Long weekend, but I didn't want you guys to think I'd forgotten about you. So let's dust off the old Twitter mailbag, shall we?
— Ed Lohmeyer Jr (@challylo) May 27, 2016
I never thought this reputation of former coach Tom Coughlin's was unfair. And if it ever was fair, it's long outdated. To wit:
In 2013, first-round pick Justin Pugh started all 16 games.
Prior to that? Sure, it took a while for Coughlin's Giants to work rookies into the lineup, but that was a time when the Giants still had quality veterans they'd developed into reliable, Super Bowl-winning performers. Letting rookies sit, learn and develop is actually the right way to run a team. Asking too much of your young players too soon is a recipe for the kinds of seasons the Giants have had the past three years. Coughlin was leaning on rookies lately not because of some philosophy shift but because he had no other choice. The roster was hollowed out. The draft picks from 2008 to 2012 hadn't developed. The rookies had to play. Kind of like in 2004, when Eli Manning started nine games and Chris Snee started 11. As rookies.
So I think it's a misconception that Giants rookies will somehow have more of a chance to contribute under new coach Ben McAdoo than they had under his predecessor. As has always been the case, the rookies' playing time will be dictated by some combination of the team's needs and the rookies' readiness. The Giants need a No. 2 wide receiver, so Sterling Shepard is likely to be that if he's ready. He's the best candidate. They don't really need Paul Perkins to come quickly at running back, so he likely starts at the back of the depth chart and has to work his way up.
Third-round safety Darian Thompson could be the starting free safety as a rookie if he looks the part in camp. Fourth-round linebacker B.J. Goodson could emerge from the jumble at his position and claim a starting spot. But as the roster is currently constructed, first-round cornerback Eli Apple may not have to start right away. The Giants have established starters on the outside in Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Apple isn't a natural fit for the slot position. He may get a developmental year.
So I think there's a chance the Giants get significant contributions from this year's rookie class, but not because McAdoo's the coach. It would be because the Giants are still rebuilding their roster and there are some spots available for rookies to claim if they want them. Kind of the way it was the past few years under Coughlin.