As the New York Giants prepare for their first preseason game against the Pittsburgh, let’s take a look at 5 players who you should be keeping a close eye on.
1. Ryan Nassib
The rookie quarterback is slated to enter Saturday’s game against the Steelers. During his junior year at Syracuse, Nassib played in Heinz Field against Pitt where he completed 23 of 32 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown so the field will be nothing new for Nassib.
Yet, the NFL is brand new to Nassib. The fourth round draft pick is a quick learner according to backup QB David Carr and has impressed coaches with his performance in training camp.
It is still unclear why the Giants drafted Nassib, but speculation leads me to believe the Giants could use Nassib as a trading chip as he continues to develop to a team that is in desperate need of a starting or backup quarterback.
Nevertheless, Nassib is definitely someone to keep an eye on as a sleeper to flourish.
2. David Wilson/Andre Brown
Whenever you talk about the Giants running game, it is difficult to talk about one or the other because as it looks right now, neither is better than the other.
That’s why both Wilson and Brown should be looked at with a very keen eye to see who will get the starting job for the regular season…or if they will both stay as the starters at running back.
Giants.com reports the Giants are working on creative ways to give Wilson the ball in the backfield, but have also stressed the importance of yardage and not running out of bounds too soon. Brown adapted his coaches’ plea and has impressed with his angled runs on the sideline.
Both Wilson and Brown are good running backs. But, together, they have the potential to be great and running against the Steelers defense is a good test.
3. Brandon Myers
The new addition and final piece to the Giants receiving options has a lot of unknown attached to him.
Myers was the “star” receiver for the Oakland Raiders last year, hauling in 79 catches for 806 yards, which landed him 18th in the NFL in receptions. Expect Myers to not get the same numbers as he will be sharing with established receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz and don’t forget…Rueben Randle.
It will be interesting to see how the Giants will use Myers on Saturday as the offense will be experimenting a lot. Don’t be surprised if the Giants test his blocking ability on Saturday against the Steeler defense. Jake Ballard and Martellus Bennett were known for not only their receiving abilities, but also how well they blocked. Myers is the opposite. He is known for his receiving abilities and has the athleticism of a wide receiver so he can be used in as a big play option.
Myers is a huge boost for the Giants, but Saturday will give a clearer picture on how well they can utilize him.
4. Prince Amukamara
If he is looking to be the best corner in the NFL, Saturday should be the day to start proving it.
Amukamara knows well expectations are at a peak this season and with a secondary that cost the Giants their season looking for redemption, he must be a focal point of it. Entering his third season, this is the breakout season for Amukamara. He was selected in the first round in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants and in displayed his first round prowess in his debut game against the arch-rival Philadelphia Eagles, but since fell off.
Last season, with Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas both out, Amukamara had to step up in a big way and the experience of last season while not great, should make Amukamara a better player. This offseason, he has been shining in training camp workouts and is looking better each day.
Pitting him against two time Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers receiving core that is always good is a good first test to see Amukamara’s progression this offseason and his quest to be the best corner in the NFL.
5. Eli Manning
Aside from the viral rap video with older brother and dad, Eli has flown under the radar this offseason, as usual.
The reserved but resilient Giants quarterback has a lot to prove this season after he witnessed a meltdown last year that made the Giants unable to defend their Super Bowl title.
Each year he continues to get better and be more consistent, but given the supporting cast he has this season, nothing less than a playoff appearance is acceptable.
While he hasn’t posted MVP caliber and elite quarterback numbers, Manning is elite and has the potential to be an MVP. This first preseason game against a tough Steelers defense will bode well for Manning and act as a good projection to the upcoming season.
Also, how cool is his rap video?