Now that I have watched most of New York Giants training camp in Albany -- and before the exhibition games start -- I thought I would take another guess at the possible 53-man roster. This will look a little different than my pre-camp roster. It will also look heavy in some positions and light in others. I tried to give you the guys I really think "should" make this team.
I have to tell you, the last two or three cuts on this list are excruciatingly difficult. The Giants will, as we thought, be making some good football players available to the other 31 NFL teams. I have gone 'outside the box' on a couple of these, and away from some of my original choices. Let's see what you think.
Quarterbacks (3) -- Eli Manning, David Carr, Andre Woodson
Woodson and rookie fifth-round pick Rhett Bomar are pretty even in their competition for the third slot. I'm guessing the Giants don't want to lose either guy, and that Bomar will end up on the practice squad.
Running Backs (4) -- Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Ware, Madison Hedgecock
The season-ending injury to rookie Andre Brown obviously changes things here. Allen Patrick is the only other tailback in camp, but I don't think he makes the squad. There are too many other good players in other positions.
Wide Receivers (7) -- Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss, Ramses Barden, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Derek Hagan
Sorry, David Tyree. An extremely tough, unkind cut, but all seven of these guys are better players than Tyree at this point. That has to be what matters, not sentimentality. Hagan is forcing his way onto this roster, though seven receivers is probably one more than the Giants would like to keep. The Giants talk repeatedly, though, about keeping the best players and not having a set formula. Hagan is earning it. And yes, these guys are in order of the playing time I think they would get if the regular season started today.
Tight Ends (3) -- Kevin Boss, Michael Matthews, Travis Beckum
Matthews has been working with the first unit in double-tight end situations. He will hold off Darcy Johnson and Lee Vickers to keep his roster spot.
Offensive Line (8) -- Starters -- David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie. Backups -- Tutan Reyes, Kevin Boothe, William Beatty.
After Reyes, I am not comfortable with any of the backup linemen. I am also not comfortable with just eight linemen on the 53-man, but Koets hasn't done anything to earn a spot. We have talked repeatedly about his struggles to become a backup center, and it just isn't working. Boothe has been getting destroyed by defensive lineman at both guard and tackle most of camp. A name to watch for: Andrew Carnahan, a 6-foot-7, 305-pounder acquired from Kansas City on waivers (he was a 7th-round pick by Jacksonville in 2007) has done a good job at guard. He can also play tackle. I fully expect the Giants to pick up at least one veteran backup who can play multiple positions, including center, before the season starts.
Defensive linemen (8) -- Tackles -- Fred Robbins, Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, Rocky Bernard, Jay Alford. Ends -- Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka.
The toughest cut here is Dave Tollefson, who has been schooling Beatty much of camp. But, with the depth the Giants have -- and the fact that undrafted free agent Maurice Evans is a shoo-in to at least make the practice squad -- Tollefson is unlikely to have a place on this team.
Linebackers (9) -- Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark, Bryan Kehl, Gerris Wilkinson, Chase Blackburn, Zak DeOssie, Clint Sintim, Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff
I have an inkling that something unexpected might happen with this group. I am just not sure what yet. After a couple of exhibition games the makeup of this group might change.
Defensive Backs (9) -- Cornerbacks -- Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Kevin Dockery, Stoney Woodson. Safeties -- Kenny Phillips, Michael Johnson, C.C. Brown, Sha'reef Rashad.
The fourth safety spot is between Rashad, Vince Anderson and Travonti Johnson. Right now, Johnson is working with the second group and the Rashad/Anderson combo is the third group. In reality, I have no idea which of the three will end up winning the job, but I had to pick one. I am going with Rashad simply because when I asked Merritt about the three youngsters on Friday, Rashad is the first player he mentioned. I think the Giants really like Anderson, though, and he should end up on the practice squad.
Kickers (2) -- Punter -- Jeff Feagles. Placekicker -- Lawrence Tynes