New York Giants: 5 Dark-Horse Candidates to Make Final 53-Man Roster
In just over one month's time, the New York Giants will open training camp in what should be a very intriguing summer for the team.
The Giants have a lot to look forward to, including new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo coming in to install his West Coast offense.
On top of that, the team went out and signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, two players who should drastically improve the New York secondary.
But they also have some key battles to watch in training camp.
Which players will fit into the rotation at running back? Will John Conner or Henry Hynoski be the team's fullback? And will anyone emerge to aid Jason Pierre-Paul in pressuring quarterbacks?
These are just some of the things to watch during training camp.
And while all of that is going on, there are plenty of players who will look at every practice and every preseason game as though it is their chance to make a push to be a member of the 2014 Giants.
All teams need depth, and all teams need a complete 53-man roster to have success in the NFL.
Here is a look at five players who could be on the bubble come late August, but have a very good chance of making the final roster.
Nat Berhe, Safety
At San Diego State, the team had an "Aztec" position, which is a safety-linebacker hybrid spot. Nat Berhe lined up in that spot.
Berhe made 299 tackles during his collegiate career, and at the very least, he should be able to lend something to the Giants' special teams.
However, the team could use a solid player at the safety position, especially if Stevie Brown isn't able to return to form following injury.
Berhe is a tough, hard-nosed player who could be a long-term fixture in the New York secondary. He may lack ideal size (5'10", 193 pounds), but he makes up for it with his instincts and a high football IQ.
It would be surprising to see Berhe left off of the final roster.
Kerry Wynn, Defensive End
The Giants have a way of developing strong pass-rushers. Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul are two of the more polished sack masters in the league.
But with Tuck gone, the team will be looking for a combination of players to match his output.
Damontre Moore and Mathias Kiwanuka will both see plenty of snaps, and the team went out and signed former first-round pick Robert Ayers through free agency.
Kerry Wynn would have to be considered a big long shot to make the squad, but it's not impossible.
Wynn is a strong defensive lineman who played both defensive end and defensive tackle during his college career at Richmond.
He is a very good tackler who also has the ability to apply pressure on the quarterback.
Wynn's biggest challenge will be doing it at the NFL level. At Richmond, he wasn't exposed to high-caliber competition. Still, he will be an interesting player to watch in preseason games.
Daniel Fells, Tight End
Yes, Daniel Fells is a member of the New York Giants.
He may seem like a long shot to make the roster due to the fact that he spent the 2013 season out of the league after being released by the New England Patriots, but he is now with a team that needs someone to step up at the tight end position.
While Fells isn't the flashiest option at tight end, his 92 career catches are more than all of the other tight ends on the roster—combined.
The Giants would love to see one of the younger players at the position—Adrien Robinson or Larry Donnell—break out in 2014, but the reality is they'll need a veteran presence as well.
Fells might be a better option than Kellen Davis in that department.
Devon Kennard, Linebacker
The Giants used their fifth-round selection in this year's draft to take linebacker Devon Kennard out of USC. They may have to rely on him a lot sooner than they would have liked.
The team got good news last week when they found out that Jon Beason won't need surgery on his injured foot, but it sounds like they'll be lucky to have him by the time the regular season opens.
Because of this, the Giants will have to shuffle their linebacker rotation, looking for the best combination to use without their starting middle linebacker.
Kennard should benefit from this, getting an early chance to show what he can do.
Though Kennard will likely have to find a home on special teams, he is still capable of fitting into the Giants' defensive game plan this season.
Kennard can rush the quarterback from the outside and shows good recognition to be able to drop back into coverage as well.
The Giants desperately need someone to step up at the linebacker position. Look for the rookie Kennard to make a name for himself in camp this summer.
Julian Talley, Wide Receiver
After going undrafted out of Massachusetts in 2012, Julian Talley will be participating in his third training camp with the Giants.
In 2013, he was able to make an appearance on the active roster later in the season after Victor Cruz went down with injury, but that's not all he did in 2013.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, Talley caught 74 passes for 821 yards and 17 touchdowns. He'll be right on the cusp of making the final roster this year as well.
The Giants have Cruz, as well as first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. and the returning Mario Manningham at wide receiver.
Rueben Randle is a lock to make the team as well.
But beyond that, the competition is wide open at wide receiver. How many receivers do the Giants keep?Whether they keep five or six, expect Talley to be heavily involved in the competition.
Among the rest of the wide receivers are Preston Parker, who hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2011, and Trindon Holliday, a player who is almost exclusively a kick returner.
Beyond that, the team has undrafted rookies Marcus Harris, Corey Washington and Travis Harvey.
But perhaps Talley's main competition will come from Jerrel Jernigan, the former third-round draft pick who has been somewhat of a disappointment in the early part of his career.
Talley's odds of making the final roster have to be considered pretty good.