New York Giants Roster Battles To Watch


Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (96) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A quick turnaround is the goal for the New York Giants in 2014.  To do that they have some roster competitions to sort through first.

Running Back:  Rashad Jennings vs. Andre Williams

There is no question the running game of the New York Giants was a disaster in 2013, even more so than their passing attack which was also pretty bad.  So the front office looked to bolster the talent and depth of the position.  In free agency they added veteran Rashad Jennings who emerged as a capable starter in Oakland, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and scoring six touchdowns.  He is likely to get the early nod for the Giants but is by no means a runaway favorite.  That was made clear when Andre Williams arrived via the 4th round of the draft.  Williams was the leading rusher in college football last year and is a good fit for the power running style New York likes.  The battle between him and Jennings will not have any favorites.

Center:  J.D. Walton vs. Weston Richburg

In fairness, a big part of the problem last year wasn’t just the running backs.  It all started up front on the offensive line, especially the interior at the guard and center positions.  That is why the Giants invested both money and draft picks to upgrade them.  One battle that is shaping up into an important one is at center.  At the head of the depth chart is J.D. Walton, a fifth-year veteran who last started a game in 2012 but hasn’t played since joining the team.  He will have to hold off rookie 2nd round pick Weston Richburg.  He’s big and he’s athletic with a good head on his shoulders.  It wouldn’t take much for him to get into the starting lineup, which means Walton needs to show something early.

Defensive Tackle:  Johnathan Hankins vs. Jay Bromley

On defense there will be a lot of positions to sort out but one that holds significant important is filling the void at defensive tackle left by Linval Joseph.  Second-year man Johnathan Hankins, a 2nd round pick in 2013 is going to get the first crack.  He waited his turn as most young players do but it’s also important to note he only played in 11 games and made just nine tackles.  So his body of work doesn’t inspire much confidence.  Meanwhile the New York Giants front office kept adding to the depth chart when they took Jay Bromley out of Syracuse.  Like Joseph he is a big, strong run stuffer and has enough quickness to shoot gaps in pass rush.  Hankins can’t afford to ease his way into the starting lineup.  He’ll have to grab it and hang on, otherwise the Giants won’t hesitate giving the rookie his shot.