The weeks between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp are always an awkward time in the NFL calendar.
For a few members of the New York Giants, this period will mean everything.
How several Giants players use this “downtime” will have huge ramifications on their careers and the team going forward. Keep in mind that these players aren’t laying around on the beach; they’re getting ready for the upcoming season, often with other NFL players. How they maximize these few weeks can be huge heading into training camp.
Here’s a look at three players who, if they maximize the next few weeks, could make the difference in turning around one of the league’s worst records a year ago.
It might be surprising to see Engram on this list — after all, last year’s first-round pick wasn’t horrible by any stretch of the imagination. But Engram is still a raw product and, while he is more refined, still came into offseason workouts in need of some work.
Engram is tremendous down the field as a receiver and has a high ceiling, but he still needs work as a blocker. If Engram can come into training camp a better-rounded tight end and becomes a competent blocker, he could fulfill his Pro Bowl-caliber potential for the Giants.
Four weeks spent getting stronger and working on his blocking technique are a must as he enters his second year in the NFL. Another step forward would be huge for him (and the Giants).
Gay is coming off a year with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he had the lowest number of tackles (19) and passes defended (3) since he was a rookie in 2007. This needs to be a bounce-back year for the veteran cornerback, who has been reliable throughout his NFL career.
The Giants are thin in the secondary. They need the 33-year-old to be ready to step up.
Let’s be honest, the Giants are set at running back with the selection of Saquon Barkley in the 2018 NFL Draft and adding veteran Jonathan Stewart in free agency. But the Giants will need to carry at least one other running back and Martin could be interesting — as well as cheap enough — to keep on the roster.
The former Rutgers product put up the best 3-cone and bench press numbers among any running backs at the Rutgers Pro Day. He plays faster than his reported 4.66 time in the 40. He was a pretty good running back for a team that has struggled the past three years.
He has good speed and shiftiness and reminds some of New York Jets running back Bilal Powell. A couple of strong weeks of training camp could see Martin challenging for a roster spot or at the very least the practice squad.
The potential is there for him to contribute to the Giants and the next few weeks for Martin at TEST Football Academy in Martinsville, NJ will be big.