Following the departures of some key defensive players, Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree is expected to be a presence both on and off the field this season. It's one thing to go out and play well, but being a leader in the locker room requires the ability to mentor the younger players on the roster.
There's no shortage of those in Giants camp this season. After taking Daniel Jones sixth overall, Big Blue spent the next five picks on players on the defensive side of the ball, including DT Dexter Lawrence.
Ogletree's had a keen eye on the rookies, and likes what he's seen through the first two games of the preseason.
"They're all kind of right around the same area," Ogletree said when asked who he's been impressed by the most. "Some guys get more reps and then others like Dexter have been running with the 1's and stuff. So you can see how he would grow and improve."
Another player the Giants hope will strengthen their defensive line is third-round pick Oshane Ximines. The Old Dominion product picked up a sack in the team's preseason win over the Bears on Friday. He also debuted his sack celebration, holding his hands over his head in the shape of an X.
"The X-Man has made great strides for this defense," Ogletree said. "There is a reason why we drafted him, he is able to get to the quarterback, like you said. When he got to the quarterback he threw up his X. and hopefully we will see a lot of that this year."
Meanwhile, if there's anyone who might have a little bit more of Ogletree's attention, it's the player wearing his former number. At the beginning of camp, Ogletree made the decision to switch from No. 52 to No. 47, meaning undrafted rookie Jake Carlock, a Babylon, N.Y., native who attended both Stony Brook and LIU Post, was suddenly without a jersey number. He took over the No. 52 jersey from Ogletree, and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Giants' first preseason game against the Jets.
"It's part the number, but also you have to have some skill," Ogletree joked. "He was able to tip the ball up to himself and he was able to just take it to the house. He had a lot of swag there when he did it."
"I'm extremely happy for him, glad he represented the number really well."