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Roster analysis: who will be the third-down back?

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Let's continue our roster analysis of the Giants as we head toward training camp.

Today, we will look at the running back spot.

The Giants might want you to believe that there will be a competition between Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns for the starting spot, but there won't be. Jacobs, the bruising third-year back from Auburn, will be the featured back. Droughns, another bruising runner, will be a complementary back.

The real running back competition will be for the third back. There, the Giants are hoping to find a third-down type back who can be a change of pace from Jacobs and Droughns.

Here are the candidates.

• In the blue corner. Derrick Ward. In three years with the Giants, Ward has had minimal impact. He carried 35 times for 123 yards in 2005 (a 3.5 yards per carry average), the only carries of his career. He has also seen some action returning kickoffs, and last year averaged 20.3 yards on 23 returns.

• In the red corner. Ryan Grant. The former Notre Dame standout missed all of last season after suffering nerve damage in his arm. Grant finished his Notre Dame career 11th on the school's all-time rushing list. As a pro, he's an unknown quantity.

• In the white corner. Ahmad Bradshaw. The 7th-round pick from Marshall turned heads during mini-camps, and the Giants could end up with a steal here. Bradshaw nearly went undrafted due to character concerns stemming from a pair of arrests, one for underage drinking and the other for burglary and petty larceny.

MY VIEW: Bradshaw is the front-runner. At 5-foot-9, 198 pounds, he has speed, pass-catching skills and experience returning punts and kickoffs. Ward has had chances and has never stood out. Grant is a nice story, but would seem to have little chance.

PREDICTION: As long as he shows the Giants he can stay out of trouble, Bradshaw wins this job.