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5 dark horse candidates who could emerge for Giants in 2019

The 2019 New York Giants season is rapidly approaching, and there is still a lot to be sorted out along the depth chart. One of the best parts of minicamp and summer workouts is finding out which potential dark horses have a chance to make the 53-man roster and make an impact.

Here are five guys who have stood out so far:

Corey Coleman (WR/KR):

Coleman is probably the biggest name on this list, but his stock was at an all-time low when the Giants got him for next to nothing off the Patriots’ practice squad. Coleman made a name for himself as a return man last season, but the Giants may be finding some untapped potential with him as a receiver.


Although he was drafted 15th overall in 2016, Coleman didn’t prosper as a wideout in any of his three previous NFL stops. But he’s gotten first-team reps this summer for the Giants, and his speed and hands offer potential on more than just returns.

Pat Shurmur Says: “We are going to see the best of [Coleman]. He’s the first one to tell you when he came in the league, he had a lot to learn. Now he’s got an opportunity to maybe be a front-line player.” (North Jersey)

Rod Smith (RB):

Being Saquon Barkley‘s backup doesn’t sound like an intriguing proposition. However, ex-Dallas Cowboy Rod Smith offers a good mix of experience, versatility and upside.

Smith was originally drafted as a fullback, so he has the size. He famously torched the Giants in 2017 in the best game of his career, so the team is familiar with him. He’s also a good special teams player, racking up eight tackles last season in coverage.

Shurmur Says: “He is a pro. He came in and he has learned our offense pretty quickly. There is less and less mistakes in each practice setting. He does a good job with the ball in his hands. He is a big presence and we all know a lot of what he does is on special teams.” (GiantsWire)

RJ McIntosh (DL):

McIntosh essentially had a redshirt rookie season for the Giants last year. He spent almost all of last season on the non-football injury list with an undisclosed illness and didn’t play many snaps when activated late in the season.

The fifth-round pick has gotten first-team reps at defensive end this summer, though, and his coaches are impressed. With the D-Line wide open, McIntosh could look to make a name for himself given his solid pass-rush pedigree in college (5.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss).

Shurmur Says: “He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.” (

Ryan Connelly (LB):

A fifth-round draft pick this year, Connelly has been compared to Mark Herzlich and Chase Blackburn for his ability to play special teams and his quick-to-learn nature. DC James Bettcher has already used film of Connelly’s tackles as an example for his fellow linebackers to follow.

There’s competition for linebacker reps next to captain Alec Ogletree. B.J. Goodson is the incumbent and Tae Davis has shown coverage skills, but Connelly could be a guy whose strong first impression earns him some snaps.

Shurmur Says: “Ryan Connelly we add to the linebacker group, he’s one of those guys, he can run sideline to sideline, very physical, and he’s a very, very effective, very productive guy.” (24/7 Sports)

Sam Beal (CB):

It may have been easy to forget about Beal, a supplemental pick last year who spent his season on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury. The Giants have liked what they’ve seen from Beal so far, though. He has been starting in camp over several other young cornerbacks.

Nabbing Beal cost the Giants a 2019 third-round pick, but his versatility could come in handy. If you’re not sure, just ask Beal about how much he can help the Giants:

“You can be quick, you can be fast, but I’m quick and I’m fast. And I’m a physical corner,” Beal said, via the New York Post. “If they put me anywhere, I can play it. I got range out the door. I can get sideline to sideline just as fast as anybody else.”

Shurmur Says: “We feel like he has those skills. He is doing a really good job coming back from that shoulder surgery. He had an excellent fall in getting himself ready to go.” (GiantsWire)

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