It’s that time of year where teams finalize their roster by cutting players until they get down to 53. Three preseason games have been played by every team (four for a “lucky two”) and the rosters are really taking shape. The decisions that come over this next week can change the entire direction of a franchise. This time two years ago a team in New York a promising unheralded receiver out of the University of Massachusetts. Victor Cruz was one of the final few players the Giants kept on their roster. Although he would miss almost the entirety of his rookie season because of injury, he burst onto the scene in 2012 and was a key cog in the Giants Superbowl run. These decisions greatly matter. I’ll be taking a guess at a few teams 53 man rosters this week, starting with the New York Giants.
Eli Manning, David Carr
Eli Manning is an obvious choice and offers the Giants great security and some flexibility. Because Eli Manning has shown to be extremely durable during his entire career, the Giants will likely only carry two quarterbacks on their roster. David Carr wins the second quarterback spot because he is familiar with the system and he’s been better than Ryan Perriloux. At some point it seems that the Giants will find a developmental QB they really like and make room for him on the roster. That day is not today.
Running back- (5)
Ahmad Bradshaw, David Wilson, D.J. Ware, Darell Scott, Henry Hynoski
Bradshaw and Wilson are absolute locks. D.J. Ware is trusted in pass protection for the New York Giants, knows the system, and has been a reliable backup in the past. That’s good enough for the Giants to make the roster. Darrell Scott offers a lot more in terms of special team than Andre Brown because of his potential as a kick returner. Scott also has speed that cannot be taught. It’s possible that the Giants will keep an extra defensive back here, but I think they’ll go with the five running backs.
Wide Receiver (6)
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Ramses Barden, Jerel Jernigan, David Douglas
This s my big upset for the New York Giants on the roster. The Giants jettison the reliable Domenik Hixon because of his injury history and the rapid improvement or Rueben Randle. It does not seem like a very Giants-like-move to release the reliable veteran, but watching the third preseason game it was clear that the Giants believe Rueben Randle can contribute much quicker than I thought he would. Ramses Barden has a lot of potential and has played well when he has gotten chances in game action, though it hasn’t been that often because of injury concerns. Jerel Jernigan is only in his second year and is the best slot option the Giants have if Victor Cruz were to get hurt– and he also has been used on special teams. This would be a much easier choice for the Giants if Jernigan could consistently catch punts cleanly. David Douglas hasn’t been great and this might be a case of an idiot writer looking too much into the third preseason game, but Douglas was the starting punt returner for the Giants in the third preseason game and did well. Again this is my “bold” selection here. I can easily see the Giants keeping Hixon and trying to get Douglas to the practice squad.
Tight End (3)
Martellus Bennett, Bear Pascoe, Adrian Robinson
The easiest position to predict for the Giants outside the quarterback situation. Bennett will start, Pascoe will play the TE #2 and back-up full back and Adrian Robinson has a ton of potential and has shown plus blocking skills already and could be an intriguing #2 TE by the end of the season.
Offensive Line (8)
Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Chris Snee, David Diehl, James Brewer, Sean Locklear, Mitch Petrus
This became more clear to me with the move of Brandon Mosley to Injured Reserve. The Giants will likely believe that Matt Mcants can make it to the practice squad. He is not N.F.L. ready today and any team who adds Mcants will have to place him on an active roster and use up one of their valuable rosters pots.
Mitch Petrus saves his spot because Jim Cordle hasn’t been outstanding and Petrus was good last year. Petrus MUST improve on his pass blocking though. Petrus will also have to pick up how to play center, Kevin Boothe will be the current backup center.
Defensive End (5)
Osi Umeinyora, Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck, Adrian Tracy, Adewale Ojomo
The first three are locks. Tracy is now hurt a bit which could hurt his chances, but he’s likely to stick. He’s impressed in training camp. Adewale Ojomo will also be added to the roster. He’s been very impressive in training camp and in preseason games. Also, his name is very difficult to pronounce and spell, like backflips for first round picks, that’s something Giants look for in defensive players.
I think the Giants will have to carry an extra defensive end more than they want to because they will probably play Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre Paul as under tackles more than they would like to early in the season until some players come back from injury.
Defensive Tackle (4)
Linval Joseph, Rocky Bernard, Marvin Austin, Markus Kuhn
(Chris Canty on Physically Unable to Perform List)
One thing I”m absolutely sure of is the Giants won’t carry a player just to carry him on the roster. This is the position that is the hardest for me to project because I’m not sure what the teams is really feeling about how soon Shaun Rogers or Marvin Austin will be ready to play.
It is possible that Austin will go to the I.R., but that has not been indicated yet and he’s not getting cut. Markus Kuhn has played well and he’s a better talent than Hendricks. No one else has stood out.
The Giants will hope Bernard and Joseph can carry them for the first couple of weeks and they will give Tuck and Pierre Paul more snaps inside than they would like.
Mathias Kiwanuka, Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley, Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich
Greg Jones is a pretty good player, but the depth for the Giants is too much to overcome. With injury concerns at defensive tackle and cornerback the Giants have to cut back at certain positions–linebacker is one of them. Greg Jones is not the special teams player that Tyler Sash and Spencer Paysinger is. Herzlich will back up Blackburn and Kiwanuka. Williams and Rivers will see plenty of playing time on nickel defense.
Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley, Michael Coe, Justin Tyron, Bruce Johnson
Bruce Johnson first looked bad at times, but I think he’ll sneak onto the roster until Thomas and Hosley are healthy. Michael Coe has actually impressed me. I would almost say he’s a lock to make the team.
Seven cornerbacks is a LOT of cornerbacks to carry, but being low at safety and potentially without two cornerbacks (and possibly three) to start the season is a huge burden for a team. The Giants need to carry all seven for the first weeks until players come back from injury. If the Giants are healthy that Hosley will definitely play week one they will likely take off Bruce Johnson and add another defensive tackle.
Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Will Hill, (Tyler Sash)
Sash does not count against the roster to being the season, but will be back by the fourth week. The other three are locks to make the team and will likely start.
Special Teams: 3
Lawrence Tynes (K), Steve Weatherford (P), Zad DeOssie (LS)
Just missed the cut:
I think the last players to be cut are Shaun Rogers–the cornerback situation is an unlucky break for him and because the Giants would have no use to IR him (why pay him when he’s a free agent?) he’s likely to be cut. If the Giants think he’ll be ready by week five or six they could keep him and release Ojomo.
Domenik Hixon–the Giants have shown many, many times that they will forge ahead with young unproven WR if they believe in their talent–Douglas has more upside than Hixon with none of the injury concern.
Dwayne Hendricks-Hendricks tries hard, but to me he’s just a guy.
Stevie Brown-The Giants don’t want to enter the season with three.
Greg Jones-Jones is a very solid special teams player, but I think the coaching staff prefers Paysinger, DeOssie, Jacquian Williams more for special teams which makes him expendable.
Players to be released mid-season.
Bruce Johnson will be released after week four when Tyler Sash re-joins the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see D.J. Ware or Darrell Scott to be released when Chris Canty comes off the physically unable to perform list.
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