EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With Odell Beckham Jr. missing Wednesday's voluntary New York Giants OTA practice, Geremy Davis got to work as a first-string wide receiver. He didn't drop the ball, literally or otherwise.
"Geremy is a big, physical guy we can rely on," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said after practice. "He knows the offense very well and seems to be hitting his stride right now."
Every week, every day it seems, we can write about another young player who has a chance to make a splash for the Giants this year. Over the weekend, we discussed rookie receiver Sterling Shepard, for whom the Giants have high hopes. A few weeks back, you read here about second-year offensive lineman Bobby Hart and his chances to compete for a starting job. Third-round rookie safety Darian Thompson is in the mix with many other young players for the free-safety job. Fourth-round linebacker B.J. Goodson could end up playing middle linebacker. And second-year guys such as Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins? Well, they're already established starters.
This focus on youngsters and their opportunities isn't just scrounging for offseason stories. This is where the Giants are right now. The league's second-youngest head coach behind only Miami's Adam Gase, McAdoo surveys a roster so in need of help at so many spots that it would be foolish to write off the chances of its youngest members to start.
There is a reasonable chance that the Giants could start first-year or second-year players at both safety spots, one of their linebacker spots, two offensive-line spots and tight end. And if Victor Cruz can't make it back from his injuries, it's reasonable to think Beckham could be the elder statesman in three-receiver sets that feature Shepard in the slot and the 6-foot-2, 217-pound Davis on the outside.
"My size is what I have going for me," said Davis, the 2015 sixth-round pick who caught just two passes in his rookie season. "I'm really working on that, putting my body between the ball and the defender and using what I have."
Davis said his rookie year spent in the Giants' offense, even though he didn't see the field very much, will pay benefits in 2016 as he's able to worry less about learning and more about putting his lessons into practice.
"It was a learning experience," Davis said. "I feel like I'm a lot more instinctive and a lot quicker. Just out there running routes and trying to let the instincts take over."
Long way to go until the games count, but expect a lot more of these stories about the young guys and whether they can make an impact this year. The basic math makes it clear that some of them will have to.