The New York Giants not only need trustworthy starting offensive linemen to protect quarterback Eli Manning, they need dependable backups, as well. Can third-year man Eric Herman be one of those? Let's look at Herman as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in a few weeks.
2014 Season in Review
Basically, a carbon copy of the 2013 seventh-round pick's rookie season. He spent the entire season on the practice squad and was signed to the active roster for the final four games after injuries struck. That same scenario unfolded in 2013, with Herman signed to the roster for the final game. Herman has yet to actually appear in an NFL game.
2015 Season Outlook
If you view the Giants' starting offensive line as unsettled, ask yourself about the backups. Guard John Jerry and guard/center Dallas Reynolds are the only backups with significant NFL experience. Brandon Mosley has been on the roster the past two seasons, but has barely played. That means there are opportunities for roster spots, and a chance that Herman, a 2013 seventh-round pick, could earn his way onto the season-opening roster.
During the recently concluded mini-camp, Herman said "of course" he believes he can earn one of the backup spots.
"I know I can play in this league, " Herman said. I've got great guys to go up against to continue competition to make ourselves better so I feel like I'm in a good position."
In his third season, Herman said he doesn't feel like he is running out of time to make the leap from practice squad to -- at least -- trusted backup.
"There's always a pressure on time. I just focus on continuing to improve. I know I always have to improve on my pass game, that's just the way it is," Herman said. "[I'm] just finding certain points I've gotta work on and continuing to focus on those. Wherever it falls it'll fall."
In my last roster projection, I had the Giants keeping nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster. The starters are Ereck Flowers (LT), Justin Pugh (LG), Weston Richburg (C), Geoff Schwartz (RG) and Marshall Newhouse (RT). Best guess is that guard John Jerry and center/guard Brett Jones will get two of the backup spots. That leaves Herman, Mosley, Dallas Reynolds, Michael Bamiro, Emmett Cleary and Adam Gettis competing for two spots.
Can Herman earn one of those spots? Perhaps, especially if he can show that he has the ability to keep Eli Manning upright. If not, he still has practice squad eligibility.