Home News Malik Nabers’ explosive OTA practice reinforces why Giants drafted LSU star in...

Malik Nabers’ explosive OTA practice reinforces why Giants drafted LSU star in the first place

Giants first-round pick Malik Nabers had an absolutely electric practice on Thursday in East Rutherford, N.J., catching two deep touchdowns from Drew Lock, including a stunning, leaping grab on the left side of the end zone behind the safeties on a broken play.

The defense had no answers, and Nabers had his way, reinforcing why a No. 1 wide receiver can be true force multiplier for an NFL offense.

Everyone looks better when a highlight-reel player is outrunning defensive backs and stabbing his hands out to make the incredible look routine.

“It makes everything easy,” wideout Jalin Hyatt said about the No. 6 overall pick’s addition to the offense.

A Giants receiver hasn’t had a practice like this since Odell Beckham Jr. walked the facility’s halls in 2018.

It’s only an OTA in early June. Still, there is a reason the Minnesota Vikings made Justin Jefferson the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history this week at $35 million a year. It’s the same reason the Giants took Nabers in April:

Hitting on a star receiver can change an offense and a team.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said it Thursday about CeeDee Lamb as Dallas’ top receiver holds out for a new contract: Lamb opens up the field for everyone else. That’s his unique value.

“Boy, what opportunities it creates for others because of the standard that he’s established,” McCarthy said.

Nabers set the tone for his big day in early drills while running a route with no defender. Daniel Jones threw a pass far out in front of Nabers on an in-cut, and the rookie showed great reach and hands to haul it in.

Jones and Nabers also connected in the end zone on a red zone 7-on-7 period. Then when it ramped up to 11-on-11 with Lock as the quarterback, Nabers took it to another level.

He got free in between defenders on the interior from the right side for an explosive catch and run from Lock.

Then he roared down the left sideline on a go route for a touchdown grab from Lock over top of corner Cor’Dale Flott in coverage.

Then Nabers made his catch of the day.

Lock got flushed out of the pocket to the left by Kayvon Thibodeaux, rolled out to extend the play and launched the ball deep to the left side of the end zone.

Nabers charged over top of the Giants’ safeties across the field, leapt high into the air and made a stellar two-handed catch. There was some debate whether he had landed inbounds or out, but frankly it didn’t matter.

It was an eye-opening play.

“He’s going to be really good,” Lock said of Nabers recently.

The Giants’ defense, in fairness, was playing without minted pass rusher Brian Burns, who had dominated OTAs but wasn’t on the field Thursday.

Still, Nabers is giving the Giants something to build around and believe in. And it isn’t even August yet.


Giants right tackle Evan Neal, who is rehabbing a surgically-repaired left ankle, did way less on Thursday than he had done during the previous two open OTA practices.

He started on the bike off to the side, far away from the team, while the rest of the players were stretching and breaking down together before practice. And he really did nothing more other than observing the team periods up close.

In previous open practices, Joe Schoen’s former No. 7 overall pick had been doing early-period drills and individual field work, then sitting out team drills. So this change is noteworthy and something to monitor closely.

The expectation is that Neal will compete as the starting right tackle when healthy to open training camp. Josh Ezeudu continued working there in his absence.

“Evan, I don’t know what Evan is dealing with, but he hasn’t been in there any of the team periods,” right guard Jon Runyan Jr. said Thursday. “He’s been in there in walk-through. I think he’s been taking his time getting his body right, understanding our scheme.

“When we are in there in walk-throughs together, he’s been on top of his stuff,” Runyan Jr. added. “He’s been helping me out because this is still kind of a new scheme, something I’ve never done before. He’s helping me. He’s in my ear about it, too.”


Head coach Brian Daboll was asked about Eagles coach Nick Sirianni’s comment about how he responds to Giants fans.

“Yeah, I love Giants fans,” Daboll said.

What about Eagles fans?

“I love Giants fans,” he repeated.

Does Daboll think the Eagles got the Giants’ best player, as Sirianni said?

“Look, I’m focused on OTAs,” Daboll said. “I’m focused on our football team going out here and having a good practice.”


The Giants used their second-round pick on Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin, but so far he has worked with the second-team defense in open practices while Dane Belton has occupied the starting spot next to Jason Pinnock.

Daboll said Nubin is “really smart” and insisted the rookie has taken snaps with the ones, twos and threes as the coach mixes everyone in. But when asked if he has starting expectations for such a high draft pick, the coach put the onus on the player to earn it. So maybe he simply hasn’t done that yet.

“I think we throw them out there, give them as many reps as we can, do as much individual technique work as we can, and it’s really up to the player in terms of how they progress, the production they have, the assignment execution we want them to have,” Daboll said. “And regardless where they’re drafted, whatever round, free agent, you try to play the best guys.”


Daboll continued calling plays, this time using the radio to speak into the quarterbacks’ helmets … Giants punt returner Gunner Olszewski is sidelined until at least the start of training camp, Daboll said. Olszewski didn’t practice Thursday and had his left foot in a boot to protect the injury he sustained while running a route one week ago … Burns, tight end Darren Waller, kicker Graham Gano were not spotted on the field with the team. Daboll still had no update on Waller’s status … A large group of players were on the side working with trainers and not practicing: Neal, inside linebackers Micah McFadden and Isaiah Simmons, defensive tackle Timmy Horne, corner Aaron Robinson, tackle Matt Nelson, safety Gervarrius Owens, outside linebacker Benton Whitley, tight end Tyree Jackson (left arm) and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Nelson did some limited work during installs with the backup offensive units … Carter Coughlin took first-team snaps at inside linebacker alongside Bobby Okereke in McFadden’s absence.


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