John Fennelly, Lead WriterThe absence of WR Odell Beckham, Jr. on the field at Giants’ training camp has opened up an unexpected competition at the backup WR spot.
The Giants’ starters will unquestionably be Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle once the bullets start to fly, but the other 4-5 roster spots are becoming blurry. Corey Washington, Marcus Harris, Preston Parker, Travis Harvey and Julian Talley are all in the mix trying to make the team’s roster.
Now, let’s be clear. The Giants are keeping Beckham and Jerrel Jernigan. They will likely keep KR/WR Trindon Holliday and Mario Manningham appears to be coming around, so he could be retained as well. That leaves two open spots at the most.
The favorites right now are Washington, who caught a 73-yard TD pass in the preseason opener against Buffalo and Marcus Harris, who is catching everything in sight. Both are big, physical receivers who are making their case to stay with the Giants every which way but loose.
“Corey is a big, raw, physical athlete who has great ball skills,” WR Sean Ryan said of Washington on Tuesday. “If I had to say one thing about him right off the bat – that kid can catch the ball. He’s shown a knack in practice and the obviously the other night. When the ball is in the air or down the field, he’s going to get it. That’s a pretty impressive quality for a wide receiver. He’s impressed me that way. I think he’s gotten, from the time he got here, much more serious in his understanding of how important meetings are and being locked in there. That’s really helped him, I think, in terms of being able to execute on the field. He’s growing, he’s got some ways to go and he knows that. He’s been working good but he’s got the tools. He’s got the tools to be successful.”
Harris has also shown ability on both offense and special teams. He is a hard-working prospect who honed his skills in the arena league before ending up on the Giants’ practice squad last fall. His hands are the talk of camp.
“He’s got that, but what’s really impressed me is his approach to his work,” said Ryan. “He takes his job very seriously and learning the offense but his flexibility that he gives us is pretty impressive. We can move him to any position within the offense in terms of receiver, inside or outside. He’ll execute, he doesn’t make any excuses at all. Like you said, the details in his routes and his precision has been good. And his ball skills too. That guy, he doesn’t have many drops. He doesn’t drop the ball; he’s got good hands on that way.”
Cruz was asked if any of the young wideouts stood out to him this summer. The answer was easy.
“I think Marcus Harris, from the game he had and streaming into practice, he’s been really taking advantage of his opportunities, couple guys being down and things like that. He’s really coming to the forefront here as a good player. We’ll see how it goes, but he’s definitely one of the guys that’s standing out.”