New York Giants' 53-Man Roster: A Final Prediction

My guess is that Mark Herzlich has done just enough to earn a spot on the New York Giants' season-opening 53-man roster. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Saturday is cut-down day in the NFL as teams have to reach the 53-man roster limit this afternoon. Coach Tom Coughlin called it "a three Advil morning," and this year he really isn't kidding. Coughlin, GM Jerry Reese and the other Giants decision-makers have some brutally tough choices to make in shaping the season-opening roster.

Here is my final thought on how the 53-man roster will look. I know there will be a few differences -- there are always moves that make me shake my head. To be honest, I'm happy if I get 45 of the 53 correct. So, let's see how I do.

Quarterbacks (2) -- Eli Manning, David Carr

Carr did not look great the other night. Reality is, though, that both Carr and Sage Rosenfels are veterans with track records and we know there really isn't that much difference. Why pay Rosenfels more than $3 million when you can pay Carr $860,000 to do the same job, and do it with just about the same results?

Running backs (4) -- Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott

I said this Friday, but I just don't know how the Giants let Brown or Scott go after what they have done this preseason. That means Ware is the odd man out.

FB (1) -- Henry Hynoski

He has struggled at times, but Hynoski has potential and I just can't see a Tom Coughlin team entering the season without a fullback on the roster.

TE (2) -- Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum

Ballard is the only tight end who has played with any real consistency through camp, unless you want to count Bear Pascoe being consistently bad. Beckum is only consistent about being inconsistent and being unable to stay on the field, but he still has the most upside of anyone the Giants have at the position.

WR (7) -- Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz, Devin Thomas, Jerrel Jernigan, Michael Clayton

Can't see Darius Reynaud cracking this group. It will be interesting to see if Hixon or Cruz is the third receiver when the season starts -- and how long it takes Thomas to grab that job away from either of them. Clayton makes it simply for his special teams blocking.

Offensive Line (9) -- Will Beatty, David Diehl, David Baas, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Mitch Petrus, Kevin Boothe, James Brewer, Stacy Andrews

Petrus, Boothe and Brewer are no-brainers as far as reserves. Andrews stays because he is an experienced tackle who can play both sides, and play guard if he has to.

Defensive Tackles (4) -- Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Rocky Bernard, Gabe Watson

Really, the last spot comes down to veterans Gabe Watson and JImmy Kennedy. I might be hitching my horse to the wrong wagon here, but Watson has played pretty well the entire preseason and deserves the final spot. He might not get it, but he gets it from me.

Defensive Ends (4) -- Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Dave Tollefson

That leaves the Giants with only three full-time ends until Osi Umenyiora comes back -- a bit of a gamble. But we know Mathias Kiwanuka can go to end if he has to.

Linebackers (8) -- Jonathan Goff, Michael Boley, Mathias Kiwanuka, Greg Jones, Spencer Paysinger, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Adrian Tracy

When I did this originally I did not have Tracy making the the team. With Clint Sintim gone, though, he is the only true backup for Mathias Kiwanuka. Plus, he has reportedly been taking some snaps at defensive end -- apparently filling the Kiwanuka role.

Cornerbacks (5) -- Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Prince Amukamara, Michael Coe, Brian Williams

Coe has earned his spot with a good preseason. Williams is a veteran and despite a bad penalty Thursday against New England he is a veteran player who should help the Giants.

Safeties (4) -- Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Tyler Sash, Deon Grant

Not much mystery with these four players.

Specialists (3) -- Lawrence Tynes (PK), Steve Weatherford (P), Zak DeOssie (LS)

Rhys Lloyd is intriguing, but I don't think the Giants can keep two placekickers. As for punter, I am sticking with my call that Weatherford gets the job. I like Matt Dodge and think he will have a good NFL career. I just think the Giants don't need the constant reminder of the disaster last season was on special teams, and Weatherford is a safer play here.

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