Ereck Flowers a cautious thumbs-up so far

A quick observation of New York Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers and how he has played through three weeks of training camp:

The Giants drafted Flowers No. 9 overall thinking they could use him at right tackle right away and develop him as their left tackle of the future. But when left tackle Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle lifting weights in May, the Giants shifted Flowers to the left side and accelerated his development. He's played on the left throughout OTAs, minicamp, training camp and the first two preseason games, and so far the reviews are good.

As expected, Flowers looks like a giant mauler who can eat up defenders in the run game. The Giants believed he would show that right away, and he has. The questions are about footwork and technique in pass protection, especially now that he's charged with protecting Eli Manning's blind side.

So far on that front, some good and some bad news. Flowers held up all right against the Bengals' impressive defensive front in the first preseason game. Jacksonville didn't test him much Saturday in the second, as most of his one-on-one matchups seemed to be against linebackers and not defensive ends. He looked very good on a couple of plays and was beaten on a couple of others -- basically what you'd expect from a talented rookie learning the league.

What teammates and coaches seem to like best about Flowers is that he's serious about his business and his education. Tom Coughlin said Sunday that he liked the way Flowers went after a loose ball behind the line of scrimmage even though it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble, because it shows he's been listening as the coaching staff has preached pursuit of every loose ball. Teammate Andre Williams said Flowers is "not easily frustrated," which is a fine quality for a rookie who's likely to have some struggles mixed in among the successes.

Overall so far, Flowers has given the Giants reason to believe they could be all right with him as their left tackle to start this season, which is actually more than they expected when they drafted him.

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