EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants completed seven weeks of strength and conditioning, which began in mid-April. They ran through four weeks of OTAs, then concluded with a mandatory three-day minicamp.
The Giants accomplished some stuff this spring. The coaches taught, and the players worked, learned and refined their craft. Coach Ben McAdoo considered it a success.
“The spring is about teaching and learning and jockeying for reps, really, in training camp and in the preseason games, just putting yourself in a better position so that you can go out and compete for a job in training camp,” he said. “So it is more about teaching and learning. … Yeah, we taught well and we learned well.”
After speaking with coaches, players and sources in and around the team, these are the players who stood out most:
WR Sterling Shepard — He was the Giants’ most improved player this spring. That’s saying a lot, since the 2016 second-round pick is coming off a promising rookie season. Shepard’s route-running is probably the best on the team, and he added some power and speed to an already strong, compact frame.
WR Darius Powe — He returned after a year on the practice squad with more confidence and explosion. Powe (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) already had the size. Now he’s just more refined. He has a realistic shot at earning a spot on the active roster with a strong summer and preseason.
WR Travis Rudolph — He’s an undrafted rookie who made his mark in the spring. Rudolph flashed as a wide receiver and even showed some promise as a returner. He caught the coaches’ eyes.
TE Evan Engram — The first-round pick stood out with that 4.42 speed in the spring practices, which McAdoo describes as being in “underwear with their helmets.” Engram flashed an ability to get down the middle of the field and make plays. His body control as a receiver was also noticeable.
TE Jerell Adams — He made a massive jump in the mental part of the game this spring. Adams was a rookie lost at sea at this time last year.
TE Matt LaCosse — Whenever he’s been on the field over the past three years, he’s impressed. This spring was no different. The Giants have high hopes for LaCosse as a receiver and blocker if he can remain healthy.
OL Adam Gettis — He continues to impress the Giants with his work ethic and fit in the offense. Gettis received first-team reps when starting left guard Justin Pugh was sidelined. That wasn’t an accident.
OT Chad Wheeler — The undrafted rookie free agent didn’t appear overwhelmed by the NFL game. He showed enough athleticism and physical ability to provide the Giants hope he can develop into a capable left tackle.
OL Jon Halapio — He had a strong spring and helped his cause by showing versatility with his ability to play center.
DE Romeo Okwara — He built on the momentum from a strong rookie season in which he went from undrafted free agent to late-season starter. It wasn’t an accident that he was working with the first-team defense at OTAs this spring.
DE Avery Moss — The Giants are high on their fifth-round pick. They saw Moss’ size and movement skills in practice and are more confident than before that it can translate at the NFL level. One source insisted to me that Moss was going to be a serious player in the league.
LB Calvin Munson — The undrafted rookie opened some eyes in the spring. He could be an immediate special teams contributor if he earns a roster spot.
LB B.J. Goodson — The second-year middle linebacker made the jump the Giants were hoping to see this spring. Goodson received rave reviews for the way he handled the huddle with authority and moved fluidly around the field. He has the inside track to be the starting middle linebacker. It’s his job to lose.
CB Michael Hunter — His name came up first when defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked who impressed this spring. He worked his way into first-team reps and “really stood out,” according to Spagnuolo. Hunter is more confident and stronger. He’s in prime position to be the team’s fourth cornerback after making a ton of plays this spring.
S Jadar Johnson — The undrafted rookie proved he belonged this spring. It’s not exactly a surprise, coming from a program like Clemson. He flashed impressive ball skills and instincts. That was expected. How he tackles this summer may determine his fate, though.
K Aldrick Rosas — The Giants are so pleased with the way Rosas kicked that it’s unlikely they’ll bring in competition for him this summer. They knew about his strong leg, but Rosas also opened some eyes with his accuracy.
FB Jacob Huesman — The former Chattanooga quarterback put on weight and worked with the first-team offense this spring. He also showed well on special teams.
FB Shane Smith — The undrafted rookie out of San Jose State quickly made the adjustment to the pro game and a new offense. With Smith and Huesman having strong springs, expect the Giants to have a fullback on the roster this season.