Home New York Giants Draft Giants rookie report card: Impressions of Malik Nabers, other rookies

Giants rookie report card: Impressions of Malik Nabers, other rookies

by Guest Blogger

Which rookies look like they can help the Giants this season?

The offseason program is over, and the New York Giants won’t be together again until training camp begins on July 24. Let’s take some time to assess what we have seen from the team’s 2024 rookie class.

WR Malik Nabers

They say players know players. And Giants players have been effusive this spring in their praise of the team’s first-round pick.

“Extremely talented. Everybody knows that. Great route runner, strong, fast, adjusts to the ball well. All the things you look for,” was quarterback Daniel Jones’ description.

“I think he can be a very special player in this league,” said veteran linebacker Bobby Okereke.

Second-year wide receiver Jalin Hyatt simply called Nabers an “elite guy.”

Nabers has done nothing this spring to make that praise seem over the top. He’s been dominant at times during team periods, showing both explosion and ability to go and get imperfectly thrown balls. He is also adding some flair and pushing his teammates.


Nabers has looked like everything the Giants expected him to be when they selected him No. 6 overall. And, he’s only 20 years old.

“I’m just trying to be me, trying to level up my game every day I’m out here,” Nabers said. “Every time I’m out there practicing, I’m trying to be better. The main focus is to get 1% better when I’m out there on the field; try to bring a level of energy to the team; be a great teammate and be that guy on the field that wants to practice and wants to play here.”

S Tyler Nubin

The second-round pick worked primarily with the second-team defense throughout the spring. Ultimately, expect Nubin to start alongside Jason Pinnock in the back of the Giants’ defense.

Head coach Brian Daboll called Nubin a “really smart player.”

GM Joe Schoen has referred to Nubin as a “culture changer” as a college player at Minnesota.

Assistant GM Brandon Brown said Nubin “can become like the alphas of alphas,” meaning he can become a leader in the back of the defense.

CB Dru Phillips

Like Nubin, the third-round pick out of Kentucky occasionally mixed in with the first team defense while taking most of his snaps with the backups. That figures to change during the summer. After all, it doesn’t seem like the Giants moved Cor’Dale Flott from slot to outside cornerback to make room for Nick McCloud to play inside.

Phillips wants to make being a slot cornerback cool.

“I remember when I was growing up people thought nickel was almost a bad thing. Kind of just throwing a guy in there,” he said this spring. “Especially with how the game is going now and how there is so much passing in the league – and also in college. When I went to Kentucky, I always wanted to play nickel the whole time. I didn’t really get an opportunity until my junior year. Once I got the opportunity I kind of like – I embodied it. I felt like it’s who I was. That’s what I did best, so I went all in on it. It carried over here, so I’m out here playing nickel now.”

TE Theo Johnson

Daboll said during minicamp that the Giants drafted the 6-foot-6, 259-pound Johnson in the fourth round because they “thought we a good player.” They also, of course had to be expecting the retirement of Darren Waller, and eyeing finding a player who could become a dynamic receiving threat from the tight end spot.

Johnson did that throughout the spring with a number of impressive catches.

Daboll admitted that how much impact Johnson can have as a rookie is “a good question.”

“There is a variety of personnel groups you can use. You can play with one tight end, no tight ends, two tight ends, three tight ends, sometimes four tight ends. Depending on the player, you ask them to learn multiple spots,” Daboll said.

“Most of our guys right now have been trained through (tight ends coach) Tim (Kelly) to learn two to three spots depending on the personnel group we’re in. It’s always a challenge when you’re learning multiple spots, whether you’re young or new. That’s the job requirements nowadays.

“It’s kind of evolved throughout the years, but I think it depends, too, on offensively what personnel groups you want to utilize and how many and all the different positions you ask them to play.

“We certainly ask our guys to do a fair amount in terms of learning our system, playing multiple positions, and one time you’re the F, one time you’re the Z, one time you could be the X, one time you could be the Y.”

Tyrone Tracy Jr.

There is an opportunity for Tracy, a wide receiver turned running back, to become RB2 for the Giants behind Devin Singletary. During the spring he occasionally took first-team reps.

Tracy, picked in Round 5, could also be valuable as a kickoff returner, and has been cross-training as a punt returner.

LB Darius Muasau

There aren’t a lot of opportunities for inside linebackers to shine during spring practices without pads. There really isn’t much to report or say about Muasau as a defensive player. He figures to be a core special teams player initially.

Undrafted free agents

Here are a few of the undrafted players to watch.

  • Running back Dante Miller has excited with his speed. If he makes the roster, kickoff return is where he might have his biggest impact.
  • Wide receiver Ayir Asante has made his share of catches, and has been used as a punt and kickoff returner.
  • Offensive lineman Jake Kubas has been working with the second team at a guard spot.
  • Defensive linemen Casey Rogers and Elijah Chatman are both worth watching once pads come on. The defensive line is an unsettled position group, and one or both could stick around.

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