With a week of training camp completed the New York Giants are looking forward to their first preseason game, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game this Sunday vs. the Buffalo Bills. With today being an off day for players this is a good time to re-assess the pre-training camp 53-man roster projection made right before the Giants began practicing.
So, let's go through it and see what, if anything, has changed.
Ryan Nassib has his good moments and his bad ones, sometimes on consecutive plays. That hasn't changed. You may also have read that veteran Curtis Painter has received more reps in recent practices, which is true. That most likely isn't a knock on Nassib, rather the realization that Painter has to play a significant number of snaps Sunday night vs. the Bills and needs a fair opportunity to be prepared for those. To me, it still looks like Nassib wins this job and the Giants keep two quarterbacks.
Running Back (4)
As of now, we will go off the idea that David Wilson will be OK after suffering another neck injury. That, however, is far from a sure thing. Second-year man Michael Cox has looked quick and decisive early on. He would be next in line if Wilson can't play.
Change: Hynoski in, John Conner out
I have absolutely zero confidence in my choice here. That doesn't mean I have no confidence in Hynoski -- it means I have no idea if I am right. Hynoski is listed No. 1 on the unofficial depth chart, but the two veterans split reps and there has been little to nothing to separate them thus far. One thing I do have confidence in saying is that the Giants will keep a fullback on the roster. They spend a lot of time with one on the field when they are working the running game. Training camp reps are too valuable to waste if they weren't going to use a true fullback.
Tight End (3)
Change: Fells in, Kellen Davis out
There may not be a clear favorite to be the starter, but the pecking order has become clear. Donnell, Fells and Robinson are the top three guys. Fells has been the most consistent. Donnell has been the most spectacular. Robinson has been the most up and down, but still probably has the biggest upside.
Wide Receiver (5)
Odell Beckham Jr.
Change: Trindon Holliday out
I really don't like the idea of keeping only five wide receivers, but I am still dropping Holliday from the roster in this projection. Reality is, Holliday is showing that he isn't really reliable as a receiver. At 5-foot-5, it's virtually impossible to throw anything to him other than a bubble screen. Holliday has also been inconsistent catching the ball. Quintin Demps is the primary kickoff returner. The only role Holliday really has right now is returning punts, and Reuben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Charles James can all do that. Holliday ends up as the odd man out.
Offensive Line (9)
This is the same nine I listed in my original projection, but I would say James Brewer's hold on a roster spot appears to be tenuous. Brewer has worked at every position except center during camp, which is both good and bad. He is showing versatility, but isn't showing that he really has any of the positions mastered. Watch our for 2013 seventh-round pick Eric Herman, who has been playing both guard and center. Dallas Reynolds also plays both of those spots, but if I had to guess right now I'd say Herman is ahead of Reynolds. He may also be threatening Brewer's roster spot.
Defensive Tackle (5)
Change: Markus Kuhn in
I had the Giants keeping only four defensive tackles in my original projection, with Hankins as a starter and Kuhn not making the team. It appears that Patterson will start next to Jenkins. Kuhn has been working in tandem with Hankins on the second unit, and he seems to be in line for a healthy number of snaps. Rookie third-round pick Jay Bromley will make the roster and seems to have a bright future, but if the four guys ahead of him are healthy the guess right now is he could be headed for a lot 'inactive' game days.
Defensive End (4)
The only difference from my original projection is that I have Mathias Kiwanuka starting. He has done that all of camp, so that looks like the plan.
Change: Herzlich in, Dan Fox out
In my first projection I had Herzlich losing his spot to the undrafted rookie from Notre Dame. Maybe things will change during the preseason games, but right now I just don't see it. Fox is undersized at 233 pounds while Herzlich offers experience and quality special teams play.
I still can't see how sixth-round pick Bennett Jackson makes the roster. The Giants are simply too stacked at this position. A couple of things to note here. James got a chance to return punts on Tuesday, and it is something I would hope to see more of. There is no tackling, but in a 'live cover' drill he fielded a punt, eluded the first man, got to the corner and headed upfield for a nice return. Secondly, six-year veteran Zack Bowman is having a nice camp. He was used mostly on special teams by the Bears until last year, but he is a better cornerback than I realized.
The best news is that the knee injury that cost Stevie Brown the 2013 season seems to be a footnote. Taylor appears to be making progress. Berhe, the fourth-round pick, has had a quiet camp. That means he hasn't made any huge attention-grabbing splash play, but he hasn't made any glaring mistakes, either.
P -- Steve Weatherford
LS -- Zak DeOssie
I like the potential of rookie placekicker Brandon McManus, and he has turned the battle for that job into a legitimate competition. As well as the veteran Brown kicked a season ago, however, I will believe the Giants will turn the job over to a rookie when I see it.