The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants report to training camp at the University of Albany on Thursday, July 26. Yes, we're talking about practice! They're not the actual games, but we can learn a lot from practice, like what roles each of the Giants will play this season. With that in mind, here are five players to watch when the G-Men take the practice field from July 27 through August 15.
Domenik Hixon (WR) -- Hixon missed a majority of the last two seasons with ACL injuries, but he has a shot at playing third receiver this year with Mario Manningham no longer on the team. In addition, Hixon is New York's most experienced punt and kick returner and the Giants need help on special teams. This training camp may define Hixon's role on the team for the upcoming season.
Martellus Bennett (TE) -- The Giants are thin at tight end. Hence, they signed Bennett, a former second-round draft pick who played four seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. Bear Pascoe is the only other tight end on the roster with experience, so Bennett easily could factor into the offense. However, he hasn't caught a touchdown pass since his rookie season in 2008.
Will Beatty (LT) -- Beatty, who has a balky back pain, missed the final six games of the regular season and playoffs last year due to an eye injury. He should be ready for training camp. Sleeper James Brewer and Sean Locklear are possible replacements, but the Giants would prefer the experienced Beatty to start. If he's not ready to go, the offensive line will have to be reshuffled.
Terrell Thomas (CB) -- Thomas missed all of last season with a torn ACL, the second of his career, but has been cleared to participate in camp. He will be pushed by second-year pro Prince Amukamara. However, a healthy Thomas should start opposite Cory Webster at cornerback. At the time of his injury last season, Thomas was considered a rising star in the Giants' secondary.
David Wilson (RB) -- The team's first-round pick will compete for the back-up running back role behind Ahmad Bradshaw. The competition will be tight with D.J. Ware and Andre Brown seeking the same spot, but Wilson may also be a factor on special teams. His speed and quickness make him a dangerous open-field runner and the Giants could use a boost on punt and kick returns.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back all Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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