Training camp is readily approaching, meaning the future of many current New York Giants players are going to be in jeopardy.
Both veterans and younger, unproven players alike are in danger of losing their job, as the team must finalize a 53-man roster at the conclusion of camp.
Some of the names mentioned on the list are obvious; others not so much.
Marvin Austin, DT
One of the more popular names floated around in terms of possible roster cuts is Austin, the 24-year-old defensive tackle who has yet to make an impact on the professional level.
Coming out of North Carolina, Austin was thought to be able to be an effective NFL force in the middle of the Giants’ interior line. But to date, Austin’s contributions have barely approached minimal.
The former second-round draft pick has played in just eight career games and now finds himself in heavy competition for the defensive tackle rotation. Along with incumbent Linval Joseph and free-agent addition Cullen Jenkins, Austin must contend with Johnathan Hankins, Mike Patterson, Shaun Rodgers, Markus Kuhn and Frank Okam for playing time.
Austin’s time with the Giants is likely short-lived unless the tackle can conjure up an eye-opening performance at training camp.
Aaron Curry, LB
Curry’s last-ditch effort to crack an NFL team’s roster is certainly a prominent storyline during Giants training camp.
The linebacker, entering his fifth professional season after being drafted fifth overall by the Seattle Seahawks, was cut by the Oakland Raiders and is now attempting to salvage his career with the Giants.
The good news for Curry is the Giants are certainly starved for linebacker help. With Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn gone, the team is leaning on Mark Herzlich, Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams as likely starters, all of whom carry question marks. Adding insult to injury, the depth behind the projected starters carries similar concerns.
Curry is contending for a reserve job along with Dan Connor, Spencer Paysinger, Etienne Sabino, Kyle Bosworth and Jake Muasau – and it’s presumed at least Connor and Paysinger are penned in as backups.
Curry’s track record is anything but strong, so an impressive training camp is a must if he wants a shot with his third NFL club.
David Carr, QB
With the selection of Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, Carr’s days as Eli Manning’s backups may be numbered.
The long-time No. 2 signed a deal to return to the Giants this off-season, but it’s a bit uncharacteristic for Tom Coughlin to carry three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Obviously with the Giants poised to be a contender in the NFC East, the team needs a strong insurance policy should Manning get injured and be forced to miss any time. If the former Syracuse signal-caller puts forth an impressive training, it’ll be the veteran Carr who is forced to go.
With that being said, it’s certainly possible the team does carry three quarterbacks this season, simply due to the fact Nassib is entering his first professional season and his first with the Giants playbook. Having Carr, who has spent four of the past five seasons in New York and is very familiar with Kevin Gilbride’s offensive scheme, can only help Nassib and ultimately, the team.
Will Hill, S
If Hill wants to be a member of the Giants, he’s certainly not showing it.
The safety is set to serve a second four-game suspension in as many seasons after the league found him in violation of the substance abuse policy. Last year, Hill claimed it was Adderall for his four-game suspension.
Given the second suspension and his troubled background, it’s more of a question of whether Giants management wants to continue to give Hill more second chances rather than what he can contribute on the field.
Even prior to this recent flare up, it appeared the Giants had a wealth of safeties on the roster and ultimately at least one would have to get the axe. Tyler Sash, Ryan Mundy and rookie Cooper Taylor are vying for playing time, and perhaps Hill’s slip-up could prove to be deciding factor.
David Diehl, OT
Diehl’s name also made our list of players on the hot seat, and for obvious reasons he qualified for the roster bubble watch as well.
The 32-year-old offensive lineman’s struggles were very noticeable in 2012. Though he is probably the front-runner to start the season at right tackle, an unimpressive training camp outing could warrant the axe.
Obviously Justin Pugh is the future right tackle for the Giants, and the first-rounder could certainly supplant Diehl by mid-season should an injury arise or the incumbent’s play is lacking. Diehl did take a pay cut in the off-season to return to the team, so even as a veteran reserve it’s not costing the team too much to keep him on board – which certainly gives Diehl a strong shot at surviving training camp roster cuts.
If James Brewer or another one of the younger linemen turns heads, though, it could prove dangerous to Diehl’s chances.