, the backup positions on the offensive line figure to be up for grabs between Boothe (who has been pretty solid when called upon), Whimper (a 4th round pick originally at tackle, moving to guard, and figures to be under the microscope) with the additions of 5th Round draft choice Mitch Petrus and undrafted free agent Dennis Landolt. I can easily see Adam Koets not making the final roster as well; the question still remains, who is the backup center (O’hara still plays like a beast but won’t forever), if there is a shake up on the line, have to figure Seubert goes to a back up role and provides depth at both guard and center.
On a programming note, my apology to those of you who tuned in on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 to the radio show “The Sports Docket,” a popular sports show that covers NY sports on Blog Talk Radio, expecting to hear Giants draft thoughts and Giants speak, we had a scheduling issue (a fancy way of me telling you I told you the incorrect time earlier this week). We are now confirmed for Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. eastern time (6:00 p.m. pacific), so mark your calendars, it is going to be a rowdy evening.
Finally, no news on free agent DT John Henderson’s scheduled visit with the Giants, we will be monitoring this situation closely, Henderson could give the Giants another nice rotational run stuffer to hedge the bet on Linval Joseph, who will be given an opportunity to carve out a role on the d-line.