New York Giants: Analyzing the Lingering Preseason Position Battles

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 21, 2012

Jul 28, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley (36) and New York Giants wide receiver Julian Talley (3) participate in drills during training camp at University Field at SUNY Albany.  Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Giants are halfway through the preseason, but they also only have 15 days remaining before they kick off the 2012 regular season against the Cowboys. Here's an update on where everybody stands in the team's four major summer position battles.


Middle Linebacker

Mark Herzlich was supposed to push Chase Blackburn, and he appeared to be doing exactly that before suffering a hip injury against the Jets. That isn't expected to keep him out long, but it could be enough to cost him a chance to start early. Herzlich is also beginning to flirt with an injury-prone label.

An outside candidate that I think should garner some consideration is Keith Rivers, who was one of the best defensive players on the field Saturday but continues to line up as a backup at SAM. 

Prediction: Blackburn is performing well enough to hold on. Assuming he stays healthy, he'll start the majority of the season.


No. 2 Cornerback

This isn't a cut-and-dry competition because we're not sure what Terrell Thomas will be able to bring to the table, and when it'll come. For now, though, Thomas is out and Prince Amukamara is slated to start opposite Corey Webster. 

Beyond that, rookie Jayron Hosley has a chance to earn some serious reps and might even have an edge in the slot corner competition. The problem is that Hosley is now dealing with turf toe and missing practice time. Had he not gotten hurt, I thought he'd have a chance to move ahead of Amukamara. 

Justin Tryon and Michael Coe are also part of the conversation, but Coe's been hurt, too. Amukamara might win the starting job by default.

Prediction: Amukamara starts, but struggles a bit early and is eventually replaced by Thomas, Coe or Tryon. Hosley eventually wins the slot job. This isn't me giving up on Prince. I'm just anticipating some more growing pains.


No. 3 Wide Receiver

Domenik Hixon is still leading this competition on the depth chart, but that's a seniority thing. Hixon has been dealing with injuries and had only one four-yard catch in the preseason while rookie Rueben Randle already has two catches of 20-plus yards.

Jerrel Jernigan has also had a positive summer, but Ramses Barden has faded. As a result, it looks to be a three-way battle. It'll probably come down to Friday night's game against Chicago, but whoever gains the majority of reps as the third receiver early won't have a lot of security anyway.

Prediction: The physically superior Randle keeps improving and lands the job, while Hixon focuses on special teams and Jernigan claims the fourth spot.


Running Back

David Wilson got first-team reps in Tuesday's practice. The rookie first-round pick has been great all spring and summer and now he's getting a shot, with Ahmad Bradshaw less than 100 percent due to a hand injury. 

DJ Ware, Andre Brown and Da'Rel Scott are still in the equation, but all three struggled in the second preseason game against the Jets. 

This wasn't considered to be a competition early in camp, but Wilson's been superb thus far and there are concerns regarding Bradshaw's durability.

Prediction: Bradshaw and Wilson split carries until Bradshaw gets hurt.