I know this won't be 100 percent accurate -- it never is. But, here is my pre-training camp stab at the New York Giants' season-opening 53-man roster.
Let's see how close I get. Last season I actually got 45 of 53 (84.9%) in my first try, which I think is pretty darn good. Of course, that is if my math is right. By the way, here is the complete training camp roster.
Starter: Eli Manning
Backup: Jim Sorgi
Analysis: Sorry about this, Bomar-maniacs. Another year on the practice squad for Rhett Bomar, if he doesn't end up getting cut. I love his arm, but Sorgi would not be a Giant if the team felt Bomar could do the job.
Running Backs (5)
Starters: Brandon Jacobs, Madison Hedgecock
Backups: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, Gartrell Johnson
Analysis: This means goodbye to D.J. Ware, who has been around for a few years now and has yet to really force his way into a role. Ware's only shot is to prove he can be an explosive kickoff return guy, in which case he might push Johnson out the door.
Wide Receivers (5)
Starters: Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks
Backups: Mario Manningham, Ramses Barden, Derek Hagan
Analysis: In a way, I'm right back where I was last season with the receivers. That means I'm predicting the demise of Sinorice Moss. I will probably be wrong again, too. Moss is like an annoying gnat -- he doesn't do much of anything, but he won't go away.
Tight Ends (3)
Starter: Kevin Boss
Backups: Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe
Analysis: The only question here is whether Pascoe will be the blocking tight end. From everything I have heard he seems to have a huge lead over Scott Chandler for this spot. It will be a huge boost to the Giants' short-yardage offense if they can find someone to fill this role effectively.
Offensive Linemen (9)
Starters: William Beatty (LT), David Diehl (LG), Shaun O'Hara (C), Chris Snee (RG), Kareem McKenzie (RT)
Backups: Rich Seubert, Mitch Petrus, Dennis Landolt, Herb Taylor
Analysis: First and foremost, yes, this means I believe Beatty will win the starting left tackle job. I think the Giants organization 'wants' Beatty to win and will give him every chance to do so. The Giants did not draft him to have him sit around, and I think he has to fall on his face to lose the job. As for the backups, in reality I have no clue who will win the last two spots. If Kevin Boothe returns in time he will get one of those slots, I'm just not counting on his return. I also think the Giants will finally give up on Guy Whimper -- something I believe I also predicted last season.
Defensive Linemen (10)
Starters: Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Barry Cofield, Chris Canty
Backups: Osi Umenyiora, Linval Joseph, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rocky Bernard, Jay Alford, Dave Tollefson
Analysis: Ten seems like a HUGE number of defensive linemen to keep, but at first blush I can't see parting with any of these guys. Tollefson is likely on the bubble, but he always seems to stick around. He's a good special teams player, and does OK when he gets in games at defensive end. I know, also, that a lot of you would like to see Bernard kicked to the curb. But, you can't start the season with three defensive tackles and right now I don't see anyone on the 85-man roster who can threaten Bernard's spot. Don't make a big fuss out of the fact that I have Osi listed as a backup. I did that because that is the way the Giants had the depth chart during mini-camp, and it is the way they are likely to enter training camp. I have no idea how that situation will play out, but Osi is going to be on the field a lot either way.
Starters: Michael Boley, Clint Sintim, Jonathan Goff
Backups: Chase Blackburn, Phillip Dillard, Gerris Wilkinson, Bryan Kehl
Analysis: I just don't see Wilkinson winning the starting middle linebacker job. Maybe, in reality, I don't want to see it. After all this time with Wilkinson, I just can't make myself trust him. I think Goff starts the season and, eventually, Dillard takes the job away from him. As for the rest of the list, no real surprises. Yes, the Giants drafted Adrian Tracy in the sixth round as a linebacker. But, he is learning a new position after playing defensive end in college. I think he is headed to the practice squad, unless he develops incredibly quickly.
Starters: Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas
Backups: Aaron Ross, Bruce Johnson
Analysis: I say this all the time, but I believe strongly that you can never have enough quality cornerbacks in the modern NFL. Looking at this list, the Giants don't have enough. These are the only four guys heading to camp I currently feel comfortable with. Webster, Thomas and Ross are good and Johnson was better than expected last season, but I really wish there was one more veteran backup to add to this list.
Starters: Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant
Backups: Kenny Phillips, Sha'reef Rashad, Michael Johnson
Analysis: You're probably already ready to kill me for listing Phillips as a backup. I have only done that because, as of now, we have no idea how many snaps Phillips will be able to play -- or if he will really be able to play at all. If he proves his knee can withstand it, KP will be starting. The Giants seem to love Rashad, and the unfortunate Chad Jones situation probably leaves a roster spot open for Johnson to stick around.
Punter: Matt Dodge
Placekicker: Lawrence Tynes
Long-snapper: Zak DeOssie
Analysis: Dodge, the East Carolina rookie drafted in the seventh round, has no competition. Unless he flops miserably in the exhibition games the job is his. Love him or hate him, and sometimes we all do both, Tynes is your kicker. It seems like DeOssie is now a full-time long-snapper, and it is a job he is extremely good at.
Probably not many real surprises in my first stab at a 53-man roster. The backup offensive line situation will be one to watch. Landolt was a highly-sought after undrafted free agent from Penn State, and of all the UDFAs heading to camp he might have the best shot of landing a job.
I know a lot of you are rooting for Rutgers' Tim Brown to make the team. I just don't see how a 5-foot-8, 165-pound player who did not have a dominant college career is going to crack the roster.
I can see some adjustments in a couple of places here because I do have a high number of spots being taken by linemen on both sides. Fun to talk about, anyway.