Giants OTA Notes: Daniel Jones impresses in limited capacity, Cor'Dale Flott's time to shine

EAST RUTHERFORD – Daniel Jones wasn’t overly thrilled with the Giants’ pursuit of a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft. He admitted as much on Thursday. Jones knows what everyone else does: His career in New York would have received a fast-approaching expiration date had Joe Schoen successfully moved up for Drake Maye. 

Good news for Jones: The Giants didn’t have enough to get a trade done. 

Good news for the Giants: The last time a pissed-off Jones took the field he led them to the playoffs and an eventual upset victory over the Vikings in the first round. 

“I wasn’t fired up about it,” Jones said. “I’m focused on playing the best football I can play."

The Giants held their first media-open organized team activity on Thursday. Jones took part in a limited capacity -- noteworthy, considering Jones is working his way back from a torn ACL suffered against the Raiders in November. Jones did individual work, routes on air, and 7-on-7 drills. Drew Lock ran the starting offense in full-team drills. 

Jones looked good in the limited viewing window. He was poised and decisive and threw with accuracy and zip. More important: He moved well within the pocket, resembling little of a player working his way back from knee surgery. 

The next step for Jones is full medical clearance. He expects to receive that, he said, before training camp begins at the end of July. He has no doubt he’ll be ready for the season opener against the Vikings on Sept. 8. 

Here’s more from Thursday:

Your starting lineup 

Tackles Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas didn’t work on Thursday. They were involved in the walkthrough install, but that’s it. In their place, Joshua Ezeudu and Yodny Cajuste started. Jon Runyan, John Michael Schmitz and Jermaine Eluemunor worked on the inside.

Lock (Jones didn’t do team drills), Eric Gray, Theo Johnson, Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson and Malik Nabers were your starting skill position guys. Isaiah Hodgins also worked in.

On defense: Brian Burns, Dexter Lawrence, Jordan Riley/Ryder Anderson and Kayvon Thibodeaux received the majority of the snaps up front. Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden were at linebacker while the secondary comprised of Cor’Dale Flott, Jason Pinnock, Dane Belton and Deonte Banks.

Nov 26, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll after the game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Calling the shots

Brian Daboll says nothing at press conferences. Seriously. His media availability is often painfully unhelpful. That’s what made the coaches’ breakfast at the owners’ meeting so noteworthy. Daboll came armed with statistics regarding offensive-minded head coaches who call plays and spoke at length about why he believed it can work.

You got the sense OC Mike Kafka, despite his promotion, was about to lose some responsibilities. That seemed to be the case at OTAs. Daboll had the walkie talkie and laminated play sheet. He appeared to be the voice radioing into the quarterback's helmet.There are high-ranking members of the Giants' current organization who prefer the head coach to be the CEO. Essentially, he oversees the entire operation and lets his coordinators call the plays. Daboll appears to have won them over, or convinced the right people he needs to call things.

I get that. There’s a good chance Daboll loses his job if things don’t improve this season. Does he really want to go down with someone else calling his offense? No. So let him call the shots.

Non-update update 

The Giants still don’t have any idea whether or not tight end Darren Waller plans on playing this season. He wasn’t at organized team activities and hasn’t told the team if he’s retiring.There could be some financial ties to when Waller officially announces. If Waller were to retire in May, he’d save the Giants $6.7 million. If he retired after June 1st, though, the number jumps to $11.6 million. 

Secondary taking shape

The Giants appear to have their Adoree' Jackson replacement, or at least the player getting the first crack at filling the void opposite second-year talent Deonte Banks. Cor’Dale Flott, who spent the first two years of his career playing primarily slot, started outside on Thursday.

Flott said his 6-foot-1 frame is up to 177 pounds. He had 25 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups last year. He finished with a ProFootballFocus grade of 53.3, including a 59.4 mark in coverage. Quarterbacks threw at him 62 times, completing 40 passes for 452 yards and three scores.

Highlights and observations

- The play of practice is one sure to make Giants fans happy. Rookie wideout Malik Nabers caught a long touchdown from Lock. He split Flott and safety Jason Pinnock. The speed and explosion Schoen fell in love with pre-draft was evident on that one. The Giants haven’t had a playmaker like this since Odell Beckham Jr. walked out the door. There are no pads, but it’s good to see Nabers already making plays. 

- It was not a good day for Lock. He threw that touchdown, yes, but he completed just 10 of 20 passes, and the majority of his incompletions were way off the mark. There was some talk that Lock could push Jones for the starting job. It’s very early, but that might be far-fetched. 

- Tommy DeVito, on the other hand, had a nice day. He made a few impressive throws with good zip working with the second unit. Two notable ones included a needle-threading over the middle to rookie tight end Theo Johnson, and a long one up the right side and over the shoulder of Hyatt. 

- Johnson, mentioned above, has a chance to earn early playing time with Waller mulling retirement and Daniel Bellinger absent from practice. 

- Lock’s quarterback stats assume none of his drop-backs ended in sacks, and that very clearly was not the case. Brian Burns was a menace all day, tormenting Ezeudu, who started at left tackle. Burns had at least three sacks, including one where he tapped Lock on the backside twice. It looked like a combination of Burns and Kayvon Thibodeaux got to Lock before his touchdown to Nabers, too.

Next up 

The Giants' next media-open OTA is on Thursday, May 30.