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Who are some of the players of interest (draft picks and undrafted free agents) in this weekend’s New York Giants rookie minicamp?

Gene Clemons

Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota defensive back Tyler Nubin (DB56) works out during the NFL Combine

Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota defensive back Tyler Nubin (DB56) works out during the NFL Combine / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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This weekend, the New York Giants will get their first post-draft look at their collection of rookies at the team’s two-day minicamp. On hand should be roughly four dozen prospects, including the six-member draft class, the priority undrafted free agents, and a large handful of tryouts, some of whom will include veterans.

The practice sessions won’t be typical of what you’d see during training camp; rather, they’re an introductory period to how the team practices, mixed in with some position drills and technique coaching.

And who knows? Maybe the Giants will find their next undrafted free-agent gem in this crop. That said, here is a list of players (draft picks and UDFAs) we’ll watch.

Receivers: Malik Nabers and Jon Jiles

The two most intriguing rookies to watch during this minicamp will play on the offensive perimeter. Everyone wants to see Nabers, who will draw many eyes this weekend.

With the ball in his hands, his explosiveness and dynamic ability will have the onlookers oohing and ahhing.

The intrigue surrounding Jiles’s undrafted free-agent signing is as high as any player on the squad. With all of this team’s receiving talent, they do not have a big-bodied receiver who has proven to be consistently effective in the role.

Jiles is a 6’3”, 220-pound pass catcher with strong hands and a ridiculous catch radius. Can he be the change up to the speed and shiftiness of the others on the field?

Defensive Backs: Dru Phillips and Alex Johnson

The Giants’ second-round pick, Tyler Nubin, will be interesting to watch since many believe he is slated to move right into a starting role. Still, the pressure to perform immediately is lessened by the presence of Dane Belton and Jalen Mills.

It is a different story at cornerback. The one thing the Giants seem to have in abundance is slot corners. So drafting Phillips in the third round and signing Johnson as an undrafted free agent both raise questions.

Yes, they have both played on the outside, but some believe their highest ceiling lies in the slot.

This will allow both to display their skills on the outside while defending some talented guys on the perimeter. We could immediately see whether they would hold up against elite receiving talent in the NFL.

Kick Returners: Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Ayir Asante

With the new kickoff rules going into play this coming season, the kick return should return to the dynamic play that has the potential to jumpstart an offense drive or even score points itself.

With that, the need for dynamic return men has returned, and it seems as if the Giants looked to address that issue through this rookie class. They selected Purdue running back Tyrone Tracy Jr. in the fifth round and signed Wyoming receiver Ayir Asante as an undrafted free agent.

Both players provide the shiftiness you want in a returner and the explosion necessary to hit a seam and take it to the house. Given the talent at the position, it is difficult to see Asante making this team strictly as a receiver, but Tracy has the added advantage of a possible role in the backfield. Both players should be intriguing to watch.

Tight Ends: Theo Johnson, Jjay McAfee, Treyton Pickering

The unknown surrounding Darren Waller’s future left the Giants in a position where they needed to address the tight end position. The free-agent additions (Chris Manhertz and Jack Stoll) would have probably happened if Waller was all in for the 2024 season, as they were more run-blocking additions.

The Giants did use this rookie class to address the position with a few pass-catching options, starting with fourth-rounder Theo Johnson, the 6-6, 250-pound pass catcher from Penn State who will look immediately impressive when he walks on the field.

Jjay McAfee from Georgia Southern is a smaller tight end/receiver hybrid. Treyton Pickering is your hard-nosed, gritty tight end who comes from an offense that may not have utilized his receiving talents to their fullest extent.

What all three have in common is double-digit yards per reception on a minimum amount of targets. This will definitely be an interesting position to keep an eye on.

While Johnson is a draft pick, McAfee and Pickering hope to earn camp invites based on their performances this weekend.

Offensive Tackle: Chaz Neal and Duro Ajayi 

Seeing players get an opportunity to live out their NFL dreams is always interesting. These two minicamp invites are intriguing prospects, and it will be interesting to see how they perform.

Chaz Neal is a cousin of current Giants starting right tackle Evan Neal and is every bit the physical specimen. At 6-9 and 327 pounds, Neal has commanded a spot on the Florida Atlantic offensive line for the past three seasons.

Ajayi is a 6-6, 307-pound athletic tackle from Division III’s College of New Jersey. Both players possess athleticism that is sought after. With strong performances this weekend, they could earn a camp invite, if not from the Giants, then possibly another team.

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