EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Let's take a look at what we learned from the New York Giants' first organized team activity of the season, beginning with Ereck Flowers' status now that he has returned to the team.
Flowers back in mix It has been a rocky few months for Flowers. The offensive tackle drafted ninth overall in 2015 stayed away from the team most of the spring and was even the subject of trade talks. When Flowers finally returned, he was thrust right back into the first-team mix.
Flowers worked as the starting right tackle during the Giants' first OTA of the season on Monday. He stayed after practice and did extra work with the left tackle, Nate Solder, who was signed to replace him.
It was an encouraging sign. The two took turns holding the blocking pad for each other, and Solder was offering advice and tips to the former left tackle who has struggled for much of his first three professional seasons.
It's somewhat telling of where the Giants stand at offensive tackle that Flowers was right back with the starters -- on the right side -- just one week after returning to the team. They don't have much depth at the position, and Chad Wheeler appears to be the only serious competition to start at right tackle.
New coach Pat Shurmur apparently wasn't kidding when he said earlier this month that he liked what he saw from Flowers on tape most of last season. He also seemed impressed with what Flowers did Monday.
"Yeah, he did a nice job," Shurmur said. "We've had him in for a week, as you all know, and he's kind of just fit right in there with everybody, and I wasn't all that pressured up about it, and I'm glad he's here, and I'm getting to know him.
"I said it with Eli [Apple]. Clean slate. He's out here competing, and I think that's what's most important."
Apple was also working with the first-team defense. He started at cornerback in live drills opposite Janoris Jenkins.
This is the latest sign that the Giants are going to rely heavily on their first-round picks from 2015 and '16. Their success (or failure) playing such important positions could have a significant impact on the team's overall success this season.
Where the rookies fit
Barkley rotated in with Stewart most of the afternoon, and Hernandez worked mostly as the second-team left guard while mixing in with the starters at times. Third-round pick Lorenzo Carter also was with the second-team defense, and fourth-round quarterback Kyle Lauletta received limited reps working behind Eli Manning, Davis Webb and even recently signed veteran Alex Tanney.
It's early. The Giants' rookies have had only weeks to learn the schemes. But Shurmur insists that there will be no hesitation to throw them into the mix.
"We want to put them in there and get them going," Shurmur said. "At this point, there is no depth chart. We're out there playing, and we're trying to get a look at guys doing what they can do and then try to test them in other areas to see if they can do more. That's where that is at."
It's apparent that Barkley will make an immediate impact. He badly beat undrafted rookie linebacker Tae Davis in a one-on-one drill and caught several passes from Manning during live periods.
Barkley looked comfortable in different roles and all over the field. He is already getting accustomed to working with Manning and the first-team offense.
"It has been amazing. Obviously, [Manning] is a great guy; he's a great quarterback," Barkley said. "But he's so knowledgeable about the game -- he knows every single play where you're supposed to be, where everybody is supposed to be -- and literally he can look this way, and this guy ran a wrong route, and he knows that guy already ran a wrong route, so I just continue to learn from him every single day and ask a lot of questions.
"I think I'm probably annoying to him a little bit, but I continue to ask him a lot of questions, and I just want to expand on my knowledge of the game because that's going to make me a better player, and if I can continue to grow as a better player, then I can continue to help the team."
With Landon Collins and Michael Thomas not participating because of injuries, the Giants rotated two groups of safeties with the first team. One was Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams. The other was Curtis Riley and Orion Stewart. This seems to be further evidence that there is an open competition for the starting job opposite Collins, and just about everybody is in the mix.
1. Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson made a nice bobbled interception of a pass when dropping into coverage. It was an impressive display of athleticism during his backpedal.
2. Webb fired a bullet deep down the right sideline for a long touchdown to Roger Lewis, who was working with the second-team offense most of the afternoon. The second-year quarterback's arm is impressive.
Did not attend: DT Damon Harrison
Harrison was the only notable Giants player to miss the voluntary practice. Shurmur said he knew the reason but would "leave it at that."