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Fact or Fiction: Stacking up best players in NFC East

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Deonte Banks vs. Malik Nabers will be the top one-on-one matchup to watch in practice.

John Schmeelk: Fact – I could not be more excited about watching these two players go against each other throughout spring practice. It will be a bummer that they can’t be physical with each other in the spring due to OTA contact rules because both players are big and physical and will no doubt get after it. Even with those rules, we can see how Banks and Nabers match up against each other athletically. Both are elite athletes, and I will be anxious to see which player outruns the other. They are also extreme competitors and will want to show they are the better player. I can’t wait to see them compete.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Let’s stick with the same positions but go with Wan’Dale Robinson vs. Dru Phillips, the Giants’ third-round draft choice. They already have history from their days at Kentucky, and what they lack in size, they make up for in competitiveness.

“We’ve been talking crap for so long, he even just called me,” Phillips joked right after he was drafted. “I can’t wait to go against a great player like him. He’s established himself in a way up there in New York. … We played one year at Kentucky. I was younger, though. He may have had the best of me back then, but I think it’s different for me now.”

General manager Joe Schoen has even been looking forward to it.

“[I] told Wan’Dale, he’s got to be ready for practice because Dru said he was going to be locking him up,” Schoen said. “That will be good competition there.”

Matt Citak: Fact – The practice battles between the Giants’ top wide receiver and top cornerback should be wildly entertaining. Banks showed throughout his rookie season that he’s not afraid to be left on an island against an opposing team’s wide receiver. Both young players also exude plenty of confidence, so the matchups should certainly be eye-opening.

Banks will lead the Giants in passes defensed and interceptions this season.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – I think Banks will give up the fewest receptions of any Giants cornerback this year, but that’s not the question. I just don’t think Banks will get the number of targets necessary for him to lead the Giants in these two categories.

Dan Salomone: Fact – It’s amazing the Giants were tied for the league lead in turnover differential, but their interception leader had only three (Xavier McKinney). That’s because five different players had two apiece, including Banks as a rookie. The 24th overall pick also tied McKinney for the team lead with 11 passes defensed. He’s just scratching the surface as he looks to take the next step in his new No. 3 jersey.

Matt Citak: Fiction – As a rookie, Banks tied with Xavier McKinney for the team lead in passes defensed with 11, despite playing two fewer games. Now heading into Year 2, the 23-year-old cornerback should once again lead the team in pass breakups. However, I believe rookie safety Tyler Nubin is going to make an immediate impact on the defense and will end up leading the unit in interceptions this season. After finishing his collegiate career with a Minnesota-record 13 career interceptions, Nubin is going to pick up right where he left off as a rookie.

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