The exhibition games are over. Final roster decisions have to made by Saturday. So, with the last round of cuts looming within the next 24 hours, let's make one final 53-man roster prediction for our New York Giants.
Let's see how close I get. I'm sure there will be some surprises, so I know this won't be perfect.
Starter: Eli Manning
Backups: David Carr, Rhett Bomar
Cut: Andre Woodson
Woodson simply has not made enough progress from his rookie season to stay with the Giants. He was horrid Thursday night (6-for-19, with a Pick Six). He has completed just 18-of-46 passes in the pre-season (39.1%). Bomar's opportunities were limited, but I am giving him a roster spot based on his potential. The guy has a great arm, a presence and even though he threw an interception last night he ran the two-minute drill impressively. If they try to sneak him on to the practice squad I am almost certain he gets picked up by someone. The Giants will end up regretting that. So, he sneaks on to the 53-man.
Running Back (4)
Starters: Brandon Jacobs, Madison Hedgecock
Backups: Ahmad Bradshaw, Danny Ware
Practice Squad Candidates: Allen Patrick
Cut: Dwayne Wright
Patrick showcased his speed Thursday night, and a willingness to pick up blitzers. He is intriguing enough to warrant a practice squad invite, I think.
Wide Receiver (7)
Starters: Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon
Backups: Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Ramses Barden, Derek Hagan
Cut: David Tyree, Shaun Bodiford
Moss likely saved his roster spot with his impressive work Thursday night. Either that, or he gave GM Jerry Reese great ammo to trade him and get a late-round draft pick. Hagan sticks for now, but he might be the odd man out when linebacker Michael Boley returns from his suspension in Week 2.
Tight End (3)
Starter: Kevin Boss
Backups: Travis Beckum, Michael Matthews
Cut: Darcy Johnson
Matthews beats Johnson for the final tight end spot because he is an exceptional blocker. Boss and Beckum are pass-catchers first, so the third tight end needs to be a blocker. Besides, Matthews is also the backup fullback.
Offensive Line (9)
Starters: David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie
Backups: Tutan Reyes, Kevin Boothe, William Beatty, Adam Koets
Practice Squad Candidate: Cliff Louis
Cut: Orrin Thompson, Terrance Pennington, Guy Whimper
Koets is probably the bubble guy here. He could find himself cut if the Giants decide to grab a veteran lineman off waivers or decide they need an extra defensive lineman or defensive back.
Defensive Line (8)
Starters: Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield
Backups: Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, Mathias Kiwanuka, Maurice Evans
Practice Squad Candidates: Tommie Hill, Leger Douzable, Jeremy Clark
Cut: Dave Tollefson, Anthony Bryant, Robert Henderson
I really, really hate to see Tollefson go. He is a useful NFL player, and he will have a job somewhere by Sunday night. This is kind of like the Bomar decision. Evans has the potential to be a big-time performer if a team has the patience to develop him. With their line depth the Giants can afford to do it, and he is another guy they will someday regret losing if they let him slip away. One other note here. This could change based on Jay Alford's status. Mike Garafolo reports that the Giants should know later today if Alford will be healthy enough to play this season. If he is, maybe they try to get Evans to the practice squad.
Starters: Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark, Chase Blackburn
Backups: Gerris Wilkinson, Clint Sintim, Bryan Kehl, Jonathan Goff, Zak DeOssie
One-Game Suspension: Michael Boley (does not count against Week 1 roster)
Cut: Kenny Ingram
The surprise for me Thursday night was seeing Blackburn start on the outside. I think the coaching staff loves his reliability, no matter where they put him.
Starters: Corey Webster, Kevin Dockery
Backups: Terrell Thomas, Aaron Ross, Bruce Johnson
Practice Squad Candidate: DeAndre Wright
This would mean neither of the corners the Giants drafted -- Wright (6th round) and Stoney Woodson (7th) make the active roster. Woodson is already gone due to injury, and Wright has been outplayed by Johnson, an undrafted free agent.
Starters: Kenny Phillips, Michael Johnson
Backups: C.C. Brown, Travonti Johnson
Practice Squad Candidate: Vince Anderson
Cut: Sha'reef Rashad
To me, the active roster spots are pretty obvious -- unless the Giants go out over the weekend and find an experienced safety to add to the mix. The interesting call will be which of the rookie free agents -- Anderson or Rashad -- is added to the practice squad. I like Rashad, but I think Anderson has the most upside because of his size, speed and athleticism.
Punter: Jeff Feagles
Placekicker: Lawrence Tynes