Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff will have many tough decisions to make to finalize the 53-man roster.
The New York Giants coaching staff will have several tough decisions to make when finalizing the 53-man roster.
With quarterback Ryan Nassib on board, does it make sense to keep three signal-callers so that veteran David Carr can serve as Eli Manning’s backup? Will Big Blue decide David Buehler’s big leg is worth keeping on the roster to handle kickoffs?
Other questions will revolve around the defense. The Giants have a lot of depth on the defensive line and at safety so they will be forced to make some tough cuts to quality players. In addition, deciding if rookie Cooper Taylor will play both safety and linebacker and Mathias Kiwanuka’s role in the front seven could affect the decision to keep or cut other players.
Here is how the final 53-man roster should shake out at the end of training camp. Keep in mind that these projections are based on everyone on the roster who is currently healthy remaining so throughout the summer.
(2): Eli Manning and Ryan Nassib
Analysis: Though it is a bit of a risk, the Giants will only end up keeping two quarterbacks.
Rostering a third quarterback is foolish when your starter never gets hurt. This is especially true when Big Blue could use the spot to add depth at a position that needs it, like the offensive line or linebacker.
Nassib is the pick over Carr because the Giants are not going to cut a fourth-round pick that they traded up to get in the draft. They also can’t put him on the practice squad because he is then eligible to be signed by any team.
(4): David Wilson, Andre Brown, Ryan Torain and Michael Cox
Analysis: Wilson and Brown are both locks to make the team, so the real suspense revolves around the final two spots.
Torain gets the nod because he is a veteran presence that has had modest success in the league. If injuries hit the running backs unit, Torain could be depended on to carry the load for a few weeks.
Cox grabs the final spot because, despite limited experience in college, he does have a nice skill set. For a 214-pound back he is pretty quick. He also has good hands, which leads one to believe he’ll be a factor in the passing game.
Da’Rel Scott is the odd man out. The 2011 seventh-round pick simply hasn’t shown enough in his two years as a Giant.
(1): Henry Hynoski
Analysis: A few things have to happen for this selection to be accurate. For starters, Hynoski has to fully heal from the knee surgery he underwent after getting hurt on the first day of OTAs back in May. As of early July, he is on track to start Week 1 in Dallas against the Cowboys.
With a young fullback like Hynoski on the team, it doesn’t make much sense to sign Leach. If Hynocerous is not ready at the start of the regular season, the Giants always have the option of using Bear Pascoe as a stopgap for a week or two.
Analysis: The suspension of Brandon Collins removed all of the suspense out of who will make this unit.
If Collins had stayed clean, he could have pushed either Barden or Jernigan for a spot. The second-year player was impressive in both OTAs and minicamp. Now that he is out of the picture, there is really no one that can break into this group of six.
Nonetheless, this unit is a major strength for Big Blue. They have star players in Nicks and Cruz at the top, Randle as an emerging talent holding down the third wide receiver slot and Murphy as a very solid fourth receiver. Even Barden and Jernigan are capable of contributing for a game or two if necessary.
(3): Brandon Myers, Adrien Robinson and Bear Pascoe
Analysis: This position should be free of any suspense.
Myers is a lock to make the team and will likely be the Week 1 starter. Even though he barely played last season and didn’t catch a pass, the Giants are still very high on Robinson. He is coming off a solid spring and looks to be in position to get significant playing time in 2013.
Pascoe is a glue player willing to do anything to help the Giants. The fact that he is filling in for Hynoski at fullback is the latest example of his unselfishness.
(8): David Baas (C), Chris Snee(G), Kevin Boothe (G), Will Beatty (T), David Diehl (T), Justin Pugh (G), James Brewer (T) and Jim Cordle (C)
Analysis: These eight players are the best fit for the Giants offensive line from a talent and versatility standpoint.
The backups will be Pugh, Brewer and Cordle. Each player can handle multiple positions, which is obviously ideal if you want to be valued as a backup. Either Pugh or Brewer could find themselves starting as the season moves along, probably at right tackle for Diehl.
Also keep in mind that all of the Giants starters, except for Beatty, are over the age of 30. Diehl, Snee and Baas all had surgeries in the offseason. Injuries could play a factor in this unit. Expect Eric Herman and Brandon Mosley to make the practice squad to serve as insurance. It is even possible that Selvish Capers or Matt McCants could land there as well.
(5): Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn
Analysis: The Giants only had four defensive tackles on their 53-man roster last season but they should keep an extra one in 2013.
Joseph, Jenkins and Hankins are all locks to make the team. Austin and Kuhn get the nod over Shaun Rogers, Mike Patterson and Frank Okam for a few reasons. To start with, they both played quite a bit last season for Big Blue. Austin appeared in eight games and took 103 defensive snaps. Kuhn topped him by playing in 10 games, starting one and mustering 173 defensive snaps.
This is compared to Rogers, Patterson and Okam, who played a combined total of five games in 2012, all by Patterson with the Philadelphia Eagles.
There is also a question of age. Austin is only 24 and Kuhn just turned 27. By contrast, Rogers is 34, Patterson will be 30 on September 1 and Okam will be 28 in October.
