Over the course of the past few seasons, some truly awesome New York Giants positional battles have gone down.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the 2017 position battles and who will come out on top:
Right Tackle: D.J. Fluker v. Bobby Hart
The former 11th overall selection in the infamous 2013 draft matching up against a seventh round selection from the 2015 NFL Draft. Based on the weight that first round picks hold and the fact that more often than not, seventh rounders do not pan out, D.J. Fluker should hold the edge.
But Fluker is no ordinary first rounder, while he was still on his rookie deal, the team that drafted him, the Los Angeles Chargers still cut him. Injuries and ineffectiveness led to his overall demise with the Chargers. Although Fluker is a 6’5” 339 lb hulking man, he struggles mightily in run blocking. His pass blocking is slightly above average, it is surprising someone that big could struggle to be an average run blocker.
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What helps out Fluker is his versatility, he can play right tackle or right guard for the Giants. So far in camp, the Alabama product has been seeing most of his time backing up right guard John Jerry. He has also been playing second string at right tackle.
Although, the former Alabama tackle could still have an impact on how well Big Blue does in 2017.
Bobby Hart, on the other hand, was one of the worst tackles in all of the NFL last season. He and Ereck Flowers also combined to give the quarterback, Eli Manning, nightmares. So what sets Bobby Hart apart heading into his third season?
Hart was very inexperienced last season when he was thrust into the starting lineup. During the offseason, he has worked vigorously on his craft and is eager to prove himself. In addition, former Florida State Seminole has been receiving most of the first-team reps at right tackle.
Predicted Winner: Bobby Hart
Backup Quarterback: Davis Webb v. Geno Smith v. Josh Johnson
Someone that follows the Giants closely knows that one of these names does not belong, Davis Webb. The Giants are planning to basically redshirt the former Cal quarterback. According to Head Coach Ben McAdoo, Webb is expected to be the third-string quarterback and should not see a lot, if any snaps.
However, he was reportedly looking pretty good during OTAs and Minicamp. It would certainly be a big upset if Davis Webb were to be the sole backup.
Josh Johnson has been with the G-Men since the beginning of the 2016 season, he was the backup to Manning in a few games after Ryan Nassib got injured.
Johnson has the experience with the Giants that Geno Smith and Davis Webb just lack. The quarterback is familiar with the offensive playbook, while Smith and Webb are just learning it.
Likewise, in the offseason, the San Diego grad was re-signed by the Giants to a two-year deal. That indicates that the quarterback is in their plans for the short-term future.
Jerry Reese may have found a capable backup off the bargain bin in Geno Smith. The ex-New York Jet signed a one-year deal for $1.2 million. Coming off of a torn ACL, Smith has just been getting back into the swing of things in the early goings.
While he has the most impressive pedigree out of all of the candidates for the backup spot, it remains to be seen if he will be able to outplay the incumbent, Josh Johnson.
Predicted Winner: Josh Johnson
Free Safety: Darian Thompson v. Andrew Adams
Both of these players are entering their sophomore campaign in the NFL. Both of them also started at free safety in their rookie seasons. However, which one will be the starter in week one.
Darian Thompson, the third round selection from Boise State appears to have a leg up over Adams. The Giants apparently strongly believe in Thompson and it looks like he could be the starter.
Landon Collins is a thumper, who excels close to the line of scrimmage. The former Boise St. safety, unlike Collins, is better suited in coverage. For instance, in college, he broke a interceptions record held by Eric Weddle, one of the top safeties in the NFL.
Though, Thompson’s rookie season didn’t go as planned. In his second game of the year, and his first start, he injured his foot. The foot injury was so severe that he landed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season.
As Thompson’s door closed, And Adam’s door opened. While playing in 14 games after the Boise St. safety went down, Adams started 13 of those games.
While he may have been undrafted out of UConn, the safety outperformed many 2016 draftees. In fact, Pro Football Focus even predicted that Adams will be a future pro bowler at free safety.
During the final part of 2016, the young safety appeared to fall off a bit. That opened the door for Thompson to start after his comeback.
However, it is a good problem to have two players good enough to start at one spot. It would not be a surprise to see the Giants use a three-safety look more often in 2017 with all three competent safeties.