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(Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP)

(Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP)

New York Giants Training Camp begins Thursday.

The Giants are coming off an impressive 2016 season, and the front office built on it through free agency and through the NFL Draft. There is a lot to look forward to for the Giants, who many analysts and experts project Big Blue to return to the playoffs, either as NFC East Champions or as a Wild Card team.

With Training Camp about to get underway, I will list Giants players to watch throughout the next month.

Ereck Flowers

No player elicits more criticism on the Giants more than left tackle Ereck Flowers. One of the worst ranked offensive tackles in the entire league, Flowers has received a ton of praise from the Giants coaching staff and front office. A lot of that praise comes from the fact that Flowers has spent the entire offseason at the Giants team facility to fine tune his craft.

You have to admire the dedication. However, we need to see if that improvement shows on the field this preseason. The fact that he is a first round draft pick, puts a lot more attention on him, which there is sure to be a lot starting on Thursday.

Evan Engram

There is a lot of hype surround the Giants’ first round draft pick out of Ole Miss. Engram is someone that the Giants have been desperately missing for the past couple of seasons, and that’s a pass catching specialist at the tight end position. It helps when he has received recognition from legendary Giants tight end Mark Bavaro.

Engram stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 236 lbs. Engram is built more like a wide receiver than a tight end, and showcases superb route running, as well as superior leaping ability when going for the ball. With plenty of excitement surrounding the 22-year-old, analysts and fans should keep a keen eye on the first round draft pick, to see if he can truly live up to the hype.

Eli Apple

The Giants surprised many by taking Apple with the tenth overall pick in the 2016 Draft. With many critics calling the pick, “a reach,” Apple has provided the Giants depth at the cornerback position, which turned out to be one of the more dominant defensive backfields in the entire NFL.

In his rookie season, Apple posted 51 total tackles (41 solo, 10 assisted), seven passes defended, one interception, and one forced fumble in 14 games last season.

In his second year, Apple will have a lot of experience from his rookie season, especially being under the wing with the likes of Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  The Giants defensive backfield is set, but one thing to keep an eye on is if Apple can avoid the sophomore slump.

Darian Thompson

It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, the Giants depth at the safety position was thin, to say the least. Now the Giants have so much depth at safety, with Landon Collins emerging as the top safety in the league last season.

One name to look out for at the safety position is 2016 third round draft pick Darian Thompson.

Thompson played in the first two games of last season, where he played in 82 total defensive snaps and recording seven total tackles. Thompson showed flashes in his first two games as a free safety, however, his season was cut short due to season-ending foot surgery.

Thompson was drafted out of Boise State by the Giants due to his superior ballhawking ability, where he hauled in 19 interceptions in his four years at college.

The duo of Collins and Thompson could be one of the more lethal safety combinations in the league. If Thompson is one hundred percent, he will be a treat to watch on the field throughout Training Camp and entering the regular season.

Paul Perkins

The 2016 fifth round pick out of UCLA entered last season as the team’s fourth running back. Entering Training Camp on Thursday, Perkins is the team’s starter behind the line of scrimmage.

With injuries to Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa, as well as the ineffectiveness of Rashad Jennings and Bobby Rainey, Perkins saw himself thrusted to the top of the depth chart towards the end of the season. In his brief time as a starter, Perkins showed explosiveness, that the Giants desperately needed in order to lock up a playoff spot at the end of the season. More particularly, look at his performance as the starter in the Giants Week 17 matchup against the Washington Redskins. In that game, Perkins rushed for 102 yards on 21 carries.

Perkins can do it all. Run, catch, and contribute in pass protection. With this, Perkins has Giants fans a lot to be excited for in his second season with Big Blue. Now as the undisputed starter, Perkins can truly showcase his skills throughout Training Camp and the regular season.

 

Stay tuned with Double G Sports, as we will continue to keep you posted with news throughout the New York Giants’ Training Camp.

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