EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Minicamp was the New York Giants' opportunity to see star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. cutting, running routes and catching passes at full speed from quarterback Eli Manning. They must have liked what they saw.
Beckham was running as if he didn't shatter his leg in October. (Note: He did.) But there didn't appear to be any hesitation or problems getting in and out of his cuts this week, when he was finally working at full speed.
Beckham looked good, and don't think coach Pat Shurmur and the Giants brass didn't notice. They were watching intently when Beckham stayed on the field for extra work with Manning on Wednesday. They noticed when Beckham and Manning had a private session on the side while the rest of the team was participating in live drills on Thursday.
It was as if nothing had changed for Beckham, who injured his ankle first in last year's preseason and then again in a Week 5 loss. He looked like his old self.
Beckham's comeback continues to trend in the right direction.
"Yeah, well obviously, anytime you catch a route from a quarterback, you learn something about one another. So, they've spent time together," Shurmur said. "I've noticed their relationship is real strong and that's typical of what players do. They work together.
"Odell's been able to do a lot here full speed and, as I mentioned, he's been cleared to practice. Guys that end the year with injuries come back at different rates and get involved with more and more of the drill work. So, for him to spend that extra time with Eli, I think is great."
For the Giants to see Beckham back to his old self on the field is maybe even encouraging. They were impotent offensively when he wasn't on the field last season. This was the latest benchmark reached in checking off all the boxes before the 25-year-old gets a new contract.
Beckham's desire to have a new deal has been well documented. He's done his job this spring, attending workouts and proving his reinforced ankle will not affect his long-term prospects.
The ball now sits in the Giants' court. Shurmur said after the final minicamp practice of the year that there is "no reason to believe" that Beckham shouldn't be able to do everything during training camp. He did not participate in any team or live drills during this week's minicamp despite being cleared medically by doctors.
But the business side likely first needs to be addressed. That's next on the agenda because Beckham proving his health was accomplished at minicamp.
Davis Webb found out he would be taking the first-team reps at Thursday's shortened practice five seconds before heading into the huddle. He didn't even flinch.
"I was ready to go," Webb said. "I study the entire [practice] script like it's the Bible. It's important to me."
The second-year quarterback stepped into the huddle and called for a play that had him rolling out right from the 4-yard line during a red zone drill. Webb saw an opening and went to the pylon, reached the ball over the goal line and scored a touchdown. He later threw a finely manicured pass into a tight window to tight end Kyle Carter for another score.
This capped a strong spring for Webb during which it was obvious he was a better quarterback than last year, when -- as he often explains -- he was learning basic arithmetic while Manning was in advanced calculus. The gap has clearly closed.
"I think he has improved every day. I think he's got an outstanding skill set," Shurmur said. "I mean, big, strong, can throw. Saw [Thursday], he can run around and he's gotten more and more comfortable with what we're doing. So, he's made steady improvements through this spring."
This is a significant step in the progression. This was an important spring for last year's third-round pick out of California. Webb had to win over the new regime. General manager Dave Gettleman and Shurmur didn't have the opportunity to see him play live much, if at all, prior to this spring.
By the looks of it, Webb was successful. His arm strength was evident daily at practice. He easily has the best arm of the bunch. Webb also appears comfortable in the offense. His accuracy still might need some work (when he misses there appears to be too much steam on the ball and it sails high or long), but overall there appears to be the look of a player who could potentially develop into a franchise quarterback and eventually supplant the 37-year-old Manning.
The next step will be for Webb will be to carry it all over into the summer and into games.
The two areas that should concern the Giants are pass rush and cornerback depth. This was evident throughout minicamp and over the course of the entire spring.
Olivier Vernon is the only player on the Giants who has ever topped four sacks in a season. There isn't another feared pass-rusher on the roster. It's something the Giants still appear to be searching for as they head into their summer break.
"I think some of that will just come as we get into it," defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. "Finding what some of the strengths of the guys that we have on the field and trying to put those guys in the best possible position."
It didn't help that outside linebacker Avery Moss worked on the side most of the spring as he nursed an injury. Third-round pick Lorenzo Carter had his ups and downs as he got acclimated to the new defense and the NFL game.
Shurmur also admitted Thursday the Giants are still searching for their third, fourth and fifth cornerbacks, and that's working with the notion that Eli Apple is a sure thing as a starter opposite Janoris Jenkins following his shaky second season. There is a massive competition behind Apple that includes the likes of William Gay, Donte Deayon and B.W. Webb. It's something that should keep the Giants coaches up at night throughout the summer.
1. Saquon Barkley was a menace out of the backfield again at minicamp. He made some of the Giants linebackers look silly. This is where he could make his biggest impact as a rookie.
2. Will Hernandez appears to be exactly what the Giants thought when he was drafted 34th overall. He's "cranky" ... in a good way for an offensive lineman. Hernandez was involved in another scuffle Thursday when he got into it with defensive lineman Damon Harrison. Thankfully he wasn't hurt.
3a. Lorenzo Carter didn't appear to stand out one way or the other working as the second-team outside linebacker. It might take time for him to develop into a consistent pass-rusher.
3b. On defensive lineman B.J. Hill: "He can play," Harrison said this week. Harrison saw it with his own eyes the past few weeks at OTAs and minicamp. It validated what defensive-line coach Gary Emanuel told him when he arrived late to OTAs. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise Hill was working with the first team at minicamp.
4. Quarterback Kyle Lauletta spent most of minicamp working with the third team. He had his ups and downs as he learns the offense, although he did have a perfectly placed throw for a touchdown to Travis Rudolph in the back corner of the end zone Thursday. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula raved about Lauletta's calmness on the field
5. Fifth-round pick RJ McIntosh sat out minicamp with an undisclosed injury. Shurmur said the defensive lineman would need a procedure soon but the team was hopeful he would be ready for the start of training camp.