Here is what Joe Judge knows:
The end of the Giants’ three-day rookie minicamp — more of an orientation this year — is Sunday, but the rookies will stay around for a few more weeks, furthering their NFL acclimation process.
Judge also knows the Giants are scheduled for a three-day veteran minicamp, set for June 8-10. That is a mandatory camp.
What Judge does not know for sure is how the rest of the offseason program will take shape, because the organized team activity practices are up in the air. The NFL Players Association wanted them all to be virtual because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The league wants players at the team facilities. So, Judge does not know how many of his veteran players will be around this spring.
“We’ve already scheduled and released the OTA dates,’’ Judge said Saturday. “Obviously it’s a voluntary period so we are going to work with every player we can whether it’s virtual or in-person. So obviously whoever is here we’ll coach in person, whoever is virtual for the meetings we’ll work with them virtually. Some guys will be doing both.’’
A day after first-round pick Kadarius Toney experienced some issues with his footwear — causing him to go through one drill on a bare right foot — he was on the field with two new white cleats. Toney, though, sat out the latter half of practice.
“No, it’s not an injury situation with him right there,’’ Judge said. “I think every player out here is kind of on their own program in terms of what’s best for them, what the schedule of the day is.
“One thing we keep in mind with these guys is these guys have not been with team sports now in over five months, and that’s something we have to consider bringing them in and for all these guys, the first time of football activity.’’
CB Rodarius Williams, a sixth-round pick from Oklahoma State, received some inside information as to what to expect in this rookie camp. His younger brother, Greedy Williams, is a former LSU star and was a 2019 second-round pick of the Browns. Rodarius is 16 months older than Greedy, who offered some advice to his sibling.
“Take advantage of every opportunity, regardless of whether it’s a mental rep or a physical rep, take advantage of whatever I’m given,’’ Rodarius Williams said.
LB Elerson Smith, a fourth-round pick from Northern Iowa, said he was assigned jersey No. 58, and he quickly learned that number was worn with distinction by Carl Banks.
“It’s an honor to have the number, I’m extremely grateful they gave me that number,’’ Smith said. “I haven’t met Carl yet, but I heard he’ll be around the building, so I’ll be excited to get a chance to meet him and pick his brain a little bit and get some advice from him.’’
Officially, Nate Ebner is an unsigned free agent, but the veteran special teams ace might as well be on the Giants’ roster. Ebner is in Olympic training for a spot on the United States rugby team.
“Technically, Nate is a free agent right now, but we fully intend for him to be a member of the Giants,’’ Judge said.
In 2016, Judge was the special teams coordinator with the Patriots when Bill Belichick granted Ebner a leave of absence to try out (and eventually make) the U.S. team.
“He’s a very important part of this team and we look forward to getting him back,’’ Judge said.
The rookie minicamp was a productive one for a young veteran invited on a tryout basis, as RB Corey Clement signed a one-year deal with the Giants after impressing the coaching staff with his work on the field the past two days.
Clement, 26, went undrafted out of Wisconsin and made it into the NFL with the Eagles in 2017. His claim to fame is taking the shotgun snap in Super Bowl LII — against Judge’s Patriots — to initiate what became known as the Philly Special touchdown play for the Eagles.