10 Players Who May Find Themselves on the Giants' Practice Squad in 2013
In theory, sequestering rookies and unproven pros to a reserve roster is easy. The NFL practice squad, however, is quite tricky to work through.
Only eight players at a time can be kept through the year, and strict requirements force all practice squaders to first clear waivers. Players must also meet one of three rules of eligibility: they have no accrued seasons in the NFL (minimum of six games on an active roster); they have only one accrued season in which they were on the active roster for less than eight games; or they've been on a practice squad for two consecutive years, with the pro roster above them carrying at least 53 players.
Picking and choosing is not that simple.
For the Giants' overstuffed roster, deriving a practice squad will be difficult to say the least. Plenty of rookies and young talents blocked on the depth chart would be natural fits, but after all, it's only July.
Let's take a crack at 10 possible practice squad members and weigh their chances of making the final active roster or getting cut altogether.
QB Ryan Nassib
By now you know the story. Nassib shows plenty of upside, but the Giants have depth concerns all over the field and may not waste a roster spot on a third quarterback. Jerry Reese has said anything's possible.
The case for the active roster: If Nassib has a strong summer and proves that he's a more valuable backup than David Carr, he'll nuzzle his way onto the team. Heck, Nassib could fall short of Carr but still wow in training camp and preseason. Though Reese hopes he "never plays," Nassib landing on the active roster isn't a crazy idea.
The case for the practice squad: Carr has more experience, and despite a busy workload this summer, the Giants have stuck to two QBs in recent years. Nassib has the eligibility and all the time in the world to sit on the practice squad for a year.
RB Michael Cox
Fans and staffers alike are looking favorably at Cox, a seventh-rounder from April's Draft. He's a hard runner who didn't do anything in college until his senior season, when he transferred from Michigan to UMass.
The case for the active roster: Cox sounds like he has plenty of potential, and aside from David Wilson and Andre Brown, the G-Men don't have any proven candidates in the backfield. Ryan Torain and Da'Rel Scott both stand in the way, but if Cox can edge them out this summer, he'll survive the final cut.
The case for the practice squad: Cox is a perennial underachiever, but leaving him off the roster means cutting him altogether. If the Giants aren't comfortable with him or Torain leaving for any reason (truthfully, I can't imagine why), Cox's practice squad eligibility will be used.
WR Kevin Hardy
Hardy was inked to a futures contract in January after playing four seasons at Citadel, the last of which coming in 2011. He doesn't appear to be anything special, but neither do any of the summer bodies in the receiving unit.
The case for the active roster: There isn't one. Hardy's more than likely going to be cut, but we'll have to see what happens this summer.
The case for the practice squad: Hardy could sneak on, as New York will need a wideout to simulate drills and play sets effectively. Looking at the other low-tier WRs, Jeremy Horne is ineligible after spending nine games on the Chiefs' roster in 2011. Brandon Collins was just suspended, and Keith Carlos was brought in solely to replace Hakeem Nicks in OTAs. It's likely to come down to Hardy or Kris Adams.
TE Chase Clement
Clement played his only season of tight end as a senior with LSU. He was used primarily in a blocking role, but the Giants seem to like him. He's garnered comparisons to Jake Ballard and can flex to the fullback spot, something Big Blue could use if Henry Hynoski isn't ready by Opening Day and free agent Vonta Leach goes elsewhere.
The case for the active roster: Nada. It's cut or bust.
The case for the practice squad: The Giants have kept tight ends around in their most recent practice squads, and Clement's flexibility could earn him a spot. It's unlikely he'll be claimed off waivers, and someone of Clement's frame would be used in plenty of different game plan sets.
OG Eric Herman
Herman, a seventh-rounder from Ohio, has been called a "big, tough, nasty guard" by Jerry Reese. The Giants could always use another one of those.
The case for the active roster: Surprisingly, there is one. Herman teeters around that ninth lineman spot on the 53-man final cut, and if the G-Men like what they see this summer, there's no reason not to add some young depth on the line. Herman managed 36 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine, and there's really not that much to like at guard behind the starters.
The case for the practice squad: It's his "best bet." Herman will have plenty of time to prove himself as Chris Snee gets older, but for now, why waste eligibility?
DE Matt Broha
Broha was one of three reserve ends to come on strong last preseason, along with Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo. While the latter two made the final roster, Broha was left on the outside looking in, relegated to the practice squad. He looks quick off the line and could impress again this summer.
The case for the active roster: It's a shame, but there really isn't room for him here. The Giants are sure to take four defensive tackles in Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and Johnathan Hankins, while five ends are in the mix with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Damontre Moore. Add Tracy or Ojomo as the ninth and there's simply no way Broha gets on.
The case for the practice squad: Broha has a second year of eligibility, and will probably get to use it. Don't be surprised if a team in a pinch for sacks comes and poaches the promising end.
LB Jake Muasau
Muasau has an inspiring backstory and made a strong push for the final roster before falling to the practice squad last season. With the Giants' dearth of linebackers, you really never know what could happen.
The case for the active roster: In case you missed it somehow, the Giants are a little skimpy at linebacker. It's scary. Muasau could have another strong summer and muscle his way on.
The case for the practice squad: He still has a second year of eligibility, and after getting resigned this winter, the Giants will want to keep him around in any possible fashion.
CB Terrence Frederick
Frederick was drafted by the Steelers last year but was cut at the end of the preseason. New York brought him on and gave him reps in the final two games of 2012.
The case for the active roster: Bringing Frederick on and putting him in games right away says something. Frederick is still eligible for the practice squad, but the Giants don't have many options at corner. He'll have to beat out undrafted free agent Charles James and 2012 practice squad member Laron Scott.
The case for the practice squad: It depends on how everything shapes up this summer. A lot is still unsettled at cornerback.
S Cooper Taylor
Cooper Taylor was drafted in the fifth round of April's Draft and has already overcome some pretty austere obstacles. The Giants seem to like him a lot, and his 4.4 40 time is impressive.
The case for the active roster: Taylor's been great by all accounts thus far, and the Giants like to deploy three safeties at times. Keeping him on the final roster is a fair bet.
The case for the practice squad: Much of that is contingent on how Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash shape up. If Taylor slips, he's still eligible for a year on the practice squad.
S Alonzo Tweedy
The undrafted free agent Tweedy has already picked up some buzz as a special teams player.
The case for the active roster: Some think he has a legitimate shot. The Giants can always use help on special teams, and if Tweedy is as athletic as advertised, anything's possible.
The case for the practice squad: It's unlikely that Tweedy will be cut, and his special teams prowess and defensive flexibility make for good use on the practice squad. Though he can play at a few different spots, the Giants are crowded at safety if Cooper Taylor makes the cut.