As the New York Giants 2013 training camp draws near let's try a 53-man roster projection. I did go through this exercise back in May, and several of my projections have changed since then.
[Off-season 53-man roster projection]
Eli Manning, David Carr Ryan Nassib
Analysis: No change here from the off-season version I did after the 2013 NFL Draft. The Giants drafted Nassib hoping he could become the backup to Manning -- just not yet. I simply don't see the Giants, with the Super Bowl at MetLife in February and Tom Coughlin not getting any younger, putting their fate in the hands of a rookie quarterback if Manning happens to get hurt.
Running Backs (4)
David Wilson, Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott, Michael Cox
Analysis: This list does not include fullback Henry Hynoski. Just a guess here that Hynoski isn't ready to return from knee surgery until a couple of weeks into the season -- meaning Bear Pascoe will fill in until then. If Hynoski is ready it likely comes down to a choice of Scott or Cox, with Scott only getting an edge because the Giants could try to pass Cox through waivers and put him on the practice squad. This also changes, of course, if the Giants add a veteran fullback to replace Hynoski.
Wide Receiver (5)
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy, Jerrel Jernigan
Analysis: I don't like keeping only five receivers, but since I am keeping three quarterbacks a sacrifice has to be made somewhere. If the Giants keep six receivers the final spot likely comes down to Ramses Barden vs. Brandon Collins.
Tight Ends (3)
Brandon Myers, Bear Pascoe, Adrien Robinson
Analysis: This one is easy -- unless there is an injury.
Offensive Line (9)
Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Chris Snee, David Diehl, Justin Pugh, Brandon Mosley, James Brewer, Jim Cordle
Analysis: Two things here. I initially had seventh-round pick Eric Herman taking a spot away from Cordle. I think, though, that Cordle's ability to play center might help him stick around. The other thing that jumps out is the incredible lack of experience among the backups if Diehl starts at right tackle and Boothe at left guard. This might be a spot where the Giants scour the waiver wire for a veteran backup at the end of the pre-season.
Defensive Line (9)
Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Adrian Tracy, Damontre Moore, Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Mike Patterson, Marvin Austin
Analysis: In this projection I am leaving Jason Pierre-Paul on the PUP list to begin the season. With the depth they have at defensive tackle, this projection assumes second-year man Markus Kuhn (knee surgery) also starts the regular season on the PUP list. Adewale Ojomo, the 2012 pre-season sensation, is a difficult cut here.
Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger, Dan Connor, Aaron Curry, Kyle Bosworth
Analysis: Curry and Bosworth were not Giants when my original projection was made. Five linebackers didn't seem like enough, anyway. Bosworth makes the team over a sixth wide receiver because of his usefulness on coverage teams. It wouldn't be a shock if a youngster like Etienne Sabino or Jake Muasau grabs one of the backup spots.
Prince Amukamara, Corey Webster, Jayron Hosley, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas
Analysis: I am granting Thomas a spot, but he is a huge question mark. Undrafted free agent cornerback Charles James was impressive in OTAs and mini-camp, as was veteran Trumaine McBride.
Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Ryan Mundy, Tyler Sash, Cooper Taylor
Analysis: I originally had Sash losing his job with Will Hill making the team. Hill's suspension changes that, and it is fair to wonder if Hill's career with the Giants is over.
Special Teams (3)
Josh Brown (PK), Steve Weatherford (P), Zak DeOssie (LS)
Analysis: I believe Brown is a clear choice over David Buehler for the placking duties.
Some of these choices are incredibly difficult. I really wasn't happy with having only five receivers. What the Giants choose to do with Hill also has an impact on the roster, and the running back situation behind Wilson and Brown is anyone's guess. Defensively, who stays and who goes among the reserve ends and tackles is also difficult to gauge.