Leading into the start of training camp (rookies report July 22, veterans July 24) The Post will provide Giants fans with a position-by-position look at the roster.
Fans are understandably fatigued hearing frequent Odell Beckham Jr. dispatches from Cleveland. It remains to be seen if the Giants will dearly miss the sensational receiver once the games begin. For the first time since 2014, it is Life Without Odell and, around the league, dubious glances are sent in the direction of the players left behind in East Rutherford. The front office is all-in on Sterling Shepard, signing him to a four-year contract extension, hoping a Shepard pairing with veteran Golden Tate — signed the day after the Beckham trade went down — is complementary and not, as many insist, duplication. Much of the dynamism is gone without Beckham; the plan is for Eli Manning to spread the ball around without feeling pressure or obligated to keep Odell happy.
Key returnees: Sterling Shepard, Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Bennie Fowler
Key additions: Golden Tate, Darius Slayton
The rundown: Is there anybody the Giants put on the field able to scare opposing defenses? Is there any player who must be double-teamed? Not really. Sterling Shepard thus far in his career has shown himself to be a solid, but certainly not spectacular, No. 2 starting receiver and he is not an overwhelmingly dangerous deep threat. He is an exceptional leaper and is extremely quick. The addition of Golden Tate imports one of the best yards-after-catch producers in the league. He is a savvy route-runner but, like Shepard, often does his best work operating out of the slot. Thus, the fear of duplication. Of the veterans brought back, Coleman is the most intriguing, given his pedigree (2016 first-round pick of the Browns) and skill-set. He showed flashes last season and if he has matured, maybe the Giants have something here. Speedster Darius Slayton, a fifth-round pick from Auburn, looked quite good in the spring but it is tough for rookies to make much of an impact.
Key camp battles: Shepard and Tate are set and Slayton figures to find his way onto the roster. After that, jobs are up for grabs, with Latimer, Shepard and Fowler competing for one or possibly two spots. Coleman should have an edge, based on his talent, but he must continue to show progress and attention to detail, traits that eluded him in Cleveland.
The verdict: It remain to be seen if anyone can take the top off a defense with full-blown speed and explosiveness down the field. Shepard and Tate are both 5-foot-10 and that does not translate to great success when paired together as starters. Latimer and Slayton (both 6-foot-2) have some size but it would take a quantum leap of faith to consider either a difference-maker. Coleman is 24; maybe this is the start of a strong second chapter of what thus far has been a disappointing NFL existence. There is no doubt Eli Manning will miss tossing a short slant to Beckham and seeing it result in a 60-yard touchdown eruption. Beckham’s greatness will be missed. However, he was not the most precise route-runner and at times was too amped up to get the best out of himself. This will have to be a group effort.