4 heated position battles to expect at Giants training camp this season

Scott Thompson
SNY

The country is beginning to slowly reopen, and that has led to the NFL loosening its protocols to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In turn, coaches, who haven't been able to go work from their team facilities, are making their way back very soon. In the end, players will be able to get back to practicing together, and that hopefully will be by training camp. 

Then, the real fun starts. 

Training camp battles are fun for every fan's favorite squad to see who comes out on top for the 53-man roster -- or 55-man per the new CBA. Some positions stand out above the rest due to an influx of players or just two great players going head-to-head to see who will be the starter by Week 1. 

So which positions are those on the Giants' roster at the moment? GM Dave Gettleman has done a great job adding depth to key positions this offseason, and that will lead to some heated competition in camp. There's also a new head coach in Joe Judge leading camp for the first time in his career, and he already asserted that he will be evaluating every player at every position to give them a fair shake at a roster spot this year.

Here are the positions to watch in order from most fierce to least:

Linebacker

Both the inside and outside linebacker positions will be fun to watch in this year's camp. Gettleman used many late-round draft picks in each area, while bringing in some free agents as well. 

For those in the middle, Blake Martinez is guaranteed a starting role if he's healthy. He'll be the leader of this defense from the start, taking over for Alec Ogletree. But who plays next to him? David Mayo who returns on a new deal? What about Ryan Connelly looking to come back after tearing his ACL? Then, there's rookies T.J. Brunson and Tae Crowder hoping to impress enough to at least be depth pieces. 

On the outside, Kyler Fackrell is the new kid on the block who is trying to recreate his 10.5-sack season from 2018. That creates a big competition for that spot on the other side of him with Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter trying to prove their third-round draft choices weren't a waste. They've yet to prove that they can consistently rush the quarterback. 

And they will have to go against more rookies in Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin as well as Devante Downs and Chris Peace. Lots of players with so few spots. 

Cornerback

James Bradberry comes in to fill Janoris Jenkins' void as the team's No. 1 corner. A former second-round pick by Gettleman in Carolina, Bradberry has proven to be able to cover top receivers around the league, so his spot is undeniable. 

However, things have changed at the other corner slot with DeAndre Baker's current legal issues. While his lawyer did say that they believe they will win the case and all charges will be dropped against him, the Giants have still yet to let him into the virtual offseason program. Add that to his inconsistent play in his rookie season as well as having a new head coach, you could easily look at the position as wide open. 

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Sam Beal would be the next-best bet at the position, but don't sleep on Darnay Holmes who has some Hall of Famers backing his work ethic and skill set. Another rookie in seventh-rounder Chris Williamson is in the mix, too. 

Even in the slot, Grant Haley isn't safe in that position. Corey Ballentine wants a starting role, and is right behind him. Pay attention to these players in camp for sure. It's bound to be a heated bunch. 

Safety

Xavier McKinney might be a rookie, but it's hard to think he's not a starter when he walks into his first NFL camp. Gettleman and Judge both voiced their love for how he plays and what he can project to be for this defense in the future. Why not start that off right away in 2020? 

Julian Love, then, is looking to prove that he deserves that starting role after making the transition to safety last season. He played well in the time he got over last season, and he truly believes he deserves that spot next to Jabrill Peppers. We'll see what both youngsters do when the heat of training camp kicks up. 

Wide Receiver

The top three options are set here in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tateand Darius Slayton. That's why the priority of this battle is last on the list. 

But it is important to see who wins the depth spots considering the injury problems they faced last season. Corey Coleman was brought back for another shot after he tore his ACL last season. The Giants were hoping he could live up to that first-round selection of his, but he never got the chance. 

And then there's the interesting group of undrafted free agents that could very well make the final roster for Week 1. Binjimen Victor, Derrick Dillon and Austin Mack should have a small spotlight on themselves to see what they can do. There is also Cody Core, but he is more on the team for his special teams prowess. Maybe even David Sills V could prove to be the wide receiver that he was at West Virginia after making the transition from quarterback. 

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