Douglas, Hill, Thomas and big news at Giants training camp

David Douglas making noise at wide receiver position

With Hakeem Nicks and Victory Cruz being the only two significant contributors returning from last season, the wide receiver position is considered pretty wide open. Rueben Randle was just drafted in the second round out of LSU, so you have to figure he makes the team, but after that there are a lot of question marks.

Jerrel Jernigan was a third round pick out of Troy in 2011, but despite a career year from Eli Manning and an early season injury to Domenik Hixon, he failed to record even a single catch last season. He also struggled when asked to return punts, so it’s hard to see where Jernigan fits in right now if he doesn’t improve as a receiver.

Meanwhile, Hixon somehow still has a shot to make the team despite ACL tears in back-to-back seasons. It’s very admirable the way Hixon continues to come back and fight for a roster spot, but you have to wonder if at some point he gets beaten out by a younger, healthier option.

One of those options might be undrafted rookie David Douglas, who has raised some eyebrows in camp so far.

This might have been the crown jewel, but the undrafted free agent wide receiver from Arizona has been making plays ever since the Giants invited him to rookie camp. He has made enough in fact that on Wednesday Giants coach Tom Coughlin went out of his way to offer Douglas some unsolicited praise, saying “David Douglas has had a heck of a preseason.”

Douglas caught 66 passes for 666 yards at the University of Arizona last season. That doesn’t make him out to be much of a deep threat, but with Nicks and Cruz (and possibly Randle) the Giants aren’t really in need of another one. If Douglas can continue to outshine Jernigan, Hixon and the perpetually disappointing Ramses Barden, he might just have a shot of breaking camp with the Giants.

Will Hill’s great tale of redemption

Everyone loves a good comeback story, especially when the guy making the comeback is from New Jersey. In this case, safety Will Hill was considered the top high schools safety in the country coming out of high school. Natually, he signed on with the University of Florida and made the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2008. So what happened between 2008 and 2011, when Hill went unselected in the NFL Draft?

But his reputation made him toxic. He was suspended in 2010 for a violation of team rules. Then a college football blog ran a string of vulgar excerpts from his Twitter accounts referring to drug use and prostitutes – posts he claimed were the work of a hacker. Some wondered about his character since he had fathered four kids with three women. And there were rumors of marijuana use and other trouble that dogged him all the way to the scouting combine in 2011, where his interviews with teams turned many people off.

Well, as far as kids and women, he’s still way behind starting NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie, but that is a lot of drug use and prostitute talk. Regardless, Hill is an extremely athletic 22-year-old and the Giants are facing a lack of depth at safety behind incumbent starters Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle. Seems like a good fit. Plus, with fellow safety Tyler Sash facing a four-game suspension, Hill isn’t even the most badass guy at his position.

Terrell Thomas injured his knee again

Well, this is kind of depressing. Terrell Thomas, arguably the best Giants cornerback during the 2010 season, tore his ACL during the preseason last year and missed the entire season. Before that, he had fully recovered from a tear suffered in 2005 while playing at USC. Now, there’s a third knee injury, but we don’t know exactly how severe it is.

Someone informed of the details of the diagnosis said it’s believed to be a partial tear of the ligament. The person, who requested anonymity because the Giants merely called it an “injury,” said it’s likely not a full tear because the MRI showed it’s “still there.” Still, for a player who must stop and cut often, even a partial tear is not good news.

That really bites. Thomas just signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the Giants in March, but the only guaranteed part was the $1 million signing bonus. Basically, the Giants built the contract to protect themselves against Thomas re-injuring himself, which is exactly what happened. Thomas has been a great player for Big Blue when he’s on the field, so here’s hoping he can find away back to the gridiron this season.

For more Giants and football fun, follow me @apy5000.

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