The two biggest winners from the Giants’ rookie minicamp weren’t rookies at all. Kelvin Benjamin and Corey Clement, a 30-year-old former first-round pick and a Super Bowl champion respectively, were signed by the team after participating in the event as veteran tryouts.
Benjamin has not played in the NFL since 2018, and his comeback attempt with the Giants will be at a new position. After playing wide receiver throughout his career, he is attempting to transition to tight end. His skillset as a receiver combined with his 6-5, 245-pound frame give him intriguing potential at the position
"He's a big guy," head coach Joe Judge said of Benjamin on Friday. "He's always been a big receiver . . . I wouldn't really pin him down to any one position at this point."
Benjamin was a first-round pick of the Panthers – and general manager Dave Gettleman – in 2014. He’s caught 20 touchdowns in 61 career games for Carolina, Buffalo and Kansas City.
Despite the new contract, Benjamin faces a long road before he actually returns to an NFL field in the regular season. Besides learning a new position, he’ll be competing for a roster spot with Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith and others.
Clement would seem to have a more direct path to actually playing for the Giants in 2021. He gives the Giants added depth at running back, a position they still hope will be manned mostly by a fully healthy Saquon Barkley in the fall. But with Barkley coming off ACL surgery, the Giants have focused on his potential backups so far this offseason. They signed free agent Devontae Booker earlier this spring, drafted Gary Brightwell and now add Clement.
The 26-year-old running back looked sharp in the two workouts of the rookie minicamp. He played 46 regular-season games for the Eagles, with 163 carries for 655 yards and seven touchdowns — including three against the Giants. Clement, though, is best known for his performance in Super Bowl LII, when he caught four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown and took the shotgun snap on the Philly Special . . . all with Judge watching from the sideline as the special teams coordinator for the Patriots.
To make room for the two veterans, the Giants waived RB Jordan Chunn and TE Nate Wieting, both of whom also participated in the minicamp.