John Fennelly, Lead Writer
The Giants are due to hit the practice field in just ten days. We will be bringing you news, updates and analysis directly from QDTC beginning July 22nd.
We’ve been getting a lot of comments and emails regarding “breakout” players. Let’s put this to bed…
Q: We keep hearing about “breakout” players. Aren’t players expected to break out after a few seasons in the league?
Fennelly: Very true. You draft players with the intent that they will become starters and/or viable contributors. The articles you are referring to are predicting which players will break out this season. These should be the players who are still in the midst of their rookie contracts, or first four seasons. I’ve seen pieces about six and seven-year veterans “breaking out”, which are just silly.
Q: So, which players do you see breaking out?
Fennelly: Since the candidates are players with four or less accrued seasons, the pool consists of more than 50% of the team’s roster. The fourth-year players the Giants are still waiting on are: WR Jerrel Jernigan, LB Jacquian Williams and OL James Brewer. All were drafted with the hopes they could become starters but none has completely established themselves and only Williams has a chance of starting this season.
The third-year players include RB David Wilson, WR Rueben Randle, DT Markus Kuhn, OL Brandon Mosley and TE Adrien Robinson. The Giants have moved on from the notion that Wilson can be their feature back. They are counting on Randle to thrive in the new offense and we think he will. Kuhn has impressed, but injuries have held him back. Mosley has been filling in for Chris Snee at LG and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to do that. Robinson has shown flashes but has been largely inconsistent.
The second-year group consists of OL Justin Pugh, DT Jon Hankins, DE Damontre Moore, TE Larry Donnell, RB Michael Cox, QB Ryan Nassib, WR Julian Talley, OL Eric Herman and S Cooper Taylor. Pugh started every game as a rookie and is bigger and year smarter, which is good news for the Giants. Hankins is a natural and many see him as a possible upgrade over the departed Linval Joseph. Nassib is better suited to the new offense and should start to pay dividends. Donnell is getting more play since no one had distinguished themselves at TE as of yet. The others will be on the roster bubble all summer.
I rarely get excited about rookies, especially with the Giants, where head coach Tom Coughlin prefers playing veterans. WR Odell Beckham, Jr should be a factor in the offense, however. He can be a go-to receiver right out of the gate. RB Andre Williams will get his share of touches and Weston Richburg could end up being the starting center. If you listen to the coaches, LB Devon Kennard will be used a lot. UDFA Kelcy Quarles could be a surprise at DT.
My breakout players: Randle, Hankins, Moore, Richburg.