It didn’t take Saquon Barkley long to establish himself in his first practice with the whole team on the field. On his first 11-on-11 snap in Monday’s OTA, he came out of the backfield and caught a touchdown pass from Eli Manning.
That he barely even noticed shows that he has every intention of following it up with many more. And eventually ones that count, too.
“I didn’t even realize I scored,” he said of catching the pass over the middle sandwiched between a pair of defenders. “It’s kind of cool now that I think about it. I ran the play and got open, Eli found me, and we were able to score and get practice started off really early.”
Barkley was with the veterans on the team a little bit last week when the Giants finished up Phase II of their offseason program. Monday, they got their first real sense of what he’ll bring to the team.
“We took Saquon where we picked him for a reason,” Giants guard Patrick Omameh said of the No. 2 overall pick in last month’s draft. “He’s a guy who can play ball . . . We have all the faith in the world in him. We’re very confident he can get the job done and our team is going to be better for it.”
Omameh has some experience dealing with highly drafted rookie running backs and their impact on teams. He was in Jacksonville last year when Leonard Fournette was a big reason the Jaguars went from misery to a playoff team. Can Barkley have the same kind of impact on the Giants?
“Absolutely,” Omameh said. “When it comes to offensive football there are a lot of parts that have to work together to have the success that you want, but Saquon is everything that you want in a back.”
As for Barkley’s first practice touchdown, he’s going to watch it again and again. Not to celebrate it, but to learn from it.
“Obviously it was a good play,” he said, “but we’ll go back and look at how we can make it an even better play and improve.”
Solder impressed by Flowers
When Nate Solder and Ereck Flowers stayed on the field after Monday’s practice to work together on their techniques, it was noticeable for a number of reasons. The first was that Flowers was even with the team; he reported to the voluntary workouts last week after staying away the first six weeks. The second was that it was the first visual manifestation of the type of leadership the Giants are hoping they’ve acquired with the signing of Solder.
Solder, though, was quick to downplay that last dynamic.
“Ereck was helping me out,” the veteran left tackle told NFL Network. “I just asked him if he could hold the bag for me while I did a couple of drills and he wanted to do them, too.”
After playing left tackle for the first three years of his career, Flowers is moving to the right side. The reason for the shift is Solder. That could have made for an awkward situation between the two players, but Solder said that’s not been the case.
“I have to praise him because I don’t know how I would handle the situation that he was put in,” Solder said. “Being here, working hard, learning the plays, being around the guys, it shows a lot about his character and his humility and his willingness to do whatever it takes.”
Second-round pick Will Hernandez, who has been described as “nasty” and “cranky,” got into a quick grabbing match with LB B.J. Goodson after a play. The players were quickly separated, but the Giants are unlikely to want Hernandez’s fire completely extinguished . . . Goodson and rookie S Sean Chandler each had interceptions. “He’s like everybody else, he’s trying to do everything right and do what he can to make our team better,” Pat Shurmur said of the undrafted Chandler. “He impressed us some today” . . . The Giants are thin at defensive tackle this spring. Damon Harrison was not at the voluntary workout (Shurmur said he knows why), Dalvin Tomlinson was on the field but not participating in team drills, and rookie R.J. McIntosh remains sidelined by what the Giants are calling a “minor medical condition” . . . Shurmur joked that his errant toss at Citi Field before Sunday’s Mets game was a result of his “wasting a pitch.” The ceremonial pitch bounced and was wide of home plate. “Fortunately,” he said, “I have another job.”