What: Rookie minicamp
Where: Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14
Who: New York Giants draft picks, undrafted free agent signings and tryout players
Consider this orientation. Rookie minicamp is an opportunity for the Giants to bring their newest players into the building, get them onto the field and allow them to get comfortable in their new surroundings.
Some of their draft picks or undrafted free agents probably have never been to New York. Most, or all, of them probably have never been to East Rutherford, where the Giants play and practice. Most, or all, had never been inside the Quest Diagnostics Training Center prior to arriving on Thursday afternoon. They don’t know the location of the locker room, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria or even the bathroom.
Rookie minicamp provides them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their surroundings and the Giants’ schemes and schedule before commingling with the veterans next week.
Players arrived Thursday to undergo physicals, be fit for equipment and attend an introductory meeting. They take the field on Friday and Saturday for practices. The rookie minicamp officially ends on Sunday, with the signed players remaining in town afterward to start working with the veterans in Phase 2 of the offseason program on Monday.
“We have made some adjustments, but again, the most important thing is that there are a lot of nerves involved early on in that process,” coach Ben McAdoo explained of the rookie minicamp after the draft. “So you want to make sure that you take them out early, give them a chance to walk through some things, jog through some things before you actually practice with them because there are a lot of nerves.”
It’s evident during practice, where players barely know the plays. I’ll generously call it … sloppy.
Still, it’s a valuable introductory tool for many of the rookies to the professional game and life. And it’s the first live look at them on the field and in a Giants uniform.
Players to watch
(Note: Practices are in helmets and shoulder pads, so it's hard to see much from linemen.)
TE Evan Engram -- It will be interesting to see the physical skills of the Giants’ first-round pick in a practice setting. The expectations are that Engram will thrive, given his wide receiver skill set at the tight end position.
QB Davis Webb -- Just how far does the potential franchise quarterback need to go coming from an “Air Raid” offense to the Giants’ pro-style West Coast scheme? This weekend will provide some sort of baseline.
RB Wayne Gallman -- The fourth-round pick has a chance to earn playing time this season if he impresses this spring and summer. This will be his only chance to make a first impression on his coaches.
OL Jessamen Dunker and Chad Wheeler -- These are two intriguing players. They fell out of the draft and into the undrafted free agent waters in part because of off-the-field concerns. But they should have a chance to make the Giants’ roster. What does the team have in mind? What positions will they start at during rookie minicamp? I’ll be watching them closely.
The Giants likely will have more than 40 players in attendance on tryouts. They will include a handful of veterans, more than a few Canadians and a whole lot of youngsters fresh out of college trying to make their dreams come true.
Don’t overlook this group. Every year the Giants seem to find a few who catch their eyes and earn a spot on the roster.
Two years ago, it was tight end Will Tye, a relative unknown out of Stony Brook. He started last year for the Giants.
Last year, linebacker Ishaq Williams was among a group of tryout players who earned a contract. He worked his way onto the active roster by the end of last season.
And it all began at rookie minicamp, just like the one that will be taking place in East Rutherford this weekend.