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Larry Donnell emerging as Giants' top tight end

Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) runs a

Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) runs a route against Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Terence Garvin (57) in the second quarter of a preseason NFL game, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

Larry Donnell appears to be pulling away in the race to be the Giants' starting tight end. The second-year player from Grambling was the first player named by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo on Tuesday when asked about the blurry position.

"I think Larry has had a nice camp so far," McAdoo said. "I think Daniel [Fells] had a good camp until he got nicked up. The other guys are making progress."

Fells returned to practice Tuesday after missing about a week with a bruised knee suffered in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3.

Donnell has been with the starters in almost every instance throughout camp and the preseason, and while he hasn't exactly played like a superstar, he's been the most impressive of an underwhelming lot.

"I think Larry is a conscientious guy," McAdoo said. "He is a big body. He's capable of blocking sometimes better than he does on tape. He can go down the middle of the field and make a play on the ball. That needs to show up all the time. It is important to take care of your teammates on the field and that seems like it is pretty important to him."

Donnell had a chance to make a catch on a pass down the middle on Saturday against the Steelers. It was incomplete.

Unmentioned by McAdoo was third-year player Adrien Robinson. The Giants also have veteran Kellen Davis at the position and rookie Xavier Grimble, who makes Tom Coughlin grumble because he's missed about two weeks with a hamstring injury.

"The tight end group is similar to the rest of the offense at this point," McAdoo said. "We will take a couple of steps forward, a step back. Every day is a new day. They just need to keep pushing forward."

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