NFL

Daniel Jones’ participation status leads top Giants minicamp questions

The end of the offseason work in the spring for the Giants arrives this week, with a two-day mandatory minicamp set for Tuesday and Wednesday, followed Thursday by meetings and a team barbecue. This is the culmination of a voluntary program that began April 15.

Here are five observations from the organized team activity practices that we will be paying close attention to in the two-day minicamp:

Is DJ a team guy?

So far, so good for Daniel Jones.

He has participated in individual and seven-on-seven drills but was taken off the field for the 11-on-11 drills. It is not known whether Jones will be let loose for the full-team periods in this camp.

Here’s a question: Does it really matter?

A quarterback in 11-on-11 drills is hardly under duress but there are offensive and defensive linemen in close proximity and thus there is increased risk for something going awry.

Daniel Jones runs a drill with running back Devin Singletary (26) during camp at the Quest Diagnostics Center Thursday, June 6, 2024. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Jones is moving well coming off ACL surgery and his arm looks strong. After this camp, the Giants are off for close to six weeks before reporting to training camp and there will be ample opportunity for Jones to be pushed along this summer.

Backfield in motion

There is Devin Singletary and then there is, um, well, um … who?

Singletary was signed as the immediate response after Saquon Barkley’s defection to the Eagles. In five years in the NFL, Singletary has averaged 177.6 rushing attempts per season and topped 200 rushing attempts only once, in 2023 in his first year with the Texans after four with the Bills.

Barkley averaged 255 rushing attempts in four of his six years with the Giants.

Who is going to pick up the slack?

The prime candidates are second-year Eric Gray and rookie fifth-round pick Tyrone Tracy Jr. Gray endured a rough NFL indoctrination. He looks stronger and more self-assured.

Tracy is an unusual rookie in that he is 24 and was a wide receiver at Iowa before transferring to Purdue and switching to running back. Coach Brian Daboll gave him some unsolicited praise the other day: “Tracy has been a good — I wouldn’t say surprise later-round draft pick, but he’s done a good job in this camp of picking up the information pretty quickly.’’

Backed into a corner

Here is a spot where it is easier to imagine things going wrong than going right, just because there are so many unproven contestants.

Deonte Banks is the No. 1 cornerback after a developmental rookie year and his second spring has been solid. The biggest leap of faith on the roster is vaulting Cor’Dale Flott into a starting role opposite Banks on the perimeter. Flott has put in good days and not-so-good days as this process evolves.

“This year you hope he takes a really big jump for us and he’s doing everything to take that jump,’’ defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson said.

Giants cornerback Cor’Dale Flott speaks to the media after practice at the Quest Diagnostics Center, Thursday, May 23, 2024. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Others to watch are rookie third-round pick Dru Phillips as the slot corner and how much Nick McCloud, Darnay Holmes and Tre Hawkins push for playing time.

Safety first

Barkley leaving in free agency attracted the headlines but Xavier McKinney signing with the Packers created a significant hole in the back end of the defense.

McKinney in 2023 played every defensive snap — all 1,128 of ’em — and those snaps need to be replaced. Tyler Nubin was taken out of Minnesota in the second round of the NFL draft but thus far he is lining up mostly with the second team, with Dane Belton with the starters alongside Jason Pinnock.

Brian Dabol talks to players Tyler Nubin (31) , Dru Phillips (22) during Rookie Minicamp, Saturday, May 11, 2024. Noah K. Murray-NY Post

Belton is a ball hawk but it seems like only a matter of time before Nubin supplants him. The coaching staff cannot stop raving about his leadership traits.

Daboll noticed Nubin often mimics Pinnock on the side before there is a drill to join in on. “He asks a lot of questions,’’ Daboll said. “Very attentive. I’m glad we have him.’’

Settling the line

It looks as if the Giants want the starting guards to be two free-agent additions — Jon Runyan Jr. on the right side and Jermaine Eluemunor on the left side. Runyan has said he prefers the left side — that’s where he lined up in 2023 for the Packers — but he has extensive experience on both sides.

“Been taking reps [on the right side] pretty much this whole time, and day by day just gets more comfortable in the sets and the footwork and everything has been flowing,’’ Runyan said.

The coaching staff seems as if it wants Runyan on the right side so he can be a steady presence for Evan Neal, heading into year No. 3 at right tackle. Neal, an underperformer thus far, is the key to the entire offensive line. The No. 7 overall pick in 2022 did not do much this spring coming off ankle surgery.