The New York Giants are off from practice on Thursday. Which makes today a perfect day to assess a handful of dark-horse candidates to make the season-opening 53-man roster. In recent days we have done stories on tight end Daniel Fells, placekicker Brandon McManus and wide receiver Corey Washington. So, consider those three 'dark-horse' candidates, as well. Today, though, we turn our attention to three players we haven't really talked about.
Preston Parker --Odell Beckham Jr. has been out since the first day or training camp. Trindon Holliday missed some time this week. Rueben Randle did not practice Tuesday because of a sore hamstring. Mario Manningham has taken limited reps as he tries to come back from a serious knee injury. That has left extra practice reps for the remaining wide receivers, and Parker is one of the receivers taking advantage.
Parker, 6-feet, 200 pounds, isn't some unknown undrafted free agent hoping for a shot in the NFL. He played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being released and being out of the league in 2013. The 27-year-old caught 44 passes for the Buccaneers, including 40 in 2011. He has been solid thus far in training camp, and the uncertainty about Manningham's health could open a roster spot.
Eric Herman -- The 2013 seventh-round draft choice spent last season on the practice squad, being activated only for the final game of the season. A guard coming out of college at Ohio, Herman has also been getting reps at center -- and looking comfortable there -- during training camp. That increases his shot at earning a role as a reserve offensive linemen. Herman buried defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles while pulling from the center spot to lead a running play on Tuesday.
Dan Fox -- In my pre-training camp 53-man roster projection I had Fox ousting Mark Herzlich for a spot as a backup linebacker. Right now I'm not so sure about that. Fox made a nice play in practice on Sunday, batting down a pass across the middle intended for wide receiver Julian Talley. He seems to be able to diagnose the run and get to the spot. The thing is, when I look at my notes and see 'good block by so-and-so' quite a few times the recipient has been Fox. I am not a linebacker coach or a film breakdown specialist, but it makes me wonder if the 6-3, 233-pound Fox can shed blocks and stand his ground vs. the run.