New York Giants Depth Chart: Season-Opening Edition

Domenik Hixon opens the season as the No. 3 wide receiver. Will he also handle at least some of the punt return duties? (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Here is a look at the New York Giants' depth chart as the 2012 NFL season opens on Wednesday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

Offense

Quarterback
First Team: Eli Manning
Second Team: David Carr

Wide Receiver
First Team: Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks
Second Team: Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan
Third Team: Reuben Randle, Ramses Barden

I know some of you will go nuts seeing Jernigan on the second team and Randle on third. Reality is, Jernigan is the backup slot receiver to Cruz and that is why he is listed on the second team. Randle and Barden are, for now, behind Hixon. They will all get opportunities.

Left Tackle
First Team: Will Beatty
Second Team: Sean Locklear

Don't be misled by this one. Whatever the depth chart says, Beatty seems really unlikely for anything resembling full-time duty on Wednesday. You will see a lot of Locklear at left tackle.

Left Guard
First Team: Kevin Boothe
Second Team: Mitch Petrus

Wake up, Mitch! You are lucky to be part of the team, as you just found out over the past few days.

Center
First Team: David Baas
Second Team: Jim Cordle

Personally, I was glad to see Cordle make the 53-man roster. It gives the Giants a natural center if Baas goes down.

Right Guard
First Team: Chris Snee
Second Team: Petrus

Right Tackle
First Team: David Diehl
Second Team: James Brewer

Tight End
First Team: Bear Pascoe
Second Team: Martellus Bennett
Third Team: Adrien Robinson

Bennett is really the starter, and the key guy at this position. I have no real idea why Pascoe is still listed as No. 1, unless it's just a little added motivation for Bennett.

Running Back
First Team: Ahmad Bradshaw
Second Team: David Wilson
Third Team: Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott

What will be interesting here is to see how the Giants handle third down. Do they just leave Bradshaw on the field, or will Brown or Scott step into the role that used to belong to D.J. Ware?

Fullback
First Team: Henry Hynoski

Defense

Left End
First Team: Justin Tuck
Second Team: Adrien Tracy
Third Team: Adewale Ojomo

Left Defensive Tackle
First Team: Linval Joseph
Second Team: Marvin Austin

Right Defensive Tackle
First Team: Rocky Bernard
Second Team: Markus Kuhn

Right Defensive End
First Team: Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora

It continues to amuse me that the Giants will pander to Umenyiora enough to list him as a starter. Everyone knows Pierre-Paul is the starter, and the best player on the defense.

Strong-side Linebacker
First Team: Mathias Kiwanuka
Second Team: Keith Rivers

Middle Linebacker
First Team: Chase Blackburn
Second Team: Mark Herzlich

Weak-side Linebacker
First Team: Michael Boley
Second Team: Jacquain Williams
Third Team: Spencer Paysinger

This is a little bit of semantics. Rivers is the primary backup for both Boley and Kiwanuka. If Boley can't go full-time on Wednesday night Rivers is the guy who has started in his spot in preseason and will take over on that side.

Left Cornerback
First Team: Corey Webster
Second Team: Justin Tryon
Third Team: Jayron Hosley

Again, don't go nuts about this listing. If Hosley is ready to play on Wednesday he will be the slot corner. This is the base defense, and Hosley is listed third because he has been working inside, not outside.

Right Cornerback
First Team: Prince Amukamara
Second Team: Michael Coe

We already know Amukamara will not play against Dallas and Coe will start.

Strong Safety
First Team: Kenny Phillips
Second Team: Tyler Sash (suspended, not on active roster)

Free Safety
First Team: Antrel Rolle
Second Team: Will Hill
Third Team: Stevie Brown

Kickoff Returner
First Team: Jernigan
Second Team: Scott

This is how last season ended, and how this season begins. Wilson may also figure into this mix at some point, depending on how many snaps he gets on offense.

Punt Returner
First Team: Jernigan
Second Team: Hixon, Cruz
Third Team: Hosley, Randle

Don't put any stock in this one. Jernigan is listed as the top guy, but it could be anybody -- except Cruz. I don't know why he is listed, since he hasn't been practicing catching punts and there is no way the Giants expose him to that.

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