Metro takes a look at the movers and shakers at minicamp last week. Who is on the rise and who is falling fast?
Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw — The 2012-13 season will be the first time in his six-year career that Bradshaw will be “The Man” in the backfield, following many years as option 1a to good buddy Brandon Jacobs, who is now in San Francisco. Much will be expected of Bradshaw and the coaching staff thinks he’s up to the task. Despite suffering through numerous foot injuries over the years, Bradshaw said during minicamp that this is “the best I’ve felt since college” following a February procedure that injected stem cells into his troublesome foot. Look for the 5-foot-10 sparkplug to have a breakout season.
Left Tackle Will Beatty — It’s not so much performance-based, as Beatty hasn’t really played much over the last two seasons. But ever since taking over the all-important blindside position last season, Beatty has been in and out of the lineup due to eye and back injuries. Should he continue to miss time — he missed all of spring’s workouts including minicamp — he’ll be perilously close to losing his starting position. Such is the nature of the what-have-you-done-lately NFL.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Receiver Rueben Randle — Draftniks and analysts alike swore that Randle was the most NFL-ready receiver in the draft, so the pressure is on for the former Louisiana State product to prove them right. So far, so good, as the rookie wideout has drawn rave reviews from the staunchest critics — head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. While the coaches say it’s hard to gauge a guy in just a T-shirt and shorts, even the usually stoic coaches find themselves smiling when discussing Randle’s potential.
NEEDS TO STEP UP
Cornerback Prince Amukamara — It’s almost unfathomable that a second-year player needs to step up, but so many expectations have been put on Amukamara since being a first-round pick two years ago. Amukamara got off to a rough start in his rookie campaign when he broke his foot in the first practice after a lengthy holdout. He’s undergone the same procedure as Bradshaw this offseason, so all eyes will be on him and how he recovers. He’s made minimal impact so far, but the door has been opened for him to do more, as Aaron Ross is now in Jacksonville and Terrell Thomas is coming off a torn ACL suffered last preseason. Thomas said he still “thinks of [himself] as the starter” opposite Corey Webster, so Amukamara needs to step up and hold off the hard-charging veteran.
Linebacker Jake Muasau — The undrafted rookie free agent appears to be a great find by the Giants’ front office. Muasau came to the Giants via their early-May rookie tryout day and has impressed every time he’s been on the field. Muasau has thrilled the coaches so much that the 6-foot-1, 243-pounder manned the middle linebacker spot with the first unit for most of minicamp, despite being an outside linebacker for most of his career at tiny Georgia State.
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