To be fair, Kuhn is coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2012 season. Also, Austin missed all of 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle. They were still much healthier last season compared to the three players that are not making the roster.
Both Rogers and Okam didn’t play in 2012 due to injuries. The former had a blood clot in his leg and the latter struggled with a strained calf.
Patterson is less than two years removed from brain surgery that cost him the first 11 games of 2012.
It is important to have backups that are reliable because if they are playing significant time it is probably because a starter is hurt. Kuhn and Austin’s injury histories are spotty but they still hold up better, especially recently, than their competition. Also, age is a huge advantage in their favor and a significant reason to think they have a better chance of staying healthy compared to Rogers, Patterson and Okam.
(6): Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Damontre Moore, Adewale Ojomo and Adrian Tracy
Analysis: Unlike the defensive tackle position, there is not too much to think about here. Matt Broha and Justin Trattou are the odd men out, and they likely won’t threaten Ojomo and Tracy much in training camp.
Kiwanuka is listed with this group, but he also has the flexibility to swing over to linebacker if necessary. It’s a good problem for the Giants because they can keep a sixth defensive end without hurting the depth of their linebacking corps.
(6): Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, Dan Connor, Aaron Curry and Spencer Paysinger
Analysis: Big Blue kept eight linebackers last year but only need to keep six for 2013 because of the versatility of Kiwanuka and Taylor.
Curry is the only player that is vulnerable here, but luckily for him there isn’t anybody to seriously threaten his spot. He’ll end up in a backup role, however, as will Connor and Paysinger.
Despite the criticism this unit has taken all offseason, it has potential. If Herzlich continues to shine like he did in the spring and Williams and Rivers stay healthy, it is an athletic starting trio that should be able to cover some ground. They aren’t particularly physical, though, so they could be vulnerable to north/south rushing attacks.
(4): Prince Amukamara, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley
Analysis: The surprise here is that Terrell Thomas won’t make the team. Asking the 28-year-old to still be an NFL-caliber cornerback after three ACL tears is simply unrealistic.
Safety would be a better option for him since it requires fewer sharp cuts and change of direction. The problem is that the Giants have plenty of safeties and don’t need Thomas at that position.
With Thomas out and Charles James, the undrafted rookie free agent, not making the team either, New York will enter the regular season with only four cornerbacks. This isn’t as big of an issue as it seems because Big Blue prefers to use three safeties in most nickel packages.
(5): Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Ryan Mundy, Will Hill and Cooper Taylor
Analysis: Tyler Sash is a tough cut here, but he simply doesn’t have a place in this unit.
Rolle and Brown are virtual locks to start, let alone make the team. Mundy’s experience and durability (he hasn’t missed a game since the start of the 2009 season) are valuable assets to have in a backup.
Hill may have the most talent of anybody in this unit and could be a starter in 2014 with Rolle a likely cap-casualty and Brown an unrestricted free agent.
Taylor will make the team solely on his versatility. The fifth-round pick has the size and strength to play outside linebacker so he’ll be an interesting chess piece at Perry Fewell’s disposal.
Sash is a nice player but doesn’t bring any distinguishing qualities to the table like the five players ahead of him on the depth chart.
(3): Josh Brown, Steve Weatherford and Zak DeOssie
Analysis: Using a roster spot on David Buehler is simply a luxury that the Giants can't afford. Brown only had six touchbacks in 23 kickoffs last year so it is likely Buehler would be more effective in this area.
New York, however, needs depth at linebacker and offensive line due to health concerns in those units. They also like to bring in waves of defensive linemen so having reinforcements in this area is essential as well.
Weatherford and DeOssie have literally no competition in training camp so, barring an injury, they are locks to make the team.
Michael Cox, Markus Kuhn, Cooper Taylor, Jerrel Jernigan and Jim Cordle
Analysis: Cox could have easily been replaced by Scott, which is why he makes this section. The main reason he made the team was because he is a rookie and Scott has already had two seasons to prove himself.
The competition for defensive tackle was well documented, and Kuhn barely made it over the likes of Rogers and Patterson.
Taylor was a tough call because he was the fifth safety. Thomas could have taken his spot as a cornerback but Taylor’s versatility, in the end, was too hard to leave off the roster.
Jernigan easily made it among the wide receivers because he had little competition. He could have been left off the roster, however, in favor of an extra cornerback, linebacker or even for Carr.
Cordle has the least amount of starting potential among the offensive linemen, which is why he makes this section. Just like Jernigan, he could have been left off for more depth at several positions if the Giants were willing to risk only having seven offensive linemen.
Da’Rel Scott, Tyler Sash, Terrell Thomas, Shaun Rogers and David Buehler
Analysis: How close Thomas, Scott and Rogers were to making the roster was covered in the previous slide.
Sash’s only fault is that he plays the wrong position. The depth at safety is very good on this team and the third-year player was simply the odd man out.
Buehler has a great case to land on the 53-man roster mainly because Brown is not good on kickoffs. The depth needed on other units, however, made the 26-year-old a luxury Big Blue just couldn’t afford.
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