Which rookies are rising, falling?
The third week of the Preseason is when the starters take over and play the most. That was a mixed bag for New York Giants’ rookies against the New York Jets. Some got their roles expanded, but others saw a serious shortage of time spent on the field. Of course, the top rookie, Saquon Barkley, did not take the field while resting a hamstring injury.
For this week’s rookie report, we’ll go over play from the Jets game and also check in on how these rookies are trending three quarters of the way through the preseason.
Will Hernandez, OL
34 offensive snaps (50 percent)
This won’t be able to be said about any other first-team offensive lineman, but Will Hernandez was good against the Jets. Hernandez stood out by not standing out on a line that routinely missed blocks and allowed the Jets to make plays in the backfield. He did have one holding call against him in the second quarter, but his positives outweighed that penalty.
Here’s a play from the first quarter where Wayne Gallman gets hit from three different angles at the line, but Hernandez is still pushing his guy back at the end of the play.
On the second offensive play of the game, Hernandez picked up Leonard Williams one-on-one pass blocking. That’s not an easy feat, especially for a rookie offensive lineman. He also pushed Williams to the side on Eli Manning’s 30-yard pass to Sterling Shepard in the second quarter.
Preseason Stock: Up
Hernandez came into came as the favorite to be the starter at left guard and he’s earned that role since the first practice. His first preseason game was a little up and down, but Hernandez has been among the most consistent Giants through three games. There’s some cause for concern across parts of the offensive line, but left guard is not one of them.
B.J. Hill, DL
20 defensive snaps (33 percent)
Hill again played with the first-team defense and we got a glimpse of what a defensive line rotation might look like during the regular season. Hill will play on the end in a three-man line, can kick inside when a fourth lineman is added, and he’ll also be subbed out for the likes of Kerry Wynn or when the Giants go with Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson in the middle.
It’s not always easy for an interior defensive lineman to make an impact on a play-to-play basis, but Hill has been able to make flash plays whenever he’s been on the field. His biggest play against the Jets was a deflected pass on a third-and-9 that was inches away from a Kerry Wynn interception.
Preseason stock: Up
While Hernandez was given the starter treatment from Day 1, Hill impressed his way through practices to grab that spot. He was treated as a star starter early in the preseason with the Giants cautiously monitoring his playing time. There’s no doubt Hill will be a big part of the Giants’ plan along the defensive line when the season starts.
Lorenzo Carter, LB
27 defensive snaps (45 percent)
During the regular season, the Giants want to use more rotation on defense instead of leaving the pass rushers out on the field for 90 percent of the teams Snaps. If the Giants wanted to work through that rotation, they could have done that against the Jets but they mostly kept the first and second teams separate.
Carter still struggles to get off blocks one-on-one, something that should develop with more time. There can also be a disconnect between his athleticism and his instincts. On this play in the third quarter, Carter was unblocked on the backside and cautiously made his way over to the play. It didn’t matter much because Michael Thomas was there to drop the back for a loss, but there’s a line between holding down the backside and going for the killshot. Someone with Carter’s athleticism should have the ability to be more aggressive in this situation.
His best play of the night came early in the fourth quarter when he looped around from the right side of the defense to help get an assist on a Josh Mauro-led sack of Teddy Bridgewater.
Preseason stock: Solid
Carter wasn’t expected to come in and blow everyone away. His need for some development between his college role and the pro game was known. He’s taken steps and there’s still some things he needs to work on before he pushes into the starting conversation. It will help when the regular season starts and the linebackers get rotated more frequently. For now, he’s about what was expected, which is a fine depth piece on a defense that needs it.
Kyle Lauletta, QB
10 offensive snaps (15 percent)
Kyle Lauletta has an elite handoff to the running back. If you wanted to get anything more out of his work against the Jets, I’m not sure what to tell you. Lauletta came in the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and threw two passes in that time. One was completed for a yard.
Preseason stock: Has to be down, right?
After the first preseason game, there was talk the backup quarterback role was wide open and Lauletta had the opportunity to sneak past Davis Webb on the depth chart. Since then, Lauletta has thrown seven passes over the past two preseason games. Maybe the coaches really want to make sure Webb is ready in case something happens to Eli and he needs to take all those reps, but it makes little sense to not allow Lauletta to throw a few more passes than he’s gotten over the past two weeks.
Grant Haley, CB
7 defensive snaps (12 percent)
The return of Donte Deayon to the lineup came at the expense of Haley’s playing time. Last week against Detroit, no defensive player was on the field longer than Haley. This week only two defenders played less.
Haley’s lone play was a “tackle” when he came off his receiver downfield and forced Andre Roberts out of bounds after a 24-yard pass after a blown coverage from Chris Lewis-Harris.
Preseason stock: Confusing
In a game where the starters got the most snaps, Haley’s playing time greatly diminished. Maybe that’s more because the coaches wanted to get Deayon all the snaps he’s missed — Deayon played 28 snaps — but if the coaches still wanted Haley out on the field, he could have taken playing time away from any of the other cornerbacks who played over him Friday night.