After weeks of training camp and a few joint practices with the Lions, the Giants are in Detroit for their preseason opener. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Don’t expect many of the starters to play, including quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Still, there are various players to watch, including a few involved in crucial position battles.
WR Jalin Hyatt. The rookie third-round pick is coming along great in his first NFL training camp and will take on a larger role than expected if he continues to improve.
But he’s only shined in practice thus far. Friday night will be a huge test.
Even against Detroit second-stringers, and likely without Jones throwing to him, Hyatt has a great opportunity to show he can take what he’s learned and transfer it to a game.
A strong preseason showing will only enhance the coaching staff’s trust in the young wideout.
G/C John Michael Schmitz, Ben Bredeson, Josh Ezeudu, and Mark Glowinski. These four are grouped together because they’re battling for three spots. No, seriously: there are no promises to anyone on the interior right now.
Bredeson at left guard, Schmitz at center, and Glowinski at right guard seems to be the ideal outcome. But we still haven’t seen if Ezeudu, a 2022 third-round pick, has improved in a game setting coming off an up-and-down rookie year. We also haven’t seen if Glowinski can put some of last year’s struggles in the rearview mirror.
The Giants need to answer three big questions on the offensive line. Friday’s game will play a big role in them doing so.
LB Darrian Beavers, Micah McFadden. Free-agent pickup Bobby Okereke will serve as one of the two starting inside linebackers in Wink Martindale’s defense. The other starting spot is up for grabs, and it’s an important battle given the unit’s struggles in the run game last season.
Beavers is coming off a torn ACL suffered last preseason but could be the favorite to earn the job with a strong few games. McFadden, on the other hand, has more experience with Martindale’s schemes and will have a chance to improve after his role tapered off at the end of last season.
Defensive newcomers. Could the Giants end up starting two rookie cornerbacks? That seems like a recipe for disaster in Martindale’s man-heavy defense. But that’s how much rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins has impressed.
The sixth-round Old Dominion product has earned first-team reps on the boundary corner spot. Meanwhile, rookie first-rounder Deonte Banks manning the other boundary. The Giants have moved veteran Adoree’ Jackson to the slot in these scenarios.
If Hawkins and Banks make the most of these preseason reps, how the Giants roll out their secondary for the regular season could be very interesting.
CB Darnay Holmes, Cor’Dale Flott. If Jackson doesn’t end up starting in the slot, the nickel corner job will go to either of these two. Flott is a product of this regime so he has the edge in that regard. Plus he’s cheaper, and the Giants would actually save $2.7 million in much-needed cap space by cutting Holmes.
A fourth-year player, Holmes needs to impress to prove he’s worth keeping on the roster.