EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants second-year cornerback Sam Beal has yet to take an NFL snap, the unfortunate result of him needing shoulder surgery just as his pro career was about to take off.
But that hasn’t stopped the Giants third-round pick in last year’s supplemental draft from doing all that he could while rehabbing from his surgery so that come this off-season, it would be as though he was never away.
“It did, learning from the older guys and having veteran coaches to teach me,” he said of the countless hours he spent behind the schemes last year trying to learn the defense through team meetings and film sessions so that when his time would come, he’d be ready.
“It made me smart so when I got out there today it connected, and everything went down.”
In the team’s first OTA, Beal showed that he’s healthy and able to play with little to no hesitation. Working opposite of Janoris Jenkins with the first-team defense, Beal managed to tip a pass to safety Jabrill Peppers, who came down with the interception.
“I just saw the quarterback staring him down--I have some good eyes,” Beal said. “I could see how he was looking. Just played my part. Right place right time.”
"First day out there, he looked good," head coach Pat Shurmur said. "They all have to get their legs back a little bit. You saw him stumbling just a little bit. His movement skills are good; it looked like he competed. We will go back and watch the film and see how close he was in coverage, but he looked pretty good."
“Just compete,” Beal said when asked of his mindset when he learned that he would be working with the ones. “Today they told me I was going be with the ones, so I got excited. Go out there and show them what I can do.”
Now that he has provided the coaching staff with a glimpse, it’s up to Beal to make the coaching staff yearn for more.
“Oh yeah, no doubt,” he said when asked if he thought he could hold off rookie first-rounder DeAndre Baker from taking the starting job away. “Flying around – I love flying around and competing with those guys makes it fun.”
“So far, he’s picked up everything,” said fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins. “He came in doing what he’s has to do. I can tell he studied the playbook over the off-season. I’m just excited to work with him.”
Besides his work on the football field, Beal has developed into a mentor for the rookie defensive backs.
“When they came in, I had to explain something to them,” he said proudly. “Just because I haven’t played doesn’t mean I can’t coach them too. When they came around, I gave them some advice just like the older guys gave me. Coach let us know the same thing, help the younger guys even though I’m a young guy too. I’ve been here, so I have to help them.
He's also preparing himself for his first taste of contact, which won’t come until the summer when the pads go on.
“Hitting big bags, boxing, a lot of push-ups,” he said when asked how he’s preparing himself physically for that first hit. “Basically, landing making sure your arms hit the ground hard making sure you get that feeling. You don’t want it to be too different when you get out there, so I do a lot to get some of that back.”
That and putting the injury that shortened his rookie season early out of his mind.
“I feel good, I feel strong,” Beal said. “I’m ready.”