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Giants' Chad Wheeler should make his first start in Week 11

Chad Wheeler could be making his first NFL start for the New York Giants in Week 11.

Chad Wheeler could finally be making his long-awaited first career NFL start this Sunday for the New York Giants when they host the Kanas City Chiefs in Week 11.

With starting right tackle Justin Pugh already ruled out and with starting right guard D.J. Fluker dealing with a nagging knee injury, the Giants could be starting new players at both positions on Sunday. Wheeler is not sure where he might play, but he dropped a hint on Thursday to reporters that he's confident he will get his first opportunity this week.

“I can’t wait. It’s gonna be great,” Wheeler said to Giants reporters on Thursday.

The Giants would seem to be making a mistake by turning back to Bobby Hart at right tackle. Since entering the NFL as a seventh-round pick in 2015, Hart has consistently struggled despite calling himself the best right tackle in the NFL and despite the fact that he's had plenty of opportunities to play.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan told reporters he can't discuss whether or not Wheeler would be starting on Sunday, but he did praise the undrafted rookie free agent's progress so far from training camp until now.

“He’s been a guy since he’s been here – very athletic, has the feet that you like that you’ve seen all through training camp," Sullivan told reporters on Thursday. "We saw that in some of his preseason games and there’s a, believe it or not, unlike most of the typical southern Californians, too cool, surfer-type, he’s got a mean streak to him and you see that at times. He’s progressing nicely. He’s really had work at various positions to try to mix all those guys up around the offensive line both – not just on one side or the other, but even working some at guard. So, he’s been progressing nicely.”

Unlike Hart, Wheeler oozes with the

potential to be a long-term solution for the Giants on the offensive line. Off-field concerns dropped Wheeler in the draft, but after working this past offseason with Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater, he earned an incredible scouting report.

"When I go to Art Shell, 'Big' Bob Brown, or Ron Mix or Jonathan Ogden, all of these guys are very conscientious, they don't want to let anybody down, and they want to be successful," Slater said earlier this season, via The NY Daily News. "And when I saw Chad, it was the same thing I saw when I visited those men in Canton. I'm not putting him in the same echelon with those guys. He's got a long way to go. But you've got to have a strong drive to be successful and be dominant to even attempt to do these things. And Chad has that."

Slater was most impressed with Wheeler's passion and motivation for playing football -- he came away truly believing that this game wasn't about the money for Chad.

"It ain't all about the money with this kid," Slater said. "Everybody's looking for that pay day, but I sense he wants to know how to be a problem solver. He wants to be able to think his way around the football field. When I got that sense, I became more willing and fired up about working with him and pouring that into him, because I was like that."

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The sky is the limit for Wheeler according to Slater due to his desire to learn.

"Chad has an unbelievable amount of potential primarily because he has an unemptying desire to grow and to learn his craft," Slater said. "Playing offensive line is the most technical position in my opinion. At many positions in football, great athletic ability guarantees success. But relying on that exclusively as an offensive lineman will get you fired quicker than anything else. You have to rely on your technique and then use your athleticism to bail you out of bad situations.

"I pretty much had to solve every problem as an offensive tackle in my career and saw everything you could see," Slater said. "And as I began to share these things with Chad, he took notes, wrote it down, presented it to me, spit it back at me verbally, and I knew he was a conscientious guy who wanted to rep his family, university and team very well. He doesn't want to be an average guy."

Sullivan has also mentioned that Wheeler has been practicing at multiple positions, but no matter what position the Giants play him at this Sunday, and no matter what teammates Wheeler lines up next to, he's ready for the challenge.

“I feel good. I feel confident. Learned the playbook well, transitioned to different positions well,” Wheeler said. “I feel good about it.”

Giants fans are ready to see new blood on the offensive line.