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Bennett Jackson switched to safety for Giants rookie minicamp

Bennett Jackson is seen during Giants rookie minicamp

Bennett Jackson is seen during Giants rookie minicamp at the team's training facility in East Rutherford, N.J. on May 8, 2015. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Bennett Jackson didn't even play defense in high school.

He was a wide receiver, recruited by Notre Dame at the position and playing it for his first two seasons in South Bend. It was at that point coaches decided that he would be better off on the other side of the line of scrimmage and he was converted to cornerback.

It involved a whole new vocabulary, a whole new technique package, a whole new mindset.

So moving from corner to safety this offseason? That's hardly a switch at all.

"I'm happy with it," Jackson said. "Just have to get it all down and keep moving forward."

Landon Collins, the second-round pick, might be the most-watched safety at this weekend's rookie minicamp, but Jackson will be a close second. And he's not even a rookie.

After injuring his knee in training camp and undergoing surgery last summer, the sixth-round pick spent the season on practice squad injured reserve. That makes him eligible to participate in this event. And get the first real taste of his new spot.

The Giants made the Jackson Shuffle because of a lack of numbers at the position. They lost (or allowed to go) veterans Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps in free agency, leaving them at one point this offseason with just two safeties on the roster. Eventually they filled that a bit, drafting Collins and Mykkele Thompson, but they still have just one career start at the position on their entire team.

That's why Jackson wasn't surprised to walk into the first meeting last month and be pulled aside by safeties coach Dave Merritt.

"I didn't ask any questions," Jackson said. "I was all for it."

There are some differences. As a safety, he has to call defenses and make adjustments rather than just play his coverage. And there are different angles and sightlines to get used to. Nothing as dramatic as switching from receiver to cornerback.

And at safety, Jackson might have a better chance to get on the field.

"It's going to come down to the guys who understand the defense the most and who the team can count on to be back there," he said. "Really it's going to come down to who is going to make those plays. It's kind of scrambling. You just have to get out there and have your teammates around you be confident in you and just learn your defense."

Notes & quotes: The Giants had some familiar surnames in as tryouts for the rookie camp. Andrew Robustelli is a wide receiver from Jacksonville University and the grandson of Giants Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli. Taylor Graham is a quarterback from the University of Hawaii and the son of former Giant Kent Graham . . . WR Derrick Johnson (Holy Trinity HS) and TE Will Tye (Stony Brook University) are tryouts at the camp . . . Third-round pick Owa Odighizuwa signed his rookie contract on Friday.

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